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2021 Chevrolet Bolt Review

The all-electric Chevrolet Bolt lands in the top half of the hybrid and electric car class. It has a long driving range and swift acceleration, but a few cheap cabin materials hold it back in our rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Swift acceleration
  • Engaging handling
  • Lengthy battery range
  • Roomy cargo hold
  • Firm seats
  • Low-rent cabin materials
  • Touch screen responses can lag

8.1

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 9.1
Interior: 6.8
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Chevrolet Bolt?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Chevrolet Bolt a Good Car?

Yes, the Chevrolet Bolt is a great electric vehicle. It distinguishes itself from other models in the hybrid and electric car class with its extensive driving range, peppy acceleration, and playful handling. The Bolt EV also has a spacious cabin and large cargo hold. However, its seats could use additional cushioning, and its cabin has more hard plastics than you’d expect in such a pricey hatchback.

Why You Can Trust Us: 27 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about this EV in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like electric range, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions with 27 professional reviews.

This 2021 Chevy Bolt review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2017.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Chevrolet Bolt?

The Chevy Bolt EV has one of the longest electric-only ranges this side of a Tesla, at 259 miles. For instance, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric has about 170 miles of range, which is almost 90 less than the Chevy Bolt's range. Shoppers with range anxiety might want to consider the luxurious Tesla Model 3, as its Long Range variant can go more than 350 miles per charge, though this requires a hefty price increase over the Bolt or even base Model 3.

Find a 2021 Chevrolet Bolt for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Chevrolet Bolt: What's the Difference?

Other than making DC Fast Charging capability standard in the Premier trim, Chevy made no major changes to the 2021 Bolt EV.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Bolt »

Here are the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s key changes since its debut for the 2017 model year:

  • 2017: brand-new vehicle
  • 2018: no major changes
  • 2019: no major changes
  • 2020: driving range increased from 238 to 259 miles
  • 2021: DC Fast Charging became standard in Premier trim

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Bolt, 2019 Bolt, and 2020 Bolt reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Chevrolet Bolt Cost?

The base Chevrolet Bolt EV has a starting MSRP of $36,500. That’s above average for the class. The top Premier trim starts at $41,700.

Notably, Chevrolet is no longer eligible for federal tax credits on its plug-in or electric vehicles. However, you may still be able to find state incentives.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Chevrolet dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevrolet deals page.

Can I Lease the Chevrolet Bolt?

Yes. Chevrolet advertises lease deals on its vehicles. Check with your local Chevy dealer for the latest deals.

Chevrolet Bolt Versus the Competition

Chevrolet Bolt vs. Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is an appealing EV in the hybrid and electric car class. Its driving range can’t match the Chevy’s (up to 226 miles vs. the Bolt’s 259), but the Leaf takes the edge when it comes to standard safety features. The Leaf also has more cargo room behind the rear seats, and it undercuts the Bolt’s starting price by almost $5,000. On the other hand, the Chevy Bolt has more overall cargo room and a larger touch screen. There’s no wrong choice between these electric vehicles.

Compare the Bolt and Leaf »

Chevrolet Bolt vs. Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 sits in our luxury hybrid and electric car rankings, but its starting price is only about $1,400 more than the Bolt’s. For that money, you’ll get roughly the same range – 263 miles to the Chevy’s 259. Upgrading to the Model 3 Long Range and its 353 miles of range will require spending around $47,000. The Tesla has brisker acceleration, nicer cabin materials, and some safety features you can’t get in the Bolt. Conversely, the Chevy Bolt EV has tech features you can’t get in the Model 3, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Chevrolet has more cargo room too. Choosing between these EVs is a matter of preference.

Compare the Bolt and Model 3 »

Compare the Bolt, Leaf, and Model 3 »

Bolt Interior: Underwhelming

Bolt Cargo Space

With 16.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, the Bolt has plenty of room in its cargo area. Folding down the rear seats opens a total of 56.6 cubic feet, meaning this hatchback has a great cargo capacity for the class.

How Many People Does the Bolt Seat?

Up to five people can sit in this Chevy. Cloth upholstery is standard, and leather seats are available. Other options include heated front seats, heated rear seats, and a leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel.

Both rows have enough head- and legroom to accommodate two adults comfortably, but critics note that the seats could use additional cushioning. As is, they can feel firm after a short time.

Bolt and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. However, the setup isn’t the most intuitive, as the lower anchors are set deeply in the seats and require a lot of force to attach.

Bolt Interior Quality

While the Bolt EV has a minimalist cabin with good build quality, it also has too many low-grade plastics for an electric vehicle sporting a $36,000 starting price.

Bolt Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Other than an occasional lag in response time, the Chevrolet infotainment system is easy to use. There are physical controls set below the large touch screen, and the display has an intuitive menu layout, including settings for tracking range and battery.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 10.2-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, two USB ports, a Wi-Fi hot spot, satellite radio, and a six-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: a seven-speaker Bose stereo, two more USB ports, and wireless device charging
  • Additional standard features: remote start, push-button start, and automatic climate control

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Bolt Performance: Zip Zoom

Bolt EV Motor

Powering the Bolt is a 66-kW lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor that combine to make 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. This setup delivers plenty of punch. Acceleration comes briskly, both from a stop and for those bursts of power needed to merge on the highway.

Bolt EV MPGe

The 2021 Bolt sports an EPA-rated 127 MPG-equivalent in the city and 108 MPGe on the highway. Those are good figures for the class.

For more information, read What Is MPGe?

What Is the Driving Range of the Chevrolet Bolt EV?

The Bolt has an EPA-estimated 259 miles of driving range. That’s one of the longest ranges for a non-Tesla vehicle on the market.

How Do You Charge the Bolt EV?

Included with the Chevy Bolt EV is a 7.2-kW charging module and a 120-volt portable charging cord. A 240-volt charger is available. You can program the vehicle to charge right when it’s plugged in, or schedule charging times during off-peak hours for lower rates.

How Long Does It Take to Charge the Chevrolet Bolt EV?

Using the standard charger and a 120-volt household-style power outlet, you can recharge this EV’s battery at a rate of roughly 4 miles per hour. Upgrading to the 240-volt charger boosts that to about 25 miles per hour, with roughly 10 hours needed for a full charge. DC Fast Charging regenerates around 100 miles of range in 30 minutes.

Where Can I Charge the Chevrolet Bolt EV?

You’re free to charge this Chevy at home, though it would be a good idea to have a 220- or 240-volt charger to do so. Chevrolet sells a 240-volt/32 amp charging unit as an option with the Bolt. Alternatively, you could use one of the roughly 25,000 public charging stations across the U.S.

How Long Will the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s Battery Last?

Many conditions affect the life of a battery, which makes it hard to provide a firm answer for how long it will last. Chevy provides an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty for the battery.

Bolt Ride and Handling

The Chevy Bolt EV has an engaging ride. It’s smooth on pavement and feels planted around turns. It’s no sports sedan, but the light steering and low center of gravity give it a playful demeanor.

Like other hybrids and EVs, this Chevy has a regenerative braking system. It can be toggled by using the Regen on Demand paddle near the steering wheel. In the standard Drive mode, the brakes function as they would in a gas-powered vehicle. Switch to Low mode, and the car can be slowed simply by lifting off the accelerator.

How Fast Is the Chevrolet Bolt EV?

Chevrolet claims that the Bolt EV can go from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.

Is the Chevrolet Bolt EV Available With All-Wheel Drive?

No. The Chevy Bolt EV is front-wheel drive only.

Read more about performance »

Chevrolet Bolt Reliability

Is the Chevrolet Bolt Reliable?

The 2021 Chevy Bolt has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Chevrolet Bolt Warranty

Chevrolet covers this EV with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Bolt Safety

Bolt Crash Test Results

As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2021 Chevy Bolt. However, it gave the similar 2020 Bolt EV the highest rating of Good in five of six crash tests.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Volt an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the side crash and rollover tests and four stars in the frontal crash test.

Bolt Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Teen Driver (lets you do things like set audio volume and speed limits for secondary drivers)

Available advanced safety features:

  • Rear parking sensors
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane change alert
  • Lane keep assist
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Rear camera mirror
  • Following distance indicator
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

Read more about safety »

Bolt Dimensions and Weight

The Bolt is 13.6 feet long. This EV has a curb weight of 3,563 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Chevrolet Bolt Built?

Chevrolet builds the 2021 Bolt in Michigan.

Which Chevrolet Bolt Model Is Right for Me?

Chevrolet makes the 2021 Bolt in two trim levels: LT and Premier. The LT has plenty of features, and it’s available with just about everything you can get in the Premier, so there’s little reason to upgrade.

Chevrolet Bolt LT

The entry-level Bolt LT has a starting MSRP of $36,500. Standard equipment includes a 10.2-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, Bluetooth, dual USB ports, automatic climate control, remote start, Teen Driver, and alloy wheels.

The $555 Comfort and Convenience package outfits this vehicle with heated front seats, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a hands-free power liftgate. DC Fast Charging capability can be added for $750.

Two Drive Confidence packages are available for $495. The first adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert, and rear parking sensors. The second comes with a pre-collision warning and braking system, pedestrian detection, automatic high-beam headlights, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and a following distance indicator.

Chevrolet Bolt Premier

With a retail price of $41,700, the Premier trim gains standard DC Fast Charging capability. Other additions include a surround-view parking camera system, leather-appointed seats, heated rear outboard seats, a rear center armrest, a rear camera mirror, a false cargo floor, and the contents of the Comfort and Convenience and Driver Confidence I packages.

The Driver Confidence II package remains available. You can also get the Infotainment package for $595. It features wireless device charging, a seven-speaker Bose sound system, and two rear-seat USB ports.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Chevrolet dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevrolet deals page.

See 2021 Chevrolet Bolt specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV is a good car. Compared to other models in the hybrid and electric car class, it has a long driving range and spacious cargo hold, as well as a potent powertrain. It’s fun to drive too. While the Bolt has shortcomings – such as some cheap cabin plastics and insufficiently cushioned seats – it’s worth a look from any EV shopper.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Like other electric vehicles, the Bolt EV is quick and quiet. It makes an excellent city car or suburban runabout. And with some planning for recharges, it could even be a road tripper." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2020 Chevy Bolt is an all-electric hatchback with a long driving range, spacious cabin, and affordable price tag. … Likewise, people will appreciate its roomy accomodations, available infotainment and driver-assistance technologies, and crossover-like cargo capacity. While everyone won’t be enchanted by the 2020 Bolt’s looks and cheap interior, they’ll likely appreciate everything else it offers." -- Car and Driver (2020)
  • "The 2019 Chevrolet Bolt continues its sales surge, offering near-Tesla-like range at a price not much more expensive than a well-equipped family sedan." -- Autotrader (2019)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: January 29, 2021

Healthy Sales: The Bolt sold well among hybrid and electric cars last year, and despite a volatile economic landscape, dealerships managed to sell 26.4 percent more Bolt models compared to 2019.

Research more buying advice »
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