2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV Review

Bolt EV

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2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV Overview

In 2017, the Chevrolet Bolt EV hit the scene to much fanfare. Not only was it the first fully electric vehicle from General Motors since the storied EV1, it was the first affordable EV to cross the 200-mile range barrier, beating rivals like the Tesla Model 3 to market. For 2019, it sees minor updates.

Much ink has been spilled over the Bolt EV’s unique design, but suffice it to say that this subcompact hatchback turns heads. From the swoopy greenhouse and artful chrome appliques to the floating taillights, hovering center stack, and two-tone interior combinations, everything about the Bolt EV’s design signifies that it is no ordinary car. At the same time, Chevrolet maintains enough similarities to conventional cars, like the faux upper and lower grilles, to keep it from looking completely alien. It’s a tasteful package. Three new exterior colors complement the car’s futuristic and aerodynamic form: Green Mist Metallic, Slate Gray Metallic and Shock.

Inside the Bolt EV, there are spots for up to 5 people – though adults sitting three abreast in the rear will find accommodations a bit cramped, much like any other subcompact vehicle. The rear seat is 60/40 split-folding with as much as 56.6 cubic feet with the seats folded down; otherwise it offers a standard 16.9 cu-ft of space in the rear. Features like a big windshield and drive-by-wire shifter, which takes up less space than a conventional one, make the cabin feel airy.

The most interesting feature of the Bolt EV is its electric powertrain, which consists of a 60 kilowatt-hour battery and an electric motor connected to the front wheels. It’s good for 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, plus a zero-to-sixty rating of 6.5 seconds – more than respectable figures for this car. And thanks to the battery and powertrain mounted low in the chassis, critics have nothing but praise for the Bolt EV’s handling. Standard regenerative braking recaptures kinetic energy and provides additional braking force.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Bolt EV for 238 miles of total range, with an efficiency of 128 MPGe city, 110 highway, and 119 combined. Chevrolet states that with the standard 7.2-kilowatt onboard charger and a 240-volt wall connection, buyers can expect to replenish a typical 50-mile commute overnight. Meanwhile, a public Level 2 charger will add about 25 miles of range per hour. For an extra fee, you can opt for the DC fast charging capability, which can add 90 miles of range inside of 30 minutes.

The Bolt EV’s trim spread is pretty simple, in part because it comes with a generous amount of standard equipment. The base LT trim bundles 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, HID headlights, LED daytime-running lights, an 8-inch color digital instrument cluster, keyless access and start, a 10.2-inch color infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 6-speaker audio system, 4G LTE hotspot capability, XM radio and self-sealing tires. The Premier trim adds premium 17-inch machined and painted aluminum wheels, roof rails, mirror-turn indicators, perforated leather seats, front and rear outboard heated seats, a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, chrome accents on the door handles, and a rear armrest. Features like wireless charging, a Bose premium 7-speaker audio system, and special charging USB ports are extra.

As such a high-tech product, the Bolt EV doesn’t lag in terms of safety. Every model comes equipped with a reversing camera and Teen Driver alert, which equips parents with the ability to set limitations on the vehicle and monitor driving habits of their teenaged drivers. For 2019, the Bolt EV adds Tire Fill Alert, which chirps the horn as each tire is filled to the correct tire pressure. Standard on the Premier trim and optional on LT trim are lane-change alert, a 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and reversing sensors. Curiously, adaptive cruise control is still absent from the options list.

The Bolt EV should be heralded for its ability to bring practical levels of electric range to the masses, without fuss, as it’s more than affordable for a wide swath of people. Moreover, it qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit, which can bring the final cost below the $30,000 barrier.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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