CGameProgrammer
Posts: 109
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:14 pm

Test-drove a Bolt twice today (LT and Premiere)

I went to the San Diego Auto Show early today to be one of the first in line to test-drive the Bolt, which ended up being the LT. The outward visibility was quite acceptable; much much better than the horrible Volt, and also better than the Prius and Hyundai Ioniq. The side windows were very large, making it reasonably easy to spot traffic even on the passenger side.

The cloth seats are snug but I consider that a good thing. You won't be happy if you're fat though. They did seem to bottom out easily when I pushed on it with my hand, so there is some concern they might eventually wear out and become horrible, but there's only one way to find out.

Later in the day I went to my dealer to place an order and they had two Bolts in stock, one of which the orderer had declined to buy so it was available for test drives / purchase. It was a Premiere and we got to take it on the highway at 80 mph which I couldn't do with the auto show's LT since that was only a quick city loop.

The Premiere's leather seats are more comfortable than the LT's cloth ones and I generally hate leather seats and only buy cloth. Specifically they seemed firmer. The Premiere's forward visibility was compromised however by some big black plastic plate mounted in front of the rear view mirror, apparently containing sensors for the fancy collision avoidance stuff. Not sure if it's on all Premieres or only with a specific option package but I found it obnoxious.

At 80 mph the only noise was tire noise; if there was any wind noise then it was drowned out by the tire noise but I didn't notice any. Tire noise is generally easy to fix by replacing the ultra-low rolling resistance tires. The car was a bit squirrely at speed but the tires were brand new, as was the entire car, so that's very likely the reason. The steering seemed accurate with little to no dead zone, but it was really soft and springy-feeling. I didn't like it but it's acceptable. Oh, and the car accelerates very well of course, even at fast highway speeds; it had good passing power.

Another nice thing is it tells you how much power you're currently using or generating. At 80 mph on basically level ground it varied between 25-35 kW with the air conditioning on. This suggests it can do about two hours at that speed when fully charged.

The bird's-eye view option, when backing up, was pretty awesome. There's a wide-angle camera in front, underneath each side-view mirror, and in back. These are used to generate a rendered overhead view and it's a really nice feature. A regular back-up camera is standard on all Bolts.

I also tested the base sound system (which is not upgradable on the LT) and it was surprisingly decent. The touch screen interface worked well.

Oh, and I liked the center stick. You have to push a button on the left side to move it into D or R but it was very easy to do and the lever travel is very short. To put it in park you just push a button.

All in all I was really impressed with the car; unlike Honda or Tesla they did not cheapen the interior in any significant way to bring the car's price down. I can only imagine the profit margin must be razor thin if there is one at all.

Finally the orange color was really nice but not really orange. It's more complex than that, sort of a caramel gold orange color. Attached is a quick photo I snapped of it driving in sunlight.
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gpsman
Posts: 524
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:10 pm

Re: Test-drove a Bolt twice today (LT and Premiere)

Nice review.

However... It's mostly orange.
:D
Michael1
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:45 am

Re: Test-drove a Bolt twice today (LT and Premiere)

Nice review.

What did you end up ordering?
MetaBolt
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:32 am

Re: Test-drove a Bolt twice today (LT and Premiere)

CGameProgrammer wrote:A regular back-up camera is standard on all Bolts.

Is this true?
marshallinwa
Posts: 154
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:20 pm

Re: Test-drove a Bolt twice today (LT and Premiere)

MetaBolt wrote:
CGameProgrammer wrote:A regular back-up camera is standard on all Bolts.

Is this true?
Yes, the LT has one. The premiere has the rear view mirror camera display and surround vision.

http://video.chevrolet.com/corporate/vi ... b6a5fedce5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kZDE4Pgbdk
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oilerlord
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Re: Test-drove a Bolt twice today (LT and Premiere)

CGameProgrammer wrote:
Another nice thing is it tells you how much power you're currently using or generating. At 80 mph on basically level ground it varied between 25-35 kW with the air conditioning on. This suggests it can do about two hours at that speed when fully charged.
Umm...wasn't this car supposed to go 238 miles on a charge? 80 mph on the freeway isn't unusual. When I'm on the I-5 at 80, I get passed like I'm standing still.

Another reviewer driving the "hills of Malibu" said the car would easily achieve the EPA 238 miles. Perhaps that was stop & go traffic, or at speeds not exceeding 50 mph. It does appear that the car's somewhat uninspiring 0.32 drag coefficient is a factor in determining the Bolt's ultimate range.

https://electrek.co/2016/08/08/chevy-bo ... t-of-0-32/

Alternatively, the real-time consumption meter could be displaying inaccurate results. Who knows. Too bad you couldn't drive it for those two hours at 80 mph to find out.
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mbepic
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Re: Test-drove a Bolt twice today (LT and Premiere)

Like any Electric Vehicle, the faster you go (except down a hill), the more draw on the battery and the result is less range to get from A to B.

That speed of 80mph would be a perfect example where you will not get the 238 miles of range as opposed to going at speeds of much less or stop and go traffic; The 238 miles is an expected average of both city/hwy driving.......I'm sure a bit more info goes into coming up with that figure but that would be the main difference.

The bottom line is that some owners driving habits (commute) will get a lot more than 238miles of range and some others will get a lot less. Of course, in colder weather, you can expect to get lower over-all range..........quite typical of battery electric vehicles (as opposed to those driven with a very long extension cord.........lol).
:geek:
devbolt
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Location: Bay Area, California.

Re: Test-drove a Bolt twice today (LT and Premiere)

Nobody expects the car to be able to do 238 miles at 80mph. The Car and Driver folks got 190 miles when driving at 75mph with the AC set to 72. The faster you drive, the more energy you use. My 2005 Prius would average 42 to 45 MPG when I was driving it to work, around town, etc. But when I took it on road trips where I was doing 80 mph, the gas mileage dropped to around 38.

The readout on the display is an instantaneous one, much like the gas consumption meter that most cars have these days. So it's important to take what says with a grain of salt as far as predicting what the useful range is going to be at that speed.
mbepic
Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2016 4:12 pm

Re: Test-drove a Bolt twice today (LT and Premiere)

Thanks for the very concise review after just a simple test drive.........nice to have that info about both the LT and Premier;

Yes, I too am interested in what your final decision was...........did you buy the Premier or order one from the dealership?

Do you know anything about the 'navigation' system that does or does not come with the Bolt (Premier or otherwise); I hearing that there is no specific navigation system included in any of the BOLTs but there is something that is used possibly relative to your smart phone and onstar. Can you clarify what that is. If it has to do with your smart phone, is it currently limited to Android and Apple systems?

Please clarify what you or anyone else knows about 'navigation' on the BOLT EV.
:geek:
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oilerlord
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Re: Test-drove a Bolt twice today (LT and Premiere)

devbolt wrote:Nobody expects the car to be able to do 238 miles at 80mph.
Nobody - Except many first-time EV customers that accept what they read and what they are told at face value. This includes GM marketing claims, and assurances from their salesperson that the car will get 238 miles of range. Remember the backlash as a result of original Leaf claim of "100 miles"? Instead of putting out a number for what's "possible", GM needs to set realistic expectations.

We're going to see dozens of "what's wrong with my car's range" posts from frustrated EV newbies. It's only a matter of time.
2014 Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive
2012 VW Jetta Sportwagen (not-so-clean-diesel) TDI
2008 BMW X3 3.0 "Beatrice"
2004 BMW 330Xi Sedan
My 9.2kW DC Solar: https://easyview.auroravision.net/easyview/index.html?entityId=7466210

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