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2017 Volt Premium vs. FFE Platinum


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7 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   mcsenerd

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 08:09 AM

Yeah, yeah, yeah... Not another one of "these" types of posts... I get it..

 

I realize that I've got some real "first world"-type problems here, but hey...they're MY problems to have! :-)

 

Anyway, due to some rather nice financial windfalls that have occurred for me this year (combined with some other occurrences that have eliminated typical deductions for us) , our family has gotten into full-on tax reduction/avoidance mode. So...we started thinking that since the wife and I both were driving full size SUVs, that maybe we could do the Earth some good (and our tax liability) by looking into getting a plugin hybrid or electric car. Now...I'd certainly go full-on BEV, but there are occasions where I do some fairly long Texas sized trips, and I typically do those in my own vehicle while leaving the wife and three kids to use her SUV while I'm out...so, BEVs quickly become problematic and not viable after just three or four of those trips per year (yeah...I could rent a car for that...but that's a pain). So, I'm mainly down to choosing a plugin...

 

A little background... Now, I'm coming from what I consider to be the best (even if not well received...) non-"soccer mom" family hauler around for anyone with a masculine lean...The Ford Flex. My 2013 Ford Flex Limited AWD w/ Ecoboost has been a GREAT vehicle. I've got three kids (4,10, and 12) and they've loved the room that they've got when they're back there with the dual moonroofs. It's got tons of room, power, tech and comfort features...and has been very reliable. It's also completely loaded...right down to the adaptive cruise and refrigerator/freezer for the rear. So...I'm a little spoiled. I love and use the AC seats in the Hades days of Texas on a regular basis, and the adaptive cruise control has just been a godsend for me in terms of peace and stress reduction on long Texas trips. Not a huge fan, like many, of the Sync system...but it's been adequate for the life of the vehicle. Real turn off has been the difficulty in keeping my foot of the twin turbos and only getting around 15-16MPG in-town. If I've taken care of things on the highway...I think my high watermark has been around 28MPG which is pretty respectable but just demonstrates that the greatest impact on FE is driving habits and conditions.

 

So...with that being said...I started looking around for a good plugin. Upon first investigating the Gen 2 Volt (2017s), I learned that they had announced ACC availability, but that it wasn't yet available. I test drove a Volt and I thought that although it's a far cry from the power in the Flex...that the driving experience was pretty nice. Quiet ride, reasonably quick acceleration, and decent seats... While I thought that the backseat was a stretch for the kids (funky middle seat bulge is not good), I figured it'd last me for while for the few times when we might take the car instead of the wife's MDX, and most of the time it's just me in there...or me plus one or two kids. Big plus for it was the fact that I could realize the full $7500 credit available. So, I waited for the ACC to become available and ordered one the day it was (that was mid-April). A week after putting my deposit down, they let me know that it had a Target Production Week of 5/9 and I thought that'd be fine. Well...fast forward to now and there's still no Volt here. I started hearing insinuations online that it might be a marketing delay and that the car might not be produced until sometime in August! Worse than that...GM/Chevy had Zero information about what the fark was really going on at all... That really gave me the special flavor of posterior redness...so I started contemplating alternatives. I looked around for a BMW i3 REX, but could hardly find any... I also looked for a Sonata Plugin...none in the entire state... Then I started looking at the Fusion Energi. Found one (And yes...only ONE) in the new Platinum trim level for like a 500 mile radius. This thing was loaded too...plus has the inflatable rear seat belts and already applied 3M paint film. I scheduled a test drive and the sales guy said he'd have it ready for us when we showed up. I brought the kids and wife with me and went to go look at it... Well, show up and the car isn't even on the lot. The sales guy tells me it is on their auxiliary lot and that we'd have to drive there and get it. So, I park the wife and kids in the waiting area and go with the sales guy to get it. The car is literally in right-off-the-shipping-truck state. Plastic, transit mode, factory gas, no charge, etc... Not good. By this time, I've already done some amount of reading about the car and I know it'll work like a typical Hybrid in the state its in. I go ahead and drive the car as-is with the family. Clearly a much better family vehicle than the Volt. Kids look like they're pretty comfortable in the back, and myself and the wife have good room in the front. Really appreciate that it has dual zone climate controls, memory settings for two drivers, cooled seats like my Flex, and air registers in the rear for the kids. The car seems to drive well, but it clearly has less get up and go than the Flex...or the Volt for that matter. I tell the sales guy that this isn't a good "test" for me because I'm trying to compare it to the Volt and it would need a charge to be competitive. He asks if I'd be willing to try it over a weekend and see how it works for me. I told him that sounds good and that doing so would let me know how the reduced range vs the Volt would fit into to our typical around home travels. I tell him, that I'm going out of town for business, but that I could return and pick the vehicle up on Thursday to try it out. Well...in that time, GM/Chevy finally gets back to me that the Volt has been built and is on a train headed for the dealership.

 

Another kicker is that I have a 32ft Class C Gas Motor Home, and we need to be able to tow a vehicle when we go on trips...so I was very happy and surprised to learn that the FFE may even be capable of being towed four down... That's great, but not a real requirement for me, because I have a tow dolly.

 

So now I'm in a quandary... The reality as everyone knows is that these vehicles are very different (in almost every way that two vehicles could be). I've tried to do a pro/con list for me (and these are MY pros and cons...for others...these may be different...YMMV):

 

Volt Premium Pros over the FFE Platinum:

 

Full Tax Deduction

Sorry folks...but has the more advanced powertrain/battery management system of the two

Quicker and feels a "bit" sportier

Better cargo carrying ability...If I needed to get a full load of groceries (not that I like doing that mind you...) I think I could...not so much in the FFE

Almost certainly able to deliver full gas free living for the VAST majority of my driving (Likely 2.3X or more battery only range)

A little lighter...so maybe a "bit" easier to tow

I think MyLink might be a bit better than Sync 3 (but it's closer than people think)

Fairly new generation...so not likely to have shiny new toy feeling super soon...

Wow...it's actually offered in colors that aren't...completely boring and drab

 

 

FFE Platinum Pros over the Volt Premium:

 

Much better ergonomics for the family...when they're all in there.

Memory Settings, Dual Zone Climate Control, and Rear air registers

Cooled seats that also seem to "feel" a bit better/more long term comfortable than the ones in the Volt

Greater total range... (The sticker on this reads 610 miles of total range)

Pedestrian detection (Ummm...Ok. I guess it couldn't hurt...)

 

 

Volt Premium Cons:

 

OMG that penalty box in the back is almost exactly that...

The ordering/factory process/lack of information from GM really ticked me off...

Total range is significantly less than the FFE now...

 

 

FFE Platinum Cons:

 

This one is the White pearlish color (sorry...don't remember the marketing name for it), and although it's "ok"...for me...that's about all it is. Not a big white fan...

I'm not sold on the baseball glove dash bit...

Really ticks me off that there seem to be almost 5K in incentives in leftist land (AKA Cali) <just joking people...kinda> and not available here in TX...

In addition to the above buncha BS...this thing get's me $3500 less in credit :-(

Not sold on the whole battery cooling bit...especially here in Texas. I do garage my cars, but there's no doubt that it's gonna some kinda hot here every year...

Has the tan color interior that ALWAYS gets color transfer...

It's a bigger car...and I think a bit heavier than the Volt so it might be tougher to tow... (wish I made enough bank for a diesel pusher...)

 

Now...I've got choose... The Volt's not here yet, so I'm going to go ahead and take the FFE for a home test this weekend and see how it goes. I might decide to go with the FFE, but they'd have to make me a deal that I couldn't refuse I think...because right now...I'm sorta leaning to the Volt.


Edited by mcsenerd, 09 June 2016 - 08:12 AM.









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#2 OFFLINE   jeff_h

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 08:42 AM

Thanks for the review, I've also been watching your saga on the Volt forum.  And "Iridescent Pearl" is the name of the color - each manufacturer does the quirky name thing fo their colors. On your ordering process, Ford is not much different as there were many of us on the Hybrid forum in 2012 waiting for our new 2013s, one guy in Canada had his built and sit at the plant in Mexico for 5 months with never having a straight answer as to why.  So manufacturers all have glitches now and then, and most are hesitant to give much detail when there are production or QC issues as it makes for really bad press.

 

I had a Fusion Energi for 65k miles (had 2 minor issues over 2 years), and wife still has one (in 3 years the only glitch has been the driver seat cushion latching to seat frame coming undone, otherwise it has been perfect) - so I wouldn't hesitate to buy another on reliability grounds.  I've now had my 2016 Volt for 23K miles, got it since I wanted more EV range and now with commuting 23K miles to work in almost 8 month have used zero gasoline since I charge on each end.

 

My observations are pretty close to yours -

 

Volt's advantages: EV range, tax credit amount, room for groceries/cargo (as the hatchback is not huge but certainly better than the Energi's trunk), better battery life through liquid thermal management system (TMS) rather than forced air only.

 

Energi advantages: Ride quality, roominess of back seat (the Volt works great for since it's a commuter car, but if I hauled kids more than I do I never would have switched), and Sync (some slam Sync, some slam MyLink, to me the MyLink functionality is where Sync was in v3.5.1 and which was improved a lot by v.3.6.2 in 2013, IMHO), and power/memory seats while the Volt still has manual adjust (seems silly for the Volt to not offer power seats but oh well I rarely ever move the seat anyway).

 

So to me it depends on how often you will have people in the back seat (where the roominess there has a clear winner) and how much stuff (groceries, a couple suitcases, etc) you might carry (where the roominess there has a clear winner) -- to me that total range of 400, 600, 610 miles or whatever it is not that big of an issue as if the car is used for long hauls then someone needs to stop sooner than that anyway, and if it's used for local driving then frequent charging is involved so throw out that total.

 

Good luck on your decision!


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#3 OFFLINE   Hybridbear

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 11:39 AM

Have you considered a Model S or X? That would be my choice. I would pick the Volt over the Energi. The current Fusion Energi powertrain is old, dating back to 2013. Thus, its tech lags way behind. You will find that it doesn't have that much power in EV mode either, only 65 kW maximum. The Volt is a far better car for driving EV only. However, the Fusion does have more space. I guess you'd have to decide how much you'd need the space to know if the Volt's smaller design would work. However, a Model S would fix all of those issues & includes free long-distance travel via Superchargers, which makes road trips a pleasure. I'm still leaning toward buying a used Model S when my Focus Electric lease ends in two months.


Edited by Hybridbear, 09 June 2016 - 11:39 AM.

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#4 OFFLINE   mcsenerd

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 02:52 PM

You know... If I could swing a Model S (and was certain that it'd tow on a dolly) then I'd certainly go for it... But it's just too much for me right now.

We went back and re-tested the FFE (with a charge this time...) and after a long family discussion... I think we're gonna go with the Volt. Much as Hybridbear says above...I just think that the EV/Hybrid tech in the FFE is just too long in the tooth for me. The range is just not enough for typical weekend driving for us and the $3500 is just too hard to overcome when the cars are basically the same price. Yeah...we will be giving up space and some nice creature comforts, but in the end...just not enough to overcome the issues I have with the FFE. I don't despise the FFE...far from it. I might even make the opposite decision if I was getting Cali prices here in Texas...but I'm not. So it looks like it'll be a Volt for me after all...
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#5 OFFLINE   larryh

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 10:27 PM

  I've now had my 2016 Volt for 23K miles, got it since I wanted more EV range and now with commuting 23K miles to work in almost 8 month have used zero gasoline since I charge on each end.

 

 

 

What happens in the winter time when the temperature falls in the low teens or below zero?  The ICE would come on in the previous generation of the Volt when the temperature was below 15 F.  Have they changed that.  How low does the temperature have to go before the ICE will start in the 2016? 


Edited by larryh, 09 June 2016 - 10:31 PM.

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Tracking MPGe--not MPG.


#6 OFFLINE   jeff_h

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 02:45 AM

What happens in the winter time when the temperature falls in the low teens or below zero?  The ICE would come on in the previous generation of the Volt when the temperature was below 15 F.  Have they changed that.  How low does the temperature have to go before the ICE will start in the 2016? 

 

They have "Engine Running Due To Temperature" or ERDTT which forces the ICE on at temps under 32F (or maybe it's 35F, it's one of those two), unless you set the option setting to "deferred" in which case the ICE doesn't come on until it gets under 15F -- which does happen in VA now and then but is pretty rare.  I hear you guys have a term in MN when it gets under 15F: "windbreaker weather"


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#7 OFFLINE   larryh

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 04:20 AM

How can you compare the noise levels generated by the ICE between the Volt and the Energi if you don't start the engine? :)  Your warranty will run out and you don't even know if it works.  Do you know if there is much difference in their noise levels or if active noise cancellation is a significant improvement? 


Edited by larryh, 10 June 2016 - 06:06 AM.

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199291.png

 

 

Tracking MPGe--not MPG.


#8 OFFLINE   jeff_h

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 11:04 AM

How can you compare the noise levels generated by the ICE between the Volt and the Energi if you don't start the engine? :)  Your warranty will run out and you don't even know if it works.  Do you know if there is much difference in their noise levels or if active noise cancellation is a significant improvement? 

 

There is also an "Engine Maintenance Mode" (EMM) that runs every 6 weeks like it or not, and when that runs the ICE is actually quieter than the Energi.  There is also Fuel Maintenance Mode (FMM) which starts to burn up the fuel after sitting there for a year, I think the Energi also has that but the interval is 24 months or so...


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