In its brother’s shadow. The biggest problem facing Chevy’s Bolt EV is its near-identical sibling, the EUV. With shared aesthetics and dynamics, you’d struggle to tell the two apart despite being supposedly different across every panel. And since the bigger model only costs $3,000 more, why would you plump for its smaller stablemate?

For now, we’ll assume the EUV doesn’t float your boat for some reason. Viewed in isolation, its baby brother certainly has plenty of appeal. Its looks are crisp and modern, with a characterful nose and a poised stance suggesting it’s ready to leap into action – which EVs usually are since they have full torque available instantly. In the right paint shade and viewed from the right angle, this is a really handsome little car.

A taxing issue. For many people, EVs are all about effortless acceleration, the ability to float contemptuously past gas stations, and the promise of greater affordability. One fly in that particular jar of ointment is the fact the Bolt no longer qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Without it, you’re paying over $30,000 for a subcompact whose unsupportive seats and upright driving position betray its compact external dimensions. This is a car for four rather than five, while 16.6 cu ft of cargo space is adequate rather than impressive.

Further evidence of weight-saving and cost-cutting can be found throughout the Bolt’s interior. The doors shut with a clang rather than a clunk, the dash is a drab slab of plastic, and there are too many buttons by modern standards. Moving up to Premier trim brings extra toys and safety features, but the Bolt’s inherent drawbacks remain. On the plus side, there’s loads of headroom, more light and visibility than you’d expect given that kicked-up side profile, and a practical 57 cu ft of load space once rear passengers have been evicted.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV Interior

Electric dreams. The front-drive Bolt EV belies its town-car dimensions and hefty 3,589 lb weight by covering the 0-60 sprint in less than seven seconds. Impressively, it does this with front-wheel drive and very little noise, while the regenerative braking effectively makes it a one-pedal vehicle. It’ll cover an EPA-estimated 259 miles on a full charge, which is the equivalent of 120 MPGe. The Bolt is slower to charge than rivals like Hyundai’s Ioniq 5, but you can add a hundred miles of range in 30 minutes at a 50 or 55kW fast-charging port. At home, it’ll need around ten hours.

As a driver’s car, the Bolt EV falls short. Those skinny tires lose grip too easily in tight bends, though the steering is better than many of its contemporaries. At least the tires and weight combine to deliver a cushioned, compliant ride, but you’ll still be hoping for the journey’s end because of those hard, thinly-padded, and surprisingly small seats.

Higher trims make more sense. There are plenty of standard safety features on every Bolt EV, with automatic emergency braking allied to active lane control and automatic high beams. You’ll pay extra for blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and a camera mirror on base models, while hands-free driving assistance is only available on the EUV. Base models are equipped with basics like smartphone compatibility via a 10.2-inch touchscreen, but Premier makes things far more comfortable with those aforementioned safety options, heated leather seats all around, and a surround-view camera system.

Final thoughts. The electric Bolt is a likable car in many respects. It’s poised and pretty, powerful without being intimidating in the manner of some EVs, and much cheaper than the (admittedly far superior) Ford Mustang Mach-E and its peers. Three-figure MPGe returns aren’t to be sniffed at, while a 259-mile range and good ride comfort make longer journeys relatively stress-free.

That said, we can’t help feeling the Bolt EV will date pretty quickly. Its specification in base trim is inadequate, with key safety features and creature comforts absent. The lack of driving dynamics and its cheaply-upholstered seats mean it’s not much fun to drive or be driven in. The interior is drab and uninspiring, lacking the sophistication of rival EVs. Most significantly, its EUV stablemate offers more of everything for only $3,000 extra, including features unavailable to Bolt EV buyers. It’s hard to see both models coexisting for long, and we think we know which one will be deleted from Chevy’s lineup first.

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