With petrol prices higher than ever all over the world, fuel economy has become one of the most important features consumers look for, after the sticker price of course. While there is a bigger price to pay for above average fuel economy, the savings realized over time for your wallet and the environment are well worth the higher initial investment. The 2014 Holden Volt returns for its second year as Australia’s only available hybrid plug-in on the market. The Holden Volt, while higher priced than its traditional hybrid competition from the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf, it looks the least like a hybrid, which is one of the main reasons shoppers claim to shy away from them. Taking the look and feel of the Cruze and adding plug-in hybrid technology, Holden hopes to bring more people to the “green” side for 2014.
The 2014 Holden Volt is built to be a city commuter
While the 2014 Volt is considered a “long range” electric vehicle, for those that need more than 87 km, there is a fuel-efficient petrol engine for backup just in case it is needed. For those that do have only an 87 km commute or less round-trip, or the use of an electrical outlet, the Volt has the potential to never use a drop of expensive petrol again. With the convenience of the Holden Volt being a plug-in hybrid, you can also make much longer trips petrol-free with access to an electrical outlet to charge its 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery. Depending where you plug your Volt in, you can recharge the batter completely between four and 10 hours. A typical 240V 6A outlet will recharge your Volt in 10 hours, a 240V 10A in six hours and at a charge spot, as little as four hours for a complete charge. Running on strictly electric power, the Volt offers a respectable 110 kW of power with its two electric motors and 370nM of torque. A full charge will cost you around $3, which is less than the cost of a gallon of petrol. If you are not close to an outlet and need to use the Volt’s 1.4 Liter DOHC 4 Cylinder engine, although it gives you less kW at 63, it will use very little petrol until you find the next spot to plug in. As you may be wondering why the petrol kW is so low, the petrol engine of the Volt is designed to be only a backup power source as the Volt is truly meant to be an electric exclusive vehicle. Fuel savings in petrol mode is also improved by the Holden Volt’s epicyclic CVT, which also offers seamless shifting at any speed. No matter what mode your Holden Volt is in, it provides you with a super quiet, enjoyable ride.
The 2014 Volt has shaken off the “hybrid” look
While many of the styling cues for the Holden Volt are taken from its petrol-powered sibling Cruze, the Volt retains a certain style all its own. The only exterior hints that the Volt has a battery inside are the unique “Volt” badges and its model exclusive paint schemes. The Volt has an aerodynamic shape that lets you know it is something “different” but does not have that “look” that the typical hybrid has. Holden has proven that you do not have to sacrifice looks and style just to save your fuel budget. With that being said the price of the Volt would have you thinking it would have a more luxurious interior, but in the pursuit of frugality, the inside of the Volt is attractive and purposeful. There is also no lack of technology with the Volt’s iPod and Bluetooth connectivity and premium Bose audio system with speakers in all four doors. It has a myriad of power features and options as well of plenty of gauges to help you keep track of your charge level and fuel usage. It also offers extremely comfortable leather seating both front and rear with plenty of storage compartments and the bonus of rear pass-through seating. The benefit of pass-through seating is that in addition to the 300 litres of cargo space in the hatchback, you can simply fold down the rear seats and open up even more room for larger or longer items. Safety is also addressed with multiple airbags, stability and traction control, ABS and brake assist and a variety of other driver assist features. Overall, the Volt is one very stylish, earth-friendly smaller sedan that makes you proud to say you drive a hybrid.
Final thoughts on the 2014 Holden Volt
There are not many things to not like about the 2014 Holden Volt. While the 5-door hatch starts at $59,900 and is the highest priced hybrid, it is the only one with the convenience of being a plug in. If you are lucky enough to have use of an electrical outlet while you are at work or other long-term daily destination, you can potentially never have to refuel your Volt. Just the thought of being able to drive past a petrol station and only stop if you want a snack or a beverage is a welcoming thought for many consumers who are tired of paying high fuel bills. The Volt truly stretches a dollar and if you are concerned about spending only $3 a day to recharge your vehicle, you will probably never get past the nearly $60,000 price tag to start with. The 2014 Holden Volt also has impressive Green Vehicle ratings at 10/10 for its Greenhouse Rating and 8.5/10 for its Air Pollution rating. While many people would rather spend the cost of a Volt on a sports car or luxury sedan, simply add up what you pay for petrol each year versus what you would pay to charge your Volt for an entire year. We are sure that if you can look past the initial investment, the long-term savings are well worth the price of a 2014 Chevrolet Volt.