2017 Chevy Bolt EV reviews are in, and they are good

Several media outlets, including this one, have driven the Bolt EV, and the consensus on the drive, feel, and that eye-popping range so far is encouraging.

Paul Sancya/AP/File
The Chevrolet Bolt EV debuts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this past January.

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car isn't on sale yet, but quite a lot of useful information is already available to potential buyers.

General Motors recently confirmed the $37,495 base price (before Federal, state, and local incentives), and an EPA-rated 238-mile range—meeting its original promises.

Several media outlets, including this one, have also driven the Bolt EV, and the consensus so far is encouraging.

We drove a Bolt EV 240 miles on a single charge during a media event in California last month.

That was actually the lowest range achieved among four journalists who drove the electric hatchback during that event.

In addition to proving that its EPA-rated range holds up in real-world use, the Bolt EV impressed us with its large and crisp displays, and comfortable seats, among other things.

The Bolt EV made a similarly-positive impression on more traditional automotive publications.

"The Bolt isn't just good to drive for an electric car, it's good to drive, period," said Car and Driver in its first-drive review of the car.

The magazine praised the Bolt EV's driving dynamics and quick acceleration, although it did consider interior materials to be somewhat cheap for a car in this price range.

Its tester also covered the same 240-mile California drive route with 34 miles of range remaining, according to the car's display.

Motor Trend was also pleased by the Bolt EV, citing its lack of body roll in corners, and its nicely-weighted steering.

It also noted that achieving 240 miles of range on a single charge was not challenging, and that the most impressive part of driving the Bolt EV that distance was "how little actually happened."

Moving into technology media, The Verge concluded that the Bolt EV feels like any other car—which the tech website considered to be "very, very impressive."

Given that the Bolt EV will need to win over mainstream consumers not necessarily asking for a radically different experience, that may indeed be a compliment.

The Verge also praised Chevy's stated plans to educate consumers and salespeople on electric cars, something it did rather halfheartedly with the Volt plug-in hybrid.

But apathetic dealers and salespeople with little knowledge remain one of the biggest obstacles to widespread electric car adoption.

While the consensus on the Bolt EV is that it's looking like a pretty good car, that won't mean much if consumers meet resistance and misinformation when they ask about it.

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