UPDATE: 2019 Chevy Bolt May Have Better Seats, Improved Suspension

Chevy Bolt Interior

AUG 29 2018 BY DOMENICK YONEY 112

Have a seat, please.

***UPDATE: General Motors has contacted us regarding these possible changes to the 2019 Bolt. As it turns out, some information from Mike Lelli was likely misinterpreted. For the official record, front seat improvements were made for the Model Year 2018 Bolt and carry over for the 2019 Model Year. As for the suspension, the Bolt does not have a new setup for 2019, though GM says it’s always fine-tuning its products.

There is an upside to spending well over two hours “fast-charging” your Chevy Bolt in public, apparently: you may find yourself with lots of time for a chat with Mike Lelli, the chief engineer of that all-electric Chevrolet. At least, that was the case for one lucky owner. As a result, we believe we’ve learned about some minor, but much-needed improvements to the hatchback for 2019, including better seats.

If you’ve ever sat down in the Bolt, you may have regretted it. Not because of any fundamental problem with the vehicle. Indeed, it garnered Car-Of-The-Year accolades from Motortrend, the Detroit Free Press, and Popular Mechanics. With its 238-mile range, and $36,620 MRSP, it offers a good balance of performance and price.

The thing is, for some at least, the front chairs (pictured above) are somewhat underwhelming: too small and not enough padding are two of the more common complaints. To underline the level of dissatisfaction, shortly after the InsideEVs Forum launched, we were blessed with the creation of a thread titled “A new EV forum = The inevitable Bolt EV seat complaint thread!.” This is not to say that everyone has this same opinion. There are plenty of folks who have no problem whatsoever with either the size or the bolstering (or lack thereof) of the individual benches.

Now, though, it seems they’ve been improved. At least, that’s the tune Chevy Bolt EV Forum user “Fivedoor” is singing after spending about two hours chatting with the aforementioned head engineer during a chance encounter at a charging station. He recounts a pretty interesting encounter that you can read about here.

Anyhow, if the level of cushioning for your derriere was preventing you from taking the Bolt plunge, the 2019 models invite you to take a seat. Not just to judge by their initial comfort, either. Nay, you should probably go for a ride. The suspension has reportedly been upgraded as well and the overall effect of the two improvements might be enough to change minds.

If you do decide to go for a test drive, feel free to share your impressions with us, either here or in the Chevy Bolt section of our Forum.

Source: Chevy Bolt EV Forum

Categories: Chevrolet

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112 Comments on "UPDATE: 2019 Chevy Bolt May Have Better Seats, Improved Suspension"

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David Green

Wow, that would be great news..

terminaltrip421

how in the world did this get down-votes? are they aimed more at the poster than what was posted? some people are so incredibly immature.

Cypress

I didn’t have any issues with the seats when I tried them out. But I’ll be glad to that the GM haters will stop complaining about them.

bro1999

“But I’ll be glad to that the GM haters will stop complaining about them.”
Don’t worry, they have plenty more complaints in their back pockets to toss out there. 😉

antrik

You mean like the Tesla haters? 😛

Chris O

That’s just very unlikely, what’s not to like about a $40K compact hatch with horrible seats, cheap interior, no serious quick charge capabilities from a company that isn’t even interested in the quick charge thing saying its an urban vehicle anyway, that is produced in small numbers, mostly for compliance, is not seriously promoted by a company that’s lobbying very hard to get mandates that forced it to make it in the first place scratched.

Big Solar

I broke my back twice. when I look at a car I say is it electric? Then I ask how are the seats. After that everything else is minor.

REXisKing

Your assumption is invalid. As a potential purchaser I criticized with love.
Great design, but sorry it needs a better seat and suspension.
The average ownership period for a new car is over 12 years.

“The average ownership period for a new car is over 12 years.”

Wow, got a reference for that? I thought most people got new cars every 6-8 years, with extremes on either side. A 12-year average ownership period sounds dubious.

Chris

I would also say that 12 is too high myself, but I believe that 11 years was the average age of a car in the US as of a few years ago. This is the oldest cadre of cars the US has ever seen and it might be a lingering after-effect of the 2008 recession.

Will

There’s still cars here in Ohio of the 90s Explores, Buick’s, F150, Taruas, Civics, Accords, and Potinaics

Mark.ca

Original owners?…unlikely.

Kdawg

Found this: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/28/car-owners-are-holding-their-vehicles-for-longer-which-is-both-good-and-bad.html

“According to IHS, the average length of ownership was a record 79.3 months, or nearly seven years.”

Asak

Most people are so deeply in debt on their cars now they probably can’t afford not to keep them that long.

FRE

In 2004 I paid cash for a new car and still have it.

Right. But also, the average age of a car would always be higher than the average ownership period for the country, because many people buy used cars. So that 11 year old car may have had someone own it for 5 years new, then 6 years used (average ownership period of 5.5 years).

VFanRJ

I think 12 years is accurate. A couple of decades ago it was 10 years and cars keeping getting more expensive and reliable. I own a half a dozen cars (I’m rural with kids) and most my cars are in the 20 yr/old range.

The average age of a car is not the same as the average ownership period, because not everyone buys new cars.

Loboc

Somewhere north of half are not ‘owners’. They lease. For three years or less.

Nate

You do not own if you finance either. If you disagree try stop making payments and the repo man will clear that up With either a lease or traditional loan you can payoff or refi.

REXisKing

https://www.ratchetandwrench.com/articles/6136-average-vehicle-age-in-us-reaching-record-levels

Yes, it’s average car age, not ownership.
Average new car ownership is 8 years, like just 2 year over the max loan length you can get from Ford, 72 months.

Viking79

The average new car buyer keeps their car for 80 months. The average car might be 12 years old, but those aren’t the original buyer’s.

David Green

They were ok… But car buyers spending that kind of money hope for better then ok…

Chris

Correct. The Bolt’s seats seem to be even narrower than airline coach seats and they don’t feel comfortable.

ekutter

Chris, thanks for using the proper spelling of “than”. So many seem to always get “then” and “than” mixed up, like my wife and the person you were responding to.

Kdawg

I get them mixed up now and than.

“Its” like nails on a chalkboard, LOL

Ron

The word it’s is always short for ‘it is’ (as in it’s raining), or in informal speech, for ‘it has’ (as in it’s got six legs).

The word its means ‘belonging to it’ (as in hold its head still while I jump on its back). It is a possessive pronoun like his.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/usage/its-or-it-s

I’m well aware. I assumed the quotes made it obvious my mistake was intentional. 🙂

mzso

You guys can stop fixating on crap like this. English is a garbage language with a useless orthography.

You write whatever you want, you pronounce whatever you want.

David Green

I would say that depends on the airline for the coach seats… Emirates coach is awesome, and almost comfortable JAL, on their domestic coach in Japan, is tight to say the least.

Bolt driver

The seats are thin padding with a plastic shell. If they fit you they are ok. I have 27k in them now and while they are not awesome seats, they work fine. My only complaint is they don’t have adjustable lumbar.
My biggest complaint is the suspension is loose and rattles. Not at all representative of a $35k car. The Volt is more solid and has better seats. Just not enough battery. If it came with a 25kw battery it would be perfect. 50 miles minimum on electric any day of the year in any conditions and an ice to do long trips.

Asak

Yeah but the Volt doesn’t really need a bigger battery since it has gas backup. I really think the battery is about big enough. They should focus in reducing cost rather than upping the EV range at this point.

Bolt driver

I drive 50-100 miles a day and that puts the Volt on gas almost every day in the summer and definitely gas every day in the winter. Right now we are slightly over 60% electric miles. It needed more battery and that why I got the Bolt as a second car. Battery all the time around town, then the Volt for trips.

ekutter

Sounds like you found a good solution in getting a Bolt. For the vast majority, the current battery is perfectly adequate so why would you want to force them to spend the extra on a bigger battery and carry around the extra weight. For my needs, the 20 mi I get per charge in my Volvo XC60 covers over 90% of my day to day driving. But I will be taking delivery of a Bolt in the next week or two with the main motivation being twice as efficient for those electric miles and short road trips.

Maybe they need to have a bigger battery option but I suspect they would have few takers.

Asak

Well I found the Bolt’s seats sorely lacking when I tried them (pun intended), so I am happy to hear they’ve been improved. Between this and the new Shock color I may need to consider a Chevy Bolt next year.

Miggy

Now if GM could only make a RHD model.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Not gunna happen. GM has this car due for sunset.

Chris

Really? Where did you hear that? I just Googled “chevy bolt production sunset.” The first link was to this article. The next three were to articles about how GM was ramping up Bolt production and the 4th was about how Tesla reservation holders (presumably for the Model 3) are “flocking to the Bolt.”

ffbj

More like there will never be a sunrise on RHD.

VFanRJ

I’m looking forward to an AWD

Cypress

Would love AWD on an affordable long range EV.

Bunny

There’s a picture of a RHD Bolt in those 29 picture slide show in the tennis ball yellow Bolt article. So it looks like they have made them.

bro1999

I’m curious what the additional charge % options are. Right now, it’s 100%, ~87%, and 40%.
I’m actually glad I have a ’17, as I like stiffer suspensions on my cars. But the other features the ’19s have would be nice (sans the new seats, as I never had a problem with mine).

pjwood1

So many people hate driving. Soft suspensions are winning.

I hope Bolt seats firm up the seat back, from rocking fore / aft.

bro1999

The Bolt’s chief engineer comes from a racing background, so I bet he had the Bolt’s suspension designed to be on the stiffer side. I guess the non-racing people won out and had the suspension softened up for MY19. I’m curious to test drive a ’19 and see the difference.

Viking79

I love driving, but every day to work on cruddy roads compliant suspension is much more pleasant to deal with. My Z3 2.8 rattled like crazy, stiff as heck, and not really pleasant day to day driver.

Dimitrij

I do no know what to think about the never ending stream of complaints about the Bolt driver’s seat. In the past 10 years I must have driven 400K miles in three Fords, 2 Hyundais, 1 Toyota, 1 Mazda, and I find Bolt’s driver’s seat at least as-, if not more comfortable.

bro1999

I think the majority of the front seat complaints are from people that have never actually sat in the seats, and are just echoing the loud minority of owners who do have issues with the seats. Basically, the seat issue is overblown, but GM is doing something to address it anyways to please the vocal minority.

Threader

GM can’t shrink the Bolt owner’s big fat behinds that rub up against the the plastic on each side of the the seat back joints

Bill Howland

No mention in either the article or comments so far, THAT THERE ARE TWO SEATS. I have the cheaper Cloth seats (LT MODEL) that are just fine. I hated the Premier’s Leather ones when I sat in them at the Auto Show. But neither me, nor any passenger I’ve ever had, including some heavy set ones, never complained about the seats and in fact found them very comfortable. And the back seat is much better than even the front.

Asak

Actually some reports are that even among the same type of seats there is variation when some are more comfortable than others. I did think the leather premier seats were more comfortable.

Speaking for myself I think the problem is I’m quite tall and the back support didn’t align well with my actual back, and then the seats are quite hard with limited padding so there simply wasn’t much that could giveway to adjust to my back.

Bill Howland

Everyone is different of course. When I’m trying to stay awake and stay alert (as when driving), I like a firm back that promotes good posture.

CDAVIS

Chevy Volt was my first EV… great car. Arguably remains the best hybrid with decent AER.

CDAVIS

Got my Chevy Volt back in old days when it was just Volt & Leaf to choose from. Tesla Model S had not yet made it to production.

When Volt went into production Bob Lutz was way back then predicting Tesla would soon fail and go out of business by taking Model S into production. Some things don’t change… today nearly a decade later Lutz saying same thing except now it’s Model 3 Lutz says will doom Tesla.

Glad to see that GM continues to improve the Volt until such time GM EVs eventually gain access to a convenient and reliable fast charge network for those occasional long distance trips.

CDAVIS

… but if taking occasional long distance trips is not on the program the Bolt also serves as a great car!

Bill Howland

I drive over 3 hours at a time without stopping in the BOLT and there is no problem.

VFanRJ

It’s not hard to do most (~90%+) of your driving on electric, making it one of the most effective ways to go electric without needing a second car for long trips or vacations. Even after all these years, it continues to be fun to drive.

ABCs

I have a 2017 Bolt and haven’t had a problem with the seats. I suspect it’s the size of the driver that’s the issue, and not the seats. These are the same folks who were getting their arms stuck in Pringles cylinders. They had to widen the packaging.

menorman

I’m a pretty skinny guy and the seats were a bit annoying for me too.

Chris

I have no issues sitting in airline seats and I’m not aware that I “manspread” (I might — one is, by definition, oblivious to that sort of thing) but the Bolt’s driver seat is too narrow for me. While I would appreciate the long range of the vehicle, I don’t think I’d be able to put up with sitting on a barstool for that long.

BTW, I don’t know why your Pringles can remark didn’t get at least one upvote.

marshall

I’m not obese and I found the seats to be a uncomfortable. I thought the Chevy Volt’s seats where much more comfortable.

I wonder how many folks had to take the seats apart and add more foam. Heck there is even a YouTube video on how to do it.

Lou Grinzo

When I looked very closely at Bolts early this year, I thought the seats were OK. Certainly nothing that would be mistaken for a living room couch, but I doubt they would have been a problem on, say, a 200 mile drive.

I also didn’t mind the suspension. The ones I drove did feel a bit stiff, but I prefer that.

If they make these changes and don’t upgrade the gray, hard plastic dash board pieces they’re making a serious mistake, though.

Zachary Hafen

I’m curious if they’ve bumped up the charge speed beyond 50kW for this next year’s model…

bro1999

Nope. Maybe for 2020?

menorman

It currently will max at ~55kW, but the bigger/tandem problem is that it starts throttling so early.

Speculawyer

50KW? By what I understand, the max DC-fast-charge rate on the Bolt is 80KW. However, it is often limited to 50KW because that’s all most current CCS chargers can do.

antrik

No, the maximal charge rate is 54 kW; but it needs a 80 kW capable charger to achieve that rate. (Because the 80 kW is a rate the charger would be able to deliver at 500 V, but the car actually only takes ~330 V during early charge stages.)

Speculawyer

Well that blows. It is kinda crap for long distance than. Gotta double that rate.

There are so many things that Tesla got right while others still are feeling their way around in the dark.

antrik

Yeah; and it drops even further pretty soon, as state of charge increases…

There are some others now doing better though (Hyundai, Jaguar); and the Audi coming soonish should be the first one to match (or maybe even slightly outdo) Tesla.

Let’s hope GM’s next generation (it some two years I guess?) will do better as well 🙂

Bill Howland

“….Well that blows…”.

Tesla may have ‘gotten it right’, but few model ‘3’s go for under $50,000. There is even a GREATER savings with the BOLT ev in NY State since Tesla’s MSRP makes the vast majority of them ineligible for the $2000 tax credit, getting $500-600 instead.

The Bolt EV is built down to a price, rather like a Chevy Biscayne of old. I personally like the car since although it is not the be all end all with every conceivable feature, it looks to be a supremely reliable car.

TheCyberKnight

Great news.
Should get mine within the next 2 weeks.

ekutter

Me too. Having the factory cancel my 2018 at the last minute could have additional unexpected benefits other than just the slightly higher re-sale value.

TheCyberKnight

Just got a phone call today. The car is in town.
Will take possession early next week.

menorman

Now just add ACC…

ffbj

Well those have been two of the pet peeves people have brought up since the first Bolt rolled off the line. Good to see that they are being addressed. Finally.

Nix

The Bolt has a ton of headroom, so adding more padding shouldn’t be a problem. Widening sounds a little tougher.

philip d

Those look like the same seats in the Volt. I saw the picture and thought at first, “that’s a Volt”

ModernMarvelFan

Just move the Volt seat over into the Bolt and most people would have been super happy with it.

Chris C.

Great! Now lets see if they correct the other regrettable problem with the Bolt EV: no adaptive cruise control, not even as an option.

It’s 2018. Every car on the planet should at least offer ACC as an option, certainly every car priced over $30,000.

Cypress

Don’t want it. Don’t need it. Don’t care.

fotomoto

Ignorance is bliss.

Lou Grinzo

Given the willful ignorance you’re showing of how different people approach things like car options, you sound pretty blissful to me.

I think ACC is one of those features that in just a few years will be standard on almost every new car sold. As long as it’s optional, that’s fine with me, as the few times I’ve driven with it I thought it was too hamfisted when decelerating. Some programmers need to refine their algorithms a bit, and the acceptance/use of ACC will likely increase.

fotomoto

Ahh so you didn’t remain ignorant of the feature and actually investigated it before forming an opinion.

BTW, the more you use, the better it gets as YOU adapt to it. Like you said, version 2.0+ will be much better.

Cypress

Had it in rental cars. Didn’t care for it enough to want to spend more for it on a car, or to have a car with all the extra sensors that would be expensive to repair or replace because of a fender bender.

Bill
I would be curious to hear what is going to be done to the Bolt suspension. I drive a 2017 Bolt, and it is pretty good by US manufacturer standards. The suspension is fairly tight and that helps the Bolt handle well. I hope by, “improve,” GM doesn’t mean soft ride and numb as possible steering. More sporty tires could improve handling, but the OEM Michelin tires do contribute substantially to efficiency for maximizing range. Seats seem to be a bone of contention, or rather tail bone of contention. I used to have a LEAF before the Bolt and it seemed like I could never adjust the LEAF seat such that I did not get a stiff neck within 15minutes. The Bolt seats, at least on the Premier trim configuration are plenty adjustable and I’ve driven stints of up to 150 miles without problems. The Bolt seats are fairly firm, but not as firm as the seats in my BMW. I did read that some of the cloth covered Bolt seats early on had been manufactured with a bolt too long under the the outboard bolster that caused rather painful side effects. The Bolt seats are fairly narrow by US… Read more »
REXisKing

Yes, we need confirmation they’re going to go to an independent suspension.
The problem with Torsion beam is of course, a bump on the left side of the road transmits to the right hand side of the car. An independent rear suspension absorbs a bump on the left and doesn’t pass on the drama to the right side of the car. That side maintains traction and is’t disturbed.

Jon

I hope the petition I started did something to influence this change: https://www.change.org/p/general-motors-fix-the-chevy-bolt-s-front-seats

mzso

Maybe they shouldn’t have left fixing obvious issues to a time where competition (Kona, long-range leaf) has arrived…

Loboc

In order to be interested, I’d need the Bolt to have:
– A Caddy or Buick badge
– lumbar support adjustment
– ACC or Super Cruise

Cypress

Probably coming in their next EV, but not the Bolt.

Speculawyer

Seats & suspension? What the Bolt REALLY needs is to up the DC-fast charging speed. Get it up to 125KW. OK, at least 100.

For those that understand EVs and pore over the specs, one of the Bolt’s biggest weaknesses is that it really can’t handle long trips well. Much of that is due to the weak build-out of the CCS charging infrastructure…not enough of them and they are mostly 50KW.

But assuming the infrastructure is great, the Bolt has a maximum DC charge rate of 80KW. That makes fast-charging not fast enough. Gotta bump it up to Supercharger levels.

Speculawyer

Well, I just learned above that the max DC fast-charge rate is just 54KW. That blows. They need to do twice that.

Cypress

Meh.

Richard Giddens

Actually, I found the seats on the Bolt EV to be perfect and on a recent trip from SF to LA and back we didn’t spend 2 hours recharging anywhere. My weight is in proportion to my height so the problem with seats for some people may lay elsewhere other then the seat design. I have back problems and injuries. The Bolt EV seats were far more comfortable and I never needed additional pillows or cushions for the long 2 hour legs driving.

GM, if you want to make something, make us a high cargo capacity high range SUV electric vehicle!

Robert

I own a 2017 Bolt I have no problem with seats our ride of the vehicle. I quess their are people that will never be happy, we love the vehicle Excellent vehicle

BenG

Improvement to seats and suspension are good, but I wish GM were upgrading more … I guess 3rd year of production is a little too soon for me to realistically expect an upgraded battery and faster charging, or a significantly lower price, but the Bolt needs some more significant changes like that if GM wants it to be more than a niche vehicle.

I’d really hoped Chevy would be more aggressive in building and selling the Bolt but it’s become apparent that they have no intention of making it a high volume car … maybe things will be different with the upcoming Bolt-based Buick CUV.

antrik

I suspect you will have to wait for the next-gen platform (that is supposed to come in some two years I think?) for any serious improvements in production volumes or technology.

theflew

If anything GM is looking at how they can drop the price to ~$30k after the tax credit in the US ends for GM. So adding features that will drive up the price doesn’t help them a lot. Also if the Bolt price lowers it leaves room for the Buick twin with additional features. I also imagine that’s how the Bolt will compete with the Kona. The Bolt’s window sticker will be thousands less.

Cypress

Two approaches are possible and could be combined:
1.) lower the base MSRP (or offer incentives, lease deals, good financing options). I expect this will generally happen as they hit the phaseout for the US tax credit.
2.) include more of the currently optional features as part of the standard package and keep the price similar.

bro1999

Pretty minor change, but now there are separate “Heat/cool” HVAC soft buttons on the display. Before, it was just a single soft button that combined both and managed the HVAC automatically.

Brian

I wish I had separate buttons. I cool my car to about 75F during the summer, but I definitely don’t want the heat to come on during a cool night.

Dav8or

Then turn off the HVAC system. You can still run the fan and get outside air at whatever temperature it is. The new button layout is for those folks that are micro managers and hate things that are automatic. The way Chevy made it originally works great, but enough people complained and wanted separate buttons, so they got it.

Brian

Yes, and that’s what I do. Once I notice that the car is blowing heated air at me. It’s a minor annoyance, and I’m happy to live with it. My 2012 Leaf had no way to turn off the heater, so I ended up buying a 3rd-party hack switch to do it for me.

Brian

Actually, since this is just a touch-screen “button”, in theory it could be updated with new software. I will not hold my breath to get one from GM though.

Al D

In a few years, the Bolt should be considerably improved, but may be considered inferior to several EV’s from other manufacturers, if VW, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and Hyundai get serious. I don’t see how Tesla can keep up once the big boys do get serious. It takes money and flexibility to make rapid improvements.

Tech01x

Tesla has shown much faster improvements than the other automakers when it comes to BEVs. No idea what you are talking about here.

kubel

So wait, they are saying seats were changed starting with the 2018 model year? Can anyone confirm this?

Scott Franco

“as this owner’s claims.”

as this owner claims.

The claim does not belong to the owner, he claims, as in the infinitive, he has claimed, he is claiming, he will claim.

terminaltrip421

honestly all tesla has to do is give the model 3 an old-fashioned instrument cluster thereby admitting musk is just as egomaniacal as he is “visionary” and I’d stop ragging on them.

ffbj

The company released its second quarter results today. Chevy Bolt EV deliveries in the US were down 22% year over year to 3,483 units during the period or about 1,161 units per month.

But that’s just fine because at virtually the same time that this happened GM said they will increase Bolt production by 20% in the 4th quarter. How nice. Basically producing the same number or fewer than last year, and trying to make it seem like an increase in production. GM relies on the fact that people can hardly retain, or bother to, information which GM provides, and then turns out to be false. Their answer when called out is that they were operating on the best information at the time, of which it will now be coming out quarterly. Who knows maybe they will go private, or even bankrupt again.

For me what GM claims or says they are going to do is not worth the paper it’s printed on.
Although I give the Bolt a “B”. It’s a decent car.

Fred

Seriously faulty logic there, amigo. Deliveries were down because of factory downtime to tool up for increased production. The total number delivered this year including that downtime isn’t the relevant bit here, the capacity to deliver more in the future is. Increased production is increased production is increased production.