Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — After driving the Chevy Volt for a couple of hours last year, I came away with one overriding impression: it's an engineering masterpiece.
In case you haven't heard about it yet, the Volt is an electric car that can drive up to 40 miles before it needs to be charged. But, unlike other electric cars, the Volt also has a gasoline engine that can keep you going after the battery power runs out.
Basically, it's an electric car for short trips and a gas-powered car for long ones.
Recently, though, I had the chance to drive a Volt for a full week to see what it's like in real life, warts and all.
The verdict? It doesn't have many warts.
One of the best things I noticed my first time piloting the Volt was how enjoyable it was to drive. Unlike most eco-friendly cars, the Volt
is actually quick — accelerating like a silent, torquey freight train. My impression of the Volt as a true driver's car was only reinforced after spending more time with it.
When you stomp the gas pedal in a Volt, you don't hear a screaming powerplant under the hood, but boy do you feel it. It whooshes forward
without making a sound, pushing you back into the seat like a miniature, electric-powered Corvette.
OK, maybe Corvette is an exaggeration, but not by much.
The Volt is not a sports car, but it does leave the impression that it's designed by people who know what a sports car ought to feel like.
There's a real connection with the road in this car, a strangely pleasant feeling considering how alien the Volt really is.
Its looks are just as oddly ordinary.
The Volt has a body similar to any other newish Chevy. Sure, car people know exactly what it is, but the average driver doesn't have a clue what a freaky car the Volt is when it pulls up beside them. It's an extremely rare, unusual and revolutionary car, but its ordinary body means it never gets too much attention.