Is it time to get a hybrid car?

Are you fed up of constantly filling up your car, or the seemingly never ending price increases on petrol and diesel? If so, is it now time to change to a hybrid car? Les Roberts takes a look at the new Chevrolet Volt to find out...

As petrol prices continue to rise, more and more of us are looking for ways to cut our motoring costs – and if you’re in the market for a new car, then fuel economy will most likely be high on your list of priorities.

And although you may struggle to hit the equivalent range at 253.4mpg, there is no car on the market that has a fuel economy to match the Chevrolet Volt

The car

The car has a unique hybrid system which means that, once the battery has exceeded it 40mile range, it’s 1.4l litre petrol engine kicks in.

Which is why the vehicle is not called a hybrid but rather an extended range electric vehicle.

And although the 1.4litre engine size may seem a little small for a car of this size, the electric motor delivers 273lb per foot of torque, which is about the same a 2litre diesel engine – so no problems when putting your foot down.

Recharging is done by using this space-age looking pack which you simply plug into the car here and plug into the mains using a standard three-prong plug.

Inside the car

…And you can check your charge level on the dashboard.

Above the steering wheel, where the dials are normally housed, is another screen which displays battery life, fuel consumption and also offers up, amongst other things, collision and speed alerts.

Costs

At around £35,000, this car does seem a little steep, but it does offer unrivalled fuel economy for urban driving, is free to tax and is fully loaded with sat nav, DAB, DVD, heated leather seats aircon, and the shiniest alloys wheel this side of the Atlantic.

You can also get 5 grand off the screen price of thanks to the government plug-in electric car grant.

If you do most of your driving around town, then this offers a viable alternative to other electric cars as it pretty much does away with range anxiety. If you do a longer daily commute however, you probably won’t feel the full benefit.

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