photo: Dave Schubert
By Nate Gnau
So who would want to continue driving these days? When I filled up on March 3, gas was 3.49 a gallon, Consider me shocked. I drive a ’99 GMC Jimmy with the 4.3 Vortec V-6, and it is a thirsty truck. I get on average 14mpg in the city and needless to say being a full-time college student that is not an easy fuel bill to pay.
So when I saw a commercial for Jack Schmitt Chevy in Wood River, touting the fact that they had the only Chevrolet Volt in the area and Being a gearhead, this piqued my interest. I have been following the Chevy Volt since the concept car debuted in 2007. I knew everything about this car, except when it would be available here. And as of today, it’s still not, at least not officially. So I contacted a local Chevrolet dealership, asking if I could possibly take the car for a short drive. Not expecting a reply but still hopeful, the next day I checked my email and to my surprise I got my wish, was going to drive the car the next week.
To sum up my review on the Chevy Volt, I WANT ONE, AND YOU SHOULD TOO.
Fast forward to that week, and it’s drive day. I get in the car, and take off with the salesman. We hopped on 255, and accelerated to 75 mph, rather quickly. We then exited on to the old & bumpy Alton-Edwardsville Rd. to see what the car would do when it encountered some bumps. The suspension on this car is wonderful. Potholes that normally would jar your teeth, were seamlessly ironed out. Going around curves was remarkably crisp for an electric power-steering system, and the whole car felt very tight, well built, and ready for anything.
But what impressed me almost as much as the ride quality was the interior. This is not your father’s old Chevy Corsica. The fit and finish on the body panels was impeccable. According to literature GM released, some gaps are as miniscule as thirty-thousandths of an inch. Every thing is very well-finished; the center stack is as polished as an iPod’s backside, and filled with buttons. But most buttons are not really there. They’re flush with the face, and there are very few real buttons on the stack. It looks intimidating, but it is actually very easy to use. The main accessory screen handles everything from the HVAC system to the radio, to a number of other things.
After writing about all of that, I would be remiss if I did not even mention this car’s biggest point: fuel efficiency and this car has this in big, recycled steel buckets. On the short drive that I had the car, I observed 50.3 mpg on Route 143, and it was still climbing. Reports have come from Lyle Dennis, editor of gm-volt.com, that his car has covered 5,100 miles, burned only 46 gallons of gasoline, and returned an astonishing 111 mpg!
In short, if you are looking for a car that uses so little fuel that you might as well be feeding it with an eye-dropper, if you are looking for a car that is not boring to drive, if you are looking for a car that will turn heads for many, many reasons, the Volt is your car. Unfortunately, they’re not selling the car here until Late Summer 2011. Unless you want to buy the one I drove, it’s for sale… When they do finally start selling the car in our area, look for it to MSRP around $40,280. But with the given Government credit of $7,500, the price should drop to $32,780 before Tax, Title, License and Delivery charges.
Rating on the Big Nate scale: 5 out of a possible 5. It really is that good.
Special thanks to Jason Haug, Aaron Evans, and the whole crew at Jack Schmitt Chevy in Wood River!