Chevy Bolt EV

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:

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Inside the Chevy Bolt (Image Credit: Mike Anthony)

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