259 miles of all-electric range. Sounds like a dream, right? Chevy makes it a reality with the 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV. This EV is a near-perfect example of how to create an all-electric vehicle. Despite some cheaper-ish cabin materials, narrow front seats, and the lacking of select features usually reserved for mid- and higher-tier trim levels, there is a lot to enjoy about the Bolt EV. Aside from its obvious fuel economy benefits, the EV has a spacious cabin designed for maximum utility. This EV is also one of the quickest to accelerate, and you can find it nationwide.
What's New for 2021?
Nothing changes for the 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV. The few changes that were made in 2020 all carry over. Those changes include the gain in 21 miles of electric range, which brought the Bolt EV to its current - and downright impressive - 259 miles of electric range. 2020 also saw a new HD rear-vision camera and optional HD surround-vision system get tacked onto the safety features list. For having debuted in 2017, the changes that have happened since show how future-oriented Chevy has made the Bolt EV.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Chevrolet Bolt – The Pros
1. The 259 Miles of All-electric Range
You're probably looking into getting a 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV because you've heard talk about its amazing all-electric range. And there's no getting around it, the 259 miles of pure electric range that you get on the Bolt EV is superb. In this segment, anything over 200 miles is considered good, so 259 is basically a benchmark that competitors are now trying to beat. The Tesla 3 comes close to this number with its 250 miles of electric range, but even that vehicle cannot beat the Bolt EV.
2. A Spacious Cabin Design
The Bolt EV doesn't look like the most spacious car from the outside. And, for the most part, vehicles in this segment just aren't. However, with some careful planning on Chevy's side, the Bolt EV actually has enough head, hip, and leg room fore and aft. Two adults can comfortably sit in the rear without having to ask the front seat occupants to move up. The cabin is somewhat narrow, but the openings for it are wide, and there is still plenty of space to go around.
3. Swift Acceleration
One might not expect a 66-kWh lithium-ion battery pack attached to a single electric motor to do much in the way of power, but the 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque that this powertrain generates is more than enough to send the Bolt EV into a swift acceleration. This vehicle can get from 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, a time that bests much of the competition. From a stand-still, you can push down on the accelerator and get a good thrust of power to get up and moving.
4. Spirited Handling
Handling is equally as good as the acceleration. The Bolt EV has a steering system that responds quickly - but not too quickly - to driver inputs. The EV can handle tight turns along winding mountain roads or just your average quick turn on a crowded city street. The vehicle remains planted and shows no sign of body roll while rounding through its turns.
5. Nationwide Availability
A lot of all-electric cars have only been sold in a select few states, such as California, where this kind of technology is more in-demand. However, buyers around the US seem to want the Bolt EV, and they can get it, too as this vehicle is available nationwide. Dealers do put these vehicles on their showroom floors because the Bolt EV has selling power whereas other EVs do not.
6. Brakes That Modulate With Ease
Braking is another strong suit for the Bolt EV. When you flip it into D mode, the standard friction brakes can modulate with expected ease, but L mode - which activates the regenerative brakes - is actually quite fun to use. It also gives a boost to the car's electric range, so either mode is enjoyable and feels secure to drive in.
7. A Quiet Cabin
Wind and road noise do not make their way into the Bolt EV's well insulated cabin. Quiet and relaxing, the insulation works at keeping unwanted noise out and desired noise (like your favorite jams playing on the sound system) in. And the powertrain? It barely makes a peep. Noise is not an issue for drivers or passengers.
8. A Lot of Adjustability Up Front
Up front, you get a ton of adjustability from the seats and the tilting and telescoping steering column. The driver's seat is height adjustable, and the steering wheel is easy enough to maneuver around. Since your rear sat occupants have a lot of space, you do not have to worry about sliding back and infringing on their leg rom.
9. Abundant Small Item Storage Areas
There are plenty of well sized places to stash your small items inside of the Bolt EV's cabin. The center console, front door bins, and glove box are all sized appropriately for this small vehicle. Also, you can put purses into a big open bin. The cup holders are placed in a convenient area for grabbing your drink.
10. LATCH is Easy to Use
Parents with small children will be glad to know that the Bolt EV's LATCH system is easy to use with the tethers being located right in plain sight. The anchors are not buried deep within any cushions, and even a bulky rear-facing car seat can slide in and out without much of a hassle.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Chevrolet Bolt – The Cons
1. No Built-in Navigation System is Available
Want an integrated navigation system? Sorry, you cannot get one, even on the line-topping Premier trim level. There isn't even an option for one. For the price, and for being manufactured for the 2021 model year, you should expect to see a built-in navigation system with an infotainment system as at least an option. Alas, there just is not one to be found here. You will have to rely on your smartphone. At least syncing that up is easy - and standard.
2. Ride Comfort Suffers on Rugged Road Surfaces
Smooth surfaces are easy breezy for the Bolt EV, but once you get it going over a more rugged surface, its weakness begins to show. The suspension is not tuned for even a little bit of gravel or a stretch of road that has a lot of cracks in it. You will have to be extra alert to potholes since the Bolt EV does not handle even small ones well. A minor dip will send reverberations throughout the otherwise tranquil and cozy cabin.
3. Narrow Front Seats
We say that the cabin is cozy, and it is, but the front seats might be a little too narrow for some occupants. Those with wider hips might find that they struggle to fit as neatly into these seats, but the level of comfort isn't taken down too many notches. The vehicle's narrow design just ends up making for narrow seats, so the problem is related to the width.
4. Cheap Interior Materials
One of the things we would really like to see improved inside of the Bolt EV are some of the materials that get used. Some of them reek of lacking quality. Given the price that you pay, you probably expect to find a hard plastic here and there, but not in abundance. But guess what you'll get? A lot of hard plastics. On top of that, the carpeting appears to be of thin material and will likely wear down faster than what you find in the Bolt EV's rivals. Cost-cutting measures are often a sign of struggling sales, but we wouldn't expect to see such drastic measures being taken inside of the Bolt EV.
How it Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV vs. 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric
The 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric is the all-electric version of the regular Kona. It offs 258 miles of EV range, putting itself right up there with the Bolt EV. Like the Bolt EV, it has quick acceleration and sharp handling capabilities that make for quite the exciting ride. With a ton of standard technology available (including a built-in navigation system), there are a lot of things that Hyundai packs into this neat little package. The drawback? It isn't as widely available. Oh, and leg room can be a bit tight, but that is still kind of a minor complaint. Unfortunately, only people in a select few states can get the Kona Electric.
2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV vs. 2021 Tesla Model 3
The 2021 Tesla Model 3 is a few grand more than the Bolt EV to start with, but for the Tesla prestige, the cost is still relatively affordable. Performance and handling are just as good as - if not slightly better than - what you get on the Bolt EV. And the technology on the Tesla is definitely more advanced. In fact, it is about as advanced as you can get in this segment. There is even super-charger network access for when you have to do some long-distance driving. As for the cons, though, you get zero smartphone app integration (which is ridiculous for a vehicle that purports to be so tech-savvy), and the touchscreen's interface is highly distracting for drivers.
In a market growing with all-electric competition, the Bolt EV still holds its own. There are a few rivals that come close to touching its excellent reputation, but they each miss the mark in a few crucial ways. With widespread availability, the 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV is primed to sell to a broader spectrum of buyers whose main goal is to leave a smaller eco footprint. Plus, if you are looking for something that is fun to drive, the Bolt EV does not disappoint.
• Why buy a 2020 Chevrolet Bolt? w/ pros vs cons