The 2016 Chevy Volt could have offered its category-killing 53 miles of EV-only driving range and called it a day, but this plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) wants more: more drivers, specifically, beyond its loyal but small following of green-car nerds.
So it’s been completely redesigned to be more spacious and less geeky-looking, in hopes some mainstream users will give it a try. On a recent drive along the coast of Marin County, north of San Francisco, Calif., the Volt was ready to meet both challenges.

Fifty-three miles on electric power alone. That’s a mic drop right there, given that other 2016 competitors are posting EV-only numbers of 17 (Audi A3 Sportback e-tron) to 35 miles (Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid). Chevrolet showed off this talent nicely by taking us from Sausalito to Petaluma on Highway 1, passing oceans and grasslands in swift, silent electric-only miles.

Every hybrid makes decisions about how to balance electric and gas power. In the Volt’s case, it uses up its EV range before moving on togas. The total range of electric plus gas is 420 miles. That’s why PHEVs are attractive to drivers who love the idea of EV, but want the security of gas-engine backup.