Amid growing interest in EVs and skyrocketing new car prices, the Chevrolet Bolt EV and its bigger, better-looking sibling, the Bolt EUV, are finally getting the buyer love they deserve. We acknowledged the technological achievement and incredible value the Bolt represented (and still represents) when we named it our 2017 Car of the Year, but car-buying customers either couldn’t get past its dweeby design or never noticed its (almost non-existent) marketing .
While it was largely ignored by most buyers, like a good red wine, Bolt continued to improve with age. The Bolt EUV launched in 2021 with more interior space, a more modern look and the option to equip it with the best hands-free highway system on sale today. Now a massive price cut for 2023 turns what was already a good car at a reasonable price into a real bargain.
Putting both models together, the Bolts will have their best sales year in 2022, and Chevy is ramping up production from 44,000 this year to 70,000 in anticipation of more demand in 2023. We’re not so sure that’ll be enough.
Why is it important?
When Chevrolet drops the price by $6,300 in 2023, the $28,195 Bolt EUV becomes the second-cheapest EV on sale in America — only the $26,595 Bolt EV undercuts it. Even the $37,855 fully loaded Bolt EUV Premier we tested feels like a steal in these wild times. The average electric car sold for more than $66,000 in July 2022, according to Kelly Blue Book. Despite the low price, each Bolt EUV is rated for a competitive 247 miles of range, and we measured a real-world highway range of 200 miles—just enough to take spontaneous jaunts without having to hunt for a public charging station (more on that later).
If automakers and lawmakers really want to see an EV in every American driveway and parking spot, we’re going to need a lot more EVs like the Bolt EUV.
Bolt EUV also democratizes advanced driver assistance technology. GM’s optional $2,200 Super Cruise system allows hands-free driving for more than 400,000 miles on US and Canadian highways. That’s a fraction of what Tesla charges for its fully autonomous driving, which requires a hand on the wheel, yet manages to be less trustworthy than GM’s technology. Note that after three years, an OnStar subscription (currently $25 per month) is required to use Super Cruise.
Pros: What we like
This small crossover will pleasantly surprise buyers who are used to noisy, asthmatic four-cylinder engines and rubber continuously variable transmissions in their economy cars and compact SUVs. It confidently accelerates to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds and glides down the road with only muffled noise from the outside world reaching the cabin. All electric cars are quiet, of course, but the Bolt benefits from solid build quality. Squeals, rattles and creaks are amplified in the near-silent electric car, but even on the broken Michigan roads, the Bolt we drove didn’t make a sound.
The extensive technology built into the Bolt EUV Premier liner reinforces the value proposition. It includes front and rear parking sensors, a sharp 360-degree camera system and a rearview mirror that can display video when cargo or passengers block your view. The 10.2-inch infotainment screen is intuitive regardless of whether you’re using the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features. There are also luxuries such as heated and ventilated front seats and heated rear seats.
We also appreciate what the Bolt is not. It is not a status symbol or virtue signaling purchase. It’s not expensive. It is not a promise that is always a year from production. It doesn’t compare your views to those of the world’s loudest billionaire. This is a no-frills car for no-frills people who value efficiency, both in the way they use their energy and in the way they spend their money.
Cons: What we don’t like
For many buyers, the Bolt EUV can never be more than a second car for two key reasons. First, even the larger Bolt is still a small vehicle. When Chevrolet stretched the Bolt EV to EUV, it gave more room for rear-seat passengers but didn’t increase the compact cargo area. There’s enough room in the back for a stroller or groceries to feed a family of four for a week, but you’ll need to haul both at once. Many Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Equinox drivers will feel limited by the lack of storage space.
Another problem: The glacial DC fast charging makes it impractical on trips that require charging to get to their destination. The Bolt EUV added just 35 miles of highway range in the first 15 minutes of our quick-charge test. The Hyundai Ioniq 5, one of the fastest-charging EVs on the road today (and our 2023 SUV of the Year), drove 138 miles over the same period.
Oh, and the red wheel stripes and mirror caps that come with the $495 Redline package are ridiculous. Stuff like this doesn’t make anyone think you’re cool, Chevy.
While there are some space and charging shortcomings to consider, overall the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV isn’t just an EV bargain — it’s a car bargain, period.
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|2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Specs|
|Base price||$28,195 – $32,695|
|Layout||Front engine, FWD, 5-wheel drive, 4-door SUV|
|Engine||200-hp/266-lb-ft AC permanent magnet electric|
|Transmission||1 speed automatic|
|Standby weight||3.766 lbs|
|L x W x H||169.5 x 69.7 x 63.6 inches|
|0-60 MPH||6.7 seconds|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECONO||125/104/115 mpg|
|EPA SERIES, COMB||247 million|
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