Ford C-MAX Energi beats Chevy Volt with seating for five
The Chevy Volt is, by many measures, an excellent car, as evidenced by the high customer satisfaction awards showered upon GM's plug-in hybrid electric car. It has a flaw, however, that has caused one of the biggest Volt cheerleaders, Dr. Lyle Dennis, to trade in his Volt (the 8th produced) for a Ford C-MAX Energi. Dr. Dennis is in a somewhat different position than most Volt owners, because he started the GM-Volt.com website, and was a major Volt cheerleader, with his website collecting a list of 54,000 people raising their hands to say they'd buy a Volt. Dr. Dennis also served on the Chevy Volt Advisory Board, organized by Chelsea Sexton around the time of the Volt launch.
In other words, Dr. Dennis is the top dog of Chevy Volt fandom. What would make such an uber-fan trade in his Volt? It's his five member family (three kids), and the hump in the middle of the Volt's rear seat.
The key flaw of the Volt is that it is clearly a four-seater. The T-shaped battery pack forms this tunnel running down the middle of the passenger compartment, intruding far enough that the middle of the rear seat cannot be used for a fifth passenger. For those with five person families, the need to comfortably seat five people is a necessity.
As Dr. Dennis explained in a post on InsideEV's, the family fleet had morphed into a Volt and a Leaf and the plan for long trips was to rent a bigger car. But a failed car rental attempt convinced them to give up the Volt. Fortuitously, Ford is introducing the Ford C-MAX Energi, a plug-in hybrid with seating for five, very soon.