Editor's Note: On August 20, 2021, General Motors expanded its recall of the Chevrolet Bolt EV to include all 2019 models that weren't previously covered and all 2020 through 2022 model year vehicles over a risk of fire. If you currently own an affected vehicle, you can get more information on the recall here.
The Chevrolet Bolt has always been a fine (if forgettable) electric vehicle, especially these days with more alluring options from Ford, Tesla, and Volkswagen joining the mix. So in an effort to keep up, Chevrolet updated its quart-sized EV for 2022 – even giving it a big sibling in the EUV.
The 2022 Bolt is all-around more enjoyable than it was before. Chevrolet improved the styling, upgraded the cabin and technology, and added standard DC fast charging to make its electric hatchback more appealing. On top of that, the base $31,995 asking price means you won't have to break the bank to plug in.
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The new Bolt looks super cute. It takes the general funkiness of the first-generation model and adds a grille-free front end for a more futuristic look, slim light fixtures near the hood line, and gloss black accents that extend to the side mirrors. Among other flat-faced EVs, the Bolt's unique “grille” design with trapezoidal elements is the most appealing of the bunch.
We quite like the new taillights and their black surrounds, while the 2LT trim tested here wears a sharp set of two-tone 17-inch wheels, as opposed to the base silver shoes on the 1LT model. This car also wears an optional Bright Blue metallic paint ($395) that gives it a bolder look than some of the no-cost silvers and whites.
Opting for the 2LT model also adds perforated black leather-appointed seats with trapezoidal detailing to match the front end. Leather lines the steering wheel and dots some portions of the door panels too, but there are lots of ungainly hard plastics elsewhere in the cabin.
At the center of it all is a new 10.2-inch touchscreen that sits neatly within the dash, with shiny gloss black surrounding it. The plastic bezel is prone to fingerprints (as is the screen itself), but it looks less offensive than some other applications we've seen.
save over $3,400 on average off MSRP* on a new Chevrolet Bolt EV
The Bolt doesn't make a strong case for being a comfortable car in this class. The leather seats feel soft and plush to the touch, but it's as if you're sitting on top of them rather than in them. The bolstering is weak, butt and back support is too, and although the 2LT offers eight-way power support with lumbar adjustability, we couldn't find a truly comfortable seating position in our week with the Bolt.
To make matters worse, wind and tire noise enter the cabin regularly. Driving the Bolt on the highway is loud – anything more than a quick city jaunt forces you to turn the volume knob way up to drown out outside noise. And even light winds push the tall-bodied hatchback around on the highway.
But at least the Bolt is roomy. The 40.1 inches of front headroom feels like enough, but it's on the lower end of the spectrum. More traditional electric crossovers like the Ford Mustang Mach-E (40.5 inches) and Volkswagen ID.4 (41.1 inches) are better, as is the Nissan Leaf (41.2 inches). But the Bolt does offer best-in-class front legroom with a hearty 44.3 inches – and with that, the front compartment feels plenty roomy for both driver and passenger.
The back seat also gets a solid 37.9 inches of headroom and 36.0 inches of legroom, which are average to above average for the class, and ingress and egress are easy thanks to the low entry point and wide rear opening. Unlike some other crossovers in this class, the Bolt's 5.5 inches of ground clearance make entry a cinch. Unfortunately, the Bolt only has 16.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, which is a worst-in-class figure – the Mustang has 29.7 cubes and the VW has 30.3.
The 2022 Bolt gets a sharper 10.2-inch central touchscreen sporting GM's latest Infotainment 3 Plus software. As in the many of the GM products we've seen this setup before, the home screen is clean, the graphics are crisp and easy to parse, and touch responsiveness rivals that of a modern smartphone.
The difference here compared to, say, a Chevrolet Silverado with the same UI is that the Bolt gets custom EV-focused screens that monitor things like efficiency and driving habits. The “Energy” screen shows your driving history, presents averages of miles driven and range used, and exhibits how things like climate control and outside temperature affect the estimated range. It's a nifty way for Bolt owners to try and achieve the best possible outcome.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity also come standard, as does 4G LTE connectivity; we had no issues connecting to Android Auto during our test. Opting for the $595 infotainment package adds wireless phone charging, a premium Bose audio system with seven speakers, and two USB charging ports for the rear passengers (one USB-A and one USB-C).
Behind the steering wheel sits an 8.0-inch configurable digital cluster that displays things like driver assistance features, estimated range, power consumption, and more – depending on how you want to use it. It's all neatly displayed in three individual partitions that make the features easy to see while driving.
Powering the new Bolt is the same 66.0-kilowatt-hour battery pack as last year, with a single electric motor sending 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet to the front wheels exclusively. Fast the Bolt is not, but the instant torque from the electric motor gives it solid shove off the line and allows for some zippiness around town. And if you're feeling especially zesty, the Sport mode button improves throttle response by a touch.
Thanks to the Bolt's low center of gravity and low ride height (compared to some taller crossovers), it has decent cornering abilities. The Mach-E is still the performer of the group, but the Bolt's steering is nicely weighted and responsive, while body movements are minimal. You'll need better rubber if you really want to fling it, but most drivers should be more than happy with the way this hatchback moves.
The Bolt does offer one-pedal driving, accessible via a shifter-mounted button, but it has some of the most aggressive regenerative braking we've tested. Lift your foot off the accelerator pedal and regen brings the Bolt down to speed too harshly, lurching you and the car forward. If you prefer the do-it-yourself method, the Bolt maintains its steering-wheel-mounted paddle from last year that allows you to pick and choose when you want to use the aggressive regen.
The most obvious ding here is that the Bolt EV does not offer Super Cruise, while the larger Bolt EUV does. And still, if you want adaptive cruise control it’s a $375 upgrade available only on the 2LT model. That said, the driver-assist system does well in high-traffic situations. It automatically brings the vehicle down to speed smoothly and accelerates as necessary. Opting for the 2LT model also affords you a lane-change alert with blind-spot monitoring and a 360-degree overhead camera.
Beyond that, all versions of the 2022 Bolt come standard with automatic emergency braking, automatic high beam headlights, and two of the best front- and rear-facing cameras we’ve seen in a non-luxury car. The crystal clear projection atop the entirety of the 10.2-inch screen makes parking that much easier.
The Bolt doesn’t gain any additional range for 2022, but it’s still one of the better options in the class. The 66.0-kilowatt-hour battery pack affords it 259 miles on a single charge, which is better than what you get on the Hyundai Kona EV (258 miles), Kia Niro EV (239 miles), and Nissan Leaf (226 miles). The Tesla Model 3 offers a bit more range, though it's more expensive. And the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4 suffer from both being pricier and having less range in base form.
One thing the Bolt does gain for 2022 is standard DC fast charging, and it’s much welcomed. With the ability to recharge at up to 55.0 kilowatts, the Bolt will add 100 miles of range in as little as 30 minutes. We plugged into an Electrify America station at 19 percent range with 48 miles on the readout and reached an 80 percent charge (bringing the available mileage to 203) in just under one hour.
Unfortunately, finding the nearest charging station required us to pull out our phones – the Chevrolet Bolt does not offer standard navigation, and even on the larger Bolt EUV, it’s an option. That’s a huge contrast to the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which offers navigation with a one-touch charging station locator – a much simpler solution.
The base 2022 Bolt starts at $31,995 before the mandatory $995 destination fee. That makes it about $5,500 more affordable than last year and one of the most cost-effective options in the entire class. Only the Nissan Leaf is cheaper to start, asking $27,400 plus another $975 for freight – but the comparable Plus model costs $32,400.
By comparison, alternatives like the Kona EV cost $34,000, the Niro EV starts at $39,090, the Tesla Model 3 is $39,990, the Volkswagen ID.4 is $39,995, and the Mustang Mach-E costs $42,895. The Tesla Model Y is the priciest of the bunch at $53,990.
Our test car is a top-trim 2LT model, which asks $34,200, but it comes with standard kit like leather seats, a 360-degree camera, and blind-spot monitoring. Adding options like the infotainment package ($595), adaptive cruise control ($375), and a Bright Blue metallic paint job ($395) brings the total cost to $36,560 – and that’s fully loaded.
Even with every option selected, a fully stocked Chevy Bolt is still more affordable than many of its competitors are to start (especially with some of the lease deals that pop up). And while the Nisan Leaf is technically the cheapest of the bunch, a loaded SL Plus costs nearly $45,000 when it’s all said and done.
Bolt Competitor Reviews:
Gallery: 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV: Review
2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV 2LT