2017 Chevrolet Bolt: Monthly Update for March 2017
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
After just a few weeks in the fleet, our long-term 2017 Chevrolet Bolt has become a staff favorite. It's an excellent city car with above-average range (as far as compact electric cars go) and the carpool stickers make it extremely useful in traffic-plagued Southern California.
Here's what our editors had to say while driving it during the month of March.
"I'm fairly convinced the Bolt is the best L.A. car you can buy. You've got range — range to drive from the Westside to Pasadena, down to the O.C. and back. You've also got excellent visibility thanks to a cute-ute-esque seating position, it's narrow and it has a good turning radius. Oh, plus you've got decent torque for city driving as well as ample highway-speed passing power. And, as the pièce de résistance, you get HOV lane access. Sold." — Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor
"As much as I find the Bolt an intensely uncomfortable place to be, it's quite good to drive. It drives, in fact, like the perfect small commuter car. No waiting for gear changes, and no worries about being in the power range of a tiny turbocharged motor means that negotiating traffic is a breeze. I also enjoy driving in L, which engages regenerative engine braking. After a little acclimation, I found I could do most of my driving with just my right foot." — Will Kaufman, Associate Editor
"First time driving the Bolt and I was pleasantly surprised. It has a refined ride quality that you don't often get from eco-minded cars. Hard, skinny tires designed for optimum mileage are usually the culprit, yet the Bolt feels very compliant on the highway. I also like the feel of the driver seat, although I can see some people having an issue with the overall seating position." — Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor
"For an extended trip on the highway, I thought the Bolt would be a bit choppy, but I'm pleasantly surprised with the ride quality and how quiet the cabin is. Just a little bit of volume from the stereo and I've drowned out the road/wind noise. Not to mention, having carpool stickers in Friday rush-hour traffic is clutch. That might be worth the cost of entry alone." — Travis Langness, Automotive Editor
"That gray dashboard top is a terrible idea. While it wasn't shiny enough to create glare, it did a really good job of making the windshield look hazy and in need of a decent cleaning. Dark-colored dashboard tops only, please." — Kurt Niebuhr
"These might be the least comfortable seats I can remember sitting in. They're way too narrow, and the back is shaped for a much shorter person than me. In addition, the padding is very thin. The combination of wrong shape and thin padding meant that the hard plastic was giving me intense sore spots. I really cannot remember ever being less physically comfortable in a driver seat, which is insane because the seats in the Volt are perfectly comfortable.
"As with the i3, the Volt offers generous amounts of glass ... and no extendable visor. The left side of my face felt like it was going to melt à la the Gestapo agent in Indiana Jones. This is insane because the Volt has a very useful and functional extendable visor." — Will Kaufman
"Very impressed by the design of the dashboard display screen. It's crisp and clear like an iPhone and works intuitively. Same goes for the instrument panel graphics. Together they give the Bolt the look and feel of a cutting-edge car."— Ed Hellwig
"In 17 miles over two days, Bluetooth has dropped 10 times. Sometimes it automatically reconnects; sometimes it doesn't. Either way, it never automatically resumes playback." — Mike Magrath, Content Strategist
"I appreciate Chevy's efforts to implement wireless charging docks, and I think that the Bolt is the best one I've experienced. Our Volt makes you open the center armrest bin to access the little charging pocket, while the other GM products I've been in recently had little trays where it was too easy to fail to place the phone just in the right way so that charging would start. The Bolt's charging pocket is well placed, and I swear it's a little bigger than the Volt's. I didn't have to remove my phone's case to make it fit. The downside, of course, is that the bottom of this exposed rubber pocket is starting to fill up with dust and crumbs." — Will Kaufman
Maintenance and Upkeep
"We called Hooman Chevrolet in Culver City to schedule an appointment to have the license plate bracket mounted on the front of the vehicle. For those unaware, here in California, a plate is required on both ends of the vehicle or you're risking a 'fix-it' ticket from L.A.'s finest men and women in blue.
"The gentleman on the phone quoted me an hour installation time and a $60 charge. We thought about doing it ourselves but opted to leave it to the dealer. When we arrived for our appointment, Claudia, our service adviser, told us she'd find someone to put it on really quick and she quoted me a 5-minute installation time and a $0 charge. I think we can chalk this up to great customer service from Hooman Chevrolet." — Michael Massey, Vehicle Testing Assistant