Are you disappointed by the look of the new Chevrolet Volt? Compare the leaked pictures of the real thing with the much-publicised concept car, and you see a car of tame, even lame, looks that appear to do nothing to proclaim it as revolutionary.

Volt8 The sharp edges have gone; so has the subtly aggressive proportioning and with it much of the aura of excitement that has surrounded the Volt since it was first previewed.

It’s an excitement that has done much to create an atmosphere of hope around GM, even though its North American activities are going through the economic wringer. Again.

Admittedly, GM has never said so, but most commentators have seen the Volt as a saviour, a car that might finally allow the General to land a punch on Toyota and even turn a profit. Look at these pictures, though, and you see a saloon with all the impact of a used Toyota Corolla. How could GM stumble - again - at such a crucial moment?

In fact, the sharp edges had to go because they create drag, and the wide stance was a non-starter for the same reason. But while the shallow side windows of the original remain, a strip of matt black bodywork beneath them does much to eliminate the drama of their lack of depth.

Of course, the Volt is about far more than looks of course, but the real thing looks weak. And yet these leaked pictures could be cleverer than they appear. Undisguised scoop shots of a Volt on test reveal a car striking for its cab-rear look, its swooping roofline and minimal rear overhang. It appears a lot more impressive than the ordinary-looking Volt in these leaked shots.

So has GM played a blinder in a bid to massively lower our expectations before the reveal on 17 September? That way our first proper sight of the real thing will have us thinking that actually, it looks pretty good after all - even though it’s not as striking as the original. Clever.