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- Highs Tempting starting price, spacious interior for a mini-car, reasonable driving range.
- Lows No all-wheel-drive option, feels like the low-cost solution it is.
- Verdict The all-electric Bolt EV’s low, low starting price makes it an attractive electrified alternative to sexier and more costly EVs.
Chevy has evolved the Bolt since it’s 2016 debut into an intriguing small electric hatchback with out-of-the-mainstream styling that offers a strong value proposition. The Bolt EV, not to be confused with the slightly larger Bolt EUV mini-SUV reviewed separately, is the least expensive EV sold in the U.S. today, making it a more accessible alternative to small EVs like the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Kona Electric. The Bolt is powered by a single 200-horsepower motor that powers its front wheels, a propulsion system that nets an EPA-estimated 259 miles on a single charge. The Bolt has DC fast-charge capability that Chevy says can add up to 100 miles of range in just 30 minutes. Inside is an unexpectedly roomy interior that previous Chevy drivers will find familiar; with its rear seatback folded the Bolt has nearly as much cargo space as a Chevy Equinox.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What's New for 2023?
The big change for the 2023 Chevy Bolt is a $5900 price drop versus the 2022 model—which brings its MSRP down by whopping $10,900 from the 2021 model for essentially the same car. This massive price cut Chevy is intended to keep the Bolt’s cost competitive now that the company has produced enough electric vehicles that it has lost the $7500 federal tax credit could be applied to its EVs. It’s also a balm to the Bolt’s reputation, which suffered a hit when the company issued a recall in the fourth quarter of 2020 for every Bolt the company had produced to fix a battery issue with the potential to cause a fire. Bolt EV and EUV production was ultimately suspended in November of 2021 until the issue was resolved. Production resumed in April of 2022. Other than the price revision, the only update is a new Radiant Red Tintcoat paint color.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Bolt 1LT and 2LT trims get an EPA-estimated 259 miles of range and can accept DC fast charging. The 2LT trim adds heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, a 360-degree camera and added driver safety features that make it worth the extra coin on this already highly-affordable electric hatchback.
EV Motor, Power, and Performance
Although we have not driven the 2023 Bolt EV, its powertrain and chassis are identical to older models that we have piloted. Its electric motor still sends 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque exclusively to the front wheels. This setup provides peppy response to accelerator inputs and ample low-end torque that lets you shoot off the line when the light turns green. Responses are less immediate at highway speeds, but the new electric Chevy should still make passing and merging on the highway a cinch. We anticipate that it will again deliver a composed ride and plenty of power—and a pleasant enough driving demeanor to challenge whatever negative preconceptions you might have about electric vehicles. There's also a one-pedal-driving mode—activated via a button on the center console—that increases regenerative braking to the point where you rarely need to use the brakes to slow down.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
The EPA gives the 2023 Bolt EV an estimated 259 miles of range on a full charge. That matches the EPA rating for the previous generation Bolt, and it's competitive with other similarly priced EVs such as the Hyundai Kona Electric. While the Tesla Model 3 Long Range can travel up to 353 miles on one charge, it costs considerably more. The Bolt EV is available with a dual-level charging cord that plugs into both Level 1 (120-volt) and Level 2 (240-volt) outlets, which Chevy says will eliminate the need for many owners to buy a separate home charger. The Bolt's maximum Level 2 charging speed also increases to 11 kW, allowing the battery to fully charge in seven hours. The electrified hatchback is still available with DC fast charging that can add about 100 miles of range every 30 minutes with a Level 3 connection.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPGe
The 2023 Bolt EV has a combined EPA rating of 120 MPGe. The last Bolt EV we evaluated achieved 102 MPGe in our real-world test, which translates to a highway range of 180 miles. You can expect to see significantly better range if you stick to lower speeds around town. In fact, during an unorthodox range test in California's Death Valley, we were able to exceed the EPA's 259-mile estimated driving range in the real world. For more information about the Bolt EV's efficiency, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Chevy spruces up the Bolt EV's cabin with a more upscale design that the company says includes better materials than before and more soft-touch surfaces. The steering wheel now features a racy flat bottom, the driver faces a new 8.0-inch fully digital gauge cluster, and the old electronic shifter is replaced by a set of toggles and buttons. Although the updated Bolt EV has the same passenger space as before, including a back seat that's roomy enough for two adults, it does have redesigned front seats that are said to be more comfortable. The hatchback's rear cargo space still measures 17 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 57 cubes with those rear seatbacks folded flat.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every Bolt EV features a 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system with popular standard features, such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless smartphone charging are also available. Complementing the touch controls are physical knobs for volume and tuning as well as a shortcut button for the home screen. The Chevy's infotainment system allows over-the-air updates and includes built-in apps that are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Spotify music streaming services.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2023 Bolt EV boasts a roster of standard and optional driver-assistance technology. Along with standard automatic high-beams and front pedestrian detection, the hatchback can be equipped with a 360-degree camera system and rear cross-traffic alert.
For more information about the Bolt EV's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Chevrolet provides standard coverage limits for the Bolt's electric-powertrain components. It also includes the first maintenance visit, but overall coverage doesn't come close to that of Hyundai.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers eight years or 100,00 miles
- Complimentary maintenance covers one scheduled visit
2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV
front-motor, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED
$43,735 (base price: $37,495)
permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor
200 hp @ 4750 rpm
266 lb-ft @ 0 rpm
liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 66.0 kWh
single-speed direct drive
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 10.9-in vented disc/10.4-in disc
Tires: Michelin Energy Saver A/S Selfseal, 215/50R-17 91H M+S TPC
Wheelbase: 102.4 in
Length: 164.0 in
Width: 69.5 in
Height: 62.8 in
Passenger volume: 94 ft3
Cargo volume: 17 ft3
Curb weight: 3585 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
60 mph: 6.7 sec
90 mph: 13.9 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.7 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.5 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.7 sec
¼-mile: 15.2 sec @ 92 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 93 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 191 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.79 g
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 118/127/108 MPGe
Range: 259 miles