2018 Chevrolet BoltChevrolet Featured Test Drive Reviews 

Ready for Prime Time: 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier Test Drive

I’m not an electric car guy. I like big V8s, horsepower, and things that smoke the rear tires at will. In truth, those are the types of vehicles I’ve made a career out of. Yet there I was, cruising through northern California, windows down, with only the faintest hint of tire noise coming from beneath me. I was piloting the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV you see here and truth-be-told, it was the first electric car that I’ve driven from both a price and performance standpoint that truly left an impression on me.

2018 Chevrolet Bolt

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier Exterior

In the past, one of the biggest problems I’ve had with EVs is that from a styling perspective, they’ve trying too hard to let people know they’re electric. The Chevrolet Bolt, however, goes about its business in a different way. It utilizes smart design and understated good looks to deliver a driving experience that focuses more on anonymity than flash. That’s not to say the Bolt isn’t an attractive automobile, quite the contrary. As a five-door hatchback, the designers and engineers were not only able to maximize space, but also bring in elements that should keep the Bolt current for years to come.

The front end still employs somewhat of a traditional grille in the lower front fascia. It’s nicely sculpted and when combined with the Bolt’s LED wrapped HID projector beam headlamps, gives the car an air of sophistication. The windshield and front windows themselves are large and provide excellent outward visibility, while the large rear hatch offers easy access for both the loading and unloading of cargo. Another nice element are the 17-inch ultra bright machined aluminum wheels, which come shod with 215/50-series Michelin Energy Saver A/S tires. They fill out the wheel-wells nicely, and unlike most economy based EVs, offer a decent footprint. The subtle use of brushed and black accents is also a nice touch, as is the integrated spoiler that sits atop the rear hatch.

2018 Chevrolet Bolt

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier Interior

Climb into the Bolt and folks will immediately notice that the smart design of the exterior continues throughout the cabin. We’re talking about an environment that is immediately comfortable with intuitive controls, and an ergonomic layout that makes one feel at home from the moment they enter. The dash, for instance, utilizes a multi-configurable screen that gives you a choice of three different layouts (Classic, Modern, Enhanced). The digital cluster is clear, and delivers basic information such as speed, maximum and minimum battery range, and even a regeneration meter. Then there’s the large 10.2-inch tablet-like screen that’s set dead center in the dash. It provides both driver and passengers alike with real-time information for everything from charge times and vehicle settings, to energy details and usage history, to climate controls and audio functions. Traditional HVAC and push button controls are located directly beneath the screen as well to help one navigate through any additional options. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto as well as access to the Bolt’s 4g LTE Wi-Fi can also be accessed here.

The cabin is about what you’d expect in regards to the materials used. We’re talking about a liberal use of recycled materials on the dash, hard plastics and seats that are nicely trimmed in two-tone leather. The steering wheel provides tilt and telescoping capabilities with button-mounted controls that help one navigate through the options on the dash. Thankfully Chevrolet still utilizes a traditional console mounted shifter as opposed to push buttons or rotary knobs for gear selection. Front leg and headroom were plentiful as was the seating for rear passengers. By utilizing a 60/40-split fold down rear seat, Chevrolet was able to provide up to 56.6 cubic-feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded flat. Both traditional and USB charge ports can be found throughout the cabin.

2018 Chevrolet Bolt

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier Performance

Some people are scared of the dark. Some folks hate heights. Me, I have range anxiety — and it’s not just with electric vehicles. You see, I’m the guy who never lets his gas gauge dip below a quarter tank, and I can pretty much map out every fuel station within 25 miles at any given moment. But there I was, behind the wheel of the 2018 Chevrolet Volt with a battery gauge that stated 23 miles of range left when I was 15 miles from my home. Now normally, this would’ve sent me into cardiac arrest, but at this point I’d been driving the Bolt for a week and honestly, I wasn’t worried at all. The Bolt comes EPA rated at 128 mpge city, and 100 mpge highway (miles per gallon equivalent) and what’s great about the battery gauge on this thing — it’s dead accurate. The Bolt EV is actually the first EV that I truly like, as its performance is made for the real world. It’ll hit 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, do over 90 mph, and with a range of up to 238 miles (driver dependent) it out performs all others in the class.

As a whole driving, the Bolt is a pleasurable experience. It’ll cruise along at highway speeds with no problem at all, and with a power rating of 200hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, passing is never an issue. The Bolt also comes equipped with the best pedal regeneration feel I’ve experienced, to the point where you can actually drive the car with just one pedal in slow moving traffic. The handling is also predictive and confidence inspiring, thanks to a low center of gravity, front wheel drive and a nicely tuned suspension. Shifting is seamless.

Charging the Bolt EV can be done via a standard home 110v outlet, a 240v Level 2 electric charger, or a DC Fast Charger. If you’re using a standard home outlet then be prepared to wait a full day for a full charge. As this is 2018, we assume you’ll have access to either a Level 2 or DC Fast Charger. Level 2 will charge the Bolt from empty to full in about nine hours, and a DC Fast Charger will give you around 90 miles for every 30 minutes of charge time.

2018 Chevrolet Bolt

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier Safety:

The Bolt EV comes to us with a wide variety of safety features from ultrasonic-, radar- and camera-based systems for potential collision prevention on all sides, to the 10 air bags throughout the cabin, daytime running lights, antilock brakes, traction and stability control, OnStar and much more.

To learn more about the safety features on the 2018 Bolt EV Premier please visit Chevrolet.com.

 2018 Chevrolet Bolt

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier Overall

By offering accurate range and respectable charging times along with above average driving manners, the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier is one of the few all-electric vehicles that can wow an old-school gearhead like me. I’d recommend checking out, as it makes for a great daily-driver, has plenty of interior space, a user-friendly cabin, and a reasonable base price of $37,495.00.

Drop by your local AutoNation Chevrolet dealer today to check one out!

*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.

**Vehicle MSRP of $33,290.00 excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.

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