• fb_1792677598 avatar George Posted: 4/9/2012 7:16am PDT

    After 100,000 owner miles in the combination of a 2004 and 2006 Prius and now a bit over 13,000 miles on our 2011Volt, there is NO way other than the five seats that the Prius is as impressive as the Volt. The Prius rides much less comfortably especially in windy settings and while we did average a bit under 50 mpg with our Prius time, we are averaging a bit OVER 110 mpg with the Volt. The upgrade sound system and DVD player was standard for 2011, by the way.

  • fb_637041168 avatar John Posted: 4/9/2012 8:39am PDT

    Good article but the math is a little flawed. Even at 100 miles per day the Volt comes out with higher mpg due to the fact that the first 40 miles are electric. After that, 37 mpg for 60 miles would use about 1.4 gallons so the Volt ends up getting about 70 mpg. Mge would still beat the Prius!

  • john_v avatar John Posted: 4/9/2012 10:11am PDT

    @John: Fair enough, but the EPA rates the Volt at 35 miles of range and owners are pretty much unanimous that it's less than that in cold weather. Again, it all depends on duty cycle--which was the main point we tried to convey.

  • fb_199101197 avatar Addie Posted: 4/9/2012 1:58pm PDT

    Try www.voltstats.net. It's the best indicator of true Volt mpg "in the wild." In all driving conditions the average driver gets more than 100 mpg.

  • fb_100000072153933 avatar Keith Posted: 8/15/2012 7:44am PDT

    @Voelcker: It would be an unfair statement to acknowledge that in cold weather the Volt gets less than 35 miles without also mentioning that in warm weather it can exceed 35 miles dramatically. Every car, electric, hybrid or otherwise is less efficient in cold weather so even a Prius' MPG goes down in the winter, its just a fact of life. The bottom line is you have to do the math. The Volt works differently for each owner. Most days I never use gas. Others drive 100/day but they will still experience 60+ mpg. If your driving more than that per day, then yes, the Volt is not going to win the mileage comparison. There has never been a car who's performance was so tied to its daily use than the Volt. It work for most, but not all.

  • fb_1368594311 avatar Jim Posted: 4/12/2012 6:23pm PDT

    Plus they neglected to mention that if you are lucky enough to have a charging station at work you can go up to 70 or 80 miles a day without gas.

  • fb_643939786 avatar Josh Posted: 4/14/2012 8:19pm PDT

    It would not beat the Prius ev..

  • mewchat avatar mewchat Posted: 9/14/2012 12:04am PDT

    Are you an idiot. Ask anyone that is a Volt owner and they are their favorite car they ever owner. I am from the Motor City and we believe in Supporting the US workforce. I was mad at GM with the bail out, but I just sold my car and bought two volts for my husband and I. Guess what we have yet to put any gas in it.

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  • Zivien avatar Zivien Posted: 4/9/2012 12:12pm PDT

    The most notable differences between the Volt and the Prius when you drive one is first, the Volt interior feels like a luxury car and the Prius feels a bit cheap. The second difference is the Volt, though not a muscle car by any stretch of the imagination, feels peppy and corners well while the Prius feels a bit lethargic and corners like a sclerotic station wagon. That having been said, any car that reduces our reliance on foreign oil is a good car to buy. The Volt allows you to nearly stop using foreign oil/gasoline while not having a limited range, which is a very cool attribute!

  • bcosworth avatar bcosworth Posted: 4/16/2012 7:57am PDT

    Time for a comment to put this issue to rest. Frankly I am tired of comparing a 100+ year old technology to something modern. The Volt is an Electric Car it will run every day with no gas in all speeds up to 100 MPH period. GM need to do a much better job advertising this car. These commercials are not quality they are producing.

    I just bought my first volt a month ago and my gas month expense has now been turned to $0.00. You cannot compete with the value of $0.00. It was aprox $400.00 a month. So this car will save me aprox $40,000 in 10 years compared to my old SUV.

    I have not been to the ga

  • fb_100001630715561 avatar Karl Posted: 4/9/2012 8:11am PDT

    Totally agree with George. I put 167k miles on mi Gen 2 Prius and it was every bit the workhorse I needed. But...The voly I now own is more refined, sits my all American frame much better, handles better and well I get 40-43 miles on a charge daily which is what I drive. So I burn about 1 gallon of fuel a week and charge the rest.

  • fb_100003283185256 avatar Geoff Posted: 8/31/2012 4:08pm PDT

    I drive about 22,000 miles a year. Guess what, I'm getting 96.8 MPG and factoring the electricy, about 84 MPG. Whenever I ask my Prius friends what they get, they say around 38 to 45. Now, I don't want to pick on this author, but my goodness "styling a 6" - give it a break, the Volt rides supremely better and turns heads everywhere. I took the leap - CHEVY VOLT, AMERICAN-MADE, AMERICAN-FUELED.

  • fb_1077528501 avatar Mark Posted: 4/10/2012 3:56pm PDT


    Thank you! Believe it or not, this is THE FIRST place I have seen it explicitly stated that the Volt's gasoline engine drives the electric motor, which drives the wheels. Even after asking dealer sales staff and Chevrolet product support. More than once.

  • fb_1661220805 avatar Anthony Posted: 9/3/2012 12:22am PDT

    NO THE GAS ENGINE DOESN'T POWER THE WHEELS. The ENGINE powers a GENERATOR that will produce power for the Electric motor. Don't go by what the salesman tell you, most cannot even tell you where the wiper switch is.

  • mewchat avatar mewchat Posted: 9/14/2012 12:18am PDT

    Maybe next time you could just read the Volt website.

  • bcosworth avatar bcosworth Posted: 4/16/2012 8:12am PDT

    Comparing the Volt to a Prius is a very poor comparison because the volt can operate in all modes in pure electric drive train. It has instant torque and power. It’s fun to drive has better paint quality and is built better than a Prius. I am an engineer and I see defects.

    My commute to work has highway speeds so the prius would have used a lot of gas. The plug-in prius would have used gas for me because the highway speeds so again no real technical advantage of this car its just a way of Toyota playing catchup in my opinion.

    So this comparison is really poor I feel. You’re comparing a premium electric vehicle to a older technology gas vehicle. Electric cars are quiet and make no noise to drive one is a wonderful experience.

  • john_v avatar John Posted: 4/16/2012 10:27am PDT

    It's worth pointing out, however, that in 2011, Toyota sold roughly 20 times the number of Priuses that Chevy sold Volts.

    For the majority of buyers, any vehicle at all with any kind of electrification--hybrid, plug-in, or whatever--is still a bit of a mystery.

    So our goal with this article was to compare the Volt, which is widely misunderstood, against the Prius, which is slowly becoming more of a known quantity after 12 years in the market.

  • bcosworth avatar bcosworth Posted: 4/16/2012 8:33am PDT

    It takes 35,000 watts to make one gallon of gas from oil. Not counting the transportation to you.

    35KW can make the volt go 100+ miles.

    So when people tell you electricity needs to be made causing air pollution. When you buy gas you also have to use electricity to make it. Refining process.

    So when you keep from buying 1 gallon of fuel you save a lot of electricity!

    So Plug IN Hybrid Toyota Prius even if it uses .5 gallons of fuel its really using 17.5 KW so you can see how even a small amount of gas actually sucks energy from the grid.

  • fb_778404833 avatar Larry Posted: 4/26/2012 5:08pm PDT

    John, your getting a bit beat up by Volt owners; I'm going to preface - I'm not looking to beat up your musings; I appreciate all you present. However, as a new Volt owner - my preliminary economy:

    So far: 750 mi. I haven’t stopped for gas, 2.0 gals of gas used. Commute = 35 mi ea way (I’m lucky, employer allows me to plug in) I arrive w/5-12 mi chrg left — I burn a few drops of gas on way home (generally due to lights & more uphill climb that direction)

    Let’s see, my current average, 350 miles to gal of gas - even if employer didn’t allow plug in, I think my savings in fuel does help to pay for the car - might be as low as 125 mph?

    Also of note, I went from an Infiniti G37 coupe to the Volt and I’m having as much fun driving the Volt!

  • fb_100000866038548 avatar Ed Posted: 4/9/2012 12:26pm PDT

    .fossil fuel still has to be used to produce electricity to charge it at home these numbers are way off and prius still is king.

  • john_v avatar John Posted: 4/9/2012 5:17pm PDT

    @Ed: True, but as the 2007 EPRI-NRDC report indicated, driving a mile on electricity is lower carbon than driving a mile by burning gasoline in a 40-mpg even if the electricity comes from the dirtiest grids (ND, WV) in the country.

    At the 50 mpg of the Prius, burning gasoline may be *slightly* lower carbon on a wells-to-wheels basis in those two states.

    But in California, which has a pretty clean grid and is where most electric cars will be sold, you have to get to about 100 mpg before the gasoline car is as clean as the electric one. So until the ENTIRE U.S. vehicle fleet gets 50 mpg or better, driving electric is lower-carbon.

  • Sharkonwheels avatar Sharkonwheels Posted: 4/10/2012 10:06am PDT

    I don't get these dumb arguments about burning fossil fuel to generate power... Really? Do people think that gasoline just magically appears at the gas pumps? First, you have to FIND the oil, then drill to get to it. Then you have to build to extract it, pump it out, then get it ready for transport. THEN you have to burn fossil fuels to transport it to a refinery, which then consumes electricity to refine the oil into gas. EPA estimated that it takes 6-7kWh just to refine one gallon of gas. To drive the point home, the Volt can travel about 20 miles JUST on that energy!

    As to comparing the Volt against the Prius, that's an ignorant comparison. How about comparing a Ford Edge to an Audi Q7? Or a Chevy Equinox to an Infiniti FX-series?

  • fb_643939786 avatar Josh Posted: 4/14/2012 9:05pm PDT

    You know the funny thing is that my 2001 corolla at 32 mpg average( what I calculate at fill up) cost me $6,500 3 yrs ago, and your new volt cost about $32,000 am I right. ( probably more) a difference of 25,500 dollars. At about $3.30 a gallon, that is 7727 gallons, at 32 mpg I would have to drive 247,272 miles to catch up to you never using an ounce of gas.......

  • john_v avatar John Posted: 4/16/2012 3:43am PDT

    The only problem is that your 2001 Corolla would no longer be legal to sell as a new car today. This is meant to be a comparison of new cars. So you could make the same argument about a 1988 Geo Metro at even higher gas mileage ratings ...

  • Green G man avatar Green G man Posted: 4/9/2012 1:16pm PDT

    I had a 2nd Generation Prius that was 100% trouble free for 218K miles. I traded it for a Volt, big mistake. The Prius is a far superior car to the Volt, better interior materials, more space, rode better. The Volt I had went to the dealer for issues 7 times in less than 10K miles, and the best all electric driving distance I could get was 24 miles (the dealer informed me this was consistent with most other Volt owners and as a result most were very disappointed with their Volts). I have since sold the Volt and went back to a 3rd generation Prius and couldn't be happier.

  • fb_199101197 avatar Addie Posted: 4/9/2012 1:55pm PDT

    I currently own both a 2nd generation Prius (loaded) and a Volt. The Prius now sits in my garage idle. I feel there is no comparison between the Prius and the Volt. It's Volt all the way. But to each his own.

  • Green G man avatar Green G man Posted: 4/9/2012 2:02pm PDT

    And we are supposed to believe that you hate the Prius enough to have it sit in the garage and not sell it? LMAO!

    Sounds like you are a Volt fanboy, that is fine but don't make lies up.

    You are right there's no comparison between the Volt and the Prius and I found out the hard way with my Volt.

  • fb_199101197 avatar Addie Posted: 4/9/2012 7:18pm PDT

    Gerald, what VIN was your Volt? I'd be happy to show you both my VINs. Let's see who's really making stuff up.

  • fb_199101197 avatar Addie Posted: 4/9/2012 7:22pm PDT

    One more thing-you're outnumbered 4 to 1 on this forum. Give 'er up Gerry!

  • fb_643939786 avatar Josh Posted: 4/14/2012 8:01pm PDT

    Toyota vs Chevy. Simply decision.....go with quality. Go with the largest car company in the world!

  • john_v avatar John Posted: 4/16/2012 3:38am PDT

    And which company are you saying that is, Josh?

  • atlasmi1 avatar atlasmi1 Posted: 4/10/2012 9:38am PDT

    The Prius, like the Volt, can be affected by ambient temps when it comes to drain on the battery to operate vehicle systems that do not propel the vehicle. Range in the all electric mode is effected by your style of driving, use of heater & A/C, driving at night(use of headlights), etc.
    I drove a Volt over a weekend in 30-40 deg F weather and got 36 and 30 miles on separate charges. I drove as I normally would, not slow like I’ve encountered some Prius owners trying to stay in all electric mode. If your style of driving only allows 24 miles in all electric mode, it is what it is. Your dealer, however, cannot speak for most Volt owners and most Volt owners are not disappointed with their Volts(read the other posts on this article).

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  • nyscionguru avatar nyscionguru Posted: 4/9/2012 3:27pm PDT

    @ George & Karl: I can understand this, however you can't really compare your earlier prius to the 3rd Gen. The 3rd Gen rides a lots smoother, quieter, and better on gas, compared to your 2nd gens. The Volt started off nice, however (as you have mentioned) it does seat only 4. However The Volt is really a "mild" hybrid. The Gas generator may not drive the wheels, however, should you run out of electricity, the gereator will run continuously to provide power to the engine. So it will be on constantly. Sure you can just let the car sit and juice up until you get to a decent charge. But it's no different than driving while the generator is running. Another thinkg I don't like is the 10 hour charge time.

  • john_v avatar John Posted: 4/9/2012 5:14pm PDT

    @NYscionGuru: I disagree with your definition.

    A "mild hybrid" is a hybrid vehicle that doesn't plug in to recharge, in which the electric motor does not run the vehicle on electric power only--usually because it's too small. Think Honda's various generations of Integrated Motor Assist, which use 10-kW and 15-kW motors.

    The Volt is not a mild hybrid at all, but technically a "series hybrid"--also known as a range-extended electric vehicle.

    (Although over on Green Car Reports, you can find *lengthy* battles among those who feel that any plug-in car that has a gasoline engine does not deserve to be called an "electric car" ... sigh.)

  • fb_643939786 avatar Josh Posted: 4/14/2012 7:58pm PDT

    So the Prius is a hybrid, but the Prius plug in is a series hybrid...so why not compare a series hybrid to a series hybrid......

  • john_v avatar John Posted: 4/16/2012 3:41am PDT

    No, the Prius Plug-In is not a series hybrid. Its engine powers the wheels directly, as does one of its electric motors as well, making it a parallel hybrid.

    The Volt is a series hybrid, in which the engine does not provide torque to the wheels but only powers a generator that creates electricity to operate the electric traction motor that turns the wheels. (There is an asterisk to the Volt, however: Under certain very limited circumstances, a minority of the engine output can be clutched through the electric motor to increase its torque.)

    For reference, the Fisker Karma is a true series hybrid: no mechanical connection at all between engine and wheels.

  • fb_100001630715561 avatar Karl Posted: 4/10/2012 7:21am PDT

    10 Hours is kinda poor but if you buy the car like a tool..for the job at hand its a different story. As a daily commute care for my wife at a regular drive distance and style, it falls dead on for the max battery life. In our case it works great. Also many stores around are putting in FREE level 2 chargers. Not that we use it to go out after a long day but that sure does sweaten the pot. So sitting for a charge is really no big deal. I'll spend the time with my wife, garden and pool relaxing, if she lets me.

  • fb_643939786 avatar Josh Posted: 4/14/2012 7:58pm PDT


  • fb_643939786 avatar Josh Posted: 4/14/2012 7:54pm PDT

    Why not compare the new Prius plug in, or the 18 thou cheap Prius c. There are better comparisons. I would like to see the volt compared to the Prius plug in...less than 4 hr charging for 15 miles. On normal outlet, then after electric only mode you still get over 50 mpg....or the fact you can get a version of the Prius for only 18 thou, how affordable can you make cars. ( to sell more). Or the fact that the Prius has been tested since 97... Or the simply fact of which car company makes longer lasting quality cars.....

  • fb_643939786 avatar Josh Posted: 4/14/2012 8:29pm PDT

    Toyota vs Chevy. No contest. In 5 years the Chevy will have to be fixed numberus times even if it is covered, the Toyota will still be running in 10 yrs. And if the batteries go out and you don't have enough to fix it, the volt won't run at all, the Prius can run strictly on gas alone if the batteries are dead or die completely.

  • fb_100000042346524 avatar Jack Posted: 8/13/2012 10:28am PDT

    Its too bad that the Ford C-Max could not be included in this

  • Sterling Silver avatar Sterling Silver Posted: 10/31/2012 6:14am PDT

    I rented a Prius in 2007 when my wife, my sister-in-law and my niece went to San Francisco. We drove it up to the wine country and then down to my old home at Fort Ord and to Carmel. After 5 days, time to fly back home. I was blown away at how much driving we did for so little gas used. I liked the Prius & think it is a fine automobile.

    I purchased a 2012 Chevrolet Volt in early June 2012 and I like the Volt better for a number of reasons. My Volt was fueled-up at our Chevy dealer when it was unload at their lot in late May 2012, and as I comment here on Car Connection (nearly November 1) I still haven't put a drop of gas in it. http://www.flickr.com/photos/southwestusa/7983003532/in/photostream

  • fb_586312703 avatar Dave Posted: 11/14/2012 8:17pm PST

    I have owned my volt now for 14 months. I have put on over 23,000 KM, including a long road trip last summer throughout the BC interrior. My first tank of gas lasted me from Sept to January. I filled it the second time before hitting the road in june, and burned about 58 gallons of fuel driving from Vancouver to Prince Rupert, then over to the BC Alberta border, through to Valemont, and back to vancouver via Kelowna, Pentictan, Princeston. The total miliage driven 2355 miles, and total fuel used was 57.8 US gallons. So based on this miliage, I acheived 40.75 miles to US gallon. I DID NOT use moountain mode while traveling through the mountains, and only once ran out of reserve juice on a really long hill and had speed limied to 68MPH.

  • thrakos avatar thrakos Posted: 1/10/2013 11:45am PST

    Thats about 1/2 the Prius efficiency of over 60 miles per gallon. Not to mention you are limited by range and speed. ANXIETY at works.

  • mmilloy avatar mmilloy Posted: 11/30/2012 11:33am PST

    I have owned two Prius 2004 and 2005 and now have a Volt. I love my Volt and since I plug into 220 and usually don't drive over 35 miles a day it is the best car I have ever owned. I even had a flat tire and the system for fixing a flat is great for a lady.

  • thrakos avatar thrakos Posted: 1/10/2013 11:40am PST

    Here is why we took the PRIUS over the VOLT
    Passenger’s capacity Seat 5
    Unlimited range so we are not going to run out of battery
    Toyota reliability and track records of Prius is amazing
    Battery life is well over 10 years proven
    Actual miles per gallon in the 70mpg PLUS
    Also has EV mode if want

    Can only seat 4
    Can only go 30 to 35 miles ACTUAL real life miles (spread sheet calculation mean nothing)
    In cold climate lucky drivers been getting no more than 25miles range before they are out
    Charging time 15hours !!! you must be kidding
    Home modification $4000 to $6000 to accommodate charger (4 to 6 hours charging time)
    We can drive the Prius for 7 years on just the electrician cost to accommodate the volt not including electricit

  • thrakos avatar thrakos Posted: 1/10/2013 11:40am PST

    We can drive the Prius for 7 years on just the electrician cost to accommodate the volt not including electricity used
    Actual VOLT MPG is 30mpg mix HWY and City that’s even less than a corolla
    Reliability unknown – though GM has not been a big name or had much success in thee hybrid lineups
    Life of the VOLT battery is rated to degrade 5% per 10,000miles that’s less range every year we drive it
    Resale value – who is going to buy a used VOLT with 100kmiles knowing they will have to fork $15,000 on a new set of batteries and pay $4000 to $6000 to have an electrician fix their house to accommodate the car

    No wonder Toyota hybrid vehicles sale jumped to 300,000 unit a year. In all honesty the VOLT is a fail for anyone who can do basic math.

  • thrakos avatar thrakos Posted: 1/10/2013 11:44am PST

    The VOLT generator using ICE gasoline engine to charge the VOLT battery is a China technology used in the BYD cars sold in china. ICE efficiency 20% converting to electricity and store in battery loses another 5% leaving only 15% of your hard working money in usable electricity to go forwaed considering ideal weather conditions

  • Dweezil avatar Dweezil Posted: 1/31/2013 7:48am PST

    Mike, your stats are a bit skewed. I've owned both a 2010 Prius and now own a 2011 Volt. I LOVED my Prius...it was one of the best cars I've ever owned. However, unless coasting downhill with a steady tailwind one is NEVER going to achieve 70mpg. Ever. I'm quite used to driving hybrids and driving economically...so I have a very light foot. My best tank of gas yeilded 53mph...75 degrees avg temp, no rain. Plus, the EV mode is very limited; you have to be VERY light on the throttle, EV only goes up to 42mph or so, on EV the battery depletes very quickly then returns to gas. Great for moving the car around in the driveway or creeping through a parking lot, but not intended for real world driving...continued...

  • Dweezil avatar Dweezil Posted: 1/31/2013 7:54am PST

    The Prius is a wonderful car, and the hauling capacity is surprising. Lots of great technology, wonderful reliability...great car. NOW, that said, let's look at yoru Volt stats... Battery range is about right; 30-35, I've heard as high as 45 though in the right weather. If one's daily communte is under 30-35 miles, NO gas is used. Charging time from a depleted battery to full charge is taking me approximately 8 hours...in cold weather on a 110 outlet. Purchase/installation of a 220 system can be done for under $2k and charge time takes between 3-4 hours. Both the Prius and the Volt are excellent cars, neither should be slammed for a shortcoming because neither really have any significant shortcomings...continued...

  • Dweezil avatar Dweezil Posted: 1/31/2013 8:00am PST

    But statistics for BOTH cars should be presented accurately and without bias or conjecture. I thoroughly enjoyed my Prius. But I think I'm enjoying my Volt more. We'll see where things go in 4-5 years of ownership...but I'm reasonably confident that the Volt will easily see me through 4-5 years of steady use while saving me thousands at the pump. Of course, I can only seat 4, but in my situation that works. For a larger family, it will not. Buy which car works best for you. Folks need to do some research and speak to owners of both vehicles to get real world stories...and not listen to the talking media heads. Happy motoring!

  • Dannykirk avatar Dannykirk Posted: 9/12/2013 7:10am PDT

    My wife and I have been Prius lease owners for years. We recently took advantage of the Chevy Volt lease deal. OMG, we have 1024 miles and have used 1.7 gallons of gas. The Volt blows away the Prius in EV range, ride quality and so many other areas. I like the Chevy Volts sport mode and the single petal driving in the L mode. I have never driven a car that is this much fun!