Talking Cars with Consumer Reports #103: Chevrolet Bolt | Consumer Reports

Turns out the first relatively affordable long-range electric car isn’t from Tesla; the Chevy Bolt beats the Tesla Model 3 to market. We found the Bolt to be enjoyable and practical, but wonder if buyers will be turned off by its dowdy styling.

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Comments

Pete Romano says:

From a looks perspective, and my eyes, its a lot better looking than the BMW i3 and you have the benefit of much better range.

Rodger Wilson says:

You say this car is here, but you can’t buy it. And it has not highway refueling options.

Paul Reed says:

17:20 You are WRONG!!! The Gen1 Volt gets 40 miles electric easily! Way to spread incorrect information!!
20:20 If its in L pull it back again and it will go back to D.

John Fields says:

Agree with what was said, but can’t with how they justified some of it. Like the blanket statement that a transmission is a transmission. The Volt’s EDU can technically be called a transmission however all the complexity is in software. It has like 4 moving parts! And the ICE in the Volt is almost an appliance, no tuneups or timing, no belts.. the only maintenance schedule is one (1) oil change every 2yrs. Please.

Gregory Perkins says:

i trust chevy more than tesla. a large company with a dealer network on every street

Cir Hsot says:

Sorry, no right now it is NOT actually here. They keep telling us it will be available but then more and more time goes by and still no Bolt. Once they do arrive how many will there be? I am betting not that many.

Rosen Petkov says:

It looks on par with other cars of it’s class. I personally don’t mind the design.

David Kraemer says:

I think Jake is off base on the Volt. He faults the Volt for adding in an internal combustion engine to the vehicle, but how is this different from a hybrid like the beloved Prius? Battery plus an IC engine. They are both compromises; the Volt just takes it further to the EV side. For me, the Volt is far better than a hybrid because I get to work, run an errand, and get home, all on battery. For people who drive about 40 miles each day, the Volt is better than a traditional hybrid. For people who are not wealthy enough to own an EV for commuting and a gasoline vehicle for longer trips, the Volt makes a lot more sense than a pure EV.

I own a 2013 Chevy Volt. I bought it used this spring; the used ones are bargains. I was uncomfortable with the complexity of the system; it isn’t nearly as simple as a pure EV, as Jake Fisher pointed out. Even though I’m allergic to extended warranties, I got one on the Volt, based on fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

Jake is of course right that a pure EV is much less complicated than the Volt, but you can’t deny the utility of being able to fill up with gasoline in 5 minutes and go.

I worry about the reliability of the Volt because the electronics are so complicated. However, what modern car isn’t overly complicated with electronics? Furthermore, since I drive the Volt in “L” mode (max regeneration when you lift off the accelerator pedal), I rarely use the friction brakes. With fewer oil changes, fewer brake jobs, and with an IC engine that runs less often at much less stress (constant throttle is MUCH easier on an engine), a “range-extended EV” or plug-in hybrid should cost less to maintain than a regular hybrid, and much less than a regular gasoline vehicle. Of course, individual model reliability varies, but Jake’s suggestion that the Volt is inherently less reliable than a hybrid is wrong, I think.

So, for me, with a pretty consistent 30 mile a day commute and occasional long trips, the Volt is pretty close to optimal.

solarenergynow08 says:

Thanks for the video..I think this car hits a lot of EV hot points as a great value with significant technology (custom regen braking..) it has made me consider buying it and I have never owned a Chevy and would not otherwise have considered the brand..
The design is ok, not so bad, almost like a euro sporty hatchback, although I have not seen it in person yet..it looks to me almost like a toned-down Nissan Leaf, much better than the new Volt..My major issue would be having to deal with the old school GM Dealer network..can you comment on how GM is addressing this concern if possible

spacegreycoralred says:

Its a 2010 Pontiac Vibe

spyder64 says:

I didn’t realize Consumer Reports did this type of program. Hope to see more.

jostafew says:

While I agree, I do wish they’d moved the styling a little more away from the safe and toward the interesting end of things, I do appreciate the touches that they have done to add interest to a very practical shape. I think the black beltline that continues across the C pillar is a forward thinking design element, and the chrome swipes on the side of the car, particularly the one that starts in the side door mirrors and continues into the roofline are quite sharp. Some might call it uninspired, but I believe it’s more a matter of not wanting to scare off traditional car buyers by keeping a more traditional form.

Also, I agree that the shifter is out of place. This car has no transmission, just forward (Drive and Low), backward, and stop. It doesn’t need a big clumsy shift lever. This could have been way cooler, but again I think this is an effort to help existing IC car drivers feel quickly at home with the controls. On the topic of “D for driver and L for low”, I don’t think the intention was to be going back and forth between them like you would in a car with a traditional automatic transmission, as they are distinctly different drive modes. You select one or the other when you set out and you leave it in that mode until you park the car again; one that behaves like a normal automatic transmission car, and one with heavy regen like you would see in a Tesla for one-foot driving.

I’m stoked for this car, I’ve had a deposit on one since the end of September and my estimated delivery in February can’t come soon enough.

FDK says:

It looks perfectly fine and most of all, it looks like a REGULAR CAR. It’s not supposed to be an eye-popping crazy out there thing. It is intentionally designed to be a mainstream car to normalize driving electric vehicles.

DanielSangster says:

I don’t know what theyre talking about when it comes to looks. I actually think its decently attractive. Its no model s but that car is in a different realm, and double the price. The bolt is WAY better looking than the following, Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, Mitsubishi imiev. Im buying one the day they arrive at my dealership.

Bob Lobsiger says:

I like the looks.

VoltecRules says:

‘200 mile plus,” doesn’t accurately describe it’s 240 mile range. The 40 miles you fail to mention is almost twice the range of the Prius Prime EV range, and 2 miles less the EV range of my 2014 Volt. Obviously you dweebs are not the tree huggers you appear to be.

T.A. Grant says:

The reviewers are NOT the target demographic for this car. Basically every single person my age (I’m 33) loves this car and would buy one in a heartbeat.

dustin hatch says:

I’m surprised how much Volt BS is spewed in this video…

Gabe Pettinicchio says:

I think it looks good, for a very small car.

sparkss4 says:

Enough about the looks already! It looks great for a compact minivan (in the style of Kia Soul). Definitely better than the weird i3.

sleepymike says:

No tesla money, but you want an EV? Wait for model 3 for a car with a reliable car with actual car design and a high end charging infrastructure which is constantly increasing.
Otherwise buy a car that may or may not have the same brake issues all chevy models have for one

Charles Wildman says:

Just to put things in perspective, one of the first cars I ever drove would only go about 200 miles on a full tank of gas in town. It would do a little better on the highway when the speed limit was 55. (1973 Olds Delta 88 w/ 455 Big Block). I think this could be a wonderful car! But I think the model 3 is gonna be really nice too.

Scott Wilcox says:

I get very frustrated when people say the car is real and it exists. If I can’t buy it then it really does not matter if it exists. I loved the Bolt when it was first shown and planned on buying it. Then I heard the production rates of 30,000 and could ramp up to 50,000 and thought the demand would exceed production for 2-3 years. As I live in a state where you can only buy a LEAF, a Volt or a Tesla online. I am going to bet that I will be able to get a Model 3 long before the Bolt is available in my area without the dealer charging $10,000 over MSRP. So I was at the Tesla store 2 hours before it open to put in my reservation.

MeHow says:

Tom and Jake: It’s accelerated 0-60mph in 6.5 sec. This isn’t a fast car.
What are they driving on a daily basis: Hellcats? Since when is 6.5 sec not considered fast?

Doomsick says:

I think they seen to many car and need new blood in this department. The car looks just fine.

Kevin Burrell says:

I don’t think that the Bolt is as dorky as you think it is. It’s much better looking than the Trax. And I agree they can bolt on other bodies to make different vehicles from it. Well done, Chevy!

Steve Grooms says:

I respect and enjoy Consumer Reports. I’m glad they have branched out to the YouTube world with car reviews. But if I were producing a review of this car, the very last thing I’d do is put three people sitting in chairs in front of the car. There are many ways to film a car review that get the message across but are visually intriguing. The review should be more about the car, less about people’s sense of the car.

shaeet says:

Can’t wait, 2 years from now, for them to go on clearance like the e-Golf, Volt, etc at half-MSRP or less!!

Bryce says:

About my 2013 Volt for $15,000 due to the magical power of depreciation. With the gas prices being so low they’re giving them away. Let’s hope in two years I can pick up a Bolt for about $15,000 also

spacegreycoralred says:

Im sorry to say, but these guys can be real dicks sometimes

bimmerboy011 says:

Way better looking than the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is an eyesore.

Kenz300 x says:

Electric cars, electric trucks, bicycles and mass transit are the future. Fossil fuel ICE cars are the past.
Think teen agers vs your grand father. cell phones vs land lines.
NO EMISSIONS. Climate change is real..
Batteries, range and charging points get better every year. 90% or more charging is done at home.
The more available charge points the better. Soon all new vehicles will come with bigger batteries and a minimum 250 mile range. Heating, cooling, and other electrical drains are all important considerations when thinking about range. A bigger battery makes that less of a consideration. Electric cars will hit the tipping point when they come with a 300 mile range.

Trades46 says:

The Model 3 (Tesla for that matter) has way too much fanboys for its own good. The Bolt is simply a better ‘car’ for most users. The styling is a bit dorky, but still handsome for its design obviously designed for practicality. Tesla has more style but the Model 3’s interior has almost no style outside of its central mounted (and only) screen in its interior.

For some reason I think the styling is going to appeal to European buyers with a more developed EV charging network and more acceptance of practical hatchbacks over low-slung sport sedans. I think this looks better than the Golf & Focus, even moreso than the Opel Astra which are perpetual best sellers there. I think this “Ampera-E” will do well.

Carlton Wilson says:

What is wrong with the styling? it has the style of a compact utility vehicles and loads of interior space. If had “slicker” styling then you would complain about headroom. On the subject of the shifter, please read the manual.

MoronicAcid1 says:

Chevy Bolt has a CdA of 8.05 sq. ft., this car will get terrible mileage at freeway speeds.

Ronald Fish says:

why are you comparing the bolt to a Tesla cannot compete with Tesla at all The model three is more it’s competitor not the S or X

Dan Sanger says:

I initially hated the look of the Bolt, but it’s kind of growing on me. Practicality matters, and ends up affecting my perception of the looks. If it weren’t for the Tesla charging network, I might actually prefer the Bolt to the Model 3.

Qi Gong says:

I’ll take Bolt with a hatch that is practical and usable over tesla 3 that looks like Mazda 3 sedan.

George Stone says:

What is this “get by the looks” crap? It looks better than most other cars in its class but if you’re a fashion queen to whom social approval is more important than functionality than by all means get an overpriced, unreliable fashion statement Tesla. This is the most functional, best bang for the buck EV on the market today.

Doug T says:

I’m sorry but being told what looks good by a bald dude who hasn’t come to terms with the fact and hasn’t shaved off the last straggly bits of hair off the top is quite funny. the bolt looks fine and it will stand out when you see one coming at you on the road. the Prius is hardly a beauty queen and has no trouble moving units.

GPBraaten says:

If you add custom decals, and sell the fast that it is Fassst off the line.

dell1rich says:

it is a COMPLIANCE CAR!!! GM has confirmed a ‘slow roll out’ it is ava. only in Cali and Oregon for now….

Calvin Tsai says:

The bald guy talks way too much and needs to calm down.

Gary Morrison says:

Regarding the shifter, is there any problem with driving it in “low gear” all the time? Does going to low limit your speed or reduce efficiency? I’ve been imaging, correctly or not, that the Bolt’s “low gear” is equivalent to Tesla’s “normal” mode: It doesn’t affect anything other than how much regeneration you get when you let your foot off the accelerator pedal. Is that the way it works?

VoltecRules says:

Tom, I’m looking at Consumer reports and JD Powers reliability for the Volt and it is very good. My 2014 Volt after 63,000 miles has been perfect. I average 135 mpg Lifetime. You two homos are definitely working for Toyota (Old Tech Prius) on the side.

CmaxEnergi says:

Who cares how it looks? My ego doesn’t need any certain appearance.

David Kraemer says:

I really enjoy Consumer Reports’ perspective on cars, and I like the Talking Cars video series. However, episode #103 was a bit disturbing to me. I found the dynamic between Tom, Jake, and Michelle to be painful to watch. It wasn’t clear to me why Ms Naranjo was invited to the show.

Watch the video again. Tom spent nearly the whole time with his back to Michelle and looking at Jake. When Michelle did get to speak up, it was mostly in response to short “tell us how silly you were to buy a crappy compliance car” questions. Again and again, it seems to me like she was being ignored for long periods while she patiently looked at the back of Tom’s head, until called on for a chuckle about her Spark EV, with a quick switch back to the guys talking cars.

Tom is an expert in human factors, but in my opinion, he has missed a huge one: the three seats across layout with him in the middle does not work very well. Since most of the conversation involves Tom talking to one or two or three different guests, putting Tom in the middle automatically puts his back to one of the guests if there is more than one. Perhaps putting Tom on one side, and changing the straight lineup to more of a “V” shape would make for more natural conversations and more natural flow.

Keep up the good work; it is great to have CR’s perspective which is independent of advertisement revenue.

Daniel Osorio says:

This car’s making me going 100% electric… a piece of marvel!

Luke Hoisington says:

how does an electric car get service? no oil change or any of that engine stuff to deal with

webcomment says:

More and more oil is being discovered in the US.
Gas prices are going to keep falling throughout 2017 and likely many more years to come. This means people will find electric cars less appealing because they know they will never see a payback on the price premium even with tax credits.
Even the premium on getting a hybrid version of a regular car will not be worth it when gas prices are going down for the long term.

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