Chevrolet continues to cement their place as one of the more environmentally conscious car companies with the 2019 Bolt EV. This compact car boasts many stellar features that you wouldn’t expect from an all-electric vehicle and continues to surprise the more you drive. The 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV is just one of two all-electric vehicles that offer more than 200 miles on a single charge without being prohibitively expensive. But if you’re not totally sold on the idea of owning an electric car, then you may want to know the drawbacks of the Bolt EV as well.
What's new for 2019
Because the Chevrolet Bolt EV line only debuted in 2017, the general design and features have not changed significantly. The largest change Chevrolet has made in 2019 is in the safety equipment packages, making the more featured-packed safety package only available in the Premier 2018 trim available in the base 2019 model as well. Chevy has also integrated new smartphone features for the 2019 Bolt EV, allowing you to start and unlock your car from your phone.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2019 Chevrolet Bolt – The Pros
1. Huge Single Charge Range
Electric vehicles struggle with long-distance travel, making it difficult for owners to plan long trips - whether those trips are vacations, work-related, or child-related, there’s usually an added stress from attempting to find the nearest compatible charging station. Unlike the majority of electric vehicles, the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV was designed to have a long range. It can easily make distances of 200 miles, usually managing 238 miles on a single charge before needing a refill. This significantly reduces the worry of running out a charge before you make it to a charging station.
2. Roomy Interior
Another aspect that many electric vehicles struggle with is interior space. While makers like Tesla have made interior space and comfort a priority in their vehicles, many other car companies sacrifice interior size for battery space. Chevrolet balances the need for a large battery with the equally as important need for interior space, providing a roomy interior that’s quite comfortable for drivers and passengers alike. Tall passengers will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of legroom provided for both the front and back seats. Drivers will be happy with the multiple adjustments and modes for the driver’s seat.
3. Infotainment Technology
Chevrolet has always been on the cutting edge of infotainment system design, and the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV’s system certainly follows that trend. The screen is large and the menus are intuitive, though there is no built-in navigation app. You can connect your smartphone(s) with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, both of which allow you to navigate seamlessly through your phone’s systems. Critically, buttons and knobs used to control the infotainment system are responsive. Voice control also works well, allowing you to control the infotainment system directly or through your phone’s assistant depending on how long you press the voice control activation button.
4. Useful USB Ports
While most vehicles come with USB ports, some struggle to actually charge current smartphones. The Bolt charges multiple phones easily, as the base LT model comes with two front-seat USB charging ports. These ports also allow users to connect to the built-in infotainment system. One package in the upgraded Premier model also comes with two back seat USB charging ports for the technology-friendly passengers. These USB ports do not allow for connection to the infotainment system - a smart choice for some of the parents out there.
5. Standout Driver Safety Aids
The Bolt EV has base driver safety aids that are quite useful, but truly standout safety features are available in the driver safety package upgrade or in the upgraded Premier model. Here, rear parking sensors alert you when you’re too close to a car behind you. A rear cross-traffic alert system and a blind spot alert system all come standard on the Premier model, and front collision warning and mediation systems come in an upgraded package for the Premier model. In that package are automated emergency braking systems and alerts for lane drifting.
6. Smooth, Powerful Ride
The 2019 Bolt accelerates to 60 miles per hour in just under seven seconds, meaning that it can easily get up to speed when merging onto a highway. Once on the highway, the car feels quite stable. This is in part due to the battery that lowers the center of gravity and keeps the car from rolling from side to side. The transmission is a single-speed direct transmission, which keeps the car from hitching between gears as there are no distinct gears to shift to or from. The electric battery keeps the car running smoothly and driving without any problems throughout an entire charge.
7. Consistent Braking
Chevrolet’s electric vehicle uses standard friction brakes - unlike many other EVs, which use special regenerative braking systems. This friction brake system allows the Bolt EV to feel more like a standard vehicle when braking, providing a consistent slowdown that doesn’t feel overly sensitive or uncertain.
8. Stable High-Speed Steering
In general, smaller cars struggle more than larger vehicles with keeping a straight line at high speeds. This is especially true of electric vehicles, as the balance of the car shifts from the front engine to the battery at the bottom of the car. Driving on the highway requires a significant amount of attention, as it’s easy for the car to drift out of a lane fairly quickly. Surprisingly, the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV doesn’t drift much. At high speeds, the Bolt maintains its lane fairly well, not requiring much attention. Of course, you will always need to be vigilant about driving at high speeds - but the Bolt doesn’t require micromanaging.
9. Surprisingly Large Cargo Space
For a vehicle this small, the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV actually has a surprising amount of cargo space. You can fold the back seats down (individually or together) to create even more space if necessary, but the all-seat space in the back measures in at just under 17 cubic feet. You can also remove the floor panel, which allows you to access some more cargo space. This space is usually reserved for tools or spare parts, but in times of need can easily be utilized as cargo space.
10. Quiet Ride
Perhaps one of the best perks of an electric vehicle is the peace and quiet of driving. There’s no engine to vibrate the interior, nor is there any grumbling from shifting. The 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV is especially quiet, as Chevy’s engineers seem to have poured energy into designing a soundproof cabin. Wind noise - even at high speeds - is minimal, as is tire noise.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2019 Chevrolet Bolt – The Cons
1. Seat Comfort
Though plenty of thought seems to have gone into interior space and technology, the Chevrolet Bolt’s seats could be better. On long drives, the seats feel somewhat hard. Though the driver’s seat has multiple adjustment points, it still can feel small and awkward unless drivers are average size or tweak the settings significantly.
2. Poor Sound System
One of the least appealing features in the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV is its sound system. The base model’s sound system pumps unflattering sound through the car, which can be poorly balanced and somewhat harsh due to a lack of low frequencies. Though this is somewhat understandable given the focus on sustainability and use of electric technology, it’s still somewhat surprising to have such a poorly adjusted sound system. There is an optional upgrade to a much higher quality seven-speaker Bose sound system, which provides significantly better sound quality for the driver and all passengers.
3. Packages Necessary for Comfort Features
If you want some comfort features that you may consider standard, you’ll probably need to purchase an upgrade package for the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV. Chevy intentionally left the base model somewhat bare in order to help with sustainability and to keep overall consumer cost down, but definitely left some features out. For example, a driver safety package that has front collision alert, lane change alert, and blind spot alert systems is only available on the base model as a package.
How it stacks up to the competition:
The 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV is easily one of the best electric vehicles available that is not prohibitively expensive. The electric vehicle class is still relatively undeveloped, but most car companies do not have a competitive offering yet. Vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and the Volkswagen eGolf should certainly be considered, but the pricing and range of the Bolt EV can only be matched by base Tesla models.
If you’re considering an electric vehicle for your next car, then the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV should definitely be at the top of your list. Its range on a single charge puts it at the top of its class, and plenty of interior space and technology make it a joy to drive. Though it may have some flaws, like its poor sound system, these can easily be mediated by its fantastic general design. In general, the Bolt EV is an impressive choice for the environmentally conscious consumer.
• Why buy a 2018 Chevrolet Bolt? w/ pros vs cons