California Autos Examiner

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Volt: Reality vs. Concept



So now that the cat is out of the bag, let's compare the production Volt (top) verses the concept. The paragraph below is the description I offered of the close to production Volt I saw in January when we were shown a color chart. How'd I do?

The clear trim panel that runs beneath the side windows was now a black band and the windows were more traditional. Furthermore, the rear of the car wasn't as much of a notchback as the concept, instead it was more of a Kammback (for lack of a better description). Imagine that the roofline stays higher as it works its way to the tail or conversely visualize a higher tail.

2 comments:

Doug said...

I was chatting with an aquintance the other day about vehicles. This person is a die-hard Chrysler fan with a special place in his heart for Dodge trucks. During his many trips to the repair shop (his dealer of choice is a local chevy dealer because there isn't a a Dodge dealership within 25 miles) he gets to drive GM courtesy cars. Unlike the Ford dealership, they give him a a new or newer vehicle to drive, probably in hopes of getting him to switch. Uh, where was I now? Oh yeah, he said every GM vehicle he has driven has been great. (Sorry, no list) He said power, fuel economy, driveability, etc. was better than any vehicles he has owned. The thing he didn't like was the styling. He said there wasn't a single GM vehicle he liked the looks of. I think he sahres that sentiment with a lot of people. Now my point. The difference between the Volt concept and the Volt reality is too much to handle. GM has its problems no doubt, but I would think that would be more of a reason to take some chances on design. Shake it up a bit. What have they got to lose?

Doug

rwcmick said...

Doug,

Here are several of my thoughts...


I'm not sure what your friend has been driving, I think GM has really been shaking things up when it comes to design. If you look at the CTS, Enclave, Solstice/Sky, Camaro--those are great looking cars! To be certain, not every car at a GM dealer is a knockout, but there are far few losers than there used to be.

As for the Volt? When, I'm not sure how serious GM was about the Volt when the concept was first shown. It looked great, but it didn't run and it might have just faded off into concept car history. The trouble is, the Volt took off like wildfire and suddenly GM found itself figuring out how to build the darn thing. When they placed the car in the wind tunnel, the aerodynamics weren't good--Bob Lutz says that it may have had better aerodynamics facing backwards. Changes had to be made. What GM ended up with is a similar conclusion to what Toyota has with the Prius and Honda has with the forthcoming Insight. The current state of the art dictates that if you want a high mileage car, with a "reasonable" price tag, that's simply that's one of the best shapes around. In a few years time, I'm sure that things will move forward but that's the current answer we have. From the mock-ups we saw in the studio and what we've seen in spyshots, I think the Volt's interior will have a wow factor that the exterior may not have.