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Is the 2016 EXACTLY the same as the 2017 and Lease or Buy?

abernardiabernardi Los AngelesPosts: 2
edited September 2016 in Chevrolet
I'm seriously considering leasing a Volt. That's huge for me, as my last three cars were Acura's which last forever and I've never owned a Chevy. I'm a little dubious about the build quality and wanted to hear from you guys what you think about the following:

A few years ago I took a 2015 model for a test drive and liked it, but didn't love it. The front seat felt hard and not real comfortable and the torque was pretty good if you floored it. I decided to wait a while. In the last few weeks I've driven the 2017 base model a couple of times and love the feel. The seat was more comfortable and the control layout was much better. It seems quiet, though I did notice some road noise at higher speeds. And now the acceleration off the line is GREAT.
I heard the 2016 was the same car and saw one at a local dealer for sale, it has about 5500 miles on it and it's the Premiere model, fully loaded. I took it for a spin and I noticed right away that it drove more like the 2015 than the 2017. I had to floor it to get any appreciable acceleration. It also seemed that I was hearing more road noise than in the 2017 and it just didn't feel quite right. So it made me wonder if there weren't more improvements made for the 2017, or does this car start losing it's edge only after 5K miles? Or is it just a lemon?
The battery was very low and the engine was running during the test drive. The salesman insisted the power is the same whether the battery is drained or not because the engine is only generating current for the electric motor to drive the car. Is that true? What do you guys think explains the sluggish performance and extra road noise (and yes, I took the engine noise into account, which was also pretty loud and unpleasant)? Maybe the car was abused by the first owner?

My other question is lease or buy. I usually buy cars and keep them a long time, but I'm a little wary about the lifespan mechanically and the batteries. I've read a few horror stories about a 30K price tag for battery replacement, is that true?? Also, I figure in 3 years, things might be much more competitive in the electric/hybrid market, so leasing might be the way to go. Any thoughts?

THANKS!

Comments

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited September 2016
    The Volt was redesigned for 2016. The 2017 is the second year of production for the redesigned Volt - the 2016 was only available on a limited basis though. All that's really different for 2017 are a couple of new options - adaptive cruise and the emergency braking system was upgraded (per our reviews).

    Don't know what the difference was on your test drives - I think I'd want to try a couple more. Might not be easy to find more in stock though, there's only a few new ones within 200 miles of me.

    From skimming the consumer reviews here, there are few complaints about road noise. Edmunds has a 2016 in the long term fleet and says it's less noisy than the prior generation (2016 Chevrolet Volt Long-Term Road Test).

    Speculation on traction battery replacement cost for the first generation runs from $1,000 to $6,000. (PriusChat). Based on what I've seen with Priuses, my guess is you'd be looking between $2,500 and $3,500. Quite a few indy shops are specializing in battery rebuilds and replacements, but they are limited to Toyota and Honda from what I've seen.

    This is what Consumer Reports says about the power:

    "The Volt is first and foremost an electric car—until the battery runs out of juice. That means even if you floor the Volt’s throttle pedal, the car stays in electric mode, keeping the gas engine out of the equation until the battery is nearly depleted." (CR also notes that the Prius is quieter).

    Wikipedia has more, but I don't really understand it. Sounds like it has a primary electric motor, a secondary generator to recharge the battery but it can assist the electric motor, and when the juice is gone, it's strictly an ICE driven car running on the gas in the tank. That's different from what the salesman told you.

    I go back and forth on leasing - there does seem to be a lot of stuff in the hybrid/plug-in hybrid pipeline but who knows if more models will get here in three years. I guess you could lease and then buy it out at lease end.
  • abernardiabernardi Los AngelesPosts: 2
    Thanks Stever, good info. I'm in the Los Angeles area and I just checked, there are several more 2016's used for sale around here, maybe I'll try another one and see. What I liked about the Acura's is that even with 170,000 miles, the car runs cool and quiet and still has good power. It looks like hell because the clear coat is deteriorating fast, but it's still a luxury drive. Can the same thing be said for the Volt in 15 years?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I drive them forever and the paint is about the last thing I worry about. After 15 years, my cars are never worth $1,000. B)

    Please report back on the test drive(s). I'd be happy just to sit in one at this point (I did see a last generation one at an auto show a few years back but we don't get many "exotics" here).
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