Pauls Valley, Oklahoma —
For me, the 40-mile electrical range wasn't a problem. Most days, when I would just drive to and from the office, I didn't use a drop of
gasoline because the electric charge was more than sufficient.
A few days, when I'd have to leave town and drive more than 40 miles, the gasoline engine would kick in to keep me going. It starts up so
silently that you can hardly hear it come on. In fact, the most obvious way to know you're using gasoline is to watch the dash. It changes the digital display when the engine turns on, even if you never hear the engine fire up.
Overall, I can't help but think this car represents the future of the automobile. It's a huge step toward eliminating America's dependence
on oil, and it's so much fun to drive that I hate to see it leave my driveway after a week — something I can't say about most eco-cars.
In fact, other than the slightly annoying buttons on the dash, the Volt only has one downside: General Motors can't build it fast enough.
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What was tested?
2011 Chevrolet Volt ($40,280). Options: Premium trim package ($1,395), paint upgrade ($995). Price as tested (including $720 destination
Why buy it?
It's an engineering marvel and a great car to drive. Even beyond the futuristic electric drive system, it's fast, quiet and comfortable. The electric range is more than enough for average commutes to work, and a gasoline generator extends the range as far as a normal car.
Why avoid it?
It only has two seats in back and fairly bland exterior styling. It's also expensive, although a massive federal tax break can ease some of