2018 Chevrolet Bolt

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MSRP: $36,620 - 40,905

2018 Chevrolet Bolt Review

Though the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt boasts an exceptional range, this small EV is about more than just all-electric driving. The highly ranked Bolt has peppy performance and a spacious interior that belies its small stature.

8.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 8.8
Interior: 8.3
Safety: 10.0
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Outstanding range
  • Roomy, quiet interior
  • Lively acceleration and handling
  • Lots of standard features

 

  • Higher starting price than many EV and non-EV competitors
  • Thin seat cushions
  • Underwhelming cabin materials

 

Is the Chevrolet Bolt a Good Car?

Whether you’re comparing it against gasoline-powered cars or just other alternative-fuel vehicles, the Chevrolet Bolt EV is an excellent entry. It checks all the boxes for a great EV, like long range and efficient charging, but it also boasts ample power. In fact, the Bolt’s acceleration matches up well against the best of the compact car class. This Chevy makes the grade as a practical vehicle as well, thanks to its great crash test ratings and long list of standard features.

Should I Buy the Chevrolet Bolt?

If you’re looking to buy an all-electric vehicle, but the 120- to 150-mile range of other EVs won’t meet your needs, you should buy the Chevrolet Bolt EV. It has one of the longest ranges available among cars that aren’t made by Tesla: 238 miles on a full charge. You can easily juice up the battery overnight with a 240-volt charger, or go with the available DC fast charger for a quick fix. It adds 90 miles of range in just half an hour.

The battery-powered Chevy Bolt can save you hundreds of dollars each year over traditional gas-only cars, but it’s still a pricey option. You can take advantage of federal and state tax credits to lower your purchase price, but you may also want to shop around the competition. For a less expensive compact EV, check out the Hyundai Ioniq or the redesigned-for-2018 Nissan Leaf. You may also be tempted by a long-range Tesla, like the $74,500-plus Tesla Model S, but the Tesla Model 3 is priced similarly to the Bolt and is a more practical option.

Compare the Bolt, Ioniq, and Leaf »

Should I Buy a New or Used Chevrolet Bolt?

Chevrolet introduced the Bolt as an all-new model for 2017 and made no major changes to it for 2018. If you’re open to driving a used car, you can save money by shopping for the nearly identical 2017 Bolt.

You can do more research by reading our review of the 2017 Chevy Bolt. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn more about savings on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017 and 2018 Chevrolet Bolt »
We Did the Research for You: 24 Reviews Analyzed

Our Chevrolet Bolt EV review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 24 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision. This 2018 Chevrolet Bolt review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which includes the 2017 and 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Chevrolet Bolt Cost?

The 2018 Bolt EV comes in two different trim levels: LT ($36,620) and Premier ($40,905). Some shoppers may also qualify for select tax credits, such as a $7,500 federal tax credit (you can read more here on how the electric car tax credit works).

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 Chevy deals page.

Chevrolet Bolt Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Bolt or Hyundai Ioniq?

The Hyundai Ioniq Electric costs a lot less than the Bolt, but its range is much smaller. The Ioniq Electric is about $7,100 less than the Bolt. However, you’ll be limited by its 124-mile range and its timid acceleration compared to the Bolt. Ioniq availability is also limited to certain regions of the U.S.

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Bolt or Chevrolet Volt?

The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid car that can drive about 53 miles on all-electric power. It also gets an EPA rating of 106 mpg-equivalent when using its gasoline engine and electric motor. You probably won’t even notice transitions between the two power sources. The Volt is a good pick if you want the freedom to fill up with gas whenever you need to, and it costs a couple thousand dollars less than the Bolt. However, the Volt doesn't offer as much cabin space.

Compare the Bolt, Ioniq, and Volt »

Bolt Interior

How Many People Does the Bolt Seat?

The five-seat Bolt EV can comfortably accommodate four adults, or two adults up front and a trio of kids in the back. This is partly because there's no tunnel running through the center of the floor, an obstruction the middle-seat passenger often has to straddle. The driver's seat has a tall position (like an SUV), and visibility is good. The cushions themselves are a bit flat, however.

Bolt and Car Seats

It takes some extra muscle to clip a child safety seat to the Bolt EV's lower anchors, which are located on the outboard rear seats. Its three tether anchors are much easier to find and use. 

Bolt Interior Quality

Interior materials come up short on quality, given the Bolt EV's price. You'll find a lot of hard plastics and surfaces, like the armrests. Still, the Bolt's contemporary styling keeps it from feeling too shoddy, and many shoppers can endorse the cost savings in the cabin in return for this EV's extraordinary battery range.

Bolt Cargo Space

The Bolt EV has 16.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seat. That's pretty good for a compact car, though it falls short of the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Volkswagen e-Golf, and Toyota Prius Prime. Fold down the back seat (which has a 60/40 split) for up to 56.6 cubic feet of storage.

Bolt Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Bolt EV is all about connectivity. Its MyLink interface includes a high-speed Wi-Fi hot spot, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to give you front-row access to many of your smartphone apps. For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

The system’s 10.2-inch touch screen is within easy reach for the driver, with a handful of redundant climate and audio buttons mounted underneath. In addition to providing in-car entertainment, MyLink displays lots of helpful information so you can better manage your charging and driving habits.

Read more about interior »

Bolt Performance

Bolt Engine: Energized

Instead of a gasoline engine, the Bolt EV is powered by a single electric motor with a 200-horsepower rating. This is paired with a 60-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a single-speed transmission. Acceleration is instant and quick, and while the Bolt isn't built for cruising at high speeds, it does feel lively when merging on the highway or romping through town. 

Bolt Gas Mileage: Longer Range Than Most

As a battery-electric vehicle, the Bolt EV is powered solely by its lithium-ion battery pack. It has an EPA-estimated range of about 238 miles, and it can be fully recharged with a 240-volt charger in 9.3 hours. In comparison, a 2018 Nissan Leaf has an EPA-rated 151-mile range, and the Hyundai Ioniq Electric has a 124-mile range. Still, the Bolt can’t match the uber-long range of Tesla EVs, which can surpass 300 miles. Tesla’s latest model, the Model 3, barely surpasses the Bolt’s range.

Bolt Ride and Handling: Sprightly and Stable

Engineers have tuned the Bolt EV on the sporty side. That means even though this front-wheel-drive electric car is extremely thrifty, it's also fun to drive. The battery pack keeps the center of gravity low and imparts extra stability, and the steering is responsive. One of the Bolt's unique features is the two driving modes. In Drive, it handles like a typical small car. When you shift into Low, the regenerative brakes become aggressive enough for one-pedal driving. Simply lift your foot off the throttle to slow the car to a stop. Pull the paddle on the back of the steering wheel for extra stopping power. The system is smooth, though it takes some getting used to. Additionally, the Bolt's regenerative brakes aren't as sharp as the BMW i3's.

Read more about performance »

Bolt Reliability

Is the Chevrolet Bolt Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 Bolt a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is average among all cars.

Chevrolet Bolt Warranty

Chevrolet covers the Bolt 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

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2018 Bolt EV the top score of Good in five individual crash tests. The Bolt EV offers Superior front crash prevention when equipped with the Driver Confidence II package (which includes low speed automatic braking, forward collision alert, and front pedestrian braking).

Bolt Safety Features

The Bolt EV LT comes standard with a rearview camera and Teen Driver. The latter system gives parents the option to set limits on audio volume, create custom speed limit alerts, and monitor driving distance. The top-level Bolt EV Premier swaps out the basic rearview camera for Surround Vision, a camera system that provides a bird's-eye view of the car's surroundings. It also comes standard with a rear camera mirror (built into the rearview mirror), blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. Other available safety features include low speed forward automatic braking, forward collision warning, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, following distance indicator, and automatic high beams.

Read more about safety »

Which Chevrolet Bolt Model Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Chevy Bolt EV comes in two trim levels: the base LT and the uplevel Premier. With the same hybrid powertrain and the same size lithium-ion battery pack in both, the main differences between the two are a handful of cabin and safety upgrades. We go into more detail on the standard features of each below.

Of the two, the Bolt LT is the better value. It saves you almost $4,300 over the Bolt Premier, yet it still boasts plenty of amenities, including Apple CarPlay, a large touch-screen display, a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot, and proximity keyless entry. For around $500 each, you can add the Comfort and Convenience package (featuring heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel), or the Driver Confidence package (which includes safety tech such as blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert).

Chevrolet Bolt LT

The Chevrolet Bolt EV LT has a starting price of $36,620 before local, state, and federal tax credits. It comes with cloth seats, a rearview camera, single-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, proximity keyless entry, and Teen Driver (a system that lets you set limits and monitor driving behavior). The infotainment system comes with the Chevrolet MyLink interface, a 10.2-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, voice recognition, OnStar with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, satellite radio, Bluetooth, two front USB inputs, and six speakers.

Chevrolet Bolt Premier  

Upgraded interior features in the Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier include leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. Additional high-tech safety systems are standard, such as a rear camera mirror (built into the rearview mirror), Surround Vision (a camera system that provides a bird's-eye view of the car's surroundings), blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. Pricing before tax incentives starts at $40,905.

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

See 2018 Chevrolet Bolt specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is making waves as one of the few affordable electric cars with a 200-plus-mile range. It's an appealing pick as a daily commuter or a city car – not just because it's economical to run, but also because it's enjoyable to drive. The Bolt's seats and cargo area are spacious, and its well-equipped infotainment system is easy to master.  

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

  • "Tesla may have made the long-range electric car sexy, but GM is the first company to make one affordable. The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV features a big 60-kWh battery pack giving the Bolt an impressive 238-mile range on a single charge. As most people only commute between 30 and 50 miles a day, the Bolt could easily replace a gasoline-powered car in every area save long-distance travel." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Chevy Bolt sets a bold new bar for electric vehicles. For the money ($37,495, before incentives), no other EV goes as far (238 miles). After spending some time behind the wheel on beautiful Northern Michigan fall roads, we learned that no other EV is as cleverly packaged or as easy to use." -- Autoblog (2017)
  • "The Bolt EV is … a well-rounded, eminently usable, forward-thinking small hatchback that's satisfying to drive-and perhaps the most compelling argument yet for the staying power of the mass-market electric car." -- Car and Driver (2017)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: September 21, 2018

Declining Sales: Sales of the electric Chevy Bolt sit near the bottom of the compact car class, and demand is down about 13.4 percent this year compared to the same period in 2017.

Research more buying advice »
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