2017 Chevrolet Bolt: Monthly Update for January 2018
by Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
In contrast to a quiet December, the first month of 2018 brought a lot of action to our long-term 2017 Chevrolet Bolt. With all of our drivers back in the office after some much-needed R&R, our Bolt stayed out of the garage and on the roads — a lot. In fact, nearly all of the 1,393 miles accrued during January were on nothing but Los Angeles' finest traffic-clogged roads.
Thanks to its HOV sticker, the Bolt was an easy choice for drivers needing to get across town in less than two hours. And although it's a compact, the fold-down seats proved invaluable when we needed to haul some gear around or go on a long shopping run.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Typical of electric vehicles, the Bolt loves stop-and-go city driving. And especially with the Bolt's flexible regenerative braking system, most drivers have adapted to using the L setting on the gear selector for smooth one-pedal driving.
EPA projected range: 238 miles
Average lifetime projected range: 241.1
Best range: 334.3 miles
EPA kWh/100 miles (combined) rating: 28
Average lifetime kWh/100 miles: 26.2
Best kWh/100 miles: 18.3
EPA projected mpge: 119
Average lifetime consumption (mpge): 128.7
Current odometer: 13,789 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"For an eco-minded vehicle, the Bolt is pretty nice to drive. It's quick when you need it to be and is stable when going around turns. It's better at performance than both our long-term Chevy Volt and long-term Toyota Prius. It kind of looks like a goofy pod car, but it doesn't drive like one.
"I appreciate that Chevy gives drivers three different levels of regenerative braking. There's the normal, minimal amount in Drive; a more substantial amount coming from the L drive mode; and the highest level that is applied when the driver pushes the button that's on the backside of the steering wheel on the left. Our Bolt's L drive mode provides just about the perfect amount of regen for me. I'm usually only using the brake pedal when I've come to a complete stop." — Brent Romans, senior automotive editor
"The driver's seat cushion is oddly designed. Right at the base where the seatback is, the seat frame's plastic base sweeps up relative to the cushioning. The result is that when I'm getting out I can feel that plastic base under my thighs because there's not enough padding. It's uncomfortable." — Brent Romans
"Last month, my fiancée and I decided to go to Vegas to take a break from work and wedding planning. I initially considered taking the Bolt since its roughly 240 miles of range should have been enough to take me from my doorstep to the Aria. Plus there's a DC fast-charging station in Victorville, California, where I could top off if range dipped more quickly than expected. Out of consideration for her comfort, I opted to take the Genesis G90 instead, which then turned into a short-term Mercedes-Benz AMG GT-R after she got sick and we had to change our vacation dates. (Sometimes you fail successfully.)
"The AMG GT's seats and ride aren't exactly pillowy, but after driving the Bolt for two days, I felt I made the right choice. The Bolt's seats are some of the most uncomfortable I've ever sat in. There's no lateral support to speak of, and the seatback is terribly narrow. Even worse, the seat bottom has almost no front tilt, so I have to resort to jacking the seat all the way up just so my thighs aren't suspended. I could not have been more eager to jump out of the seat after my 40-mile commute this morning. I shudder to think what a long road trip would be like."
— Cameron Rogers, staff editor
"Chevy does a great job giving you on-screen information about the Bolt's electric operation. Just about anything you'd want to know — average miles per kWh, charging information, electricity use percentages for vehicle systems, measurements of your driving style — is here. A lot of it seems like it would only appeal to EV geeks but credit to Chevrolet for making it available." — Brent Romans
"It's refreshing to find that even in the future-forward Bolt, you're confronted with the past the moment you back out of a parking spot. The rearview camera display is of such low quality, I am simultaneously reminded of disposable cameras and playing NES games on a 10-inch CRT television. Couldn't they have nixed the silly rearview mirror display and upgraded the camera instead?" — Cameron Rogers
"The Bolt's interior quality is a major letdown. While it's not as bad as what GM was putting out in the dark days of the late '90s and early 2000s, the interior is still plastic-fantastic. Nothing is soft-touch other than the rubbery armrests. One of the plastic panels on our car's dashboard is misaligned and is popping up. The center console bin isn't lined, so anything you put in there rattles around. Plus, our test car's light gray/white color scheme is just the worst. The thin carpeting looks like mouse fur and dirties easily, and the white panel pieces reflect a lot of sunlight." — Brent Romans