The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is the first of its kind, including lithium-ion batteries and an all-new powertrain design; so naturally shoppers might be a little suspicious. But it turns out there's absolutely nothing to worry about: With top scores and ratings from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute, the Volt ranks among the safest cars on the market--green or not.
GM engineers stress that, despite this car's advanced powertrain, they subjected the Volt to every bit as many accident simulations and real crash tests as any other new car. And they paid special attention to the large T-shaped battery pack that spans below the rear seats and stretches forward through the tunnel, with strengthening beams to transfer crash loads through it to ensure it would not rupture even in severe accidents.
The Volt is fitted with eight airbags for its four passengers: Front-seat occupants have front and side bags, plus knee bolsters, while side air curtains stretch the length of the front and rear doors to protect rear-seat riders as well.
Traction control, anti-lock brakes, and other electronic control systems keep the car well behaved. Every Volt is fitted as standard with GM's OnStar telecommunications system, including five years of service.