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WhatCar? Awards 2012

Alternative-fuel cars

Chevrolet Volt

Green Awards 2012: Alternative-fuel cars winner

Volkswagen Polo Hatchback Sponsor image

Prices

List Price: £29,995
Target Price: £29,995

Key facts

True MPG n/a
True CO2 n/a
Particulates n/a
Govt MPG 235.4mpg
Govt CO2 27g/km
NOx n/a

Electric cars sound like a great idea – right up until you realise they’ll struggle to do 100 miles before needing a lengthy recharge. Step forward the Chevrolet Volt.

When the batteries run flat, its petrol engine kicks in and acts as a generator to keep power flowing to the electric motor, letting you to do around 300 miles in one hit. At a stroke, this eliminates the fear of running out of power, and also means that the Volt can handle any surprise journeys that pop up.

Of course, because the Volt can run for around 40 miles on electric power alone, most trips will be done without pumping out any nasty emissions. Even when the petrol engine is called into play, it’s decently economical, so won’t harm your green conscience too much.

This mixture of electric and petrol power means tiny fuel bills, and because the Volt’s CO2 emissions are just 27g/km, you’ll pay company car tax on only 5% of its price. You won’t have to pay a penny in road tax, either, and entry to the London Congestion Charge is free. This all goes a long way to making the steep price easier to swallow.

The Volt isn’t all about the numbers, though. It’s effortless to drive, quick, generally comfortable and whisper-quiet, even when the petrol engine is running. There’s also good space for four (there are just two rear seats) and although the touch-sensitive dashboard isn’t the easiest thing in the world to use, it looks suitably high-tech, as does the car’s exterior.

Even your fears of replacing the expensive batteries should be allayed by the eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

Add plenty of equipment, including a rear-view camera, all-round parking sensors, heated leather seats and eight airbags, and the Volt is an alternative-fuel car without compromise.

Read the full Chevrolet Volt review

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