2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Episode 3008 , Episode 3021
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

It was January of 2007 when General Motors first revealed its concept of an electric car with an onboard gasoline generator. It would be called Chevrolet Volt. Since then, we’ve been teased with numerous updates, and even had short drives in Volt prototypes. Well, now the time has come for the production Volt to greet its first real owners. And time for us to see if the Volt is really as electrifying as it’s hype.

General Motors has a lot riding on the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.  This five-door compact’s revolutionary plug-in system is the cornerstone of GM’s green car efforts for the next decade. But, there are questions about how to classify the Volt. Is it an all-electric car as GM insists? Or, is it a very advanced plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid, with more in common with the Toyota Prius than the Nissan LEAF?

The best answer is, it’s both, depending on how it is driven. The Volt’s primary power source is always electric, with a 16 Kilowatt lithium-ion battery tied to a 149-horsepower electric drive motor. It provides a commute-friendly 35 to 45 mile electric-only range. But, when the battery is discharged, a 1.4-liter gasoline engine automatically starts, and turns a smaller motor/generator that provides juice for up to 310 miles, or until you run its 9.3 gallon gas tank dry.

The controversy comes when you drive the Volt at speeds 70 miles an hour and above with the batteries depleted. Under this condition, the gasoline engine is mechanically linked to the drive wheels through the motor/generator. GM says this somewhat Prius-like feature boosts efficiency by 10 to 15%.

While GM kept this tidbit a secret waiting for patents to be approved, it does tarnish their all-electric claims. Still, we don’t think it matters. New car hype is just that. And we think owners will consider the Volt, first and foremost, an electric car, but one without pure-EV range limitations.

You can buy this vehicle and use it as a super-efficient, around town or commuter car, virtually never using any gasoline at all, or take it on a long family trip and know that you’ve got plenty of range to get to wherever your lunch stop or the next gasoline station might be.

So, how far does the Volt go on a gallon of premium gas? Well, again, it depends on how you drive it. If your commute is 15 to 20 miles, your MPG number will approach infinity. If you don’t recharge nightly, take long trips, or drive at high speeds, it’s more like 35-45 miles per gallon. But, then, you’re not the Volt’s target buyer. GM hopes the official government MPG-equivalent number will approach triple digits. We did see over 100 miles per gallon in two days of routine driving.

It takes about 10 to 12 hours to fully recharge the Volt using a 120-volt household outlet, about four hours at 240-volts. There’s even a smartphone apps to help to monitor charging and other Volt functions. Regenerative braking also helps replenish the battery. As to performance, Volt jolts from 0 to 60 in nine seconds. But it felt faster with strong throttle response. Top speed is about 100 miles per hour.

In all-electric mode, the Volt is smooth and quiet.  Equally smooth is the transition from battery to gasoline power generation.  Gas power sounds are muted until you bury the pedal. Then it sounds like most other four-cylinder engines under stress. There is also a Mountain Mode for sustained speed electric driving in hilly terrains.

Sharing a chassis with the Chevrolet Cruze, the independent front McPherson suspension and compound crank twist axle rear deliver a well-grounded drive experience.  The ride is very solid.  The Volt has a low center of gravity, so even going around tight corners, the car leans little. The steering is nicely dialed-in, and brakes are firm and linear.  Most enthusiasts will be pleasantly surprised.

Although the production Volt has evolved since its concept days, most styling cues remain. A spit Chevy grille, tapered front corners, tight door seals, working front and rear spoilers, and low rolling resistance tires, that aid fuel economy, plus keep road noise low.

The Volt’s cockpit echoes the same clean look as the exterior.  The upwardly swept dash houses an uncluttered instrument panel with unique readouts to help drivers maintain efficiency.  The center stack has a large touchscreen display, soft touch switchgear, and a larger grabbable shifter.

Standard is a Bose stereo, automatic climate control, remote ignition and Bluetooth.  Hard drive navigation and rear-view camera are options. The Volt offers comfortable seating up front, with lots of leg and headroom for a six-footer, and optional heat. Rear passenger room is ample also, but remember, it’s only for two. Under the rear hatch, cargo volume is limited to 10.6 cubic feet, but the seatbacks do fold for more.

Base pricing for the Volt is $41,000 before federal and state tax breaks. Most buyers will pay no more than $33,500.  Even more attractive is the Volt’s lease option, at $2,500 down and $350 a month.

With its unique extended range approach to green motoring, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt is impressive. No matter if you call it an electric car or a hybrid, it combines the best gas-saving, plug-in technologies yet available for an uncompromising driving experience. We think the Volt was well worth the wait, with or without the hype.


  • Engine: 16 Kilowatt Lithium-ion Battery1.4-Liter Gasoline Engine
  • Horsepower: 149
  • 0-60 MPH: 9.0 Seconds
2023 GMC Canyon 1

2023 GMC Canyon

Canyon Goes Bigger

Episode 4303
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Most people know the GMC Canyon as the Chevrolet Colorado’s professional grade cousin. And while that sounds like just marketing speak, with an all-new design of GM’s midsize truck platform comes more genuine brand separation. So, let’s see what the third-gen GMC Canyon delivers in real time!

Small trucks are once again a big deal, and part of the reason is that they are no longer small. There’s not much about this 2023 GMC Canyon that resembles the ¼-ton Sonomas, S-10s, Rangers, and Datsun trucks that were wildly popular in the 1980s.

Of course, then, people were willing to sacrifice certain “big-truck” things for an easier to use and more economical pickup experience. Well, we don’t seem to be big on compromise for much of anything these days, and the current midsize crop of trucks deliver more than ever. So fittingly, the 2023 Canyon will be available as a Crew Cab only with a 5-foot bed. No more extended cab or long bed options. Wheelbase is about 3-inches longer than before, with the front wheels pushed more towards the front. It definitely looks tougher, and they’ve even eliminated the much-hated front air dam that protruded well below the front bumper.

2023 GMC Canyon 5
2023 GMC Canyon 2
2023 GMC Canyon 3
2023 GMC Canyon 4
2023 GMC Canyon 11
2023 GMC Canyon 52023 GMC Canyon 22023 GMC Canyon 32023 GMC Canyon 42023 GMC Canyon 11

The Canyon also comes exclusively with the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4, with a stout 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque. At times it feels even more powerful than those numbers would indicate, with its diesel-like torque delivery enabling a best-in-class max tow rating of 7,700-lbs. No choice of transmission either, strictly 8-speed automatic, but you can still decide whether you want rear or 4-wheel-drive.

At minimum, ground clearance is 9.6-inches, which is more than an inch taller than last year, and almost 2-inches over Chevy’s base Colorado. And since it’s all about the off-road packages these days, our AT4 tester comes with 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, locking rear diff, 2-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.

And that’s just where things get started, as at the top of the heap, there’s a new AT4X with 10.7-inches of ground clearance, enhanced front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic dampers, and an additional Baja Drive Mode. We’ll have more on the AT4X real soon.

But for all Canyons, including this AT4, GMC went tech-heavy, as all get 11-inch infotainment screens and a fully digital driver display in either 8 or 11-inches. Plus, an available head up display comes with most trims, and there are even optional underbody cameras.

Unique AT4 features include a Jet Black and Timber interior motif with stitched logos on the leather front seats. Those seats are definitely comfortable, and it feels maybe a tad roomier than before, but still well shy of the sprawling space in a full-size truck. It’s even more noticeable in the rear, though there are more practical storage options back here.

2023 GMC Canyon 6
2023 GMC Canyon 9
2023 GMC Canyon 10
2023 GMC Canyon 8
2023 GMC Canyon 7
2023 GMC Canyon 62023 GMC Canyon 92023 GMC Canyon 102023 GMC Canyon 82023 GMC Canyon 7

The AT4 gets a sliding rear window, along with a tailgate storage system to complement the integrated ruler, and bed side-mounted 120-volt power outlet. The Canyon already delivered one of the best rides in the midsize class, and the taller suspension seems to only improve on that; it’s not quite crossover plush, but certainly great for a body on frame truck.

Though the higher ground clearance and off-road emphasis kept it from being a track star. Indeed, healthy amounts of understeer and body roll greeted us in our handling course. It was a little hesitant off the line in speed runs, but once rolling, power poured on steadily. 0-60 in only 7.5-seconds, and through the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the AT4 are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged an acceptable 18.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Pricing starts with a 2-wheel-drive Elevation at $38,395. That puts it at midlevel Chevrolet Colorado, with is consistent with the mission of the new Canyon. All other trims come with 4-wheel drive, this AT4 starting at $45,395, and the AT4X now eclipsing Denali as the highest offering at $56,995.

So, as small trucks have grown, so has the price of entry. But if that doesn’t scare you off, there is no denying the 2023 GMC Canyon is yes bigger, but also bolder and badder than before. Does that necessarily make it better? We say positively yes!


  • Engine: 2.7L Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 310
  • 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 121 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg (Regular)
  • Transmission: 8-speed auto
  • Torque: 430 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 91 mph
  • EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined