No electric car on the market offers more for less.
The average new electric vehicle in the US costs around $66,000 (as of the end of 2022), but the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV bucks that trend with a genuinely affordable starting price of $27,800. Even options from other mainstream automakers like Ford, Hyundai, Kia, and Volkswagen cost thousands more, making the Bolt EUV (and the standard Bolt EV) stand out as the best values in the EV market.
We recently spent a week driving a fully-loaded Bolt EUV Premier with the new-for-2023 Redline package. Even at just under $40 grand, the EUV proves that it can be all the vehicle most shoppers actually need. It may not fit every lifestyle, but the Bolt EUV could be the perfect affordable entry into the electric lifestyle for a certain buyer.
One argument against the Bolt has always been its less-than-sleek shape. It's a pretty average-looking hatchback, but a new Redline Appearance Package substantially improves curb appeal. For just $495, the Bolt EUV Premier gains black wheels with red accents, black Chevy bowties, black mirrors with red strips, red/black badging, and a black interior with red stitching. Chevy keeps expanding its Redline offerings across its lineup because buyers love the option of an affordable package that improves styling without adding any performance upgrades.
With "only" 200 horsepower on tap, the Bolt EUV may not seem rapid when stopped at a red light next to a Tesla with Ludicrous Mode. But with 266 lb-ft of torque, this car surprised us with some old-fashioned tire-squealing fun. We wouldn't go so far as to call it a hot hatchback, but the instant torque availability means the Bolt EUV never feels unready to overtake slower traffic. Since the EUV is about 90 pounds heavier than the EV, it takes half a second longer to hit 60 mph (seven seconds).
The steering is decently playful, and the floor-mounted battery keeps the center of gravity low, improving handling. We particularly love the one-pedal driving mode in this car, which recaptures energy into the battery and precludes the driver from using the physical brakes. Turning this mode on and off can be done with just one button press on the shifter, and there's a paddle on the steering wheel to temporarily trigger stronger regeneration. With a shallow learning curve, we imagine most drivers will get used to not using the brake pedal within a week.
Chevy's naming scheme for this car is a bit confusing because it sounds like the EUV is the SUV version of the standard Bolt. The EUV isn't actually any taller, but it is 6.3 inches longer with a wheelbase that's 2.9 inches longer. That added length gives the EUV three additional inches of legroom in the back seat.
Cargo space deceptively looks smaller in the EUV, with 16.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 56.9 cubes with the seats folded (16.6 and 57 in the EV), but the EUV packs a large storage area underneath the floor that isn't counted towards the total, so it is more practical than the EV in the real world.
Along with the more spacious cabin, the Bolt EUV also offers features not available on the standard EV. The top Bolt EUV Premier trim comes standard with heated and ventilated front seats (heated only on the EV) and heated seats in the rear. And since the Bolt EV doesn't have the option of a Premier trim, you'll have to pay extra for a wireless phone charger, rear USB ports, and adaptive cruise control.
EUV buyers also have the option to add a panoramic moonroof (part of a $2,495 Sun & Sound Package) and GM's hands-free Super Cruise driving assist ($2,200). If you want either of these features, you must opt for the EUV. Unfortunately, the Bolt EUV comes with an older version of Super Cruise, so it lacks the ability to execute hands-free lane changes. It also deactivated on us several times, something that's never happened to us in any other GM vehicles with SC technology.
A side effect of the extra weight and size carried by the EUV is that it only goes 247 miles on a charge (compared to 259 miles in the EV). This is a pretty minor range penalty, but there's another reason why the Bolt EUV is not the ideal road trip EV. The 65 kWh lithium-ion battery's range is fine, but its charging is lacking, as it can only charge at peak rates of 55 kW. The Toyota bZ4X can charge up to 150 kW, while the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 can do it at 235 kW.
So while the Korean EVs can go from 10-80% in as little as 18 minutes, the Chevy will only gain range at a rate of around 95 miles in 30 minutes. In other words, you'll be sitting at the charger for at least an hour and a half. Combined with the older Super Cruise, we wouldn't recommend the Bolt EUV for drivers who spend most of their time on the road and can't frequently charge at home.
For the latter type of buyer, the Bolt EUV's Level 2 charging time of around seven and a half hours means overnight charging is the preferred means of topping up.
The Chevy Bolt EV was always good value, but the price cuts (even after a recent hike) still make it the most affordable new EV in America at just $26,500 before destination. It's a bit more for the Bolt EUV ($27,800), but it's worth it for buyers who frequently use the back seat. We likely wouldn't spend the $38,980 as-tested price of our loaner, but the EUV Premier at $33,295 (with destination included) is still exceptional value for what you get.
The Redline Package is cheap enough that we wouldn't mind shelling out under $500 for it, and the Sun & Sound Package for $2,495 is also worth the money for a panoramic roof, Bose seven-speaker audio system, and a larger 10.2-inch infotainment screen. By skipping Super Cruise, you're in for $36,285. And if you buy or lease the Bolt EV/EUV new, Chevy will pay for a home charger installation, making the overall package even more desirable. This is the best deal available for a new electric car until the new Equinox EV arrives.
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