Hybrid cars and trucks seem to have fallen out of favor in the face of pure electrics and low fuel prices. That doesn’t mean a plug-in like today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Volt doesn’t still have its appeal. Let’s see just how jolting a price this innovative Chevy might carry.
Have you ever seen one of those old movies or TV shows where someone is buying a horse? They always check the teeth, right? It’s a way to determine the age of the horse, as well as to make sure they don’t have any obvious dental issues that might prevent the use of a bit. Or maybe that’s a place where leprechauns hide their gold? I don’t really know.
When you’re buying anything, it’s always a good idea to give the purchase a thorough once-over, just to be sure nothing is egregiously amiss. That’s why the lack of both interior and underbelly images in the ad for yesterday’s 1966 Ford Bronco gave many of you such pause. Not knowing how those two elements are holding up made the truck’s $15,000 asking price seem less of a slam dunk, and in the end, it fell in a sizable 70 percent Crack Pipe loss.
That Bronco was old. It was also very likely extremely slow, very noisy, and probably handled like an inebriated sorority pledge not yet accustomed to her freshman fifteen.
In contrast, this 2012 Chevrolet Volt Premium is modern, semi-sleek, handles nominally owing the the central placement of its big-ass batteries, and is about twenty-times more efficient on-road. Yes, the Bronco has it beat in off-road capabilities but since we’re all supposed to stay close to home these days, I’d say that point is moot.
The Chevy Volt represents a bit of a sad tale. It’s yet another GM product filled with potential that the company left to wither on the vine and then chose to kill-off rather than nurture and improve. We received two generations before that went down, with the second being a good bit better, if a lot more normal, than the first.
This one, in Summit White over a Jet Black leather interior is from that first, much wilder edition. These models had a strong identity with an iconic black stripe running the length of the window trim as it’s most notable visual cue. That was a nod to the odd bent glass design of the 2007 Detroit Auto Show concept car.
This version also has a crazy capacitive-touch control panel below its centrally-located display screen. That was an odd choice considering that the buttons don’t ever change their function and would have worked as regular old push buttons all the same. Also, try and use them wearing winter gloves.
The drivetrain is where the Volt really got crazy, and that carried through the second generation as well, with a few changes for efficiency and driveability improvements.
The car is, of course, an electric/ICE hybrid. Unlike cars such as the Toyota Prius, however, the Volt uses the electric motor for its primary motivational means, with the 84 horsepower 1.4-litre gas four coming into play to run a generator for power once the car’s 16 kWh lithium-ion battery packs got too low. The Volt could go a bit over 50 miles around town before that happened, and with that and its 9.3-gallon gas tank, it could go nearly 400 miles between stops. The instant torque afforded by the 149 horse permanent magnet electric motor makes for a fairly fun time too.
This one is a Premium model, which means it has that leather trim and pretty much all the options. It is dealer offered and is described by that shop as a Volt that “runs as new, looks beautiful, and everything works.” On the outside, the paint and trim all look to be in fine shape, as do the handsome alloy wheels which are wrapped in decent appearing Michelin meats.
The interior shows little signs of wear outside of a particularly shiny steering wheel and some crazing on the leather of the driver’s seat squab. The central T-shaped battery compartment takes up a good bit of room here, making the Volt a four-seater for sure, but also a somewhat claustrophobic one, owing to that high tunnel and equally tall beltline.
There are 146,928 miles on the clock and a clear title in the glove box. In fact, there’s only one major question that one might ask about this Volt and that is, are all the batteries still giving it their all? A battery replacement on these cars is an expensive proposition as you have to switch out the entire pack and there are three of them. A refurbished set will set you back over six-grand, not counting the installation.
The good news is that long-term tests have shown that average use doesn’t seem to lessen the batteries’ capabilities to a significant degree. One factor in that is that the batteries only are required to provide about 10 kWh of their capacity so they never drain to barrel-bottom levels.
When new, this Volt would have set you back over $45,000 before incentives kicked in. Those tax and rebate price reducers are long gone on a car of this age, but with a price of $6,200, you likely won’t miss them. The question for you is whether that price makes it a can’t-miss deal?
What do you think, is this Volt worth that $6,200 asking? Or, does that price leave you totally unplugged?
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