When it comes to green car technology, Jay Leno is the last person you would expect to sling insults towards Chevrolet's upcoming plug-in Volt.
The "Tonight Show" host has long featured alternative fuel vehicles in his online "Jay Leno's Garage" series — and he even had a "Green Car Challenge" during his short-lived primetime stretch on NBC.
So when Leno was quoted recently as saying the Volt was "a people mover, not a people impresser" — and likened it to the Chevy Cobalt (something of a slam in the car world), news outlets jumped on his critiques.
But Leno says the entire episode was taken out of context by the Detroit News reporter who interviewed him.
"[The reporter] asks me 'so, Jay, are you going to be the first person to buy a Volt?' and I told him no, I already own a lot of cars and they tend to be sports cars," Leno told ABC News. "I was trying to explain to him that it's more of an everyday car, you know, not a Corvette. And the next thing you know you have headlines that say 'Jay Leno Zings the Volt,' and that's not at all what I was trying to get across. This is unfortunate because the reality is, I truly believe the Volt is going to be a breakthrough vehicle."
Indeed, Leno made similar comments to the Wall Street Journal's Driver's Seat blog saying, “I have nothing against the Volt, in fact I think that technologically it’s brilliant. But I wouldn’t drive one to Bob’s Big Boy," he added, referencing the California locale famous for hot-rod and classic car gatherings.
All of this shows the Chevy Volt is meant to appeal to a wide array of consumers — not just those who are interested in how it looks or how much horsepower is under the hood. Granted, all that instant torque could smoke most hot-rods off the line, but for Leno, the Volt just doesn't stir the same emotions as the classics.
“You aren’t going impress anyone when you open the hood because it's electric,” he added.