2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Review
Edmunds expert review
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.
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 this year.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
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.
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.
Noise & vibration9.0
Ease of use9.0
Getting in/getting out9.0
Child safety seat accommodation9.0
Audio & navigation6.0
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.