2018 Chevy Bolt EV Review
Which Bolt EV does Edmunds recommend?
There's no difference in range or drivability between the two trim levels, but we think the Premier is worth the moderate price bump. It comes with interior upgrades such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a trunk storage compartment, and more active driver safety features that you'll appreciate as an owner. It also has access to more optional upgrades should you want them. For either Bolt trim level, make sure to get the DC fast-charging option since it makes long-distance driving more of a reality.
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Impressive 238 miles of range
- Cabin is spacious
- Power and handling make it enjoyable to drive
- Big touchscreen
- 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
|Overall||8.3 / 10|
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.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Lee B -Georgia,04/14/2018
Premier 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Ok so to give you some context this is the second electric car I have ever owned/ leased and the first American car I have ever purchased. I have mostly been a Toyota/ Lexus user ( mainly hybrids) and very suspicious of GM and/or American cars in general. I leased a leaf in 2012 and while it was a fun car to drive the Range was horrible and by the time I handed the lease in I was gettting 65-70 miles. I almost purchased a Volt a few years ago but consumer reports ratings around quality made me decide not to move forward. I have only owned the Bolt for less than a month but it is probably the most enjoyable car I have ever owned. It's really fun to drive so if you are a frusterated hybrid owner (like me) looking for something a little more fun to drive,this is the ticket. The Range is outstanding. I am getting anywhere from 230-280 per single charge so no range anxiety. I do agree that GM could have spent more on the interior however one of the things I really enjoy about the Bolt is that it really feels roomy ( unlike the Volt) and you sit up like you are driving an SUV or a crossover. The technology is very easy to use and GM provides you with a ton of metrics on how to improve your driving to maximize your range.. If you get the Premier there are a number of great safety features including blind spot and pedestrian detection. The regeneration braking is a great feature and something GM does better than the Tesla. This maximizes your energy so you can really get a ton of mileage on a single charge. You essentially can drive this car using one pedal as the braking starts as soon as you take your foot off the gas which than regenerates the battery. The only down side to the Bolt is GM has not invested in a charging Network like Tesla so long road trips over 300 miles can be a challenge but not impossible. If you want to try and use this car for long road trips and use public charging options, make sure you get the fast charging included in your final purchase. It is NOT specific to what trim you purchase and it is only a factory option. Also for best results get a level 2 charger ( 25 miles per hour) installed in your home because it will take for ever to charge on a 120v plug. Initially I was a bit nervous after I made the purchase but I love this car right now and would purchase it again in heart beat. I have had no issues but I also understand that I am an early adopter so I am not naive that I could run into issues down the road and that's ok. I am having a blast driving this car and don't miss the boring drive and great reliability of my Toyota Camry Hybrid.
LT 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Have owned this car for a year and have 40,000 miles on the clock. Car has had zero issues. Battery shows no degredation. Cost to operate is absurdly low. Cheaper to own than a regular Camry when you consider no maintenance cost and gas difference vs electricity. Range is a non issue unlike the leaf. Consider that first real maintenance on this car is at 150,000 miles! Add up all a gas car costs in maintenance to get to 150,000 compared to the Bolt and the higher initial cost of the Bolt quickly disappears. Then add the difference in operating costs (gas vs elec.) and the Bolt is clearly cheaper. $7,500 tax credit + $2,500 state credit makes a great difference in cost. Even if i had no tax credit, I would buy this car again. As an update, just passed 60,000 miles on 3-2019. Still no noticable degredation and no service visits. Update #2 on 9/23/2019 just passed 80,000 miles and the same. No dealer visits, no battery change.
Premier 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Really enjoy the car, have had no problems with the seats. Lights are fine but many cars “flash” me when dims are on. Interior dash could be a touch nicer for $40k car. Look at Bolt EV forums about range and limitations thereof, particularly in winter climates and decreased range with heat. Also, fast charging - especially in winter - will rarely ever be Chevy’s 90 miles in 30 minutes (more like 60-65 in NJ in winter). And the next 90 miles will take much longer as it tapers the charge rate. This isn’t unique to the Bolt but buyers should know, again, the limitations for 200+ mile road trips. Overall, I knew most of this going in and still absolutely love the car. We did get 250+ miles in early fall with lots of city driving, so a lot depends on your driving conditions/weather. Great little car with surprising amount of space inside and nice features.
Premier 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Range is excellent. I drove a 2013 Volt for 6 years and hated to give it up at 135k miles but the lure of all electric won out. My 2018 Bolt gives no range anxiety whatsoever. I did a weekend trip to San Diego which was 178 miles down there and the battery indicator said I had 98 miles left. After a full charge the next day came home and still had 82 miles remaining after a much more uphill drive. My daily round trip to work is 108 miles and I get to charge on 110 while there. Never using more than 12 kw in either direction. Great technology. Seats aren’t the most comfortable I’ve sat in but nowhere near what all of the naysayers are saying. Interior is very nice for a great commuter car. Quick, comfortable and stylish and a good quality build. I love driving by the gas stations with varying daily prices and laugh. My car is loaded and is a blast to drive. It has so many driving features that make my long commute enjoyable Great Vehicle and the biggest selling point was my excellent experience with my ‘13 Volt. Low cost to maintain.
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 hasn't already identified the risks.
- Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking
- Applies the brakes in cases where the driver has not responded 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.