2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Review
Pros & Cons
- 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
List Price Range
$17,880 - $22,988
Used Bolt EV for SaleSee all for sale
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.
Edmunds' Expert Review
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
|Overall||4.5 / 5|
Most helpful consumer reviews
Premier 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.