The Volt concept from several years ago had a radical look to match a radical way of thinking. We wish the 2011 Volt were slightly more distinctive, or revolutionary, in the way of, say, the Toyota Prius, the original Honda Insight, or even the GM EV1.
In profile, we feel the shape just isn't as individual as the cars that compare most closely to the Volt, the 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid and the 2011 Nissan Leaf electric car. Like the Volt, each is a five-door hatchback with a low drag coefficient. And is instantly identifiable at 100 paces. We're not sure the Volt is that distinctive.
It's not that the Volt is bad-looking—and it certainly gets its share of stares on the road. We just wish it weren't quite so slit-windowed and heavy below the beltline.
Up close, however, it's clear that it's a Chevy of a different kind, from the blanked-out simulated twin-bar grille to the high, almost horizontal tailgate with a vertical glass panel for visibility.
Inside, the news is better. The Volt's cabin blends the traditional Chevy twin-cockpit appearance with some new touches, including a vehicle information display screen that's head and shoulders above any other Chevy.