With the 2012 Volt marking the second year of Volts in showrooms and throughout Chevy advertising, memories of the much sleeker, longer, lower concept way back in 2007 have faded.
While the production Volt is recognizable, it's hardly distinctive in the same way as the Toyota Prius hybrid, the original two-seat Honda Insight, or even the all-electric GM EV1.
From the side, the Volt is a five-door hatchback with a high cowl and waistline and fairly narrow window openings. Lighter-colored cars benefit most from a black trim panel that carries the shape of the window onto the upper door, but the Volt is still chunky in a way that neither the Toyota Prius nor the all-electric Nissan Leaf is.
The Volt definitely gets noticed on the road, and we wouldn't call it bad-looking by any means. It's just not as distinctive--or perhaps iconic--as either of those trend-setting cars. The aerodynamic shape does say Chevy, with a modern and fully blanked-out replica of the twin-opening grille to the vertical glass panel in the almost-horizontal tailgate that improves visibility (somewhat)--just like a Prius.
Inside, it's a different story. The Volt may be a tight four-seat compact, but the cabin blends Chevrolet's characteristic twin-cockpit design with some very modern flourishes. The bright vehicle information display and its graphics are simply better than those of any other car wearing the bowtie emblem, and available glossy white trim inevitably evokes Apple products.