Monday, February 28, 2011

Consumer Reports Just Doesn't Get It

     How important are initial reviews of a new technology?  Let's hope for GM and the Volt not very.

     Consumer reports, the patriarch of supposed non influenced reviewing recently came out with their best and worst cars twenty eleven issue.  The Volt did not place at the top, like the Corvette Z06.  Nor did it place in the bottom, such as the Toyota FJ Cruiser.  The Volt however should have done better.

     David Champion, director of Consumer Reports auto test center speaking with Reuters had this to say.  “It was fun to drive and the ride quality was pretty good.  But when you look at the finances, for us it doesn’t make any sense.” “We would have really liked to have loved it.”

     Under the coldest temperatures of the winter, Consumer reports made the assessment that the Volt underperformed on it's electric range.  The Volt Consumer Reports bought and tested ran for just 26 miles before kicking on the gasoline engine.  On top of testing the car in the worst possible conditions for an electric,  CR's David Champion acknowledged that the car may,  I repeat may, perform better in temperate climates and in more city-like conditions.

     "There needs to be a greater sampling of driving conditions that mirror the typical consumer experience," said Greg Martin, a GM spokesman.  “The technical reviews have been positive and it was unusual to have a snapshot under the most cold and snowy conditions this winter in the Northeast.”

     "Driving an electric car in sub freezing weather with the heat on and calling it an objective review is rediculous," said Scott Robinson, an I.T. specialist and electric car enthusiast.  "No one drives an electric car only in the dead of winter.  This seriously makes me doubt the intelligence of Consumer Reports."

     Greg Martin, in a much more subtle way I feel agrees.  “There needs to be a greater sampling of driving conditions that mirror the typical consumer experience.”

     Consumer Reports did not test the Nissan Leaf.

     Hopefully, GM didn't make a mistake releasing the Volt in the dead of winter.  I like to think as they roll out the Volt over the course of the year, reviews during milder weather will help balance out some of the rare early misinformed ones.

      Regardless of how one review of a new technology turns out. We here at The Chevy Volt Blog are still convinced the world is changing, and the Volt is leading the way.

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  1. I think this review of the Volt IS a joke. But I do think Consumer Reports helps the everyday cars and appliances we buy improve year after year. Well, I don't know if they do that, but they certainly let us know which ones are complete crap, and they never said the Volt wasn't fun to drive.

  2. Yea, and let's test the Prius and Civic Hybrid into a strong headwind and an excursion with a strong tailwind.

  3. Consumer reports is about 70 percent accurate in my opinion. The mistake on the Volt here is in their 30 percent of misses. Too Bad.

  4. John - kudos for finding Volt news! I for one have left that other-Volt site for good. It's evident they hired some salaried hack to get a post there daily, who has zero passion for cars with a plug.

    There's a lot of Volt news happening and I plan on opening a web site to counter in the near future.

    Motor Trend, after their glowing COY Award and November cover story wherein they compared the Prius with a plug vs. Volt and Volt came out handily - Now seems to have had second thoughts. Perhaps MT got so much flack from all the compliments - they've felt forced to pull a Consumer Reports.

    On MT's website, they've posted a long-term test article replete with many graphs depicting the Volt as not-quite as thrifty as a standard Prius or LEAF. They also compare Volt's economy to Cruze and in the end, say at least it's performance surpassed the TDI Jetta!

    Problem is, MT pulled a Consumer Reports. In the article and photos, Volt is plowing 20 inch snow from his neighbor's driveway! His graphs and charts list optimum Prius ( 50.2 mpg ) mileage and LEAF's AER as 73 miles. Try getting those results in 19 degree weather! These guys should be shot for misrepresenting Volt and any electric-assist or EV car in sub-freezing weather!

    They are so desperate for print material, they post this tripe when they know it's garbage. Sorry folks, snow isn't on the ground all year round, even in upstate NY or Minnesota.

    Perhaps GM introduced Volt too soon for the auto press - but it's introduction DOVETAILS PERFECTLY WITH THE CRAZY DAILY HIKES IN GAS PRICES. Today, March 1st, some stations in Western Washington State are charging $4.00 per gallon for unleaded regular!( Somebody tell Governmer Gregoire and the Washington State government that this is the best time to shaft EV/Hybrid owners with user taxes ).



  5. How many times do we have to address the definition of 'value' (aka, need vs want, cost/benefit, finances/benefit, etc.)?

    What value does a $100k BMW have? Or a 7-person 4 wheel drive v-8 SUV have when it's almost always used for one-person commuting in good weather? Of course we don't NEED it, but we WANT it. The Volt also has big intangible value. How big, well, sales will tell.

    T 1, from

  6. I saw that "Breakdown" as well James, and inwas similarly disgusted. It was a possibility for a new article but I also thought about giving it 0 attention. He tried to make his research so scientific yet he took the Volt on these long road trips in freezing weather.

    Anyways, Send me an e-mail if you'd like. , I've been working pretty hard on this website since the first day of no new daily blog on GM-Volt. Everyday I've tried to write about the Volt or a Volt issue. Just like the olden days. If you don't get around to starting your own but you'd like to contribute an article now and then, I'd love to have another writer besides myself.

    Hit me up! Same goes to anyone else out there.

    And thanks for visiting TI, James, Shock, Annonymous, and Zach.

  7. iPhone error that was. Tag! Jackson! Micheal H! Rashiid! Ziv! WV! Where are ya! I miss you guys

  8. Everyday we get visitors here from all over the world, but today in particular we've had visitors from not only China but from Iran and Iraq! Even the middle east wants a oil free future!

  9. Nice article John.
    I visit you every day, but I don't comment every day. Thanks for doing this.

    IMO, Consumer Reports is anti-GM anyway. So I don't really put too much faith in what they say.
    James is right. You don't test the EV in the freaking cold and then report that it sucks. Duh!

  10. Rashiid Amul said... "I visit you every day, but I don't comment every day. Thanks for doing this." That goes for me too. And I have other things to do: go with the wife for a blood test, go to the church to turn the heat on for the piano tuner, discover another leak at the church from the toilet I repaired yesterday, go back to the church to let the piano tuner in, work on the leaking toilet, go the the grocery store with the wife, go back to the church to pay the piano tuner, work at the house to get things ready for the electrician that is coming over to hook up my 240V Voltec and a dedicated 120V line for charging at 120V, work with the electrcian as indicated above, and now get back to reading your post after going to GM-Volt forums, and posting two Ampera pictures on GM-Volt dot com. In other words I may have a life. ;-)

  11. MichaelH, Good for you on that life and the charger. How soon until your Volt arrives?

  12. Rashiid, hard to tell. I've been at 4B00, AKA Area 51, since 2/23/2011. I'll be conservative and say another 3 weeks. Thanks for asking.

    This morning we are making a shopping run to the nearest "large" town to get the proper GFCI (weather resistant, tamper resistant, 20A) for the dedicated 120V line. When the electician blesses and installs it, in no particular order ;-), we will be done with the install except for the inspection.

  13. This article could have been titled, "Consumer Reports Does the Predictable -- Again."

    Fear not, John; I'm still around; but I've been pretty busy this week.

  14. <a rel="nofollow">Jackson</a>March 2, 2011 at 7:41 AM

    Edit should be a priority (now you guys will find out that I don't so much write ad edit, lol.

  15. Jackson, "Edit should be a priority."
    Try the "preview" button before you hit "post comment." It works for me, at least a little better.

  16. John@TheChevyVoltBlogMarch 2, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    Aw Shucks, I'm lucky you guys ever comment. I've had quite a few visitors but comments are always a rarity so I really do appreciate you all.

    MichaelH, are you a pastor?

  17. John@TheChevyVoltBlog said... "MichaelH, are you a pastor?" No, just a member with a key and I live with the church treasurer. Since I am retired, it's easier for me to do things like open the door, work on plumbing, shovel snow, work on the computer. You get the picture.

  18. " ...I have other things to do: [...] go to the church to turn the heat on for the piano tuner, discover another leak at the church from the toilet I repaired yesterday, go back to the church to let the piano tuner in, work on the leaking toilet, [...] go back to the church to pay the piano tuner ... "

    Gosh, Michael; that sounds like my Uncle.

  19. Hi, just leased 2012 Chevy Volt. Someone out there please tell me I am wrong in my interpretation of IRS FORM 8936 , which states. In addition to certification, the following requirements must be met to qualify for the credit:
    You are the owner of the vehicle.If the vehicle is leased, only the lessor and not the lessee, is entitled to the credit; So am I wrong in thinking I will not get the credit? Please tell me I am wrong. D Sir

    1. No, you will not get the 7,500 dollars. Reason being because GM get's it. Which is why the cost to lease the Volt is much less than any other 40,000 dollar car. You essentially are leasing a 33,500 car. Only th buyer of the car gets the rebate. Which is the dealership or the company your paying your lease payments too.