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Holden Volt 2014 review

So. We just got our first electricity bill since taking possession of the Volt electric car. We've clocked up more than 1000km in the past few weeks but have not had to put a single drop of petrol in the car yet. We have however dutifully plugged it in each night to recharge, but with a range of 85km or so it's enough to get us to and from work on a single charge.

Price/Features

There's two ways to look at this car. Either as a rather expensive electric vehicle or as a reasonably cheap premium car with plenty to offer including a stack of hi-tech goodies. The Volt has got geek written all over it and as such would appeal to a broad spectrum of buyers but sadly at $59,990, it is beyond the means of most Australians.

Holden managed to sell 101 of the rebadged Chevrolets in 2013. Nissan in comparison managed to sell 188 of its fully electric LEAF EV (with a bit of price cutting). The car looks at once sporty and futuristic with its white iPod style interior. The infotainment system features a touch-sensitive centre console with a 7-inch 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 speedometre 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.

Technology

The big difference between the Volt and other EVs including the LEAF is that the Holden also has a small petrol engine or range extender as it is called. But this engine does not at any time power the wheels, rather it powers a generator that provides more electricity to extend the range of the car.

The Volt can be recharged 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. In the few weeks we've had the car our electricity bill has risen only $25 and we've charged it more than 10 times which makes it pretty economic. Select your departure time, select off peak power and it is ready to go in the morning.

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 and electric vehicles that we have driven so far the Volt is the first one we'd actually consider buying. The performance from the electric motor is more than adequate and it actually handles quite well too, not to mention being whisper quiet, so quiet in fact that you don't hear it coming.

The sporty four-seat arrangement, with two individual rear seats suits the car. It's a shame the satnav system does not offer school zone or speed camera warnings. Then again neither does the Commodore anymore.

It functions perfectly well as a daily driver and could be very collectable in the years to come, unlike say the first Honda Insight. A larger capacity battery would be icing on the cake but you can't have everything and at least there is no need to be concerned about running out of charge.
 

Also: 2014 Holden Volt review | long term 1

Verdict

We'd seriously consider adding this one to the collection.

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