BMW 328i xDrive Wagon vs. Toyota Avalon Hybrid vs. Chevrolet Volt

Chevy Volt

Suggestion #3

Information Card -- Chevrolet VoltRounding out this week’s vehicle lineup is the controversial Chevrolet Volt. The what? You heard me right, a range-extended electric.

This Bow Tie EV provides dog-walloping fuel economy and a bargain price tag… relative to the other two cars in this feature, of course. Running strictly on electricity the Volt can travel an EPA-estimated 38 miles. That means many folks can commute to work and home again without burning a drop of petroleum. Of course when the battery pack is depleted there’s an onboard internal-combustion engine that keeps you keepin’ on. With a full tank of gasoline the car has an estimated total range of 380 miles to deliver the best of both worlds.

The car’s battery can be fully recharged in anywhere between 10 and 16 hours using a standard 120-volt household outlet. That figure comes from Chevrolet and depends on an ambiguous “charging level and outside temperature.” An optional 240-volt charger cuts that time down to a much more reasonable four hours.


On the efficiency front it stickers at 98 MPGe, that’s shorthand for miles per gallon equivalent. Running on gas it delivers 35 mpg city and 40 highway.

SEE ALSO: What is MPGe?

As for pricing, the Chevy Volt starts at about $35,000 but that’s not good enough for Gavin. Given the opportunity to spend somebody else’s money we’re going to throw ourselves at the task. For his benefit we decided to opt for the Premium Trim Package ($1,395), which gets him heated, leather covered seats. The “Enhanced Safety Package I” ($575) throws an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, parking sensors and a backup camera into the mix. The Enhanced Safety Package II ($595) nets Gavin forward collision alert and lane departure warning. Finally, he needs the MyLink navigation system, which costs $895.

After a bunch of irritating math, this volt checks out at $38,950, including $810 for freight, excluding any rebates or tax breaks that may be available. That’s not a bad price for a cutting-edge, range-extended electric vehicle that’s pretty stylish and very thrifty. If it’s cool in California, it’s cool everywhere… right?  Don’t be afraid to admit you’re a nature-loving fish-taco enthusiast with a weakness for wearable products from Google.

Surprisingly the Volt also provides a decent amount of cargo space. Fold the rear seats down and the hold should be able to swallow Gav-man’s keyboard and amp with ease. About the only knock against it is the lack of a sunroof.

As always, good luck in your quest for a new family vehicle, Gavin, and thanks again for taking the time to Ask AutoGuide.

If you need a little assistance shopping for your next vehicle feel free to do the same. Send a short message to Let us know the basics of what you’re looking for. How many seats do you need? What size of vehicle do you want? How much are you willing to spend? With some of those fundamentals out of the way we’ll get busy to come up with two or three must-see vehicles that you’ll have to put on your test-drive list.