It seems like only yesterday when Chevrolet was unveiling the all-electric Bolt in 2016 amid much fanfare and mass-market production hype. As it turns out, the hype was warranted. Fast-forward to present day and I find myself behind the wheel of the 2020 Bolt Premier, where I discovered a lot to like about this 5-passenger EV. (A larger Bolt EUV electric hatch-crossover is on the way, due out next summer as a 2022 model.)
For 2020, the Bolt receives 21 more miles of driving range thanks to updates to its 66-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery. So the Bolt’s total available range is 259-miles on a single charge, keeping it competitive in today’s growing EV segment. While DC Fast Charging is available (up to 100 miles of range in 30 minutes), I charged up with Level 1, conveniently plugging into a home outlet. Not the fastest way to go (4 miles of range an hour), but it fit my needs at the time. (Chevy walks us through the three different charging options here.)
The 2020 Bolt comes as an LT and this one, the top-trim Premier. For me, it’s a toss up between car and hatchback. It’s sharp looking in Cajun Red Tintcoat ($395) with Bolt EV badging and chrome accents along with 17-inch ultra-bright machined aluminum wheels.
The front end sports a high-gloss black grille flanked by high-intensity discharge headlamps and LED daytime running lights. You see LED tail lights in the back and roof-mounted side rails on top.
The Bolt’s roomy interior delivers a decidedly futuristic, EV-look. It’s uncluttered, simple, with a user-friendly layout but has a bit more plastic than anticipated. The cabin feels spacious and airy inside thanks to the low windshield placement.
Two brightly lit tech screens steal the show inside. First you have a large, bright circular 8-inch driver display above the steering wheel with different visual modes. You can view your range, battery and charging status along with media info and other driver information. A bright color 10.2-inch touchscreen sits on a “floating” center stack that’s conveniently positioned outwards towards the driver. It’s very responsive and the infotainment system is fairly easy to get the hang of. You can also control it via steering-wheel mounted controls. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth are standard. OnStar services and 4G WIFI are available and you can subscribe to SiriusXM.
This Bolt Premier sports a dark gray perforated leather trim. The bucket seats were on the narrow side overall with fairly flat seat cushions, and a bit of side bolstering. You’ll get both heated front and rear seats in this trim as well as a leather-trimmed and heated, steering wheel, and leather-trimmed shift knob with satin silver and chrome accents. You get two USB ports up front. An Infotainment Package adds two USB’s in the rear, along with wireless charging and a great sounding upgraded 7-speaker Bose sound system.
The Premier also comes standard with a great HD Surround Vision camera view as well as a terrific digital rearview camera. With the flip of a switch, it gives you a wider camera view of the area behind you than a traditional rearview mirror. Other standard Premier features include remote start and keyless open and start.
The Bolt offers traditional 60/40 split-folding rear seats. You get the amount of cargo space expected for a vehicle this size, and an optional false cargo floor creates two tiers of space where you can store the charger. I wished for a power liftgate option.
Ride and Drive
I found the Bolt surprisingly peppy and fun to drive. It’s acceleration - not to mention torque thanks to the electric motor - felt great. Its 200-horsepower delivered really nice initial and on-ramp acceleration as well as overall highway driving.
The ride height felt terrific, too, as did the suspension. It was a smooth, enjoyable ride, and easy to park. I’m not a huge fan of the brake feel, and liked one-pedal braking better, which I’ll tell you about next.
Slide the Bolt’s gear shift knob into “L” mode and you can use one-pedal braking. In one-pedal driving you use the accelerator to both speed up as well as brake. Try it once and you’ll be hooked. Doing so captures some energy from the moving vehicle and turns it back into electrical energy which is stored in the battery. One-pedal braking also helps lessen the wear and tear of your brakes from braking the old-fashioned way. If you want to learn more check out Chevy’s video here. Another cool feature is Regen on Demand, a paddle on your steering wheel that allows you to decelerate (brake) and store energy for future use.
Standard safety features on the Bolt Premier include Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear-Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Park Assist along with Teen Driver. A package adds Forward Collision Alert and Following Distance Indicator, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking and Front Pedestrian Braking.
Options on this vehicle include DC Fast Charging ($750), the infotainment package ($595) with wireless charging, a 7-speaker Bose sound system, USB ports in the rear plus the Confidence II Package($495) which adds Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Alert, Automatic Emergency Braking and Front Pedestrian Braking.
What You’ll Pay
The price as equipped is $44,130 and be forewarned, GM EV’s are no longer eligible for federal tax credits. Those ended on March 31, 2020. Also note that an updated Bolt EV will go on sale in late 2020 as a 2021 model.
2020 Chevrolet Bolt Premier Review
- What I liked most: The zippy ride, great stereo and exterior.
- What I would change: Less plastic in the cabin, offer power liftgate.
- MSRP: Base $41,020, as equipped $44,130 with transportation.
- Fuel Economy: 118 MPGe.
- Fuel Tank: N/A.
- Dimensions: 164” long/69.5” wide/62.8” high.
- Weight: 3,563.
- Trailer Towing: N/A.
- Miles When Tested: 1,097.
- Official Color: Cajun Red Tintcoat ($395).
- Spare tire: Self-Seal Tires. Tire Inflator kit available.
- Final Assembly Point: Lake Orion, MI.
- 2020 Chevy Bolt in a few words: An all-around great electric vehicle that deserves more of the EV spotlight.
- Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile Bumper to Bumper Limited Warranty; 8-year/100,000 mile Electric Propulsion Component Limited Warranty; Roadside Assistance.
- Manufacturers website: Chevrolet
Tags: 2020 Chevrolet Bolt, Electric Vehicle, EV, New Vehicle Reviews, 2020, Charging