Drive Strong

Automakers are back with a vengeance—serving up the most advanced, fuel-efficient, and intelligent crop of new cars and SUVs we've ever seen. Additional reporting by Roman Mica and Michael Sheena.

Chevy Volt     Photo: Photo courtesy Chevrolet

Power for the People
CHEVY VOLT
THE SELL: Finally, an electric car that makes sense. After an overnight charge, the Volt's all-electric mode lets drivers go gas-free for about the length of most commutes—25 to 50 miles. When the juice dies, the 1.4-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine kicks in to generate electrical power for 300-odd more miles.
THE TEST: Even battling L.A. traffic and climbing a long way into the San Gabriel Mountains, the no-frills Volt went an honest 46 miles before using a drop of gas. Bummer: The small backseat is best suited for kids.
THE VERDICT: The Volt is the new undisputed king of green commuting—though it's more exciting for what it represents (say, hope for mankind) than for its rental-car-like driving performance. $40,280 (from the low $30s with tax credits); equivalent to 93 mpg in electric mode, 35 city/40 hwy in gas mode; chevrolet.com

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