Chevrolet Volt: 2016 AutoGuide.com Car of the Year Nominee

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt is a huge leap forward and a very strong contender for AutoGuide.com‘s Car of the Year Award.

Completely overhauled from top to bottom, the Chevy Volt’s biggest strength is that it looks and pretty much operates like a normal car, something that can’t be said of the new Toyota Prius, which is also a contender in our annual competition.

This new Volt has 53 miles of electric range, which is 15 miles more than the last Volt. More importantly, Chevy says you should be able to drive 1,000 miles between fill-ups if you’re charging it every day at home. Charging takes 13 hours with a regular plug, and with a quick charger, it’s 4.5 hours.

The Volt is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder range extender, but the real news here is the big bad lithium-ion battery. With the a twin-motor arrangement, it’s good for 149 hp and 294 lb-ft of torque in electric mode. What this means is that it’s not fast and there isn’t a huge amount of passing power on the highway, but it has great off-the-line speed and if you live in the city where cars like this excel, that’s all you really need anyway.

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One of the Volt’s downsides is that it’s a nearly $8,000 more expensive than the Prius, but the price disparity makes a lot of sense once you sit inside. The Volt’s interior is so much more upscale than the Prius, and it actually looks like a real car and not a spaceship. The interior has a clean, functional and easy to use layout, and the materials are so much more posh than the stuff used in the Prius.

Completely new, it’s more efficient, better looking and has more technology than the one that came before it. This Volt takes everything that was good about the first-generation model and makes it even better, but is it good enough to win as our 2016 Car of the Year? Stay tuned. We reveal the winner on December 15.