Chevrolet Bolt test drive

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 I do like the design of the Bolt.
It has a fun and friendly personality. Sure, some details could be toned down (Like some of the chrome bits)
And the original concept did look a bit nicer (Especially that really cool glass roof)

Overall, it reminds me a bit of the Honda Fit. (Except better looking than the current generation)

 The interior is very roomy with an open feel.
Visibility is pretty amazing. In part due to how high the seating position is. (And the design of the front windows)
It is actually pretty surprising. (You don’t really realize how high you sit until you drive next to other cars and SUVs.)

Everything is solid and well put together. Although nothing has a luxurious feel.
But it looks really modern and inviting.

Coming out of a Honda Accord the previous week, the infotainment of the Bolt did
 not feel as intuitive as the Honda at all. (And, a few times, it wasn’t as responsive. )

But after a while, everything works fine…

 I will again complain about the electronic shifter. Which is the exact same one used in the Enclave I tested earlier.
Not the most intuitive design at all. And a bit annoying to use.
Especially in the Bolt, I would expect something different.

 The dash is covered in a strange/interesting texture. Which, at least, is quite a nice and original touch.

 The main screen is very easy to use and read. With a giant speedometer in the middle.

 The back seat is quite roomy and very comfortable.

 The roomy truck has a cool hidden compartment under a solid cover.

 As I mentioned, I was surprised how high you sit in the Bolt (Even with the seat at its lowest position)
Which is not my favorite. But these days, most people seem to like a high seating position.

One thing I also noticed early was how much of a light show the dashboard is at night (Of course you can dim the whole thing)
But most of these lights end up as reflections on the side windows, which can be distracting at first.

 Like most EVs, the Bolt has plenty of power.
And becomes really, really quick in the “sport” mode. (Tires will chirp)

The steering has more feel than I though it would. Which is nice.
The suspension is on the firm side, but also very smooth in general. And road noise was mostly very low.
So you get the usual super quiet EV ride. And the whole thing always feels very solid.

 I noticed a few times that the Bolt was actually pretty sensitive to side winds. Probably because it is quite tall.
Not only side wind, but also to cars and trucks passing by when you are parked along the road.

 The Bolt has an official range of 238 miles.
I never used the whole thing since I recharged it overnight a coupe of times.
(Using a regular 110 outlet)

Once I drove for about 80 miles and the charge only went down about 40 miles.
It happened a few times. Which leads me to believe you could probably squeeze more than 238 miles out of a full charge.

I have to say that I was really happy to finally be able to drive from Hollywood to Malibu (and back) for the very first time in an electric car.
I even took the long way, through Mulhauland drive, and there was plenty left on the charge when I got back.
No “range anxiety” at all.

 The Bolt is a just a very nice car to drive. EV or not.
It is very roomy, has a solid feel and has more power than most people will ever use.
And it is fun.

I think its only problem might be the price.
Of course, for now, all EVs are overpriced compared to what they will be in a few years. That goes for any new technology. ( I remember the $15 000 32 inch plasma TVs…)

But at over $43 000 (Before incentives of course), the Bolt has some serious competition from the Tesla Model 3.
A Model 3 with the luxury package (Upgraded stereo, seats, glass roof and more ) optional wheels and paint (Any color except black is $1000 extra) is still “just” $42 000.
The Bolt is great, but there is nothing upscale about it. While the Tesla (from what I have seen) is a more upscale offering. Also, from a more upscale brand.

The huge advantage the Bolt has is that you can actually get one right now.
Currently, the Model 3 has a “12 to 18 months” waiting list if you order one today.
(Which could very well turn into a 2 year wait)
So for most people, the Tesla is not even an option…

You can also save some money by ordering a more basic Bolt for about $37 000.
It will mostly be the same car as the one I drove. 
Compared to the BMW i3, the Bolt doesn’t feel as special and futuristic. But the huge range does make all the difference in real life.
The E-Golf is a much more conservative car. It has a quite upscale interior (just like all Golf models).
But it also feels a bit like an old man’s car next to the “fun” Bolt.
The Golf has always been pretty conservative and anonymous and that applies to all versions.
The seating position of the Golf is much lower (something I personally prefer). And it does drive great.
(test drive HERE)  
In its favor, the VW is also much cheaper. Starting at under $31 000. 
And the new Nissan Leaf is even cheaper. At under $30 000. For a range of about 150 miles, which is pretty good. (I will try to drive one soon)
But again, the much longer range of the Bolt makes it a superior daily driver. You can actually use it on road trips. If you plan carefully. 

I really enjoyed my week with the Chevrolet Bolt. I was really looking forward to drive one and I wasn’t disappointed.
The EV range was, for the first time, never a problem.

Click on the pic above for all the pricing details of the car I was driving.
It is a roomy, fast and easy car to live with.

And if you need to know more about the Bolt, head over HERE

Conversation 10 comments

  1. Way too expensive and does not at all look like a $40k car. It looks about half that. If Chevy could take the same design and stick their 1.4 liter in the front and sell it for about $20k or so, they would fly off the lot. It's cute and functional, but people spending $40k want something more than cute and functional, and this ain't it.

  2. I do not care what the range is. I want a battery that can fully recharge in under 5 minutes. Until then, the brave, and those who go nowhere, can own an EV with current battery technology. I agree with the post that the Bolt with a regular turbo would fly off the lots,

  3. I test drove one, and it enjoyed it… but I had to cross it off my shopping list because of that tiny trunk. It is not large enough to fit an ordinary acoustic guitar in its case….
    And, yeah, that price is kind of ridiculous.

  4. The real problem with the Bolt is just the body style and the interior. Chevy went for the econo car look when the market has shifted to crossovers. So it costs $44k but looks like a $20k car. That's a problem when the Model 3 looks like a more expensive car than it is. Of course, you can actually buy a Bolt right now, which you can't do with the Tesla. And the Bolt comes from a major automaker that, at least theoretically, has a robust engineering department that can correctly design whole cars, unlike Tesla which sent Model 3's out with no radio functionality.

  5. "You can also save some money by ordering a more basic Volt for about $37 000.
    It will mostly be the same car as the one I drove."
    Vince, I own a Volt and have driven a Bolt. They are not similar at all.

  6. Very nice acceleration but other then the Tesla models, most others look like crap. The EV market is a niche market for those environmentalists that want to make a statement and the EVs design show it with the oddball EV looking vehicles. Surprisely the market share has double recently as government vehicles are force to be EV vehicles to around 2% of the car market share.

  7. Wow I'm surprised leather seats are standard equipment. The car seems pretty loaded even without any options.

    Nice review. I'm one of those peeps who likes the tall upright packaging and high seating position, so I would probably like this.

  8. "I do not care what the range is. I want a battery that can fully recharge in under 5 minutes…"

    Charging this will take less than five minutes. Actually, it'll take about five seconds. You park, you plug it in, and you go into your house. You have a full "tank" the next time you go to drive it. It's a totally different regimen with EVs than with conventional ICE cars. You don't have to stand there like a dope while waiting to fuel up.

    That said, this is a compliance car. It allows them to sell more trucks. GM doesn't really want to be selling this, and you can tell. They have their terrible dealers, suppliers and the oil industry that they have to keep happy… none of whom support the idea of EV's.

  9. . . . Actually, it'll take about five seconds. You park, you plug it in, and you
    . . . go into your house. You have a full "tank" the next time you go to drive it.

    Yeah, sure … if that "next time you got to drive it" is 12 hours away. If it's not, well then shut up and stay home.

    Oh, and about that road trip you want to take? Well, add on a few days each way for the stupid EV to charge. I'd rather look like a "dope" for 5 minutes at a gas station that be stuck like a dope in the middle of nowhere because Awie Gour said gweeeeenhouze gassies.

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