Great deals on pre-owned models and 30 miles of battery power adds up to irresistible.
My daughter begs me to buy a Chevrolet Volt. She loves its looks and the way the car feels inside (I don’t disagree). The Volt’s hatchback shape and open cargo area gives it a roomy, airy feel; its four bucket seats mean every passenger fits neatly and comfortably in the car, and the Volt’s Hollywood lights and magic dashboard is as entertaining as it is informative.
There’s a lot to love about the Volt, a car that changed how the auto industry thinks about battery power, except one thing: The newest edition goes into production this summer and it carries significant upgrades, improvements and innovations.
The much-awaited 2016 redesign creates price opportunities for older models
This makes for a hard decision: Wait for the new one— and, since it’s new on the market, pay the full price— or look at current or older model years and enjoy discounts all the way to the shoe store. That second option is pretty tantalizing.
Brand new with significant discounts?
Looking through AutoTrader’s listings of new 2014 and 2015 Chevy Volts found many offered for reduced prices; for instance, an MSRP of $37,000 with cash back incentives reduced the price to $33,000; subtract a $7500 federal tax credit and it’s a very good deal: These come with full warranty and very few miles; some had 2,000 or so miles on them — perhaps they were used as road testers?
Pre-owned Volts can be a significantly great deal
I found even better pricing on certified pre-owned and used 2013 models, ranging from $15,000-$20,000, depending on mileage (I was looking at fully loaded EVs, with heated leather seats and premium features, which is how you should buy a used car in my opinion).
In comparison, the 2016 Volt will likely be priced at about $40,000 fully loaded (base price is $33,995), and with federal tax incentives of $7,500 (this applies only to new vehicles), buyers should expect to pay $25,000-$33,000. Buying pre-owned presents a significant savings, and once the 2016 Volts are introduced, prices on older models could drop even further.
Certified pre-owned Volts come with a 12-month warranty, a powertrain warranty up to 5 years/100,000 miles and a 5 year/100,000 mile roadside assistance package. Additionally, Chevrolet is very invested in the performance of its hybrid electric battery system; if you have a problem with the battery (it’s not charging or performing properly) it also falls under the 100,000 mile warranty. But my advice is that if your dealer or mechanic says it’s not covered, find another service provider or call Chevrolet directly.
Battery power takes you 35 miles, then the gas engine kicks in with 35MPG
But think of the ongoing value: If you charge the Volt daily and don’t drive long distances very often, you can almost never go to the gas station. Really. The Volt’s battery is designed to run about 35 miles on a charge (up to 40 if you’re really easy on acceleration and forgo heat and A/C, which drain battery power). After that, the gas engine kicks in and it is pretty efficient, too, getting about 35MPG. It’s so nice to never use the gas engine, and yet, so great to have the gas engine when you need it.
A garage, carport or other indoor parking spot is ideal for charging, admittedly; an apartment complex or city street may not have accessible charging. But even so, many office buildings have charging stations now, as do many airports, parks, public buildings, highway rest stops, Whole Foods and other businesses; and the availability of charging locations is growing.
Figuring out charging challenges
The charge cord stores neatly in the back of the car under the cargo floor board. It might be a pain to pull it out when you stop to charge the car; most charge stations have their own cords, but some require you to use your own cord. But, you can buy a second one for about $385 (and perhaps your used Volt will come with one!) and leave it plugged in at home.
What was that about shoes?
The Volt’s nicely flat and open cargo area is great for hauling things, including luggage, groceries and of course, shoes. The rear seats fold flat for even more shoes (or, groceries). So all the money you save on the car and on gas can go for shoes. Pretty nice deal!
What We Loved
- Roomy feeling cabin
- Modern, clean interior and trim
- Comfy leather seating
- Fun, peppy drive experience
- Bypassing gas stations
- Chevrolet MyLink navigation
- OnStar (may require contract–but worth it)
- SiriusXM Radio (may require contract)
- 2-year scheduled maintenance included
What You Need to Know
- Distance driven on charge varies (depends on how you drive the car)
- Takes 12-14 hours to charge from a regular household plug
- Battery charge takes you the first 30 or so miles; the gas engine kicks in after that
- Uses premium fuel
- Seats four
- 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty
- 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty
- 5 year/100,000 mile roadside assistance included
- Base price of the model we drove: About $34,000
- Price of the model we drove: About $39,000
Disclosure: Chevrolet provided the Volt for our test drive; opinions expressed here are all my own