2019 Chevrolet Bolt

Performance


#8 out of 21 in Compact Cars

$36,620 MSRP
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2019 Chevrolet Bolt Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.7

The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV is fun and a little sporty. It has energetic acceleration thanks in part to the instant torque from its electric motor, as well as its lively handling. It also has a longer electric range than many other EVs.

  • "If you've never driven an electric car before, make sure your first time is behind the wheel of the 2018 Chevy Bolt. Beyond its spectacular 238-mile range, the Bolt is a joy to drive." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Despite the fact that there's a half-ton of battery crammed into a small car, the Bolt is not only a good EV, it's fun to drive as well." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • "For more typical urban and suburban driving, we could say the ride was quiet, and the Bolt eases out of its parking space and gets underway with smooth decorum. You can sneak in and out of your parking garage late at night undetected. This would be a fine car for ninjas, though GM expects the average buyer to be a professional urban city dweller." -- Autoweek (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Chevy Bolt EV features an electric motor, a 60-kWH lithium-ion battery pack, and a 7.2-kW high-voltage on-board charger. The EPA estimates that the Bolt has an all-electric range of 238 miles, which is well above average for a vehicle in this price range. Its MPGe rating is 128 MPGe in the city and 110 MPGe on the highway.

Range isn’t the Bolt’s only strong suit. Torque is supplied instantly, and the 200-horsepower motor propels the car from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. Using a 240-volt charger, it takes a little over nine hours to fully recharge the battery. A DC fast charging capability is also available as an option, recharging 90 miles of electric range in half an hour.

  • "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 hit 60 mph in 6.8 seconds at the track, a fine showing for a family car, much less an electric one." -- Edmunds
  • "Power flows through the front wheels via a single-speed automatic transmission with sufficient intensity to send the Bolt EV sprinting from 0-60 mph in about 6.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 91 mph." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "Off the line it, ahem, bolts. We heard one GM staffer say 60 mph arrives in 'under seven seconds.' That is competitive with moderately well-performing cars of a similar size. We launched it over and over in our four or five laps of an autocross-style course in a parking lot across the street from CES and were always happy to feel the surge of acceleration." -- Autoweek (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Bolt EV has enough handling composure to make it enjoyable to zip around town in. There’s plenty of steering feedback, and the car’s stability helps minimize body lean while darting around corners. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is not available.

The Bolt has a regenerative braking system, which captures the energy from slowing the car and uses it to recharge the battery. There are two driving modes that dial in the amount of regenerative braking. The first is the default Drive mode. It has light regenerative braking, but it feels more like a traditional car. Activate the Low mode with the gear selector to engage in one-pedal driving, and you can press the right pedal down to accelerate, or lift off of it when you want to slow down. You'll be able to slow your speed or even stop in some situations without touching the brake pedal.

There is also a feature called Regen on Demand, which is activated by pulling a paddle on the back of the steering wheel. This is similar to Low mode in its effect; pulling the paddle activates strong regenerative braking, helping you slow the vehicle without hitting the brakes. However, there are still going to be cases when the brake pedal may need to be used.

  • "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." -- Edmunds
  • "The Bolt's heavy battery pack sits beneath the floor helping to lower the car's center of gravity, which in turn helps improves cornering and reduce lean. Once in motion the driver can move the Bolt's shift lever from Drive to Low, thus engaging the One Pedal Driving feature that uses regenerative braking to slow the vehicle. The system is far less intrusive than systems we've tested in other makes." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "Another really neat feature I liked was the Bolt's regenerative braking. With the gearshift lever set in Drive, the Bolt feels about like a regular gas car. But shift it into Low, and just lifting off the throttle produces rather strong deceleration – stronger than you would normally use when braking in traffic (meaning you have to learn to modulate your 'lifting off' a bit), and it can bring you all the way to a stop without ever hitting the brake pedal. And if that's not enough, there's a paddle behind the left side of the steering wheel that you can flip and hold that will give you even more." -- Consumer Guide (2017)
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