5. Chevrolet Volt: Redesigned and recharged
Base-price range: $33,995 – $38,345
Fuel economy rating: 106 MPGe; 42 MPG
Depending on whom you talked to in the early 2010s, the Chevroelt Volt was the first step toward a new generation of automotive transportation, or a folly of a product made by “Government Motors.”
While the first-generation Volt never saw the sales numbers GM would have liked, there was no doubt the automaker was on to something with its “Extended Range Electric Vehicle.” For the 2016 model year, Chevrolet
is taking another stab at this concept with a redesigned Volt that is sleeker, more comfortable, better driving, and more efficient. This four-door hatchback operates similarly to the BMW
i3 with a gas-engine range extender. Volt can drive solely on the batteries for up to 53 miles (versus 38 on the outgoing model). After that, a four-cylinder gas engine kicks in to power the electric motor, providing an additional 367 miles of range (versus 342 for the ’15 version). These improvements — along with GM largely holding the line on price — should make the 2016 Chevrolet Volt more attractive to more buyers when it goes on sale nationwide in late spring 2016.