It started a few weeks ago. I've always liked the idea of the Volt and electric cars in general. I remember looking at antique electric cars and wondering what it would have been like if we had adopted them instead of the oil baron's choice. Anyway, I found out that our local dealer in Burbank had a demonstrator we could test drive so Bob and I went over on a Saturday and took it for a spin. I felt very at-ease in the car, and it took about 5 seconds to feel confident driving it. But none were available for sale! The dealer said no more were being made for 2011 but they said a secret black one was going to show up later and if I wanted to put down a $1K deposit... Hahahaha! I sent out emails to other dealers in the area. No one had one. But on Tuesday, I got an email from a dealer in Glendale who said he just got a black one. I don't like black cars but I went and looked at it on Wednesday morning anyway, just to check it out. Yep, it was black. AND the dealer wanted $3K over MSRP. But that was only because I was an "Internet Customer". They were asking $5K over sticker for a walk-in customer. I left and drove on to work but in a short time I got a call from Oscar Gutierrez at Bunnin Chevrolet in Culver City saying he had a loaded red one that just came in! Now that's more like it. He was sticking to MSRP pricing too. Funny thing, the car had a higher sticker price than Glendale's, but the lease payments were a good bit less.
I've had a couple of pleasant buying experiences, but none as nice and non-invasive as this one. We never set foot in the dealership at all. Instead, a few phone calls, a form to fill out on the dealer's Web site and some email exchanges with insurance information, etc. I was able to go about my day with very little interruption and *he* did all the work. He even drove the car to our house from Culver City in weekday evening traffic and waived the normal delivery fee. Very pleasant experience and a very nice salesman. Oscar was enthusiastic without being phoney and very accommodating.
When Oscar was about to leave to bring the car, he gave me the info I needed to set up my OnStar account access both on the Web and on my iPhone. I was able to see that he had gassed up the tank (it went from 2% to 97% full) and I could see the miles he'd traveled so I knew when he was getting close. I could also see one of the tires was a tad low on air. (With the iPhone app, I'll be able to turn on the heat or A/C ahead of drive time, and all kinds of stuff.) When he arrived at the house, there were lease papers to sign, pairing of the iPhone via Bluetooth, testing the remote app on the iPhone, getting the demonstration of what does what, setting up the charging cord, etc., etc. After all that, I was really only able to drive it around the block and then back to the driveway to charge.
Initial impressions: The car seems to have good fit and finish. The leather seats are comfortable and the amount of leg room is really surprising. It has a tilt and telescope steering column, but it's not like the older GM style. This has a lever you unlock, then the whole column moves freely up and down rather than pivoting on a u-joint. The electric power steering is on as soon as you boot up the car, so it's odd to be able to turn the wheel easily while no engine is running. The so-called center stack seems very complicated to me. A lot of buttons that could be very distracting if you tried to adjust stuff while driving. Most of the environmental controls offer an automatic mode, and perhaps this will be where they will stay. There is a good bit of "plastic" used in the body panels. This makes sense given the need to save weight. I am not particularly interested in the body panels, I'm excited about the drive train and the electric operating mode. That and it's pretty cool to go to my iPhone and with the app I downloaded, be able to find out where I parked my car by zooming in on a map. The integration with smartphones is nice for a geeky type like me. The whole car is pretty geeky, but you can enjoy it as a car too since it provides a nice driving experience.
It comes with 5 years of OnStar!
Color: Crystal Red Metallic Tintcoat
Interior: Jet Black leather appointments with Dark accents
And I want to keep track of a bit of info on getting a spare charging cord.
GM PART # 22781210
PACK QTY: 1
CORE CHARGE: $0.00
List Price: $450.00
You Save: $135.00 (30%)
(although there is some trickery as they want $75 for S&H !]
Volt #3179 : delivered 5/18/2011