Review: Chevrolet Volt vs. Chevrolet Cruze Eco

Posted on 28. Sep, 2011 by in Auto News

Ed, Sajeev, and yours truly have all weighed in the Chevrolet Volt. We agreed that it's surprisingly good to drive, but that aspects of the inner necessity of work. I had not planned to check the voltage again, but was asked if I would like to have a one week after the Cruze ECO. And such an intramural competition was born. If the $ 19,995 Cruze ECO is a solid, comfortable and efficient commuter, why spend twice as much for the $ 39,995 Volt?

Okay, maybe not twice as much. A $ 7,500 tax credit takes care of more than one third of the difference. And a run by True Delta car price comparison tool finds that the Volt has about $ 2,300 in additional features. Give them credit for, and the difference is about $ 10,300. So superior to 50 percent more.

A word to the previous reviews. All three were based on short trips, about an hour in my case. More than a few people have wondered how effective can such a review. Well, valid enough that even after a week in the car I find I have little to say that has not already been said, except that the strengths mentioned strengths remain and remain above the weaknesses, shortcomings, neither significantly reduced with experience.

The number one weakness: as Ed noted, "an iPod covered in buttons is no iPod at all." Even after a week left in the car to operate the center stack difficult. At least, the many buttons need to be separated in distinct logical groups. As well as basic functions often require too much conscious thought and time with eyes off the road. I never figure out how to have the best run HVAC, seemed like the AC and heating systems to their own head, even in "comfort" mode. I also want a way to turn off the sound without turning off everything. How, you either have to turn the volume all the way down, or use the mute button on the steering wheel. Go the latter route, and the music back to the original volume the next time you started the car, the "Mute" is forgotten when the car is parked.

Among other shortcomings, the Volt does not have the back seat somehow seem less cramped after a week with the car as it was initially. And you want. The $ 695 rear camera option given the bad car rear view

Objectively speaking, the Volt number one strength, of course, its ability to run on electricity. Some claim that the 40-mile range before the gas-powered "range extender" will start on is not enough. Well, in my case I had the car will make life in order to test with the engine running. Until I so all my Costco runs, the doctor (daughter broke a toe) and the children of the school have been fully achieved with the battery.

How much cheaper it is to run on electricity? I complained earlier that the voltage does not contain display a report for miles per kWh analogous to the trip computer, miles per gallon report while running on gas. I repeat dismissed that complaint. Consequently, I had to do a little math, the result is that the Volt is covered about four miles on each kilowatt-hour (when not running the air conditioning). Conservative figure three miles per kWh for charging losses and some AC use permit. In Michigan costs about 12 cents per kWh, this is done to about four cents per mile. The Cruze ECO I watched a little over 35 MPG. With gas at $ 3.80, which is about 11 cents per mile. Over a 12,000-mile year, the difference would be up to $ 800. In other words, it will take a while for the $ 10,000 + is amortized.

But this means the Volt make sense? Perhaps there is more to the car than cutting fuel costs? Bought every car on a basic transport unit because it is pleasant to see, sit, or drive. Maybe all three.

The production Volt is not like the original concept. (Which I personally never expected to happen, since the GM tilt thoroughly impractical to create concepts) to seek But also to be seen not as the Cruze or anything else, with the partial exception of the Prius. And it has a stylish, upscale exterior than the Prius. Look at it, I felt like I was driving something special, and not just because of the $ 995 "Veridian joule" Color and $ 595 polished aluminum wheels, the pre-tax credit encounter Total $ 46,165 (someone did within GM to their best helped induce sticker shock in reviewers). This was not the case with the Cruze.

Sit in the Volt, and the sense of occasion rises by an order of magnitude. Love it or not, the interior styling is certainly distinctive and pushes the cutting-edge technology packed into the car. If pressed, as the game start button lights up blue when the car makes a video "power" sound. Hit it again, and you get a "shut down" sound as the lights go out. (My boys loved it.) The problem that we had to find out if the Prius was on: avoided. The two displays are beautiful and much better than the buttons that are designed to help them. The driving efficiency gauge, a ball that changes color and rel is the intuitive I've never seen-though I wish it reported, was how much of the brakes, which handled by the regenerative system. There is also a driving efficiency test report secretly own "I'm not going to change the way I" spouse. (She has a respectable 86 percent and reported like the car much more than the relatively sluggish Prius.)

Drive the Volt, and you will find that in this case at least the appearance is deceptive. GM has agreed to provide the drivetrain on an incredibly smooth launch. Even if you floor the accelerator from a standstill in "Sport" mode, there is not a hint of a jerk. You can not chirp a tire in this car. Instead, the car is smooth and virtually silent builds speed is much like a high-speed lift (if not in the same direction). As with the Prius, driving the Volt with an ultra-light foot feels natural. But unlike the Prius, they drive with a heavy foot feels right. Once the car is in progress, the electric motor courts move from a more solid when prodded. Either way, the Volt never feels sluggish or tense, like a Prius (or Cruze ECO, for that matter) can. With the gas pedal lightly to the ground behind the car can transport-if you're in a hurry, 60 can happen in around nine seconds. Not a stellar time, but remember that this is with no signs of stress from the driveline completely. While on battery power, the electric motor is almost silent. I once rode in an EV1, and the whine of the engine was much louder. From the battery and the voltage 1.4-liter petrol engine cuts in automatically, but usually remains a distant hum for about matching the MPG Cruze (high 20s to mid 40s, depending on driving style and conditions, with a south average around 35) so 10-12 MPG short one Prius. The loudest the gas engine remains significantly quieter than the 1.8 sampled recently in the new Chevrolet Sonic. If GM can achieve such smoothness in volts, why not in the Sonic? Braking is smooth and quiet in volts. No obvious transition between regenerative and conventional braking The entire experience of driving the car is distinctively effortless, almost magical.

This is not to say that the Volt is a cocoon. The suspension is firmer and firmer damping than in the Cruze ECO and it seems not much noise from the street his isolation. As a result, the consequences will be felt stronger and heard, but body movements are also better controlled. The ride is comfortable and heavy riders appreciate the chassis of the moderate level of feedback, which helps compensate for the incommunicative (albeit weighted) steering.

Bottom line: I was not sad to see go to the Cruze Eco at the end of the week, it is a device very well done, but a device yet, as I really miss driving the Volt. In twenty years, the way in which the Volt drives is typically seems likely, but we are not nearly as far. In the here and now, the Volt is worth $ 10,000 + more than the Cruze in the same way other $ 30,000 + cars are worth more than the Cruze: by another, desirable experience.

Chevrolet provided the vehicle, insurance and fuel for this review.

Michael Karesh operates True Delta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.