Volt: 2011 Car of the Year — really?

2011 Car of the Year?

OK, oh faithful reader, this will be a short one and is guaranteed to get me in trouble somewhere down the road.

Motor Trend, one of those elusive bigwig American auto publications I can only hope to be published in one day, has released their Car of the Year pick. Normally I look forward to their picks, even if I disagree slightly, but this year has just left me shaking my head and wondering how much money they received for picking the car they did.

Motor Trend picked the Chevrolet Volt as their Car of the Year for 2011.

Um, does anyone else see the problem here?

Now, I’d be content in letting this one slide if the car was actually on the road, or even available to purchase at your local GM dealer.Motor Trend might have had time behind the wheel as well as GM execs and designers, but the Volt is still an elusive “dream” in the eyes of most buyers today, whereas cars like the MINI E and the Nissan LEAF are attainable.

Why not pick the Nissan LEAF? I understand the desire to promote the futuristic fantasticness of electric vehicles, I really do. So, if that was the goal of their No. 1 pick, then why not pick a vehicle that’s currently being passed around to journalists and already on order for hundreds (perhaps thousands) to drive next spring? Wouldn’t that make more sense?

Oh, but wait, the LEAF isn’t an American car.

Maybe this will really shoot down my chances of ever being published in Motor Trend, but I’d like to point out a quote I find baffling and basically a lie:

“The Volt absolutely delivers on the promise of the vehicle concept as originally outlined by GM…”

Do they actually remember the concept we saw, oh, 3 or 4 years ago? Let me refresh your memories lest you’ve forgotten (which clearly they have):

The original concept from 2007

I’ll admit, it looked really cool. And I remember thinking: If GM can pull this off, they’ve got themselves a winner here. But they didn’t and what they did, instead, was create a more modern-looking Malibu that’s so far from exciting it verges on sleep-enducing regularity.


I hate to point out shoddy journalism, especially in the automotive field, but it’s hard to ignore this blatantly obvious biased choice by Motor Trend.

I’ll leave you with one more quote from the bigwig magazine (just to really solidify my demise with them in the future):

“Moonshot. Game-changer. A car of the future that you can drive today, and every day. So what should we call Chevrolet’s astonishing Volt? How about, simply, Motor Trend’s 2011 Car of the Year.”

Drive on,
– M.

~ by drivingmsmiranda on November 18, 2010.

11 Responses to “Volt: 2011 Car of the Year — really?”

  1. It is too bad it does not look like the earlier model. I think if performance matched looks, it would sell like hot cakes. When is the Volt available for purchase?

    • Hi NotesFromRumbleyCottage,

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Honestly, I don’t know when the Volt will be available for purchase. When I interviewed Andrew Farah (head designer on the Volt) nearly 2 years ago, he said preproduction models were being driven in Cali. To put that into perspective; I picked up a preproduction Mazda2 this morning that’s been on the press fleet since the beginning of the summer and the real Mazda2s are already available to buy/order.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  2. Since when does the car of the year need to be electric? I think the Leaf as an alternative would have been better as well. But the car of the year should be judged on a few things: fun factor, fuel economy, style, affordability, performance, and the like. The last time I checked, the Volt was predicted to be $30-$40 thousand. That alone would turn it off from being my car of the year, since there are many other cars that are much less expensive, that also have a fun factor for driving and good fuel economy.

    • Hey Taylor,

      Thanks for the read.

      Of course the COTY doesn’t need to be electric, but I understand the need to bring those cars to the forefront and so featuring one as COTY would do just that — and I think there were other, better, options out there to fill that need.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  3. Fear not M, trashing your chances of showing up one day in Motor Trend should be celebrated, sans trepidation of any kind. How they’ve managed to survive alongside the likes of Road & Track or Car and Driver is frankly astonishing to me, and I should know as I probably have about 80% of the issues released by either of those latter two going back to 1978. Every time I dared to try MT, it was instant Amateur Hour. Not only do they clearly sway along with whatever PR crap they’re fed, they have a long history of picking their COTY for political reasons over automotive sense. And as you so aptly point out, here’s another to add to that list.

    • Hey Ian,

      I think what shocks me more is the number of positive congrat comments under the article online. People are agreeing with them! Um, are they blind? Do they not care? Are they being paid off as well?! Me thinks their webmaster may be behind it all …

      As usual, thanks for the read 😉

      Drive on,
      – M.

  4. Hah

  5. The Volt is indeed a technological leap for Detroit.

  6. […] all-electric vehicle, the C-ZERO. Sure, there are other EVs out there (the Nissan LEAF, the Chevy Volt [eventually] and even the Mits i-MiEV), but there’s something something cool about the look […]

  7. […] Yup, the Chevrolet Volt. […]

  8. […] electric cars are often glorified for the wrong reasons (or simply to attract attention, i.e., MotorTrend’s Car of the Year pick). However, as the technology becomes more rampant and at the forefront of vehicular design, […]

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