A recent move by Consumer Reports has given the Chevy Volt recommendation, a positive development for the vehicle. The Chevrolet Volt, manufactured, by General Motors (GM), has earned a recommendation from Consumer Reports magazine with a score of 67 out of 100 points.
The Volt, which GM calls a “range-extended electric vehicle”, has already earned several awards including Motor Trend Car of the Year and North American Car of the Year, but the recommendation by Consumer Reports may have even more impact because of its readership and respected recommendations. In fact, Consumer Reports is regarded as one of the most influential publication among car buyers. Consumer Reports works by anonymously purchasing all the cars it tests from dealers, rather than using cars provided by manufacturers, so (in theory) it has more fairess in its reviews.
The magazine also accepts no advertising to prevent any possible conflicts of interest. The publication tests cars at it’s test track as well as on real roads and general use. The “recommended” mark, involves a lot of careful testing. In order to earn this mark, a car must perform well in a variety of tests. It also must be considered to have at least average reliability that can be expected each use. The “predicted reliability” standard is based on surveys taken by the magazine’s 1.3subscribers who receive their reports via the internet or through paper. At this point, surveys have been collected from 116 Volt owners. The input has been positive with very few reporting any problems of any sort. The magazine requires data from at least 100 owners of a given vehicle before it will make a judgment about reliability so that the information sampled can a large enough sample to have integrity.
The Volt was highly praised for its fuel economy, part of its major popularity. It also received high marks for quietness, ease of acceleration and excellent crash-test results, important for safety on American roads. While these are all good things, of course, the Volt has a few things to improve upon. The magazine noted poor visibility, tricky braking, and a narrow driving position. Another possible issue may arise for owners living in states with decent winters because cold weather may affect the car’s electric driving range. Also the Volt seats four, which is one less passenger than most cars its size. Chevy plans on working on these to create a better car each time.
The test drivers were generally able to get about 35 miles in electric vehicle mode before the car’s 1.4-liter gasoline engine had to begin generating electricity on-board, an important thing with electric cars. That’s the same range as the car’s official EPA estimates, so that matches up well. The Consumer Reports drivers stated that using the heater greatly reduced the car’s range, though. A competitor for the Volt, the Nissan Leaf, is a purely electric car earned a score of 78, a bit higher than the Volt, but the Leaf has not earned a recommendation yet because there needs to be more data from more owners to make a valid judgment yet.
So far, GM has sold just over 4,000 Volts. The car manufacturer is hoping to sell 10,000 by the end of 2011. In the beginning of the year, the Volt was only available in a few states, but production has increased. GM is hoping to have the cars be available to purchase in all 50 states by the end of the year, and hopefully will have plenty more ready to be sold with the new positive reception of the Consumer Reports recommendation.