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Holden Volt EV 2014 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Wow. The sheer audaciousness of the Volt is enough to take your breath away.

Wow. The sheer audaciousness of the Volt is enough to take your breath away. We drove one briefly a few months back but to fully experience the breadth of technology that the Volt has to offer, we're testing one for an extended period. We've clocked up several hundred kilometres behind the wheel already but we're yet to put petrol in it.

Value

You get a lot of car for your money but the cost is the thing. At $59,990 the Volt is beyond the means of most Australians. So far this year Holden has managed to sell 95 of the rebadged Chevrolets. Nissan in comparison has managed to sell 160 of its chief competitor the fully electric LEAFs (although the price has been dropping like the proverbial stone).

Viewed in isolation the price of the Volt is prohibitive but it becomes a more attractive proposition and perhaps cheaper alternative to a luxury car -- because it is a luxury car in its own right. So the question becomes: why buy a Benz or a BMW when you could have one of these cutting edge babies sitting in the driveway (and be the talking point of the street).

Technology

Explore the 2014 Holden Volt range

Holden describes the Volt as an electric car, but really it is a cross between a hybrid and electric car because it has both petrol and electric motors. The big difference is that the petrol engine does not power the wheels, rather it acts as a "range extender" kicking in to power the generator to provide the electricity to power the wheels when you run out of charge.

The Volt can recharge in less than six hours using a normal 10 amp power point for a cost of as little as $2.50 for a full charge. And, fully charged, it has a range of up to 87km on electricity alone and, more than 600km with its petrol motor.

Design

The interior with its white iPod style dash is striking. The infotainment system features a touch-sensitive centre console with a 7-inch full-colour touch screen display the interface for infotainment, climate controls and satellite navigation.

A second similarly sized screen occupies the place normally reserved for the speedo and other dials, with a large digital display of the car's current speed. Other features include Bluetooth, voice recognition, DVD playback, USB input with iPod compatibility, 30GB hard drive and Premium Bose audio.

Safety

The Volt has received a maximum five star safety rating from the Australian ANCAP organisation. As well as seven airbags it features Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert as standard.

Driving

Of the hybrid/electric vehicles that we have driven, the Volt is the first one we'd actually consider buying. The performance from the electric engine is more than adequate and it actually handles quite well too, not to mention being whisper quiet. The Volt looks terrific and the sporty four-seat arrangement, with two individual rear seats suits the car.

It's a shame the American-based satnav system does not offer school zone or speed camera warnings. Then again neither does the Commodore, although it once did. Unlike other 'electric' cars the Volt does not suffer from a limited cruising range. We're finding that if you plug it in at night, and program the computer to have it ready to go by the appointed hour, it's got plenty on tap.
 

Also: 2014 Holden Volt review | long term 2

Verdict

So far so good.

Pricing guides

$17,480
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$14,500
Highest Price
$20,460

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
EV —, Hyb/ULP, CVT AUTO $14,500 – 20,460 2014 Holden Volt 2014 EV Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7