2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Quick Take
The sun works on an unalterable schedule, so a sunrise photo shoot more than 100 miles from home means hitting the road at an ungodly hour. And that's how I found myself on the road in the dark at 4 a.m. in a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt.
The two-hour drive from my house to the photo location near Palm Springs gave me plenty of time to appreciate the Bolt's virtues. Despite its small dimensions—it's about the same size as a Chevy Trax—the Bolt is plenty roomy inside, and the tall roofline provides excellent headroom and a feeling of spaciousness. Five passengers can fit, but four is better, and the good-sized cargo area behind the rear seats includes a hidden compartment under the floor. From an ergonomics point of view there's little to complain about. The big clear digital gauge display makes it easy to monitor speed, how close you are to cars in front of you, and seemingly dozens of other readouts, none of which were confusing to find or use. The Chevy MyLink touch-screen infotainment system continues to be one of the best out there, and with Apple CarPlay (or Android Auto) connected, it makes it easy to enjoy your favorite podcasts and other features without worry.
The shoot went well, with plenty of time to set up before sunrise, and in the last-minute scramble to find the last of the good light, the Bolt pleasantly surprised me with its immediate torque delivery and sharp handling. Chevy calls the Bolt a crossover, but make no mistake, this is actually a pretty fun hatchback with a nicely sorted suspension and some legit moves.
Range anxiety? Not so much
When all was done, I headed toward the outlet mall at Cabazon because it was time to give the Bolt a recharge. You see, the 2017 Chevy Bolt is a pure electric vehicle, the first affordable pure EV with a real-world range in the neighborhood of 230 miles. And that's the beauty of it: I wasn't ever worried about the range. Even though I didn't even leave the house with a full charge, the 180-200 miles estimated was more than enough to make it to my destination without worrying about hypermiling or other energy-saving measures. Sure, I used things like Regen On Demand and the Bolt's famous "one pedal driving" mode, but mainly out of curiosity instead of necessity. There's only one other EV available with that kind of anxiety-free range the Tesla Model S, which starts at nearly twice the price of the Bolt.
The affordable real-world electric vehicle is here now, people. You don't have to be on a waitlist for a promised competitor. If you want an electric vehicle that you can use like a regular car now, and don't want to pay nearly $100,000 for the privilege, the only choice is the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt.
Best of all, you're going to like it.
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