Credit General Motors (GM) with finally bringing a full-electric car to the market in the Bolt EV. GM teased us before, but this one delivers and is ahead of the competition. That competition, however, is quickly catching up, which means more choices for consumers. As for the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV, it holds its own and looks and drives like a normal car should.

Best Value

The 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV is a compact four-door hatchback with room for five, though four fit more comfortably. This electric vehicle is available in LT and Premier trims. All models come with a single motor and have a 60-kilowatt lithium-ion battery pack. This electric drivetrain produces 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The Bolt EV has an EPA-estimated 238-mile driving range. It takes about 9.3 hours to reach a full charge with a 240-volt outlet.

Standard features include automatic headlights, 17-inch wheels, an audio package with a 10.2-inch display screen, and 10 airbags. The Premier model adds unique wheels, roof rails, outside mirror turn indicators, leather-trimmed seats, and a suite of driver-assist safety features.

Here’s how we’d build our best value Bolt EV:

  • Model:2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier
  • Engine: Electric drive unit with one motor
  • Output:200 hp /266 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Single-speed gearbox
  • Drivetrain:Front-wheel drive
  • MPG:128 City MPGe / 110 Hwy MPGe
  • Options: Driver Confidence II Package ($495, automatic high beams, following distance indicator, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, front pedestrian braking, low-speed automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams) Infotainment Package ($485, seven-speaker Bose audio system, wireless device charging, two charging-only USB ports for rear passengers)
  • Base Price:$41,780 (including a $875 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$42,760

Performance

Chevy Bolt EV

Electric vehicles are big on power and the Chevrolet Bolt EV is no exception. This model runs on a single electric motor, which is large enough to produce 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed to the front wheels. This compact EV moves from zero to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds. Importantly, it has an EPA-estimated 238-mile range, which is longer than the Nissan Leaf and just below the Tesla Model 3.

Of course, you never use gas because this model runs strictly on electricity. Besides its long range, the Bolt EV reaches a full charge in 9.3 hours using a 240-volt power outlet. With an SAE Combo DC fast charge unit, you can gain 90 miles of driving range in just 30 minutes.

You’ll find two drive models at the ready. The normal mode is the default, while the second mode provides one-pedal operation. The way this second mode works is that the car automatically brakes when your foot is off the accelerator. This boosts regenerative braking, which aids in driving range. EV enthusiasts prize this feature.

Style

Some electrified vehicles look the part and that’s okay if you want to stand out in the crowd. For everyone else, the outlandish style of this first group of vehicles is too much to look past, which is why the Chevrolet Bolt EV is both anonymous and pleasing.

Inside, the Bolt EV utilizes more plastics than we like, but we give Chevrolet kudos for the huge 10.2-inch display screen occupying the center stack. We also like that the controls and buttons are arranged suitably, something that couldn’t be said for the first-generation Chevy Volt.

The Bolt’s standard 16.9 cubic feet of storage space is small, but it offers more room than the Volt. Its real storage strength lies in folding down the rear seat as that space mushrooms to 56.6 cubic feet. Credit Chevrolet with sticking the two electric batteries below the floor with making this possible.

The Best and Worst Things

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is more widely available than the Tesla Model 3, though some dealers stock them more than others, so you may have to work with your dealer to find the one you want. Perhaps the most challenging thing about the Bolt EV is that it's quickly losing its edge as competitors begin to catch up.

Right For? Wrong For?

Chevy Bolt EV

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is right for anyone looking for a mainstream electric vehicle with the range to go with it. On the other hand, some shoppers can’t live without supplementary power, which is why the Chevrolet Volt is a fitting alternative.

The Bottom Line

Whether you choose the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV or the Volt, Chevrolet has two strong electrified vehicle choices at the ready. We prefer the top-trim Bolt Premier model, as it offers a more complete package with its roof rails, leather interior, and advanced driver assist features.