Chevy Bolt Only EV Among Consumer Reports’ 10 Top Picks Of 2018

Red Chevy Bolt EV outdoors


Red Chevy Bolt EV outdoors

Chevy Bolt EV

Consumer Reports includes the Chevy Bolt in its list of the best cars of 2018.

CR’s top cars of the year are proven safe, reliable, and satisfying to owners. They are also deemed “outstanding all-around performers.” These cars must achieve high scores in a myriad of rigorous track tests and lengthy owner surveys. The publication assures that it recommends these cars “with confidence.”

In order for a vehicle to be chosen as the top pick, it must achieve the highest overall score within its chosen category (however, more on the specifics of this below, based on InsideEVs observations). The score is derived from a combination of each vehicle’s road-test score, safety, reliability, and owner satisfaction survey results. According to the Consumer Reports, the categories are as follows:

Inside the Chevy Bolt

Inside the Chevy Bolt (Image Credit: Mike Anthony)

Road Test: This score is based on more than 50 tests and evaluations conducted at our Auto Test Center by our experienced staff.

Reliability: We predict how new cars will likely hold up based on problems reported by subscribers for more than half a million vehicles (in our latest survey).

Owner Satisfaction: We rate owner satisfaction based on the percentage of surveyed owners who say they’d definitely buy the same vehicle again.

Safety: All recommended cars must perform well in CR’s accident-avoidance tests and also provide effective occupant protection in government or insurance industry crash tests (if the vehicle has been tested). Models with standard forward-collision warning and/or automatic emergency braking are given bonus points.

The Chevy Bolt was the 2018 Top Pick in the Compact Green Car category. Interestingly, there is no other Green Car category, and many other car categories are missing. So, it’s important not to just assume that since the Bolt is one of few compact all-electric cars, it may have won by default. In fact, it seems that the top cars are chosen despite categories, and then categories are added later. This is especially obvious if you look at the last few years because the categories are not consistent from year to year.

For example, if there’s not a midsize SUV or a subcompact car worthy of being deemed a top ten pick, that category simply doesn’t exist. This way, CR doesn’t have to be concerned with recommending vehicles that don’t make the cut. There was no compact green car category last year, but due to the Bolt’s high marks, CR added it this year to give the 238-mile electric car credit.

Consumer Reports explains:

“The Bolt proves that electric cars need not apologize for a lack of driving performance. This distinctive-looking hatchback delivers brisk acceleration and tight handling, plus a 250-mile electric range at a mainstream price (when tax incentives are factored in). This pure electric is built around a 60-kWh battery pack that holds a generous charge, reducing anxiety that you’ll run out of power and be stranded. The driver sits high up in the Bolt, with a commanding view on a par with a small SUV. Like most electric cars, the Bolt is strikingly silent, and road and wind noise are minimal. Controls take a little getting used to, and at times the ride can become choppy. All told, GM has performed an impressive feat with the Bolt.”

Source: Consumer Reports

Categories: Chevrolet

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51 Comments on "Chevy Bolt Only EV Among Consumer Reports’ 10 Top Picks Of 2018"

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The Bolt EV really is a pretty amazing car. Very roomy despite being a smaller vehicle, and the acceleration is stunning.

Well deserved. Hopefully we’ll see even more EVs on the list next year.

Checy Bolt acceleration is pretty peppy for an “outstanding all-around top performer” for 2018 CR top10 pick.

One wonders if GM can keep out in front of Nissan, for 2018 in the US, in the pure EV only category. Bolt may also be able to lead the Leaf in sales in NA (including Canada).

The question is not if GM can it is if GM wants to…

If GM wants to sell the Bolt, why is there no advertising for it? They lose money on it. A shame, but they say the upcoming models will turn a profit. Despite all the cynicism about GM, they’re to be commended on designing and selling this car.

Why is there no advertising for Tesla? Same reason: no need. Further, they don’t want to bring in the wrong crowd. Stick to the enthusiasts, for now.

The main thing is that an electric finally unseated the prius as the top ‘green car’.

The Prius won year after year until now.

Here is hoping that the Bolt platform is used to build the Buick BEV/CUV that GM teased at an event last year. It might not have 238 miles of AER but it would have the attributes and appearance that will appeal to a lot more people than the current Bolt. It would also give GM the opportunity to build a faster max charge rate into the vehicle as well.
The Bolt is a nice BEV, but it is only the first step into the full utility BEV market for GM. If you don’t have 200 miles of AER, it isn’t a full utility BEV.

From the one concept picture GM showed, it looked exactly like the Bolt except for the addition of the typical SUV locomotive grille. The faux oval grill on the early Tesla Model S, and the Bolt look foolish enough. A huge cow catcher on a small hatchback car, that has no need for any grill, just screams insecurity.…00633095_m.jpg

Warren, get a front quarter view of the Bolt in Silver Ice and flip back and forth between the Bolt and the Buick CUV. The Buick front end is at least 6″ longer, eliminating the Bolts snub nose look almost entirely. And the Buick CUV rear end is sloped more whereas the Bolt is more of a Kammback. Finally look at the ratio of side window to total height of the vehicles. The Bolt has a bug eyed look whereas the Buick CUV has a more conventional look.
There is not a lot of comparison of the two if you flip photos of them back and forth. The Buick looks a lot better. The Bolt is a bit clown car’ish but the Buick is much more like other, popular, CUV’s.

If you look at a foreshortened frontal shot, like the one you linked to, of course the Bolt looks shorter. I am looking at the one in my garage, and it has the same amount of overhang as the Concept CUV shot. I think CUVs/SUVs are clownish, because they are designed to appeal to the safari fantasies of urban dwellers, most of whom will never leave pavement, let alone actually drive offroad.

But let’s say you are right, and they are going to build a bigger car. It will require a bigger motor, and battery for the same performance, and will therefore be more expensive. The Bolt is already more car than we wanted, so it would be a waste for us

I don’t think the wheelbase on the Buick is going to be much longer than the Bolt. The front end/overhang may be a bit longer and the rear a bit more sloped. Even if the Buick BEV/CUV has less headroom in the front than a Bolt, it could still be an inch shorter than the Bolt which would give it a better look. Bolt has 39.7″ of FrontSeatHR whereas the Volt has 37.8″. The Volt front seats are plenty roomy for me at 6’4″, I can even wear a baseball cap without it brushing the headliner. So if the Buick splits the difference on headroom between the Bolt and the Volt, it still has a roomy feel but the exterior lines will look more balanced.
But the Buick will have to have more headroom than the Volt in the backseat, that is one of the Volts big shortfalls.
I don’t think the Buick BEV will have the range of the Bolt, but it will probably be slightly longer and have a more traditional look. More Encore and less Bolt.
The Bolt is a very well engineered car, but I think there is room on that platform for several different types of cars.

I think that folks who might be convinced to buy an electric CUV/SUV are going to insist on more range than the Bolt, not settle for less. Of course their desires are in conflict with physics and economics, but that hasn’t deterred us before. 🙂

Here is hoping that the Buick BEV is close to the Bolts present AER! And that the Bolt gets a bit more AER in the mid-model refresh in a year or two! Bolt has enough range now, but more is always better.

“I don’t think the wheelbase on the Buick is going to be much longer than the Bolt… Even if the Buick BEV/CUV has less headroom in the front than a Bolt, it could still be an inch shorter than the Bolt which would give it a better look.”

The Bolt EV is said to be a tall but rather narrow car, with plenty of legroom. So no, they don’t need to extend the wheelbase much if at all, altho they may want to if they want to give it more cargo room behind the back seat. For the Buick/ CUV version* they need to widen the car a bit, and as you said, they could even drop the headroom an inch or so.

*Yeah, I know that GM advertises the Bolt EV as a “compact SUV”. It’s not; it’s not even a CUV. It’s a hatchback. A real CUV would be larger.

The Bolt already has a wheelbase longer than the Buick Encore/Chevy Trax. The biggest difference is the overhangs on the Encore/Trax compared to the Bolt. Those overhangs allow for more cargo space and hood length on those two.

Faux grill on the Bolt is such a lame criticism of an absolutely fantastic EV. How about some criticism of the style of the headlights or the wheels? If the best you can do is to find fault with cosmetic choices, that pretty much sums up the Bolt’s negatives.

You may think it is lame, but it is the one thing I disliked about the Bolt when we bought it. Had the oval painted to match the car. Have had lots of compliments on how much better it looks.

I think the Bolt is the best car produced in my lifetime. Glad I lived long enough to see it.

These little details are frustrating precisely because they are small details which could easily be changed by GM, but won’t be because that’s not the GM way. GM has a system that it sticks to and they can produce excellent cars but don’t ask them to be as responsive as Tesla to criticism. Their level of concern about customer feedback is on par with the soup nazi.

The seats?

The feel of the plastics.

The lack of an adequate long distance charging system.

Relatively small on-board charger

Quick charger not standard

Poor aerodynamics

And that is just getting started.
To be fair, I suspect that TM3 $35K seats are similar to bolt/leaf/i3, etc, but it will be some time before we know.

“Relatively small on-board charger”

I didn’t know 7.6kW is considered as small since majority of EVs out there are slower than that.

“Quick charger not standard”

So what? Some people don’t want/need it. At least it is available unlike many compliance vehicles out there.

“Poor aerodynamics”

That is just relatively. First Gen LEAF was worse. It is better than majority of the vehicle on the road today, especially when they are measured side by side against competitions in a given wind tunnel.

“A huge cow catcher on a small hatchback car, that has no need for any grill, just screams insecurity.”

On the plus side, that would help it sell in China, where for some reason they just loooooove huge grilles!

Good to see some recognition. We bought one in mid 2017 after a lot of research and have found it to be a very good car by almost any measure: easy to drive, quick, stable, good safety features, excellent range and battery thermal management. And all at a very low TCO with the incentives minimal maintenance, and low to no fuel costs.

I don’t think I could go back to an ICE at this point.

It’s a decent car. A good city runabout, in a compact size that’s a hatch-back.
Won a bunch of awards too.

Wow, on national NBC news it was reported as the Volt winning this category, they even showed a vid of the Volt instead of the Bolt…

Yet another demo that the main problem with mainstream EV acceptance is simply cluelessness 🙂

The problem is also that the Bolt and the Volt sound so much alike. I was at the official GM reveal of the Bolt at the DC Autoshow several years back and was seated up front with a group of car magazine writers.
Some of GM’s top engineers (Pam, Pablo and one other I can’t remember) and execs talked about the Bolt, and occasionally they referenced the Volt as well.
After they finished speaking the writers and bloggers asked their questions and it was obvious that they were confusing the Volt for the Bolt. They asked why a BEV like the Bolt would have a gas powered genset and how the Bolt was going to be taken seriously with just 50 miles of AER. GM knew the name was going to confuse people and they didn’t care.

The irony is that they probably paid a marketing firm top dollar to create that name. GM really is a strange animal. They can produce a great car, but mess it up by adding unnecessary cheap plastic on the fascia and giving it a dumb name. They never quite get it right, but they have definitely improved.

What I think is funny, is that volt sounds more like a true EV.
Basically, the names should be reversed.

Come on now. This angst over how close the words Volt and Bolt are….. get over it! How does it affect sales? Zero effect. Either way you go is a win.

I love my Buh-b-b-b-b-buh-BOLT! Once in a while, Consumers Reports gets something right.

It’s not that they “didn’t care,” it’s more that it’s intentional. feature, not a bug, etc.

The clue was the unveiling of the Ampera-e.

“The Bolt proves that electric cars need not apologize for a lack of driving performance.”

The Bolt and GM definitely need to apologize for offering an ugly BEV only a Korean mother could love.

Odd. I had no idea I was Korean or a mother.


Pretty clueless statement by you, as Korean people are one of the most superficial, looks conscious people in the world.

“Only a Korean Mother could love.”.

While it is probably true that the styling of the BOLT ev appeals to Orientals more than Occidentals, in fairness the car is not amoungst the absolute Ugliest of GM car designs (one of the last Pontiacs’ front ends looked exactly to me like a COW trying to stand up – farmers will know exactly what I mean).

The car is quite practical, and at 20,700 miles and not even a year old, my BOLT ev has done more than its share of intercity driving. So much more than a city runabout.

And besides being very practical (I’ve shipped all the lumber for my refurbished Side Awning in it), the car is peppy and a hoot to drive, besides having a very conservative Guess-O-Meter – which came in handy lately when I got lost and drove further than I was intending.

As far as not wanting to ‘sell’ the BOLT ev, no way that applies to the states. There are plenty at dealerships nationwide, so I’m told. In all trim levels from stripped to loaded.

Certainly Bolt is a decent vehicle with proper seating for 5 passengers although somewhat fatter persons could feel tight.
Trunk space is also good and 238 miles is great for long trips. Ideally GM can offer AWD version for the offroaders in Bolt.

In Volt, only a shorter person could sit in the rear with their legs spread out since there is a cup holders with battery underneath in the middle.

Congratulations to Chevrolet and the Bolt EV.

Too bad that GM apparently has no plans to increase production of this car.

I suspect that by the end of the first quarter of 2018, if Model 3 delivers are on track, and about to surpass Bolt sales to date, GM and everybody else will be wondering how they are going to compete in the EV market.

Even if Tesla made 500k cars a year that is still 1/20th of GM’s annual output. I think GM would be okay. Tesla’s rise does not mean GM’s fall.

If the supply-demand curve were as simple as, “If you build them, they will come,” I’m sure GM would be happy to build plenty of Bolts.

Unfortunately, GM already tried wish-based demand forecasting with the Gen1 Volt and was badly burned. There are no supply shortages for the Bolt, and there are none in the foreseeable future. So the problem is not how many GM is willing to produce, but rather how many GM can sell.

Elon was right all along Bolt is a closet compliance car. Ever since Quebec ZEV law went into effect in January all of sudden Bolts can be found in stock in some dealers and ordering a 2018 is possible for delivery in Spring 2018. Last year the Bolt was in vey short supply and all pre-orders were sold out.

Elon is a mouthpiece. That compliance car almost outsold his “non-compliance” car. The Bolt did that selling to only 13 states for half of 2017.

I will concede when I see GM manufacture and sell more than 50,000 Bolts worldwide.

Telsa is currently making 1050 Model 3 a week.

Of course I don’t need to tell you that they sell all they make with backlog of pre-orders.

The Bolt and Volt are 1 and 2 in the article about Canada EV sales… Tesla the only other competitor at 1/2 the sales of GM… and yet you still call it a compliance car?

Also, unless I missed something, Elon Musk literally never called the Bolt a compliance car. He called it a CARB play, because he knew GM would be selling ZEV credits to other automakers that do not build enough EVs. Tesla did this same thing last year.

But that is a business move to improve the profits on the car. That isn’t a ‘compliance’ car.

I don’t think the Bolt EV is a compliance car, solely. It is definitely valuable to GM as such, or they would not sell it at all, losing $9k per vehicle.

The reality is that no matter how much Consumer Reports and other entities prop up the Bolt EV, GM is still not going to make 100,000 a year or even 200,000 a year before, oh, say the Model Y is for sale.

“Losing $9,000 per vehicle”
Don’t tell me you BELIEVED that hit piece? GM is making a small profit selling the base Bolt at $33k, which is what most people are paying for it if you check TrueCar. Look at the online ads, Chevy is selling the Bolt below MSRP. And if you think they are losing money on the Bolt you don’t know how GM works.
GM’s problem with the Bolt is with regards to their relationship to the dealerships. Who generally are very nervous about Bolt sales due to their lack of service cost down the road.

Yet another award the Bolt scoops up that the Model 3 couldn’t. 😀

Love my Air Force Blue 2017 Chevy Bolt. Yes, I live in So Cal where we have lots of EVs to choose. With solar and an at home L2 charger as a part time UBER driver, I love this car! I get so many compliments from all kinds of passengers, even Tesla owners that are amazed by the specs of the car for the price. I have even had one Tesla Model S owner say he should have bought this little car for his kids instead of the Jeep Cherokee for the same price. Yes, there are things that I think GM could have improved but for me no car is perfect.

Exactly – The Bolt EV (and GM products in general) are constantly trashed by people who have absolutely no relation to the car, and precious little knowledge of it.

Your “customer’s” unvarnished praise for the car is of much higher value than any drivel mentioned here unfairly criticizing the car.

To me, if all people (who are uninformed – if they WERE informed they could at least come up with one or two LEGITIMATE complaints with the car – (there aren’t that many really) were being reasonably objective they would complain about OTHER manufacturer’s lack of paid advertising, or complaints about others lack of reliability, untimely repair schedules, repair and maintenance expense, and the requisite elevated Insurance rates.

Nice win. Finally unseating a non-plugin hybrid (Prius) for “green car category”!!!

The time has changed now that CR is finally given an EV its green award for the first time!