Consumer Reports Says Chevy Volt Is GM's Most Reliable Vehicle

By · October 31, 2011

Chevy Volt ad

Chevrolet Volt rated General Motors' most reliable vehicle by Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports magazine is widely considered the bible of popular ratings on vehicle reliability. That's why it's disappointing to see how poorly Chevrolet ranked among all automakers in the Consumer Reports 2011 new vehicle reliability survey. It placed 17 out of 28 automakers. On the flip side, though, the plug-in Chevrolet Volt was General Motors' highest ranked vehicle in the category of overall reliability.

GM executives have repeatedly positioned the Chevy Volt as the poster child of the company's high-tech innovative products. Company executives also see it as a way to sell other Chevy cars, after luring new customers into Chevy dealerships to check out the Volt. Earlier this month, Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, told PluginCars.com that the Volt helps the brand, but that he isn't sure how much real demand there is for the Volt.

Consumer Reports is quick to point out that its reliability data on the Volt is limited to responses from approximately 100 owners of Chevy's plug-in four-door and notes that most survey respondents have only owned their Volts for a few months. Yet, the Volt's road test score of 67 points out of 100 was beat by the pure electric Nissan LEAF, which earned 78 points from Consumer Reports.

The Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid—managing use of an electric motor and a gas engine—and thus requires much greater technical complexity than a pure electric car. The high reliability ranking for the Volt could disarm critics who say that the Volt is unnecessarily complex. Despite the fact that the Volt ranks as Chevy's most reliable vehicle, does the Volt's added complexity cost it some road test points?

Comments

· · 3 years ago

Is it just me, or is it far too early to truly know the reliability of the Volt or the Leaf? This is part of why I stopped going to CR for such reviews. A modern car typically lasts 10 years or more. HASS testing (Highly-Accelerated Stress Screening) is only so good and shaking out problems. Good ol' Father Time will find even more.

That said, I'm glad that all signs point to GM having over-engineered this car. It seems they may actually want it to succeed!

· theflew (not verified) · 3 years ago

I don't think the Volt is any more complicated than GM's two mode hybrid or a standard ICE with a 6 speed transmission. I think the complexity with the Volt lies in it's software programming to make it all work seamlessly together - something Toyota hasn't been able to do in 10 years with the Prius.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Consumer Reports is really a screwed outfit who have been misleading the consumers to no end. It's a shame why nobody takes them to court and puts them out of business.

· · 3 years ago

As one of the vocal complainers about the Volt, this information doesn't surprise me. While, CR is probably biased as they often are by the halo-effect surrounding such a stand-out vehicle, I'm quite sure they are right here. The Volt is likely to be a whole lot more reliable than anything else in the GM lineup because of the simplicity of its design. While it is horribly complex compared with a pure BEV, it is much simpler than any pure ICE with a standard transmission. In addition to a simpler transmission, the gasoline engine should face a lot less stress in the Volt than it would without the electric motor handling the stress of acceleration.
I'm pretty sure that Volt owners will see many hundreds of thousands of miles out of the Volt's drivetrain.

· · 3 years ago

ex-EV1 driver has it right. There is very little stress on an ICE when used in a genset application. If tuned properly, such an ICE should last a very very long time. A typical ICE, used to launch say a 2 ton vehicle, experiences a variety of stresses including relatively high bearing loads.

· EV-Hopeful (not verified) · 3 years ago

This is good press and all, and I don't mean any ill-will towards GM or CR. But all this press seems a little out-of-step and over-manufactured for what GM's actually done.

Folks, they only sell around 300 units a month. At that rate the QA Department could re-verify every component's dimension of each car without backlogging production.

It's virtually a concept car used to run radio add time that goes "bla, bla, bla".

· · 3 years ago

Great! Kudos to GM for Volt!

I do agree with "ex-EV1 driver" and "indyflick".

I do trust to CR a lot - they do not do any stress testing they just collect info from consumers. In my experience with cars - they are totally correct. Honda and Toyota cars do last up to 20 years and more. My old Honda still running fine after 15+ years. My friend had a Chevy Venture minivan - he is a handyman and has an auto mechanic friend - he gave it up on 10th year after numerous problems, lots of money and repairing time.

· Chris O (not verified) · 3 years ago

I think it's too early to start comparing reliability statistics, but clearly the Volt adds all the components of an ICE powertrain+some to a standard EV's powertrain so yes, it is extremely complex and when something goes wrong it might pan out pretty expensive to get it right again. Maybe GM has taken the Toyota approach to very complex vehicles like the Prius: just make sure nothing ever goes wrong or the product is doomed.

· theflew (not verified) · 3 years ago

@EV-Hopeful

Be careful with the "it only sells" since outside of the Prius and Lexus 200h it is the best selling "hybrid". It outsells the Ford Fusion, Escape, Honda CRZ, etc...

· · 3 years ago

All GMs are reliable for the first three years. But it's not the engine that goes but the little rubber schnubbers deep inside the dash, or the spring clamp way down inside the door. We'll see about the overall quality after the warrantee runs out...

· Ted in Fort Myers (not verified) · 3 years ago

All you have to do is ask a Volt Owner. I have had mine since 2/28/2011 and have 13,000+ miles on the car with 10660 EV miles. I have used 19.4 gallons of gasoline in 11,200 miles and counting. This is the smoothest, quietest best handling car I have ever owned or driven. No powertrain problems at all...not one. It is a Lexus and a BMW all rolled into one. It is as quiet as a Rolls. Nothing on the road compares.

Take Care, TED

· Bill (not verified) · 3 years ago

Is the Volt truly a plug-in hybrid since the ICE never directly drives the car but simply maintains enough charge on the batteries (approx. 30%) to continue to use the electric drive. As a new Volt owner, I'd say all signs for the Volt's reliability are "encouraging" but agree with Mr. Fusion. Clips, rubber schnubbers and such do have a way of appearing after a few years. I truly hope that this is not the case with this fantastic car!

· Former Caddy Owner (not verified) · 3 years ago

I am a proud Volt owner ... but I am also a long time GM owner. 3 Caddys and an awsome 1999 chevy cargo van that I still own. As for the Caddys ... there was no such thing as rubber schnubbers falling off, and I kept all my Caddys over 13 years. I sold them without any problems because I kept them looking show room new.

My van is a van. Period. Even if the rubber schnubbers were falling off ... no big deal. This is fact. I have known a lot of Honda people who have had problems, but still swore that it was the best car they ever owned. Yet, when they hear of an American built car having problems ... they trash it. I am sure everyone knows someone in that catagory. Not exactly honest when it comes to reporting problems with their baby.

Fact is ... Consumers Reports stated that American built cars have been on a par with foreign built cars for 7 years. Just look at recall rates. That will tell you.

I have been saving $200 a month in gas ... and that includes the cost of charging. The car is quick when I need it to be quick. It is so quiet that I didn't know that tires made that much noise. After driving a long time in the Volt, even the tire noise sounds high. But ... I then get in a gas burner with a friend and the tire noise is drowned out by the engine noise. Even in a "quiet" gas burner.

One thing I give to GM ... they didn't oversell the car. They post 94 mpg in EV mode and the fact is, you get much higher. If you drive in a sane manner, you can eek 46 miles out of a charge, driving mostly day time miles. Even at higher electrical rates, that is over 100 mpg. I get 130 miles mpg where I live. My Kill A Watt meter tells me so.

Even my 11 year old grandson is learning. We were at a light when the guy next to me with a blown engine took off and "left me in the dust". Sheeesh ... I drive a Volt! When I stated that he used more gas to get to the next light than I have since I bought my Volt, my grandson said, "what an idiot!".

The Volt outsold the Leaf in October, 2011. People are starting to take note. It is Volt owners who are the only ones who truely know how great this car is.

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