Chevrolet didn’t have to revolutionize the Bolt EV but it did introduce a refreshed and updated model for 2022 that’s significantly cheaper than its predecessor. And the loveable electric hatchback is finally getting a “big” brother in the form of the all-new Bolt EUV crossover.
In terms of styling, the Bolt EV retains familiar lines while sporting revised front and rear fascias. The nose has large, zigzag-shaped lighting units that replace the split headlights-DRLs from the previous car.
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The black panel that used to connect the headlights is gone in favour of a body-coloured, honeycomb-style panel. Also, black Chevrolet badges replace the golden bowties that many Bolt EV owners were quick to get rid of.
The new-look rear section is much sleeker, especially the revised taillights featuring a delicate horizontal chrome accent. The metal strip that runs along the upper contour of the side windows is not as tasteful as the glossy black trim on older Bolt EVs, however. Chevrolet should bring back the latter as an option.
Lots of Good Ideas
Inside the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV, designers have made better use of the available space. The redesigned dashboard looks clean, contemporary and convenient at the same time, freed from that industry obsession of making any electric car look futuristic. A landscape-style, 10.2-inch touchscreen takes centre stage, displaying sharp graphics, user-friendly menus and relevant information. Navigating through it all is quick and simple. The HVAC controls underneath are similarly straightforward.
In front of the driver is an eight-inch digital instrument cluster providing a myriad of vehicle data. You can access them via the controls found on the flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel. The front seats, meanwhile, prove more supportive and comfortable than before, enhancing the driving position in the process.
The worst decision the company made was to replace the gear shifter with an assortment of five buttons, supposedly for space-saving purposes. It’s almost impossible to use them without taking your eyes off the road, which could lead to disastrous consequences. A rotary dial or a small selector similar to that of the Porsche Taycan would be more intuitive and appropriate.
On a practical note, the rear bench is the perfect height and just as easy to access as the front seats. The outboard positions are comfortable with a raised cushion effectively supporting the legs. The middle seat is decent but not intended for adults since there’s no headrest. As for the trunk, cargo capacity is relatively modest. Thank goodness for the six-inch deep tray under the removable floor.
Efficiency Comes at a Price
The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV is motivated by a single electric motor rated at 150 kilowatts (201 horsepower). Like its predecessor, it draws energy from a 65-kWh lithium-ion battery made by LG Chem for a range of 417 kilometres. In terms of performance, despite a weight gain of eight kilograms the new Bolt EV is a tad quicker, sprinting from 0-100 km/h in 7.49 seconds and from 80-120 km/h in 4.55 seconds. If you take it to the drag strip, expect to run the quarter-mile in 15.55 seconds.
Emergency braking distances are awfully long, however. The car needs 46.75 metres to stop from 100-0 km/h, mostly because of its low-rolling resistance tires which have a tendency to screech at the slightest opportunity. Reduced grip is the price to pay for higher efficiency and longer range.
For safety’s sake, it would be nice to have the option of a stickier set of tires that would deliver more confident handling and braking. On a positive note, the new Bolt EV is reasonably smooth and quiet on the highway. Around town, it displays commendable liveliness and manoeuvrability. We appreciated the car’s one-pedal driving capability and Regen on Demand paddle on the steering wheel.
Priced to Please
The best part is that the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV carries a base MSRP of $38,198, a drop of $6,800 from the current 2021 model ($44,998). And don’t forget the federal rebate of $5,000 plus provincial incentives ranging from $3,000-$8,000.
The aforementioned Bolt EUV stands out with available leather seating, panoramic sunroof and Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving technology. It carries a base MSRP of $40,198 but inches close to $50,000 when fully optioned.
From a value perspective, the 2022 Bolt EV will give competitors some serious headaches. Chevrolet is willing to sacrifice a big chunk of its profit—if not all—to sell as many units as possible. At the end of the day, the new Bolt EV is pound for pound, dollar for dollar the best electric vehicle you can buy right now. Definitely put it at the top of your shopping list.