This lead practically writes itself. The Chevy Bolt EUV, already one of the most affordable electric vehicles, has received a whopping $5,900 price drop for 2023.
That brings the base price down to $26,595, making it the least expensive EV on the market at the moment. And, General Motors will help out with the expense of a 240-volt home charger.
None of this is breaking news — the price reduction was announced in July. But, like an elephant in the room with a giant dollar sign painted on its side, it’s hard to ignore. Still, the Bolt EUV (Electric Utility Vehicle), has more going for it than price, like its nimble handling, comfort and a respectable range.
The Bolt EUV looks much like the Bolt hatchback, now in its 7th model year, but it’s 6.3 inches longer; the biggest benefits go to the rear seats, which gain 3 inches of leg room.
The 2023 model, already in production at GM’s Lake Orion, Michigan plant, gets a few tweaks from its first model year plus a new trim: The Redline Edition features red badging and accent decals, gloss-black aluminum wheels with red accents, and black leather upholstery with red stitching.
The Bolt EUV got off to a rough start last year. A massive battery recall halted production of all Bolts after defects were blamed for multiple fires. Chevrolet says it has fixed the problem and all Bolts are getting new battery modules.
Power is generated from a front-mounted electric motor that is juiced by the new 65-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The arrangement produces 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, sending the energy to the front wheels via a single-speed transmission.
Throttle response is quick: The Bolt EUV gallops to 60 mph in around 6.5 seconds. Bolt is a breeze to drive around town, too, with a tight turning radius making U-turns and parking easy-peasy. There’s also a Sport mode for slightly tighter performance, but all-wheel-drive is not available.
The suspension smooths out the bumps and dips nicely, and serves up corners with little body lean. Steering is on point, if a little numb.
On the highway, the Bolt EUV has plenty of kick in the passing lanes. It’s also the first non-Cadillac to get GM’s Super Cruise, a semi-autonomous system that uses sensors and cameras to manage steering, acceleration and braking on long trips. It even offers alerts for upcoming construction areas.
Like all EV’s, the Bolt has regenerative braking, which is triggered when the driver lets up on the throttle. It’s smooth and light, but there’s a one-pedal mode to make it heavier. Or add on-demand “regen” around town with a paddle behind the steering wheel.
How far will it go on a charge? Bolt’s range isn’t up there with Tesla, but it is respectable at an EPA-estimated 247 miles, which is competitive with rivals from Kia and Volkswagen. A number of factors affect range, like drive style, hills and climate. One Bolt owner claimed he got more than 247, another said he gets around 200.
It’s a little slower to charge than some foes. A Level 2 charger (240-volt) will juice it in around 7 hours; Find a Level 3 “fast-charger” and get another 95 miles in around 30 minutes.
The bottom line is an EPA-estimated 115 MPGe (mpg-equivalent), which is in the same ballpark as the other guys. That’s 125 MPGe city, 104 highway and 29 kW-hrs consumed per 100 miles.
Inside, the five-seat EUV improves on the hatchback. Premium materials and fabrics give it a more upscale look, especially in the Premier and Launch Edition trims. A Sun & Sound package includes a dual-panel tilt/sliding sunroof and 7-speaker Bose sound system.
An upgraded 10.2-inch touchscreen in the center of the dash accommodates Chevy’s Infotainment 3 Plus with navigation. It is easy to use with large icons, responds quickly to inputs, and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It is accompanied by physical knobs for primary audio and climate controls.
Behind the heated steering wheel is a digital gauge cluster, and a reconfigurable driver display includes the battery level and remaining range.
Front seats are firm, supportive and offer ample head- and legroom. They are ventilated and trimmed in leather with a neat geometric pattern. The driver seats have 8-way power and 2-way lumbar adjustments. The passenger side is manually operated.
In the rear, three inches of additional legroom means extra comfort even for adults, though headroom is snug for taller folks. Teens and kids have USB ports, too, but may argue over who gets the solo seat pocket for their stuff. Why just one?
While it has a roomier cabin, the EUV surprisingly has about the same cargo space as the hatch. It measures 16.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats, 56.9 cubes with them folded. That’s less than rivals like Kia Niro and VW’s ID.4.
Chevy includes its Safety Assist package on all EUVs and it includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, plus lane departure warning and lane keep assist. It also has a rear-camera mirror for clear views to the rear, surround-vision cameras and rear parking assists.
After the recall, it may take a while for Chevy to restore buyer confidence in the Bolts, but slashing the price will surely be a strong incentive.
Meanwhile, know that the Bolt no longer qualifies for the $7,500 federal tax credit since GM has met its quota. But it’s worth checking for other incentives in your state, county or municipality.
Barry Spyker was the automotive editor and columnist for the Miami Herald
Base MSRP: $26,595
As tested: $32,695 (Includes leather upholstery, heated
and ventilated front seats with 8-way power; Sun & Sound package with premium Bose audio, dual-panel sunroof; Super Cruise package with semi-autonomous control, enhanced emergency braking)
What’s all the excitement about? EUV version of Bolt expands interior space, rear-seat leg room by 3 inches; More important, a $5,900 price cut for 2023
Powertrain: Front-mounted electric motor and 65 kWh lithium-ion battery pack; produces 200 hp and 266 lb.-ft. of torque
How’s the performance? Comfortable ride and nimble around town, easy to park, and a respectable 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds; range of 247 miles
Fuel economy: EPA-estimated 125 MPGe city, 104 highway, for 115 MPGe combined