The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2017 Chevy Bolt EV hatchback.
DOWN THE ROAD: 200 miles and some more on a full one-time electric charge. GM claims 238 miles, to be exact. That is the Bolt for you. It is ultra-smooth and a cool car to drive offering superb handling and overall balance. Zero to 60 is possible in fewer than 7 seconds.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: Power is derived solely from a huge under-floor lithium-ion battery that has a capacity of 60 kWh and an electric motor. It produces 200 horsepower and 266 pounds-feet of torque. The Bolt is mated to a single-speed gearbox though a sport mode is also available. Regenerative braking allows the vehicle, when coasting or slowing down, to capture kinetic energy that would be lost. It converts the energy into useable electricity to recharge the battery. Keeping the hatch stable enough to soak bumps is an independent suspension of front MacPherson strut and torsion beam rear. The electric power rack-and-pinion steering is precise and direct. Charging options include a standard 120-volt Level 1 power cord, which takes an hour to recharge 4 to 5 miles. Instead, opt for the 240-volt Level 2 charging, which can recharge 25 miles or so in an hour (cost to install can range from $750 to $1,000).
LOOK & FEEL: It is really not a stunner though HID projector headlights flanking the familiar and centered Chevy bowtie gives the car a fitting appearance. The cabin is unlike most cars, especially the instrument panel with a 8-inch LCD screen in driver vision displaying the digital speedometer, distance, miles to go, average and battery level bar graph indicators. The mammoth 10.2-inch color screen in the center stack shows entertainment, climate and navigation readouts. Also standard are a single-zone auto a/c, leather shifter with satin silver and chrome accents, tilt/telescopic steering column, six-way manual front seats, 60/40 split rear fold seat and keyless open/start.
SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, three-point safety belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, StabiliTrak with traction control, rearview camera, tire pressure monitor and daytime running lights are standard.
OUT THE DOOR: $36,620, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. A federal tax credit of $7,500 is available.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P215/50R17; wheelbase, 102.1 inches; length, 164 inches; weight, 3,580 pounds; Miles Per Gallon equivalent (MPGe): 119; Web site,
WHY DIG IT:  No doubt, the Bolt, like its hybrid sibling, the Volt, is a ground-breaking vehicle that offers speedy acceleration with ample power. It is no Tesla but a car of the future that should one day be mastered to perfection (imagine going 500 miles on an electric charge). And at $29,120 after the federal credit, it is a steal.

CALLING ALL CHEVY DEALERS IN THE WEST CENTRAL AREA: if you would like to be listed here as one of the test-drive dealerships, e-mail us at