The Chevrolet Volt, a vehicle few consumers have seen, much less driven, has been named Motor Trend magazine's car of the year.

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The Chevrolet Volt, named Motor Trend's car of the year, is primarily an electric car, but is equipped with a 1.4-litre gasoline engine that extends its range to about 550 km. ((Jae C. Hong/Associated Press))

The Volt is primarily an electric car, but is also equipped with a 1.4-litre gasoline engine that extends its range to about 550 kilometres.

According to Motor Trend, the Volt is a game-changing car of the future, and one of the most significant vehicles to be named car of the year in the 61-year history of the award.

"The Volt absolutely delivers on the promise of the vehicle concept as originally outlined by GM, combining the smooth, silent, efficient low-emissions capability of an electric motor, with the range and flexibility of an internal combustion engine," said Angus MacKenzie, editor in chief at Motor Trend.

The Volt is due to be released in the United States this month, and will sell for about $41,000 US, though government rebates for electric vehicles are available in some jurisdictions. 

A spokesman for General Motors Canada told CBC News the Canadian price for the Volt has not yet been determined. The vehicle will be available in Canada in fall 2011.