Laura K. Cowan

TEST DRIVE: The Chevy Volt vs. The Plug-in Prius

by , 09/04/11


Chevy Volt, test drive, Laura K. Cowan, plug-in hybrid, range-extended EV, electric car, hybrid vehicle, Plug-in Prius, Prius hybrid, fuel efficiency, green automotive design, green transportation, alternative transportation

We were surprised how much more upmarket the Volt felt compared to the plug-in Prius. We have to mention that the vehicle we were driving was not a final production model, so some features and trim might not be the final versions, but there was a clear difference in the level of amenities each car provided. The Volt had two full-color animated video screens, while the Prius had single-color digital displays on the dash. Plus the Volt was quieter in the cabin and had a smoother ride. However, the cars are quite similar. The Volt copies the Prius’s rear flat-bottom hatch, its bucket rear seats, contoured roof, and aerodynamic shape. The Prius has been rocking these features for nearly a decade already. And you have to remember that although these cars have similar technology under the hood, the Prius is half the price of the most expensive Volt. Those nice touches in the Volt may be worth sacrificing if you want to get into a plug-in hybrid at an affordable price.

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2 Comments

  1. BoultVolt September 4, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Reasonable article, and congrats on getting to test a pre-release plug-in Prius. .

    A few points of correction, the Volt Regen is quite effective, but it is easy, to push through regen and force it to use the break pads. With a little learning you can gain a lot. When I drive to work, the car estimates 47 miles when I unplug it from charging. When I get off the highway after 12 miles of rolling hills, it estimates 48miles of charge.

    The upscale nature of the Volt is more than just the display, its the ride, handeling and comfort. More like a Lexus than a Toyota.

    Comparing the existing Prius price to the Volt is not really fair. We’ll have to see what the Plug-in_Prius price is, and if it qualifies for tax credits. In CO, with a state + Fed tax credit, my loaded 2011 Volt cost me about $30,000.

  2. msyin September 3, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I’m really looking forward to the plug in Prius when it comes out in a couple of years. It suits my needs to a tee.

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