The Chevrolet Bolt EUV is a compact electric SUV that's all-new for 2022.
It offers 247 miles of range, 200 horsepower, and Super Cruise, a hands-free driving feature.
Its biggest downsides: Less-than-ideal charging speeds and no all-wheel drive.
If you're itching to go green but turned off by high-priced electric cars, you're not alone.
Sticker shock is among the biggest factors keeping consumers from going electric, studies show. And who can blame them? Electric-vehicle powerhouse Tesla doesn't sell a car that costs less than $47,000. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average new EV sold for $64,000 in May as mind-boggling gas prices pushed people to rethink what's powering their cars.
Slowly but surely, though, carmakers are cooking up good battery-powered cars that don't require draining the college fund.
Case in point: the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, a new compact SUV that isn't trying to be astoundingly sexy, fast, or luxurious, but rather focuses on offering value. And it accomplishes that in spades, delivering healthy range, a comfy driving experience, and some advanced tech — all for less than $35,000 to start.
Chevy Bolt EUV: The basics
The Bolt EUV is new for 2022, launched last spring alongside the refreshed Bolt EV hatchback. The EUV, which stands for "electric utility vehicle," is a bit bigger and less egg-shaped than the EV, but they share the same guts.
Both Bolts took a little hiatus due to faulty batteries that could catch fire, but they're back in production as of April.
The 2022 Bolt EUV comes in two trim levels, in addition to a limited-edition model that kicked off sales:
Bolt EUV LT ($34,495, including destination fee): comes with 247 miles of range, a 10.2-inch touchscreen, and fabric seats.
Bolt EUV Premier ($38,995): adds leather seats, extra safety features, adaptive cruise control, optional Super Cruise, and other features.
The Premier model Chevrolet lent me for a few days in June came out to $43,190, including a destination fee and extras like a sunroof, a Bose sound system, and Super Cruise, GM's hands-free driving feature.
The current EUV LT is a good value, but the upcoming 2023 model will be a bigger bargain. A price cut will drop its starting price by more than $6,000 to $28,195.
What stands out: Solid range and available Super Cruise
The Bolt EUV is 6.3 inches longer than its hatchback counterpart, with much of that extra size going toward rear-seat legroom. I can confirm: The back seat is roomy enough for big adults, and its flat floor makes the middle seat more usable.
Overall, the interior is stylish, comfortable, and although there's a lot of hard plastic, there are also some nicer touches. My tester had plenty of gloss-black trim and leather seats with an intricate geometric pattern.
No clunky, frustrating touchscreen here; the Bolt's 10.2-inch display is responsive to taps and easy to use. Thankfully, you don't have to use it for everything — the Bolt EUV has physical buttons for the climate controls, which isn't true of many new cars these days.
On the road, the EUV isn't nearly as quick or agile as a Tesla or Ford's Mustang Mach-E, but acceleration is still punchy thanks to a motor that promises 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The EUV rides smoothly over bumps and stays quiet, even at highway speeds.
Speaking of highway driving, the EUV has a trick up its sleeve you won't find in many other vehicles: Super Cruise. It's the first non-Cadillac to get GM's excellent hands-free driving feature, which takes the monotony out of long road trips by automating some elements of highway driving. Super Cruise uses sensors and cameras to steer, accelerate, and brake on approved roads, so long as drivers still pay attention while it does so.
The system worked pretty well in my experience, but it isn't perfect. Once I had to jerk it out of an exit lane that it accidentally veered into.
Super Cruise is optional in the EUV Premier, but other advanced safety tech like lane-keep assist and forward-collision warning comes standard.
The Bolt EUV delivers on all-important range with 247 miles, according to the EPA's estimates. That's a bit less than the smaller Bolt EV, but it's competitive with pricier rivals like the base Mustang Mach-E (247 miles), Kia Niro EV (239 miles), and Volkswagen ID.4 (260 miles).
What's more, the EUV's digital gauge cluster displays both the maximum and minimum range a driver can expect given their current battery level. A few taps in the center screen gets you to a page that shows how factors like driving technique, terrain, climate control use, and outside temperature impacted driving range over the course of a trip.
Both thoughtful features should help new EV owners better understand how their vehicle performs and, hopefully, not get stranded.
What falls short: Slower charging, lacks all-wheel drive
The Bolt EUV's biggest weakness is that it can't charge nearly as quickly as rivals. It can accept 55 kilowatts of charging power, allowing it to add 95 miles of range in 30 minutes, according to Chevy. Compare that to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 — one of the fastest-charging EVs on the market — which can recoup some 200 miles of range in 18 minutes using a 350-kilowatt station.
This shouldn't pose much of an issue for anyone who plans to charge at home, but it could add extra hassle to extended trips with multiple charging stops.
The EUV also doesn't quite earn the "U" in its name. You can't get it with all-wheel drive (which is better for snow and other slippery conditions), and cargo space is almost identical to the Bolt EV. There's room for a few suitcases behind the back seats, but not a huge amount of stuff. And unlike lots of other EVs, there's no frunk.
Our impressions: A good value that's getting better
The Bolt EUV's slow charging speeds and so-so cargo space behind the rear seats mean it's not ideal for epic road trips. But it's a great option for commutes and shorter trips thanks to its compact size, parkability, and its lack of climate-warming emissions.
Importantly, the EUV brings another accessible SUV to the burgeoning EV market. But keep in mind: GM's vehicles no longer qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit for plug-in purchases, which phases out based on how many cars a company sells. Other automakers still benefit from the program, and there's a full list here.
Electric cars are still far from being truly cheap, but the Bolt EUV — especially after its price cut — represents a step in the right direction.
Read the original article on Business Insider