2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Review - Watts Going On
2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Premier
As goes General Motors, so goes the nation. Apocryphal or not, the above statement dates to the Eisenhower era when The General was indeed one of the largest influences on American lives. From Dinah Shore to the shores of wherever a GM-built military vehicle might be carrying a GI, Chevrolet and the other divisions once played an outsized part in our world.
Even in the Nineties as the corporation rebounded from its malaise-era nadir, GM took chances and pushed boundaries. The EV1 drew attention as the first legitimate mass-produced electric vehicle. But the EV spotlight - and Wall Street glory - has been seized by a demagogue and a merry band of followers, making a funky-looking EV genuinely mainstream.
The Bowtie isn’t taking this lying down, but the approach is somewhat novel. Rather than targeting big money from luxury sedans and the like, the volume sales EVs from GM are the pair of Bolts, including this 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV. Deliberately aping the ever-popular crossover market, the Bolt EUV brings something unusual to the EV space - a total lack of weirdness.
Now, I’m not saying that innovation is a bad thing. Making changes to how our cars work - and how we interact with them - has been part of the automotive world since Alfred P. Sloan. But if you plop your hindquarters into the driver’s chair of many EVs whilst blindfolded, the controls at hand are often not in familiar places or particularly intuitive to use.
Note: Do not drive while blindfolded. Absolutely do not drive while blindfolded. I’m just trying to make a point.
That teenager-on-a-first-date fumbling doesn’t happen in the Bolt EUV. Everything feels as if it’s lifted from many other vehicles throughout the GM lineup, which of course it is. Even the pushbutton controls for forward/reverse/park, while likely a bit foreign to someone stepping out of a 1994 Saturn right into this Chevy, are quickly comprehended and managed.
It’s a comfortable environment - though I’ll profess that I’d like a bit more interior shoulder width, and perhaps a longer lower seat bolster. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m built more like a retired linebacker than most drivers, so it’s not as big a concern for most drivers. The rear seats are similarly comfortable for a pair. Cargo space is plenty adequate for most - competitive, seemingly, with a compact crossover in a similar price range.
The driving experience is unremarkable. 200 horsepower is plenty for most needs, and even when loaded down with four people the instant electric torque gets the Bolt EUV off the line adequately. My only regret here is that the Super Cruise system isn’t available on entry-level models of the Bolt. While the Bolt EUV starts at around $29k delivered, Super Cruise is a $2,200 option available only on this Premier Edition, which starts at $33,295 after delivery and destination fees before adding that Super Cruise.
Super Cruise is brilliant. It goes beyond the usual adaptive cruise control to allow hands-free driving - but it only allows it on limited-access highways specifically mapped by GM. The driver monitor ensures that you’re still paying attention to the road and will insist upon handing over control or stopping the car should you decide to be a jackass - or should you have stopped reading a few paragraphs above and hit the road with a blindfold. But for a long drive, allowing one to take the hands off the wheel for a stretch is a relief.
One feature that I think is cool - the Super Cruise notifies you if you’re leaving a GM-mapped road. One such road is not far from my home - a state highway that for much of its run through northern Columbus is a limited-access freeway built seemingly to Interstate Highway standards. However, as the highway approaches the northern exurbs, it transitions to a surface street and then to a twisty two-lane with a 45 mph limit. Knowing this, Super Cruise will alert the driver to take over, growing more and more insistent as the speed limit changes.
Incidentally, part of my duties for my reviews each week is to find the Canadian pricing and fuel economy figures for each test subject, in "honour" of our Ontarian overlords and their use of the superfluous letter u. When testing an electric vehicle, the website for Natural Resources Canada lists the equivalent economy as Le/100 km. I’m struggling as I write this, picturing actual litres of electricity in a bucket and internally laughing. Yeah, I know it means “litres equivalent per hundred kilometres” but I can’t help but chuckle.
And, now that I’m done with that aside, that’s all for the Canadian spellings. God save the King and all, but we threw off the shackles of tyranny for many reasons and the little red squiggles appearing in the above paragraph via my America Hell Yeah spellcheck is but one grievance that should have been delineated in Jefferson’s Philadelphia Parchment Blog all those years ago.
247 miles of range is what GM quotes for this Bolt EUV. My loaner vehicle schedule never quite lines up with a week when I can manage a long EV road trip without time constraints, it seems, so my attempts at stretching to the exact range remain thwarted. But based upon my drive and the indicated figures, I’m reasonably confident in presuming one could manage that estimated range. A curb weight right around 3,700 pounds certainly is a big part of the more-than-respectable range reflected here, as the 65 kWh lithium-ion battery isn’t particularly huge.
In short, while I’ve driven a number of electric vehicles over the past year or so, the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV is the only one that has me thinking about adding one to my fleet. It’s not luxurious. It’s not loaded down with a giant screen. It’s not packing a ton of neck-snapping power. But the Bolt EUV is competitively priced, drives nicely, and doesn’t make me feel like I’m driving a spaceship. My daughter once remarked, when stepping into a competitive EV, that the car “felt like the future.” Conversely, the Bolt EUV feels like it’s an EV for right now. It isn’t weird. It’s wired.
[Images © 2023 Chris Tonn/TTAC]
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