Next-gen Chevy Volt

With the next-gen Chevy Volt due to make an appearance at the Detroit Auto Show early next year, bits and pieces about the new car are making their way into the press.

Perhaps most importantly, the new Volt is going to have better "fuel economy and efficiency," according to GM executive vice president Mark Reuss. The current Volt gets 98 MPGe and 37 miles per gallon on premium fuel. It also has a 38-mile electric-only range. We don't know how GM will improve the efficiency or to what degree, but the logical options include making the car lighter, giving it better aerodynamics and/or improving the powertrain. To that end, one of the big things we don't know for sure includes information on the new gas-powered engine. Forbes says it will be a downsized 1.0-liter, three-cylinder mill instead of the 1.4-liter, four-cylinder used in the current model, which could certainly help the car be more efficient. The new Volt is also going to have more technology, which shouldn't surprise anyone.

GM is now openly talking about how it will change the way it markets the Volt, shifting away from the mass-market mentality to focus on the regions where the car is already popular. "There's a Northeast and West Coast market for Volt, and there's nothing wrong with that," Chevy chief marketing officer Tim Mahoney told Forbes.

There are rumors that the new Volt will have seating for five by adding a seat in the back. This is something a lot of current Volt owners would love, but we've heard nothing official hinting that this would be the case. We expect the battery to be the new 17.1-kWh version, or maybe even have a capacity increase, so GM would have to seriously repackage the pack to eliminate the ridge that runs from between the front seats and then back to the rear two seats. If you've heard anything official, do let us know.