2017 Chevy Bolt EV Review
2017 Chevy Bolt EV Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Director, Vehicle TestingDan is a mechanical engineer by trade and spent 16 years developing new cars for two automakers before coming to Edmunds as its director of vehicle testing.
- Has double the electric range of most other EVs
- Cabin is spacious because the battery is hidden under the floor
- Coordinated steering, handling and braking make it enjoyable to drive
- Easy smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
- Lackluster carpet and interior panel quality
- Touchscreen has no built-in navigation maps, relies on paired smartphone
- Seats feel small and lack depth of cushioning
- Ride comfort loses its polish on rougher roads
Everything. The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is an all-new model.
The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is the low-cost electric vehicle we've all been waiting for. You can drive a Bolt more than 200 miles on a charge, which is double the range of most rivals. Plus, it's functional, more spacious inside than it looks, and fun to drive.
One thing we're not convinced of is that Volt and Bolt are the best names Chevrolet could have picked for its pair of plug-in vehicles. Their names sound virtually the same, but these are fundamentally different vehicles.
The Volt is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) with 53 miles of electric range. That's more range than any other PHEV you can buy offers, but it's also less than any pure electric vehicle. It gets around its range limitation and erases the idea of "range anxiety" by having a 1.5-liter gasoline engine and a gas tank big enough to make it as useful as any normal car.
The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV has no need for a gasoline engine because it gets around range anxiety another way: It has a humongous battery. In technical terms, its capacity is 60 kilowatt-hours (kWh), but all you really need to know is the Bolt EV will go more than 200 miles on a full charge. The EPA's official estimate is 238 miles. That's Tesla territory.
But the Bolt's price certainly isn't Tesla territory. Its as-new purchase price is less than $40,000 before you figure in the tax credits that are available. The best part is the Bolt EV is functional, fun to drive and remarkably spacious. And it promises to be more reliable than either of the two Teslas we've tested for a year. Who needs to wait around for the Tesla Model 3 when you can buy this right now?
Edmunds' Expert Rating4.5 / 5
The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is the low-cost electric vehicle we've all been waiting for. You can drive a Bolt more than 200 miles on a charge, which is double the range of most rivals. Plus, it's functional, more spacious inside than it looks, and fun to drive. We highly recommend it to EV shoppers.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier Hatchback.
|Overall||4.5 / 5|
We were surprised by how much we enjoyed driving the Bolt. Its 200-horsepower electric motor delivers a healthy dose of thrust, its low-slung battery helps to make it feel sure-footed, and the steering and brakes are more than just predictable and smooth — they're engaging.
You'll find plenty of oomph when you press the Bolt's accelerator. It merges onto freeways with ease, and there's a good deal of reserve power for passing on two-lane roads. Our test car accelerated to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds at the track, a fine showing for a family car, much less an electric one.
The Bolt is unique among EVs because it relies on standard friction brakes in D mode, which is why they feel so consistent and easy to modulate. It stops from 60 mph in an impressive 116 feet, too. Put the lever in L mode for strong regenerative braking and improved range.
Turn the wheel and the Bolt responds smoothly, with a just-right level of response that's neither too darty nor too dead. There's good feel and feedback as you dial in more steering, too. And on the freeway it has good straight-ahead stability that doesn't demand a lot of driver attention.
The Bolt feels nimble, coordinated and sure-footed when the road gets curvy. And it doesn't roll much, either. Credit the large underfloor battery pack because it gives the Bolt a very low center of mass and makes it less nose-heavy than it would be if it had a traditional gas engine.
It is hard to imagine how it could drive better. The electric motor is utterly smooth, and the single-speed direct drive transmission never shifts. We especially like the one-pedal lift-throttle braking available in L mode, with extra slowing available by squeezing the left-hand steering paddle.
On balance, the Bolt comes across as comfortable. Like any EV, its cabin is exceedingly quiet. But two apparent cost- and weight-saving decisions hold it back. The simplistic rear suspension doesn't cope with rough roads as well as other types might, and the all-business seats feel a bit chairlike.
The Bolt's seats feel supportive and offer height adjustability, but they lack a feeling of plushness. And they feel small, as if you're sitting on them instead of in them. The latter may matter most to larger folks, but it's worth sitting in one and making sure before you sign any papers.
It doesn't float or wallow much at highway speeds, so in that sense the Bolt feels steady and smooth. It soaks up simple bumps readily, too. But things can get clunky when the surface is pocked with cracks, fractures and sharp edges, a likely result of its unsophisticated rear suspension design.
Noise & vibration5.0
The lack of engine noise, accessory drive belts and the absence of shifting give the Bolt a huge leg up compared to a regular car. We never were bothered by excessive wind noise, either. A bit of tire noise wafts up from the road, but it's nicely muted.
The Bolt's cabin warms up quickly because electric heat doesn't have to wait for an engine to warm up, and if the car is plugged in, it can be preheated with no range impact. When underway, maximize your range by dialing down the heat and relying on the Premier's standard heated seats instead.
The Bolt's interior is functional, with simple-to-understand controls, plenty of room in the front and the back, and easy entry and exit. The main letdown is the apparent quality of the materials used, which is most obvious when it comes to the carpet and the interior panel plastics.
Ease of use5.0
The controls are thoughtfully arranged and separated by function, with a handy volume knob and tune buttons just below the touchscreen. Climate controls are also prominent and self-explanatory. The instrument panel can be configured three ways; we like the Enhanced setting's range-coaching features.
Getting in/getting out5.0
All four of the Bolt's doors open wide, and the roofline is tall all the way to the rear hatch. And the seats themselves are in the Goldilocks zone for height; they're neither too high nor too low.
A range of our drivers found it easy to settle in behind the wheel thanks to the Bolt's height-adjustable driver seat and the generous adjustment range of its telescopic steering wheel.
The Bolt feels much bigger inside than you'd suspect after looking at it from outside. There's plenty of head- and legroom, and that extends to the rear seats. Our 6-foot-2-inch tester was able to adjust the front seat to his liking and then move to the rear seat with no trouble.
You can easily see out of the Bolt. Peekaboo windows up front help you see past the front roof pillars, and the low window sill makes it easy to see out the sides. Mirror coverage is good, and the rear blind spot isn't large. We wish the standard rearview camera worked better in low light, though.
Chevy's desire to save weight and cost with the interior is obvious. The carpet feels thin and the easily dirtied left footrest is unprotected. The interior panels don't even attempt to disguise the fact that they are made of hard plastic. For a car in the Bolt's price range, it's disappointing.
As a ground-up design, the Bolt EV does well in this area because of its tall profile and the underfloor position of its big drive battery, a position that has no negative repercussions for either passenger or cargo space.
Considering its size, the Bolt doesn't disappoint in this area. The front door pockets are good-sized, the center console and glovebox are adequate, and the main cupholders are well-positioned. There's also an open bin for a purse and a couple of extra cubbies perfect for phone storage.
At 16.9 cubic feet with all seats in use, the Bolt's cargo area is usefully sized. The available floor panel cover can either be left in place for hidden basement storage or removed to carry bulkier items. Fold one or both parts of the 60/40-split backseat to open up a bigger space.
Child safety seat accommodation5.0
LATCH anchor and top tethers cover all three rear seat positions, and you can choose to fit one car seat in the middle or a pair in the outer seats. The anchors are easy to reach, and the door opening is adequately large and doesn't slope down much at all. Enough space for bulky rear-facing seats.
The Bolt handles smartphones well, with up to four USB ports. But built-in navigation is oddly unavailable. Apple CarPlay and Android will let you echo your phone's map on the main screen, but you have to own one of those phones, have a sufficient data plan and be in an area with data coverage.
Audio & navigation2.5
The Bolt's touchscreen is big, but menu response can be slow. We like the fixed volume knob and the volume paddle behind the right steering spoke. Oddly, navigation is absent unless you use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to display your phone's map on the big screen — provided you have a signal.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. Bluetooth is available for those who can't or prefer not to use these interfaces. There are two front-seat USB ports in the LT, and if you get a Premier and opt for the Infotainment package you'll get two more charge-only ports for the backseat.
Our Premier came standard with rear parking sonar and rear cross-traffic and blind-spot monitoring, all of which are optional on LT. Additional systems that are optional on Premier (and not available on LT) include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assistance.
The standard voice controls work well, and if you have CarPlay or Android Auto active, you can hold the button longer to access Siri and Google Voice, which opens the door to even more voice-activated data possibilities.
Which Bolt EV does Edmunds recommend?
In terms of range and performance, the Bolt LT and Premier are identical. We suggest the Premier because it comes standard with roof rails, leather-trimmed seats and other desirable equipment. And it opens the door to options not offered on LT, such as premium audio and advanced driving aids.
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV models
The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is an all-electric four-door hatchback that is offered in just two trim levels: LT and Premier. Both share the same mechanical running gear, including the 200-horsepower electric motor and the large 60-kWh underfloor battery that is good for about 238 miles on a full charge.
Standardized 240-volt charge equipment will fill that battery from empty in about 9.3 hours. But it's unlikely you'll ever run it down that low between charges, so it's better to think in terms of the Bolt's 240-volt Level 2 charging rate, which is a healthy 25 mph-c (miles added per hour charging). Don't plan on subsisting on the included 120-volt Level 1 power cord because it can only recharge at 3 or 4 mph-c.
With the LT, you'll get 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, a rearview camera, and keyless ignition and entry. Inside, you'll find height-adjustable cloth seats, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a configurable gauge cluster display, automatic climate control, a 10.2-inch touchscreen, OnStar, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and a six-speaker sound system with two USB ports.
Options for the LT include the Comfort and Convenience package, which consists of heated front seats, a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Driver Confidence I package brings in blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors. Another noteworthy LT option is a cargo area floor cover for extra storage capability.
Step up to the Premier and you'll get everything described above, including the LT options. You'll also get cargo roof rails, leather seats, ambient interior lighting, heated rear seats, a center rear armrest, a top-down parking camera system and an upgraded, camera-based rearview mirror.
Premier options include the Infotainment package, which has a seven-speaker Bose audio system, wireless smartphone charging and two charge-only USB ports for rear seat passengers. There's also the Driver Confidence II package, which consists of a forward collision warning system with pedestrian detection and low-speed automatic emergency braking, a lane departure warning and intervention system, and automatic high-beam headlamp dimming.
The only significant option that's common to both of them is DC fast charging capability, which allows the car to use SAE Combo 400-volt Level 3 charge stations that can fill the battery to 80 percent in little more than an hour. Think in terms of a charge rate upwards of 150 mph-c and you can see the benefit. We consider this option to be essential for a car with as much range as the Bolt because, as more of these stations get built, DC fast charging will open the door to interstate travel.
All-New 2022 Bolt EUV
LT and Premier
See All Trims
*The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price includes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Wanted a Volt, got a Bolt
Premier 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
I wanted to replace my Ford Escape Hybrid with a Volt but did not like the tight feeling of the Volt. But the Bolts were in the Dealership and I found that it was a much better choice for me. The car is very comfortable although it is a subcompact. It seemed roomier than the Ford Escape. The 200 Hp engine seemed almost too powerful. The low gear for hill driving is created by … increasing the power flow back to the battery and lets you drive without using the brake. Your smart phone hooks into the large monitor and gives you all those apps including high level navigation for free. The 240 mile range makes it worry free for fuel and it it turns out that there are public chargers all over, mostly free and you do not even need them. Charging at home for 1/4 the price of gas gives you 120 mpg equivalent. I think that the time is here for 98% of the country to switch to this new level of driving experience.
5 out of 5 stars
2017 Bolt mfg date 11/2016
Premier 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Update 3/1/22: Almost 106k miles and I got a new drive battery under the recall with another 100k warranty. Needed a new 12v battery last year which is expected. Other than that, it’s been wiper blades, tires and washer fluid. 8/21/20-Got CarPlay2Air for wireless Carplay. Best car I’ve ever owned. Update 2/21/2019: Had a creaking develop at the front of the car. Fixed under warranty … by replacing the front left axle. Bumper to bumper is over, and my plastic seatback breaks. $50 part, easy install. Still, best car ever! Update as of 2/19/2018: Had the dealer update the Infotainment system with the newest revision software. That took care of the bug in which the front camera stays on, once in a blue moon. CarPlay seems more stable now. My steering linkage boot located behind the accelerator/brake pedals was rubbing against the linkage causing a squeaking noise when I occasionally need to turn the steering wheel more than one revolution. Dealer states that they fixed it, but it still does it (typical dealer experience). Still this car, thus far is the lowest maintenance vehicle I have ever owned: Tire Rotations and washer fluid. Got WeatherTech liners. Update as of 8/2017: I’m totally hooked on the Bolt EV. No gas, no oil changes. Only two tire rotations for maintenance since I got it. Haven’t even run out of washer fluid yet. Got my car tinted all around with 3M Crystalline and stayed cool throughout the summer. There’s monster glare from the light gray dash which was fixed with a $50 dash toupee. Ugly but functional. The light gray carpet is looking ratty. I’m also loving the camera rear view mirror. No worries about an obstructed view from passengers and/or cargo behind me. I also pieced together a spare tire kit using a Cruze spare donut / lug wrench and an S10 jack. Fits under the false floor perfectly. I drive about 80 miles a day, so just in case. I did add rubber inserts in the cup holders and double side taped a sunglasses clip to the map light console. I’ve pretty much addressed all my initial nit-picking items. One pedal driving is fantastic. Reminds me of driving a stick shift when taking corners. Just lift my foot off the accelerator (without the need to downshift) and the car aggressively slows for regen, then accelerate out of the turn using all that wonderful torque. I really love this car!!! Original review: I'm assuming I have one of the early ones with a mfg date of 11/2016. I have a long commute so the range is perfect for me. With the long freeway commute, I have noticed that this car requires a lot more steering input than I would like to stay straight on the freeway. Compared to a Prius C, which practically feels like it doesn't have power steering at speed (a good thing). My wife drives a Leaf and this car outdoes it in every way except for the rear cargo space. The Bolt is 11 inches shorter than the Leaf and it's noticeable only in the trunk space. All other dimensions are very similar. Glad to see a flat rear floor on the Bolt vs the center battery hump in the Leaf, so this car easily seats 5. Being a shorter car with a shorter wheelbase, I'm confused as to why the turn radius is 6 inches wider than with the Leaf. Front visibility is better than with the Leaf, in which the Leaf A pillars consistently block my view of pedestrians waiting to cross the street at stop signs. Strange thing with my specific car: Somewhere between final QC at the factory and when I bought the car (with 10 miles on it, so it could have been the last person who test drove it?), the video feed coax cable to the digital rear view mirror got ripped right off, rendering it inoperable (and un-fixable). It was the one of a handful of features I didn't try before I signed all the papers (of course). Been waiting a week after my first visit to the service department and the new mirror hasn't arrived yet from the factory. Power is adequate. The manual is non-specific in a few things like the fact that a pump and sealant kit does not come with this car because it has the self sealing tires, though the manual has clear instructions on how to use the pump/sealant "when applicable". I guess in my case it wasn't applicable. I've had the electric parking brake engage by itself twice when I shift into Park and the manual simply states that it could do that under certain circumstances to check the operation of the EPB system. Most of the time, engaging the parking brake is a manual affair. CarPlay works. Seriously, I've never had Siri work so well... ever. I even bought an extra short 6" Lightning cable just for this car (because CarPlay only works with the phone plugged into one of the front USB ports on the center console). No sunglasses holder. I think I'll double side tape one of those sunglasses visor clips to the black plastic enclosure that likely houses all the OnStar electronics above the rear view mirror. Almost forgot, the front cupholders don't have rubber inserts, so my coffee tumbler rattles. Lots of reviews out there talking about range, power, etc, so I figure I'd post a review of stuff I didn't read about, but kinda matters to someone like me who spends a couple of hours on the road a day.
5 out of 5 stars
Finally an EV car I can love!!
Premier 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Amazing car! Since there is very little to zero advertising for this car, I didn't even know it existed until I stumbled upon it on Chevy's website. I had been test driving the Tesla as I was going to purchase the Model 3. But after the Tesla test drive I decided to keep looking. Then I came across the Bolt EV. Wow! This car had just about everything the Tesla had (minus the hands free … driving which isn't legal anywhere anyway) but it also had support for Apple Car Play and Android Auto and wireless phone charging to boot. The Tesla had none of that. It also had an estimated 238 mi range! Very similar to Tesla Model 3. However, that estimation is under estimated. I am getting closer to 260 - 280 miles. At first I had some range anxiety in the car especially on my first long cross state trip. Which I have to admit I made several rookie mistakes in regards to planning for charging. However, with those lessons learned and a few apps on my phone I no longer have any hesitation to take pretty much any trip across the country. You just have to plan on some additional time and make sure you have your timing down as there are some chargers that are behind locked gates after business hours. The exciting part is that GM is rolling out 20 new cars in the next 5 years that are all electric. In addition, they are mandating all GM dealers install DC Fast chargers that are FREE to GM EV owners!! I charged for free at several of them on my trip. The car's performance is amazing. No more "prius" style slow acceleration. I owned a Prius and sold it because I thought I was going to die several times getting on to the freeway as there is no acceleration. Not in the Bolt!! It will put you in your seat at any speed. Instant torque. Love it. Highly recommend this car. I wish GM would put in some advertising dollars for it like they are doing overseas for this car.
5 out of 5 stars
Fantastic Vehicle with just a few minor warts
Premier 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Recently leased a Chevy Bolt -- upgrading from a Nissan Leaf that I've driven for 5 years now (I wanted more range). This is the first GM car I've owned in 40 years. Definitely not your father's Oldsmobile -- the vehicle is comparable to high quality European and Japanese cars: great fit & finish, comfortable & logical controls and interior, great performance, terrific economy as an … EV. My only complaint is the electronics of the Infotainment center are not great. Examples: If you set radio stations in non-numeric order (for example, 88.5, 104.5, and 91.7), it will delete the entry that is not in numeric order (104.5). This happened to me multiple times so I know it's true. It's almost like they didn't test it. Also, it doesn't include navigation as standard or even as an optional feature -- a huge shortfall in a 2017 vehicle. You can get turn by turn instructions if you call an operator via the OnStar button and have them push instructions down to the car but who wants to do that every time they want to go somewhere??? You just want to enter your destination on your own and go. Other than these somewhat minor annoyances, however, it's a great vehicle.
Features & Specs
Our experts like the Bolt EV models:
- Forward Collision Alert
- Scans the road ahead and warns the driver of potential rear-end collisions in case the driver has not already identified the risks.
- Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking
- Applies the brakes in cases where the driver has not responded in order to avoid or minimize the severity of certain impacts.
- Lane Keep Assist w/Lane Departure Warning
- Warns the driver that the car may be drifting from its lane and can apply corrective action to nudge it back into line.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More about the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Used 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Overview
The Used 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is offered in the following submodels: Bolt EV Hatchback. Available styles include Premier 4dr Hatchback (electric DD), and LT 4dr Hatchback (electric DD). The Used 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 1-speed direct drive.
What's a good price on a Used 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV?
Price comparisons for Used 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV trim styles:
- The Used 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV LT is priced between $16,990 and$21,990 with odometer readings between 19649 and70414 miles.
- The Used 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier is priced between $20,990 and$22,990 with odometer readings between 23810 and36148 miles.
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Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2017 Bolt EVS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $16,990 and mileage as low as 19649 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV.
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Should I lease or buy a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.