2018 Chevy Bolt EV Review
2018 Chevy Bolt EV Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Senior Editor and Content Strategist, CarMax
Will Kaufman has worked in the automotive industry since 2017. He has written hundreds of car-related articles and reviews over the course of his career. Will is a senior editor and content strategist for CarMax at Edmunds. Will has been featured in the Associated Press and a number of major outlets on the topics of infotainment and vehicle data, vehicle subscription services and autonomous vehicles. Will started his career in online publishing by writing and editing standardized test guides, but he has a lot more fun writing about cars.
- 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
Very little changes for 2018. The extendable sun visors are the highlight, and the heated steering wheel can now be set to turn on automatically.
Just last year, the Chevrolet Bolt hit the scene and crushed the electric vehicle competition with its huge range, spacious interior and enjoyable driving characteristics. But this year the competition is fighting back. The Tesla Model 3 is finally trickling into customers' driveways, the Nissan Leaf is new with 151 miles of range, and the BMW i3 is sportier. Plus, Kia's promising us a long-range Niro EV. So now the question is: Is the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt still worth checking out? Short answer: Yep.
Continue reading Edmunds Expert Rating below
2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Insights
Bolt EV LT
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Estimated Range Based on Age
216 milesThe range for a used 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV is estimated to be 216 miles because electric cars typically experience 1-2% of range loss per year, with slightly faster degradation over the first 50,000 miles as the car settles into its long term state, according to Recurrent's study of 15,000 EVs.
EV batteries lose 1-2% of range per year. Est. range for this car is 216 miles.Electric cars typically experience 1-2% of range loss per year with slightly faster degradation over the first 50,000 miles as the car settles into its long term state, according to Recurrent's study of 15,000 EVs.
Estimated range mapThis map is a visual representation of the possible one-way and round-trips by this vehicle (on a full charge) from the geometric center of Ashburn, Virginia. The depicted ranges are based on the estimated new vehicle range value provided by the EPA, rounded down to miles for one-way and miles for round-trip. Actual range will vary depending on the condition of this vehicle’s battery pack, how you drive, driving conditions and other factors. from
Charging at Home
Total Charging Time (240V outlet)
SAE ComboStandard port for most electric models. Supports Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast charging.
EV Battery Warranty
8 yrs or 100,000 milesThe federal government requires that EV batteries be warrantied for a minimum of eight years or 100,000 miles. The EV battery warranty includes replacement if your battery capacity drops below a certain percentage of the original capacity.
Estimated battery warranty remaining is 3 years or 30,000 miles for this car.Warranty remaining value is based on the vehicle year, and on driving 14,000 miles per year. Confirm exact warranty coverage for each vehicle with the dealers and the manufacturer before purchasing.
EV Tax Credits & Rebates
Available Rebates. Restrictions apply.
Beginning January 1, 2023 under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers taxpayers a Used Clean Vehicle Tax Credit equal to 30% of the sale price up to a maximum credit of $4,000 for the purchase of a used plug-in electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
For the vehicle to qualify:
- Price cannot exceed $25,000.
- Need to verify the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
- Must be at least two model years older than the current calendar year in which the vehicle was purchased.
- Must be sold through a dealership, private sales not permitted.
- Not have already been transferred after August 16, 2022, to a qualified buyer.
For individuals to qualify:
- Must meet income eligibility, depending on modified adjusted gross income (AGI) and tax filing status.
- Must not be the first owner of the qualifying vehicle.
- Has not been allowed a credit under this section for any sale during the 3-year period ending on the date of the sale of such vehicle.
- Purchased for personal use, not a business, corporation or for resale.
To learn more, visit https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/used-clean-vehicle-credit
- Restrictions: Dominion Energy offers EV owners a rebate of up to $125 towards the cost of a Level 2 charging station.
To qualify for this rebate, the customer and/or charging station must meet the following requirements:
- Receive electricity from Dominion Energy.
- Have an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle.
- Networked/Smart charging capabilities to program the station to off-peak periods and respond to managed charging events
- You also earn a $40 e-gift card on the anniversary of your enrollment every year you remain enrolled.
Cost to Drive
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Am I Ready for an EV?
EV ownership works best if you can charge (240V) at home or at work This typically means a 240V home installation, but you could also have a similar setup at your office or other places your car is already parked for several hours each day. Don't expect a regular household outlet (120V) to suffice unless you've got a plug-in hybrid, in which case overnight charging at home is feasible.
If you can’t charge at home, charging at a charging station could take at least 10x longer than at a gas station With public charging infrastructure still in its infancy, the user experience can be maddeningly inconsistent. Tesla owners tend to rave about the reliability and speed of the company's proprietary Supercharger stations, but rival DC fast options have thus far been plagued by technical issues and overcrowding. It's an evolving landscape and our best advice is to do your research on the available options for the EV you want to buy.
Adding a 240V home charging system could cost up to $1,000 or more If your existing electrical service can handle the additional demands of EV charging, you may be able to add Level 2 charging at home for less than a grand, including installation. But your costs will multiply if you need to upgrade your electrical panel or add a dedicated circuit.
With more than 200 miles of range, plenty of space for people and cargo, a surprisingly fun driving experience, and a friendly price tag, the Bolt is a mainstream electric car that makes ditching gasoline seem possible. It can certainly fill the needs of most commuters, though its bargain-bin interior quality still disappoints.
The primary alternative you'll want to consider is the new Model 3. It boasts all the Tesla mystique and drivability, along with a futuristic, minimalist interior and access to Tesla's Supercharger network. However, supply is still short as of our review's publication time, and it's worth keeping in mind that Chevrolet has a nationwide dealer network that can quickly and easily provide service should anything go wrong.
The electric car segment is only going to get more competitive, especially with the promise of new battery technologies just around the corner. Chevy got a good head start, and the 2018 Bolt remains a compelling example of what the electric car can be.
Notably, we picked the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV as one of Edmunds' Best Electric Cars for 2018.
Edmunds' Expert Rating8.3 / 10
When it launched last year, the Chevrolet Bolt leapfrogged the electric vehicle competition with its huge 238-mile range, quick acceleration and approachable price. For 2018, the Bolt still impresses. Even with more competitors this year, we think the Bolt is worth checking out if you're in the market for an EV.
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.
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Bolt has received some revisions, including only very minor equipment changes. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Bolt.
|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.
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 also good feel and feedback as you dial in more steering. 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 the ride can get clunky, a likely result of its unsophisticated rear suspension design, when the surface is pocked with cracks, fractures and sharp edges.
Noise & vibration9.0
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 makes its way 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 you're underway, maximize 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 use9.0
The controls are thoughtfully arranged and separated by function, with a handy volume knob and tune buttons 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 out9.0
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's seat and the generous adjustment range of its telescoping 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 do wish the standard rearview camera worked better in low light.
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 that they're 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-size, 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 back seat to open up a bigger space.
Child safety seat accommodation9.0
LATCH anchors 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. There's 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 & navigation6.0
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. If you get a Premier and opt for the Infotainment package, you'll get two more charge-only ports for the back seat.
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 the Premier (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?
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.
2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV models
The 2018 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.
With the LT, you'll get a 7.2-kWh onboard charger, 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 communications (with a 4G LTE connection and a Wi-Fi hotspot), 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, an automatic 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 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 trim levels 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. 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.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Taking the Plunge
Lee B -Georgia, 04/14/2018
2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV 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.
5 out of 5 stars
Wanted a Volt, got a Bolt
J D, 06/08/2017
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV 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
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV 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!!
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV 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.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV, so we've included reviews for other years of the Bolt EV since its last redesign.
2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV video
[MUSIC PLAYING] DAN EDMUNDS: What we have here are three electric vehicles that are well known, perhaps because each is a dedicated EV that has no gasoline counterpart. Chevrolet has plugged everything they learned from their Bolt plug-in hybrid into the Bolt EV. JASON KAVANAGH: The Model 3 represents Tesla's first foray into a more accessible EV. CALVIN KIM: And the Nissan LEAF, the first widely available electric vehicle in the United States, is now in its second generation. And while they're all mainstream offerings, they're not true direct competitors. JASON KAVANAGH: Today, we're going to explore the differences and similarities among these three popular EVs. Well, the Tesla Model 3 has a lot of power, actually. I mean, there's no complaints that I have with the acceleration in this. And like all EVs, it has that instant torque. You can punch around cars on the freeway pretty much instantly. I mean, you dip your foot down on the accelerator, and there's just an instant reaction from the car. That's one of the things that EVs and in particular, the Tesla does really well. DAN EDMUNDS: One of the things I like about the Bolt is it's quick. I'm just rolling into the throttle, not really laying into it hard at all. And it's up to speed and in a short order. And I am having no problem getting around folks. People think these things are golf carts. Uh-uh. CALVIN KIM: The Nissan LEAF has what sounds like a low number-- 146 horsepower. But it's the torque that really gives it the beans. It's got about 236, possibly the torque. Don't quote me on that. But 236 is a lot for a small car like this. The car weighs about 3,500 pounds. So it's well in line. I mean, basically, it'd be equivalent to a bigger engine in a compact car. Needless to say, acceleration is easy and brisk. JASON KAVANAGH: Well, compared to the Bolt or the LEAF, the Tesla Model 3 is definitely the most powerful. It's the most capable. It's also the most expensive. It's also the only rear-wheel drive EV of the three. The other two are front-wheel drive. And that affects the driving dynamics in a beneficial way for the Model 3. The Model 3 has the best steering and handling of the bunch by far. It's just a more grown-up feeling car in the way it goes down the road. The steering feel is really good. It corners flat. It picks up its speed well over bumps. In terms of steering and handling, the other two don't touch the Tesla Model 3. DAN EDMUNDS: The Bolt handles great. I mean, you wouldn't think so to look at it. It's tall and skinny. But the battery pack is low and underneath the floor, so that keeps the center of gravity low. And that makes it feel more like a go-cart than an SUV or something like that. The steering is also nicely weighted. It's immediate, but not darty. It's just what you want to kind of maneuver around in traffic. JASON KAVANAGH: Now, the range in the Model 3 is kind of its trump card. We got the long-range version, which has a 310-mile max range in normal mode, which is what Tesla recommends you use on a day-to-day basis. This will do 279 miles, which is still really impressive. It's still more range than the other two. In fact, it's the longest range EV you could buy currently. CALVIN KIM: This face-lift of LEAF-- you get 150 miles of claimed range. Wonderfully for us, if you put it in ECO mode and enable e-Pedal, you can get a lot more than that. With our long-term LEAF, we've been able to drive it a little bit already. And we've routinely gotten over 150 miles with those features enabled. That's great news for commuters, especially those that drive a little bit longer distances. So they can go a week without charging. Now, for EV owners, the best way to do it is to charge every night. But, hey, if you're going to go visit a friend's house, or maybe go across town to hang out somewhere, it's nice to have that option. DAN EDMUNDS: The Model 3 has a higher range rating than this one. But I don't really think that at actual practice that would be the case. Because I've had a really hard time getting close to the Model 3's rating. And yet, with this car, which is rated at 238, I've gone 334. That's almost 100 miles more than the rating. And if I'm paying for more battery than I need, then that's a big part of the price of the car. And this car could be cheaper if it had a 150-mile range or a 175-mile range. CALVIN KIM: One of the best advantages of electric vehicles is the ability to regenerate, which is regenerative braking. That means you can use an electric motor that propels you to help slow you down. And one thing that they did very cleverly, though, is give you a switch right on the center console here called e-Pedal. And just by clicking the switch, you immediately engage that regenerative braking. Nissan says you can break as much as 2/10 of a "g," which doesn't sound like a lot, but from our testing, it's plenty. JASON KAVANAGH: And in the Model 3, the regenerative effect is strong. You can basically one-pedal drive this thing most of the time. DAN EDMUNDS: Now, the Bolt is especially good in this regard, better than I think any other car that you can buy, any other EV. Because when it's in drive, like it is now, I toggle using this here. When it's in drive, there's no regenerative braking. It's all pads and rotors, so the brake feels utterly natural. A lot of cars-- EVs and hybrids use something-- a computer that kind of decides whether it's going to be regenerative or brake pedal, based on demand. And so then the brakes feel weird. This never feels weird, indeed. And then when you put it in L, there's so much regenerative braking that the brake lights come on. And you can actually execute a stop all the way down to zero without ever touching the brake pedal. You just modulate the throttle. Compared to the Model 3 and the LEAF, I like the Bolt's setup much better. Click it into L. You've got all the regen you want. Put it in D. You've got the brake pedal feel you want, if you want that. The Model 3-- it's poke through the touchscreen. And the LEAF requires you to flip a switch, and you may not remember to do it. And it's not where you think it should be. This is really intuitive, really easy, and very effective. CALVIN KIM: Inside the Nissan LEAF, you'll find a pretty much traditional car. The materials are good. There's not a lot of busyness with the colors and design choices. We're in the top SL model, so the seats are this nice leather with microsuede inserts. The controls-- again, easy to use, well laid out. Again, it's more like a regular car, instead of maybe a science project, or a sci-fi set you'll find in some of the other EVs. DAN EDMUNDS: The one thing that really disappoints me more than anything else about the Chevy Bolt is the quality of the interior materials. It's just hard plastic which would be OK if it was attractive. But there's just a lot of weird lines. And this color scheme is kind of hard to take. I mean, I would trade away some battery capacity and range to get a better interior. I mean, it doesn't help that we've got the light-colored interior here. I think that really does not show it in its best light. A darker color might mask some of this stuff, even like the reflections of the dashtop or in the windshield. Everywhere I go at just about any light condition. And that's kind of annoying, because the visibility as a car is great otherwise. This car is probably the least well equipped of the three when it comes to active driver aids. It has a Lane Keeping Assist System. It has a Forward Collision warning, but it doesn't have Adaptive Cruise. It has nothing like Autopilot or Nissan's ProPILOT Assist. That's not bad because you're not paying for it. But at the same time, it does lag behind. And you couldn't get those things if you wanted them. JASON KAVANAGH: The design of the Model 3's interior is pretty unusual. There's not a whole lot of stuff in it. I mean, it's a wide-open space with a big touchscreen in the middle, and that's about it. I mean, you could even go and say that maybe this is a little generic looking. But what you can't say is that it's cluttered or crowded. It feels really breezy and airy in here. There's a lot of space. If you need anything, you have to go to the touchscreen. Or you've got a couple of controls on the steering wheel, and that's about it. A good amount of headroom for me. I'm over 6 feet tall. It does have this panoramic sunroof arrangement up here, which gives you a little bit extra headroom. Compared to the Bolt and the LEAF's interior, or the Model 3's cabin-- is definitely a departure. And some people really love it. And some people-- they're maybe going to have to warm up to it a little bit. In terms of material quality, the Model 3 does pretty well there. The seats are this synthetic leather, which feels pretty convincing, and looks like the real thing. There's this synthetic suede on the headliner and on the door panels. There's also this wood applique on the dashboard. Overall, the materials look pretty good at a glance. If you look closer at the Model 3, though, you'll notice some build quality issues here and there-- cheap plastics, things that don't fit quite right. We've had some issues with things falling off our car. But it is built to a higher price point, certainly than the Bolt or the LEAF is. CALVIN KIM: The Nissan LEAF is a hatchback which means, obviously, it's got a big hatch. A lot of interior cargo room with the seats folded up. The rear seats do fold 60/40. You'll find that once you do fold them up, there is a bit of a shelf from the seatback to the cargo floor. But I'd say that between its comp competitors, this general cargo area is very useful-- the low-loading height, and the nice, deep floor, and the tall ceiling height. So you can fit taller cargo, bulkier cargo in a little bit easier. DAN EDMUNDS: Of the three, the Bolt does have the least cargo-carrying capacity on paper. But it is very flexible, because of the way the seats fold, the way the floor can be set into two positions. And because you can put roof racks on it. JASON KAVANAGH: The Model 3 might look like a hatchback from the outside, but surprise, it's a sedan, which means it has a traditional sedan trunk. But that's no bad thing, because the Model 3's cargo space is pretty huge. Not only is the trunk really deep and a good width, there's extra bonus storage in the floor of the trunk and an additional trunk at the front of the car. So you're not hurting for cargo space at all in this. Another thing it has is a 60/40 folding backseat, which goes basically completely flat. You could sleep in the back of the Model 3 if you fold the seats down. That's how much space there is. CALVIN KIM: Compared to its competitors, the LEAF prices pretty well. Now, in this SL trim with the Pro-PILOT Assist and everything like that, that'll set you back a little over $37,000. That's a little bit less than the Bolt Obviously, a lot less than the Model 3. And the federal tax credit is still available for this car, so you can get out the door for a lot less than that. You do get a lot of car for your money. The biggest attractor, though, will be the range. Both the Bolt and the Tesla Model 3 have a lot more range than the LEAF does. Now, for those that are truly range conscious that really do want to go on longer trips, rumor has it that the Nissan LEAF-- bringing out a higher range LEAF next year-- one with a 60-kilowatt battery that cracks the 200 barrier. Even if you're on the fence about that, this standard range LEAF with 150 miles is nothing to sneeze at. DAN EDMUNDS: The thing about this car is you can buy it with a premium package, or you can get the lower-priced base model that does everything as far as the driving experience. It just doesn't have as many bells and whistles for a lot less money. The Model 3-- right now, the mythical $35,000 one doesn't exist. It's vaporware. Certainly, this is a lot less money than the Model 3. If the $35,000 one ever comes out, well, we may have to re-evaluate that. JASON KAVANAGH: When the Model 3 was launched, it was purported to be the $35,000 entry-level Tesla. While that might be the case, Tesla is not shipping the $35,000 variant of the Model 3. They're only shipping a long-range variance. And once you have even a bare minimum of options like this one-- I mean, this one's sticker price is $55,000. So we're in a totally different segment than the other two cars, which are substantially less expensive than this one. Tesla's Autopilot system makes Nissan Pro-PILOT Assist look like it's in diapers. And in a way, it is. It's Nissan's first attempt at a semi-autonomous driving mode, whereas Tesla has had several years now of real-world use of Autopilot. And they've accumulated a lot of data. With that said, it's not a perfect system. We've discovered some issues with it in the past. But the continual software updates are a means to address limitations, not just in Autopilot, but in any system in the car. So again, pros and cons with being at the leading edge of things. CALVIN KIM: Definitely one of the coolest features of the LEAF is Pro-PILOT Assist. Now, it's not an autonomous driving system. What it is, though, is a very, very connected driver-assist system. Now, just one button push on the steering wheel enables the system. And then to turn it on, you just activate your cruise control. Now, what that gives you is adaptive cruise control, which keeps the distance from ourselves and the car in front. It does lane centering to-- keeps the car in the center of the road. And it'll even bring you to a complete stop. It's not a self-driving car. All it's doing is just keeping it in the center and at a safe distance from the car in front. In an interesting twist of fate, this system actually works pretty darn good, even alongside the Tesla's Autopilot system. Now, the Tesla has the advantage of a GPS and a connected system, where it knows road conditions to a certain extent. The Nissan does not have that feature set. But considering the price premium that Autopilot has and that Tesla has, we believe Pro-PILOT is a fantastic addition to the Nissan LEAF. DAN EDMUNDS: The thing about the Bolt EV is while I like the way it drives, I'd trade some of its range for a nicer interior and better seats. JASON KAVANAGH: Yeah. And while the Model 3 is definitely the best driving, most capable EV here, you're going to pay for the privilege. The least expensive Model 3 you can get is $50,000. The $36,000 version just doesn't exist yet. CALVIN KIM: Speaking of price, that's the Nissan LEAF's forte. It's the least expensive. But it's also one of the more comfortable out of the three, which begs the question, which of these three EVs is the right one for you guys? DAN EDMUNDS: Well, for me, 151 miles of range is enough. And I do like those seats, so yeah, the LEAF. JASON KAVANAGH: Yeah. For me, the cost is the single overriding factor. And while I don't think the Nissan LEAF is necessarily the best driving one here, its price point is really attractive. So that's the one for me. CALVIN KIM: Well, we're unanimous. It's the LEAF for me also, thanks to its price and practicality. DAN EDMUNDS: But I do reserve the right to change my mind when the $36,000 Tesla Model 3 becomes available. For more videos, click Subscribe. [MUSIC PLAYING]
EV Comparison Test - Chevy Bolt v. Nissan Leaf v. Tesla Model 3
As battery electric vehicles become an established part of our automotive landscape, we took this opportunity to put the three most popular EVs - Chevrolet's Bolt, Nissan's Leaf and Tesla's Model 3 - through testing to re-examine each model's strengths and weaknesses. As a group, how… have electric vehicles changed from when they first hit the road? Which is the best all-around EV? Watch to find out about the latest crop of battery electric cars.
2018 Bolt EV Highlights
|EV Tax Credits & Rebates||$4,125|
|EPA Electric Range||238 miles|
|Cost to Drive||$49/month|
|Total Charging Time (240V)||9.3 hours|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
|EV Battery Warranty||8 years / 100,000 miles|
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.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat4 / 5
- RolloverRollover5 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover9.7%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood