The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

Imagine going 200 miles and some more on a full one-time electric charge in a ride. GM claims 238 miles, to be exact, in its four-door, five-passenger 2019 Bolt EV. It is ultra-smooth and a cool hatchback offering superb handling and overall balance. 

Power comes 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 column-mounted electric power rack-and-pinion steering is accurate and unswerving. 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).

It is not really 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 the driver vision displaying the digital speedometer, distance, miles to go, average and battery level bar graph indicators. The massive 10.2-inch color screen in the center stack shows entertainment, climate and navigation readouts. We must admit we were pleasantly surprised with the 56.6 cubic foot cargo space, plenty for several bags of luggage. 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.

Standard safety features include 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.

The Bolt, like Volt – its hybrid sibling – is a trailblazing 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 $32,870 after the $3,750 federal credit, which phases out completely in April 2020, it is a steal.

Tires: P215/50R17
Wheelbase: 102.4 inches
Length: 164 inches
Width: 69.5 inches
Height: 62.8 inches
Weight: 3,563 pounds
Miles Per Gallon equivalent (MPGe): 119
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