Next Year's Model Now: The 2017 Chevrolet Volt

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Chevrolet Volt
The 2017 Chevrolet Volt.
If it seems like just a couple of months since we reviewed the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, that's because it is and we did.  Chevrolet has updated the Volt for 2017 and the new model is making an early debut.

Rear 3/4 view of 2017 Chevrolet Volt
2017 Chevrolet Volt.
Don't expect big changes.  The Volt was all-new for 2016.  But the few additions for '17 make an already appealing car even more so, adding optional adaptive cruise control, which automatically maintains a safe distance between you and the car in front of you and optional forward automatic braking for when that car in front of you slams on the brakes unexpectedly.  Chevrolet also brings the 2017 Volt in line with federal Tier 3 emission standards.

And there's a new, limited-availability but no-extra-cost color, Citron Green Metallic, which, to most people who see it, appears more like champagne gold or bright beige.

Our tester was a beautiful Iridescent Pearl Metallic top-of-the-line Premier model, which has a base price of $37,570.  The beautiful color comes at a price...it's an extra-cost option at $995.

Interior view of 2017 Chevrolet Volt Premier
2017 Chevrolet Volt Premier interior.
The other options on ours included:

  • The Driver Confidence 1 Package (side blind zone alert with lane change alert and rear cross-traffic alert) 
  • The Driver Confidence 2 Package (lane keep assist, low-speed front automatic braking, intellibeam headlamps and forward collision alert) 
  • Chevrolet MyLink radio with Apple Car Play

Each of those options was $495, so with $875 destination charge, the bottom line came to $40,925. But the Volt is eligible for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits and we here in California get up to $1,500 more in rebates from the state.  Assuming the full amount, that brings this loaded, top-of-the line Volt down to $31,925.

In the 2016 Volt we reviewed a couple of months ago, it was only a defective public charger in a downtown Sacramento parking garage that kept me from driving an entire week without using a drop of gasoline.  My average over 247.7 miles was 194.2 miles per gallon.

This time, I drove more and didn't do as well...mostly because of insufficient downtime with which to charge the Volt using the travel charger that comes with the car and plugs into a 120 volt AC receptacle.  Too many errands and unexpected trips once I got home throughout the week meant leaving for work the next morning without a full charge and thus dipping into the gasoline range extender on four of the seven days I had the car.  Still, this isn't exactly a bad result:

Trip computer for 2017 Chevrolet Volt
2017 Chevrolet Volt trip computer.
114 miles per gallon is a number I'll take anytime.  And if I owned a Volt, I'd also invest in a 240-volt home charging station, which would have charged the Volt in about four and a half hours...meaning I'd have had a full charge on every day of the test, and would have made it through the week without using any gasoline at all.

There are purists who look down their noses at the Volt, saying for them it's all-electric or nothing.  For those of us with real lives, who on a whim or for an emergency need sometimes to jump in a car on very little notice and drive hundreds of miles, the Volt strikes me as the best of all possible worlds. And the refinements to the 2017 Volt simply make a very good car better.