Four years after its launch, the 2014 Chevy Volt is less an oddity on the road than it was at first--especially in regions where plug-in electric cars are most populous (hint: think California). Chevy added forward collision warning and lane-departure warning last year, but radar-based adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring are not offered on the Volt at any price. It is not unusual for me to drive 50 - 60 miles on an electric charge rather then the 41-45 miles the car says it has in the electric charge.

If you're not watching the display, that engine switches on so quietly you may not notice it. The production car is nothing like the concept design shown, to a rapturous reception, at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show. But meet a group of Volt owners and they may just succeed in selling you one. The Chevy Volt is rated at 98 MPGe, a metric that measures how far a car can travel electrically on the amount of energy that's contained in 1 gallon of gasoline.

To mimic a Tesla, drivers can keep the car in Low and punch the Sport mode button, which provides peppier acceleration at the cost of a bit of range.

The Volt and the battery-electric Nissan Leaf pioneered the market for modern plug-in volume cars back in December 2010. Once the range extender kicks on, even the highest power demands are buffered through the battery pack, so the engine only rarely rises to a howl when asked to provide sustained high power at the top of its rev range under the heaviest loads. An NHTSA study concluded that the circumstances surrounding the fire were extremely rare, and that the Volt was as safe as any other vehicle (GM offered a modification to early Volts that few owners took advantage of). The blanked-off front "grille" directs air turbulence around the car, and when the engine switches on, its exhaust exits under the car--underscoring the car's primary electric drive, there's no exhaust-pipe outlet at the rear. This car rarely needs gas and is... Exceptionally well build, fast and economical. Indeed, GM says that 62 percent of the hundreds of millions of miles covered by Volts since December 2010 were powered by grid electricity--and that the average Volt owner goes 900 miles and about a month between visits to the gas station. That averages 12 cents per kWh nationwide, but can be as low as 3 cents or as high as 25 cents depending on location. That puts it in the middle of the plug-in pack for efficiency these days. A Volt may do marginally worse than a 50-mpg Prius hybrid in a handful of the very dirtiest states. See Kelley Blue Book pricing to get the best deal. Find 2014 Chevrolet Volt listings near you. The 2014 Chevrolet Volt remains one of the most fuel-efficient cars sold in the U.S. today. But the two cars appeal to entirely different buyers, and plug-in electric cars are aimed today at early adopters and those who buy cars for other reasons than low entry price. That gives it good roadholding and flat cornering. Images shown may not necessarily represent the actual vehicle used to calculate the estimate.

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