• 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Road Test: 2019 Chevrolet Bolt

Fun and Function Come Together in an Everyday Electric Car

Its driving position mimics an SUV. You are “up high and personal,” yet the car still retains the fun elements of a sedan. The 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV is full of surprises.

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV
A high rider that handles like it was a sedan

It handles beautifully. I’ve no complaints in that department whatsoever. Driving is smooth, with an effortless steering wheel.  It’s responsive and has more power than you would expect for its size and shape. 

Whoever said “going all-electric” would be a yawn, hadn’t driven the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt. This car is one fun and functional machine.  

Why It Goes So Well

GM packed the Bolt with the right amount of technology to allow it to deliver the fun I’ve described. Its Korean-built electric motor produces 266 pounds-feet or torque (hence the 0-60 in 6.5-second acceleration) along with 200 horsepower.

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV
The Bolt’s big battery can be charged quickly

The 60-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which weighs in at 960 pounds (about a quarter of the car’s total curb weight of 3,563 pounds), anchors the small wagon to the ground. The MacPherson struts up front and torsion-beam over coils in the rear do the rest. Brakes are the usual four-wheel discs with and antilock system; they have a regenerative system that the driver can dial up from merely capturing some of braking energy to max where you can drive with only the accelerator—lifting initiates braking and captures the energy more completely, feeding it back into the battery.

Cornering is a breeze; the Bolt EV shows tremendous versatility when making that inevitable U-turn. The tight turning radius is a delight and will put a smile on your face as you quickly try to get out of a directional mistake.

With the camera front and back, parking couldn’t be easier. Whether it’s parallel or angle parking, even the least adept parker will find it a no sweat, no stress situation because of the sensors and cameras.  

Small, But Useful Trunk

The trunk is a bit small, but it was more than ample for the typical errands one might run in a day–groceries, cleaners, hardware store, etc. Since it’s a hatchback, access is simple. And we proved all that during our week with the Bolt. 

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV
An intuitive dash

Everything on the dash panel is intuitive (full disclosure—my daily drive is a Chevrolet Volt, so I am familiar with the GM system). Think of what you want and, within a few swipes on the 10.2-inch color touchscreen, you’ll find it.  I have my favorite radio stations and tend to get annoyed when other drivers switch ’em. But with the Bolt display panel, within a few seconds, I was always back to my happy place when it comes to tunes. 

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV
The back seat’s not fancy, but it has more room than you would expect

Even though the Bolt EV is a subcompact wagon, it’s spacious inside because of the design that maximizes the interior module that sits on top of the battery pack.

Full Tech Feature Complement

The 2019 Chevrolet Bolt comes in two flavors—LT and Premier. Our Green Mist Metallic version was a Premier so it had the advanced tech goodies you want in a modern car:

  • 10 airbags
  • Rear camera mirror
  • Surround vision
  • Lane change alert with side blind zone alert
  • Rear park assist
  • Pedestrian safety signal
  • Automatic head lamps
  • Apple Carplay
  • Android Auto
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Six-speaker audio system.

Many of these goodies are standard or available as options on the LT, but become standard on the Premier. Options on the tester were DC fast-charging provision (highly recommended), automatic high-beams, forward collision alert, low-speed forward automatic braking, front pedestrian braking, wireless phone charging and rear USB ports.

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV
The Bolt can hold its own, but competition has increased since its launch

The final tally for our 2019 Chevrolet Bolt Premier was $43,510, including the $875 destination charge. Base price on the LT is $37,495 before any state or federal tax incentives.

The other big number for the Bolt EV is its 238-mile range. Since we didn’t take off on a cross-state jaunt, we barely put a dent in the driving range during our fun week in the vehicle. If we had been trying to venture out, our Bolt was fast-charge capable so we would have been able to top off quickly.

The 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV is not alone in the market, but can hold its own against most of the competitors out there in range and price. The Tesla Model 3 is often cited as the most direct competitor, but its standard sedan configuration and higher price (for comparable range), as well as an image as a near-luxury vehicle, make it a tough comparison. Hyundai’s competitors in range and price are more clearly crossovers than the Bolt. The Nissan Leaf competes on price, but still has not got the range. Good choices, all, and worth serious consideration when you look for an electric car that can handle your day-to-day drives.    

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In order to give you the best perspective on the many vehicles available, Clean Fleet Report has a variety of contributors. When possible, we will offer you multiple perspectives on a given vehicle. This comes under SRO-Second Road Test Opinion. We hope you’ll enjoy these diverse views–some are just below—and let us know what you think in comments below or at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

Gary took the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt for a spin here, while Steve grappled (and happily solved) battery problems with his two-year-old Bolt here.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy—Other Long-Range EV Options

Road Test: 2019 Nissan Leaf 62 kWh

Road Test: 2019 Hyundai Kona EV

Road Test: 2019 Kia Niro EV

Flash Drive: Tesla Model 3


Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

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About Author: Gail Pomerantz

Gail is a veteran from inside the auto industry who now deals primarily with tech companies working on environmental issues. Born in New York, she spent her formative years in Detroit, before escaping to California.

2 thoughts on “Road Test: 2019 Chevrolet Bolt

  1. Ed
    July 27, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    The Bolt, just like the Volt, drives great BUT it is a small car. If you and a passenger are 6 ft and 200 lbs each you are going to feel cramped in this car. This is the probable with all the EV offering in the US. We keep lying that they “have arrived”. That’s a bit of a lie. There ARE a lot of compact consumer or large luxury EVs available, there are zero consumer priced EV midsize or full size sedans, CUVs, or SUVs. And that’s not even including pickups. So let’s just be honest that the OEMs are only addressing 24% of the available N.A. market today (the dune of luxury and compact segments). By US guidelines the Leaf, Bolt, and Model 3 squeak into the Intermediate size class by a couple square inches but when you consider the extra volume for the battery imthwy are all really compacts. So okay give the Bolt a good review on features performance and price but you have got to ding the size more clearly!

    • July 27, 2019 at 7:01 pm

      You are right all on fronts. Gail fits much better in the Bolt than I (let’s just say i’m 6 ft & 200 lbs is an achievable goal), but I don’t think the Bolt–or the Volt present any issues for the average male. The Bolt with its airy cabin is far from cramped. Have you spent much time in the Bolt? I think you’d be pleasantly surprised. Your point about the lack of variety in EV models right now–much less affordability–is well taken. Let’s hope we see some new, more affordable models, in the next couple years. The Hyundai/Kia models are refreshing (yes, on the smallish side), and VW’s upcoming I.D. models look interesting. And pickups are coming–fairly soon. But I wouldn’t hold your breath for big and affordable (try that with an ICE, too). It is probably going to take time. Thanks for your comments. –ed.

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