While the 2011 Chevy Volt has garnered plenty of attention on the road, what people really want to know is how does its ride and handling stand up to a cross-country road trip. After spending a couple of days behind the wheel, here are some initial impressions of the Volt:Handling: In the twisting, turning roads that rise and fall from Flagstaff, Ariz., through New Mexico, the Volt held the road well. Even at high speeds, we felt completely in control and didn’t experience a lot of body roll.
On long, straight stretches, like the drive across the Texas panhandle, we didn't need to overcorrect the steering wheel. It was also quite nimble in parking lots.
Ride quality is better than most of the other hybrids I’ve driven, but at $48,000 or thereabouts for our fully loaded Volt, it ought to. It’s definitely competitive with the midsize sedan category; compared to the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, we thought the ride was a little more firm, though not obnoxiously so.
The seats are surprisingly comfortable considering they were designed with the car’s overall weight in mind. After thousands of miles behind the wheel over several days, my body doesn’t feel taxed or sore.
Acceleration is spotty. Around town it pulls away from a stop strongly, but getting up to highway speed, especially on a steep on-ramp, was challenging. Passing power on the highway is adequate, but we didn’t try any “Smokey and the Bandit” maneuvers.
The regenerative brakes in any hybrid take some getting used to, but after this many miles, they’ve become second nature and I’d expect most owners won’t complain.
We’ll get into some of the quirks we’ve discovered after driving the Volt for all these days as well as the mileage in later posts.