The 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
The Chevrolet Bolt doesn’t get enough respect. After early experiments like the hand-built EV1 and the limited-run Spark EV, the Bolt was General Motors’ first mass-produced battery electric vehicle, beating Tesla’s Model 3 to the market and boasting a sub-$40,000 price tag when it launched in 2017.
In 2021, the car got a (COVID-delayed) facelift, a price cut, and a second variant, called the Bolt EUV, which had a longer wheelbase and more interior room, plus the option of GM’s Super Cruise hands-free driver assist.
Finally people have gotten some time behind the wheel of a Bolt EUV, just in time for another price cut in June that sees the price of this is-it-a-hatchback, is-it-a-crossover start at $27,200, making it the second-cheapest EV on sale (after the $25,600 Bolt EV). And other than the fact that its fast-charging ability is not particularly fast, I’m struggling to find reasons to avoid this competent EV.
The original Bolt EV turned out to be a hoot to drive—fit one with slightly grippier tires and it will embarrass a Golf GTI—but it got a bad rap thanks to front seats that some found uncomfortable. More recently, there was a massive recall affecting battery packs built by LG until 2022.
Those issues are now behind the Bolt; GM and LG set about replacing the battery in every affected car, giving older-Bolt owners a nice energy storage bump in the process.
So the battery problem should not be a worry with the Bolt EUV. Mechanically, the vehicle uses the same powertrain as the smaller version—a 201 hp (150 kW) permanent magnet electric motor driving the front wheels, powered by a 65 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. That’s sufficient for an EPA-estimated range of 249 miles (398 km), slightly reduced compared to the Bolt EV, perhaps due to the larger frontal area.
In practice, the test Bolt EUV averaged 3.7 miles/kWh (16.8 kWh/100 km), making it one of the more efficient EVs on sale today. Plugged into a 48 A AC charger, the Bolt EUV battery will return to a 100 percent state of charge in about seven hours. But be prepared to hang around a bit on road trips; the Bolt EUV maxes out at just 55 kW.
This was almost acceptable in 2016 when the Bolt was about to be released, given the paucity of more powerful fast-chargers. It’s less understandable in 2022, though, and you can expect to wait about an hour or more to return your Bolt EUV’s battery to 80 percent when using a DC fast charger.
But that’s probably the only thing I can find to criticize. The cockpit ergonomics feature plenty of buttons and dials and switches, although the infotainment system does use a touch interface.
The gear shifter that sprouted from the center console went away with the Bolt’s facelift, and you now select forward or reverse using buttons on the console that are reminiscent of the ones you find in modern-day Hondas and Acuras.
The seats are much more comfortable than those in previous models, and the extra three inches added to the wheelbase translate to a meaningful increase in rear legroom.
The Bolt EUV’s ride can be a little bouncy over expansion gaps and bumps at highway speed, and the low-rolling-resistance tires obviously do not have the last word in grip, but the EUV is a fun car to drive, with plenty of immediate torque and strong lift-off regeneration for one-pedal driving.
Super Cruise remains a highly effective driver assist when you’re on a geofenced highway, and as a convenience feature for long drives, it almost makes up for the anti-convenience of long charging times.
Chevy fits a decent amount of standard equipment to the base Bolt EUV, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist and lane departure warning, and automatic high-beam headlights.
The test car was the Bolt EUV Premier ($31,700) and came fitted with a raft of options, including a better seven-speaker audio system, an infotainment system with navigation and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a panoramic glass sunroof ($2,495), as well as Super Cruise ($2,200), which also comes with enhanced automatic emergency braking (no doubt enabled by the better forward-looking sensors required by Super Cruise).
So equipped, the sticker price is still under $38,000, which makes this EV a heck of a bargain compared to, well, just about every other EV on sale today. And with so many Chevy dealerships in the country, you might even find one for sale.
Is Bolt EUV worth it?
The Bolt EUV is definitely worth buying. It has many of the qualities you want from an electric utility vehicle: ample space, zippy acceleration and a respectable driving range. However, the Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E have even longer drive ranges.
How much will the 2023 Bolt Really cost?
The pricing for a 2023 Chevrolet Bolt hatchback will now start at around $26,600—$5,900 below the cost of the 2022 model that starts at about $32,500. Pricing for the roomier 2023 Bolt EUV (Chevy’s moniker for “electric SUV,”) will start at around $28,200.