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Consumer Reports, Chevy Bolt and Chevy Volt's Reliability

Consumer Reports just rated Chevy Bolt above average and Volt below average in reliability, but some Volt owners, including a friend of mine have always praised the reliability of their First Gen Volts.

"What's going on with Volt? My Gen 1 has been flawless," writes Markley Gordon in GM Electric Vehicle Owners group on Facebook early this morning. And indeed, number of people who own the first generation Chevy Volt have been very happy with them.

Yet, Consumer Reports gives Chevy Bolt a higher reliability score than Chevy Volt. You need a subscription to view their reports. However, Detroit Free Press published an article, in which it writes that "the new Chevrolet Bolt electric car was GM's most reliable model, scoring 'above average' in Consumer Reports magazine's influential reliability survey."

In fact, here are the 10 most reliable cars by Consumer Reports, published at this morning by Denis Flierl.

So let's see what the current GM EV owners think about Chevy Bolt vs Chevy Volt reliability. Here is another Volt vs Bolt comparison from a Volt owner's perspective, written by a known EV advocate Buzz Smith.

Chevy Bolt Natural Advantage Over Volt?

Some people say Chevy Bolt's reliability will be naturally better vs Chevy Volt's because of the lack of internal combustion engine. I don't know how strong this argument is. Are EV cars in general more reliable than ICE cars? I don't know and haven't seen any study on this comparison.

Other Volt and Bolt owners say that Consumer Reports' reviews are also based on its survey data. "Did you contribute? I do and I’ve had a few issues with mine," writes Brent Healy referring to his Chevy Volt.

"Do not pay attention to consumer reports reliability ratings, like ever! It's so skewed that any little minor thing drops the score," writes Gina Dount from the group and three other group members have liked her point. They say the sample sizes getting smaller and smaller.

"As more Volts are sold there will be more problems reported. Just look at some of the scary stories posted on FB. Also the GEN2 seem to have some new features with some gremlins. It’s normal for satisfaction ratings to drop as more are sold," writes David Vagner.

"Radio and center stack had my gen 1 in four times before the lease was up. Gen 2 has been in 4 times this year for radio problems. CR noted that GM and Ford were having radio and transmission issues," writes Michael Pierz in the group.

"The Chevy Volt had very few issues. If you're familiar with the names and posts in the group, you realize majority are same folks. Pay attention to the general consensus, as well as the 100K+ folks - still on original brakes, only a couple of oil changes, some original tires - and me getting 51MPG gas when and if I need it," writes Bill Baker. He also adds that her relative recently traded her Ford Flex with Chevy volts and is very happy with it.

If you are a Volt or Bolt owner, we would like to hear from you and would appreciate your comments about your experience and your car's reliability. Please also mention how many miles do you have on your vehicle.


Eric Ember (not verified)    October 20, 2017 - 11:52PM

My 2013 Volt w 67000 miles, about which 2/3s are electric, has been flawless. Anecdotally, it seems Volt owners are having more issues w their Gen 2 than owners of Gen 1 seem to have had, and it is for that reason I feel ambivalent about purchasing a Gen 2. It is my hope that the 2018s have rectified some of the bugs.

Sue (not verified)    October 21, 2017 - 2:25AM

I needed a new car and had committed to doubling the gas mileage of previous one. I had averaged 33mpg so needed 66+. The only cars I found that met this were blue diesels not sold in U.S. & Chevy Volt. I waited until the gen 2 came out and bought one in October 2016. I was very reluctant to buy a Chevy. But I did and am delighted with my choice. I have 33,000 miles on it, get 270 mpg and only use gas on long weekend trips (get 43 mpg on gas). I recently took it in to have 40,000 service done. It was 1/5th what I paid for service on my Toyota! I figure I save hundreds each year in service costs, even more in fuel costs, and get to drive a fun, fast car. I even fit an 8 foot Xmas tree in it. Fantastic car. Don't know why all cars are not made with c this platform..

Joe (not verified)    October 24, 2017 - 1:16PM

In reply to by Sue (not verified)

Well written and accurate too. I bought my base model 2017 Volt LT in January. It has been almost flawless. I was also reluctant to buy any GM vehicle, in fact, this is my 12th new vehicle and my first GM! The other vehicles have been Toyota, Honda, Subaru, VW and all have been great. I've driven 13,500 miles and I'm on my 3rd tank of gas. I have a 240 VAC EVSE (commonly and erroneously referred to as a charger) and I usually charge at night. Summer electric-only range is around 55 miles and on cold winter days it can be as low as 40 miles. I have no "range anxiety" due to the gas engine. I will get the oil changed in January of 2019 - and generally speaking there is next to zero maintenance except for tires, windshield wiper fluid, etc. I'll probably get to brake pads at 100,000 miles as they're rarely used, thanks to regenerative braking. I really like the Volt. Excellent acceleration. Very quiet. Good handling. I will never buy an all-gas car ever again. Now, to be fair, the Volt is smallish (fits 4 adults) and I'm not a huge fan of hatch backs, but these are minor issues. Lastly, Chevy does NOT advertise these cars and nearly every car dealer hates them. The majority of Chevy dealer sales guys know little about them. I imagine that the lack of service revenue causes the dealers to show disrespect to this great little car.

Barb (not verified)    October 21, 2017 - 9:06AM

Volt 99900 miles 2012. Navagation map went out. Windows would roll down odd times. Factory reset
Did not help. Driver window mechanism fell out from under driver window. Electric miles decreased by 5 . Good news Untill 99000 miles I got an average 45 electric miles 52 gas miles. Smoothest riding car ever! No engine problems. I hated to give it up.

Frank Fay (not verified)    October 21, 2017 - 7:22PM

In reply to by Barb (not verified)

The window rolling down at odd times isn't a defect, it's that you pressed the button on the key fob to lower your windows, it's a way to cool your car off before you get into the car in Summer time. I've owned my Volt now almost 4 years and am still learning stuff about the car I didn't know

Jack McGrail (not verified)    October 21, 2017 - 10:28AM

I have a 2012 volt that I got in 2011, with 67,000 miles on it. Only replaced tires, and rear brakes. My calipers had frozen up.

This car has been flawless otherwise. I usually get a new car every 3 years. I'm keeping this until it dies, or I

Vlad (not verified)    October 21, 2017 - 11:44AM

Chevy Volt 2017, since March 2017, 15,000km (9320 miles). Still on 3/4 original gas tank. Smooth drive, no issues. Love it.

Franko (not verified)    October 21, 2017 - 1:29PM

I bought a 2012 Volt in March 2017 with 25k miles for $12,700. It lived it's former life in the NE so I was a little weary but took the dive at that price. It's been flawless for the 6 months I've owned it. I drink every 120 miles round trip into Atlanta and get 65mpg. I also get the benefit of riding in the HOV lane and the Peach Pass lane. So not only do I save in fuel but I also save an hour per day in commute time. Fantastic car, kudos to GM.

John (not verified)    October 21, 2017 - 1:55PM

Of course electric cars are more reliable than ice cars. Way less moving parts, no transmission which is usually the first thing to go on ice cars. You're better than that Armen. Most of the things you see breaking on Volts is superficial interior/software related components.

Matt (not verified)    October 21, 2017 - 2:32PM

2012 Volt, 1 issue. Fan that blows over the "brain" of the car where the spare tire would normally be went out. $700 to fix. Saved more than that on gas, so it's a wash. Outside of that, great car.

Joe (not verified)    October 21, 2017 - 4:50PM

My ‘13 has 45k with zero issues. Bought it CPO in ‘14 with 2k on it. I changed the oil last year, getting ready to change it again for the upcoming year. Maybe new tires. Nothing has failed on mine, and I will confidently hand it to my son, as I will buy another Volt for myself in a heartbeat, no hesitation.

Markh21518 (not verified)    October 21, 2017 - 6:54PM

My 2013 Gen 1 has been rock solid, only needed the heater reprogrammed under warranty. I think some issues have been with phones as well. My radio rebooted twice when my Ex plugged in her iPhone/iPod, after both were rebooted no more problems. Don't blame the car when the phone tech crashes it.

Karl (not verified)    October 21, 2017 - 7:15PM

My 2012 Volt has 113,000 Miles. I average 3 gal gas per 1000 miles (able to charge intermittently if nec.) The only issue was the battery coolant level & sensor - needed to be purged. I recently put new Michelin Premier A/S - excellent traction and no loss of range) The vehicle has been fantastic - I love it. I've felt Consumer Reports is very biased on certain brand products and is actually not all that accurate when it comes to real world consumer goods. I've been disappointed a number of times when buying products based on their reviews.

Vancouverite (not verified)    October 21, 2017 - 10:16PM

2013 Volt owner here. 2 oil changes. Recalls and campaigns performed during oil changes alongside some very minor items (remote entry button) . 0.49L/100 km (480 mpg) average in 80,000km's (50,000 miles).
Replaced tires on my own for something better on wet.

Allen (not verified)    December 17, 2018 - 11:53AM

Oil should be changed based on miles such as 4000to 6000 range. If you're using primarily electric in those miles, the ice starts up every now and then but it's going to pick up condensation and moisture especially if the ice doesn't run long enough to burn the moisture out. This incomplete burn off of moisture will create gunk in the motor oil. I would change that oil no less than every 6 months regardless of the few oce miles. I would like an older model but worry about the previous owner having only done 2 oil changes in 4 years like the guy above!

Randy Wales (not verified)    June 10, 2019 - 4:56PM

2013 Volt, purchased when it had 90,000 miles. It now has 120+. It has been perfectly reliable. Only one issue that was known and the Chevy dealer took care of it...had to do with the coolant in the batteries. I've had this for almost three years and looking to buy another so I can pass this down to my daughter.

Mel (not verified)    July 21, 2019 - 1:06PM

Another data point for ya. My Gen 1 Volt 3-year lease was pretty much bulletproof. My Gen 2 has had some silly issues, though, that make me wonder about keeping it beyond my current lease. I had a recall for an emissions issue (believe it!), and sometimes when I park it won't turn off because I need to put the gearshift in park (it is!) so I have to jiggle it. A couple times I've had the rear camera give a "Service camera" indicator that goes away. The kinds of things that might get wonkier as it ages. That said, the power train on the new one is fabulous and even though I might lean towards getting a used Gen 1 to drive to 400,000 miles, the Gen 2 is peppier and gets longer range, and I don't expect the drive train to fail me. They are both awesome cars. Can't believe I've seen Gen 1's available used for under $8k. What a steal.

Tom (not verified)    January 18, 2021 - 4:00PM

I have a 2013 volt I purchase certified used with 43K miles. It now has 96K miles and I have changed the oil twice. Other than 2 new tires that's it for maintenance. I rarely put gas in the car but I have taken a 1400 mile round trip several times, which is no problem. I think it is the perfect balance as most of my driving is local but the occasional road trip is no problem. I wish they stuck with the car and the dual drive train. I could see myself getting another one at some point. Anyway these cars are now a fantastic bargain on the used market and I would highly encourage anyone to check it out. I think they are the best value going.