Chevy Volt Gallery

After years of derision and adoration in equal measure, Chevrolet’s opinion-splitting plug-in hybrid, the Volt, has finally made it to the UK and, as you might expect, it’s much the same as its sister - the Vauxhall Ampera.

Whether in the metal or on the spec-sheet, the two cars are separated by very little, namely the price tag (the Volt is over £2,200 cheaper than the equivalent spec Ampera) and the front-on aesthetic.

Using the same 1.4-litre petrol generator that kicks in when the 16kW battery runs out of charge, the Volt is capable of 50 miles zero-emissions driving (depending how heavy your right foot is) and a further 300 miles-or-so of generator-driven travel.

Whilst in the drivers seat, the differences between the Volt and the Ampera can be summed up quite neatly.  Visually, the Volt’s centre stack is white (rather than the more sombre grey used in the Vauxhall) and the touch-sensitive buttons glow blue.  Secondly, the Volt’s ride is a touch more forgiving, meaning it takes the UK’s rather eclectic collection of road surfaces very well.  The inevitable trade-off is that turn-in isn’t as sharp as that of the Ampera and the inherent ambiguity of the steering feel is slightly exaggerated in the Volt.    

If the Volt’s range-extending technology has split opinion, then it’s overall design certainly does too.  In comparison with the concept car unveiled at the 2007 Detroit Motor Show, the production Volt may seem fairly unambitious, even in comparison to the Ampera, which makes use of striking boomerang-shaped inserts in the front bumper.  Cues have been taken from the concept, however, such as the slender rear lights, a ‘Volt’ signed window line that extends beyond the A-pillar towards the front wheel-arch, and Americanised wheels that are chrome finished (one of the few differentiations from the Ampera).  The other apparent feature is an extremely high boot line.

The contrasting school of thought is that the Volt is understated, svelte and overall a very smart piece of machinery.  There’s certainly a case to be made for this particular example in metallic Topaz Blue. Ultimately, it comes down to whether your preference is for the Volt’s straight-up American assertiveness or the Ampera’s more cultured detailing.  

Photography courtesy of Mark Raybone


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