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December 11, 2009 4:40 PM | By Mark Atkinson, MSN Autos

2009 LA Auto Show: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and Volt



2011 Chevrolet Cruze (© Photo: Mark Atkinson)
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  • 2011 Chevrolet Cruze (© Photo: Mark Atkinson)
  • 2011 Chevrolet Cruze (© Photo: Mark Atkinson)
  • 2011 Chevrolet Cruze (© Photo: Mark Atkinson)
  • 2011 Chevrolet Cruze (© Photo: Mark Atkinson)
  • 2011 Chevrolet Cruze (© Photo: Mark Atkinson)
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt (© Photo: Mark Atkinson)
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt (© Photo: Mark Atkinson)
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt (© Photo: Mark Atkinson)
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2011 Chevrolet Cruze

2011 Chevrolet Cruze (© Photo: Mark Atkinson)

As mentioned previously, GM's other vehicle previewed should already be on the road, given the number of times it's been brought out to an auto show. Not much new news surrounding the Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric vehicle has been released, although getting a walk around of the near-production development units helps to underscore the company's desire to get it right the first time around.

Lead designer Bob Boniface continually emphasized how aerodynamically efficient the Volt's design is, highlighted by touches like a sealed radiator grille and full LED lights, including daytime running lights and turn signals. And although GM has yet to officially release the Volt's drag coefficient, Chevrolet did get current Toyota Prius and Honda Insight models into the wind tunnel, and were quick to admit that the Volt was comfortably ahead in that regard.

2011 Chevrolet Volt (© Photo: Mark Atkinson)

The interior design hasn't changed much - it still apes Apple's current smooth, white, futuristic touches, but Boniface explained that it will be available in black as well, presumably for those who aren't as fastidious about cleaning their cabins.

Dewar explained that there are 180 similarly hand-finished Volt preproduction units floating around that have undergone over 400,000 km of testing, and that GM had one traveling around Los Angeles to keep the awareness up before going on sale sometime in early 2011.

It will be interesting to see just how much our frigid winters and suboptimal conditions do to the Volt's claimed 70-km electric only range, although the range-extender gasoline engine acts as a generator to get the car another 500 km worth of electricity, if needed. While California and 'similar markets' (i.e. the coasts) are going to be the Volt's first markets, Canada will only have to wait a couple months before we can get our cold, mitten-covered hands on them.

Related Autos links:
2010 Green Car of the Year announced
LA's green machines

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