With 238 miles of range and a reasonable price tag, the all-new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt is the best attempt yet to bring pure electric vehicles into the mainstream.

Pricing and Equipment

The Chevrolet Bolt hatchback starts at $37,495 (including destination) for the popularly equipped LT model. Most buyers will qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, and several states offer rebates up to $2,500.

The LT comes standard with:

  • Keyless and remote start
  • A 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • A six-speaker sound system with satellite radio

Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel are part of the $555 Comfort and Convenience package. The Driver Confidence I package adds a bundle of useful safety alerts for a reasonable $495. The Premiere model ($41,780) has all that, plus an upgraded interior with leather seats and a surround-view camera system. The available Driver Confidence II package fills out the Bolt with a suite of active safety technology for $495.

Performance Pros

Chevrolet Bolt EV

A lithium-ion battery pack, mounted on the front-drive Bolt's underside, stores juice for a 200-horsepower electric motor.

  • We found no performance drawbacks to the Bolt's electric setup, only benefits. It's significantly quicker than the average gas-powered hatchback.
  • Like all EVs, the Bolt uses a single-speed transmission, but the available Drive mode makes it behave just like a car with a conventional automatic.

Performance Cons

  • To conserve battery charge, the Bolt's top speed is limited to 91 mph. Given enough room, just about any gas-powered car can outrun it.
  • Although the Chevrolet Bolt looks a lot like a small crosser, all-wheel drive isn't available.

Interior Pros

  • There's nothing small about the Bolt on the inside. Abundant head room and a virtually flat floor make it easy to get comfortable.
  • The Bolt offers 56.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat folded. It's positively cavernous.

Interior Cons

  • There's too much hard plastic for a car in this price class, electric or not.
  • The Bolt isn't quite wide enough to seat three in the back without one of them feeling squished. It's really a four-passenger car in our view.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The Chevrolet Bolt offers a Low driving mode that increases the amount of regenerative braking at work. That translates into longer range and less wear on the friction brakes.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

A full recharge takes a leisurely 9 hours on a 240-volt charger. That makes the available $750 fast-charging port (which gives drivers 90 miles in 30 minutes) almost mandatory.

The Bottom Line

The Chevrolet Bolt EV's combination of range, price, and performance seemed too good to be true just a few years ago. It's now within reach of the typical new car buyer.