2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric

MSRP $37,495

Ranked #2 in Subcompact Hatchback

7.6

Overall Rating

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2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 7, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


With automakers announcing all kinds of new hybrid and EV vehicles along with their plans to phase out the combustion engines within the next 15 years, those accustomed to gasoline-powered cars must start getting used to what is to come. The Bolt EV is an option for just that, offering basic EV architecture for those looking to get into the segment for the first time.

See detailed review »

Pros

Impressive range

Instant torque from the get-go

Roomy interiors

Cons

Conservative styling and design, exterior and interior 

Priced aggressively across trims 

What's New?

Remains very similar to the 2020 iteration

Now provide DC fast charging as a standard feature in the Premier trim


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$37495

bodystyle

dr Hatchback

warranty

roadside assistance

No


Pictures & Videos


Trims

LT$37,495 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric in Cajun Red Tintcoat color
Cajun Red Tintcoat

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Engine and Performace

7.0

Pricing and Features

7.0

Fuel Economy

7.0

Interior

7.0

Exterior

8.0

Safety

9.0

Competition

8.0

7.6

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.6

Overall Rating


The 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV is well-equipped, relative to both EVs and gasoline-powered cars of today. It offers a basic mix of features that border on necessary and doesn’t offer much to impress other than its EV range perhaps. Compared to other electric vehicles on the market today, the Bolt EV seems barebones. It goes up against the 2021 Nissan Leaf, 2021 Hyundai Kona EV, and the 2021 Tesla Model 3.

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Hatchback front angle view
2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Hatchback rear angle view

7.0/10
Fuel Economy

7.0/10
Interior

8.0/10
Exterior

9.0/10
Safety

8.0/10
Competition


2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Features

The 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV is offered in 2 trims, namely LT and Premier. Both trim structures are priced far apart and cater to customer preferences well, although the LT trim could be priced lower for what it offers. While the Premier trim offers all that you’d like in a daily driver, the LT comes off as a budget daily driver that isn’t exactly budget-friendly. Nevertheless, considering EV running costs, the LT trim might pay itself off after a few years of usage, although it remains limited to an urban runabout due to the lack of a DC fast-charging port. 

Trim

LT

Premier

MSRP (FWD)

$32,000

$39,500

Key Features

In addition to or replaces Base trim features with:

In addition to or replacing LT trim features with:

 

One Pedal Driving

Heated seats 

 

17” steel wheels (upgradeable)

Premium audio system

 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

17” alloys

 

Automatic Emergency Braking

Wireless charging pad

 

LED Headlights

Heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel

 

Cruise Control

Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror

 

Push-button Stop-Start

Hands-free power liftgate

 

Heated outer rearview mirrors

DC Fast Charging Port

Which trim should you buy?

The Premier trim does seem like a money grab at first. Compared to the LT trim, the features in the Premier trim are aplenty, but not good enough for $40k nonetheless. Moreover, you can get a lot of the features in the Premier trim in the LT trim at additional costs through the numerous packages on offer. However, one look at all the packages and you realize that the Premier trim actually offers everything Chevy has to offer with their EV architecture. Despite the Premier trim being priced a little above its worth, it's a more sensible choice between the two.

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Engine and Performance

The powertrain in the Chevy Bolt EV remains the same going into the model year 2021. The output figures in the Bolt EV were great, to begin with, and stay the same - 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. Surprisingly, the Chevy EV manages to offer the kind of range that it does, all while eclipsing the powertrain figures of its closest competitor - the Nissan Leaf. The Chevrolet Bolt reaches the 60 mph mark in 6.7 seconds and completes a quarter-mile in 15.2 seconds.

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Hatchback driving view

Models

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2021 Hyundai Kona EV

2021 Nissan Leaf

2021 Tesla Model 3

MSRP

$32,000

$37,390

$31,670

$36,990

Engine

Permanent magnet electric motor

Permanent magnet synchronous electric motor

AC synchronous motor

Permanent magnet synchronous reluctance motor

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

RWD

Transmission

Single-speed, direct drive

Single-speed, direct drive

Single-speed, direct drive

Single-speed, direct drive

Power (hp @ RPM

200 hp

134

147 hp

258 hp

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

266 lb-ft

291 lb-ft

236 lb-ft

317 lb-ft

0-60 MPH (seconds)

6.7

6.4

6.8

5.1

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

15.2

15.0

15.4

13.8

Top-Speed (MPH)

93

103

98.5

140

The speedy nature of the Tesla vehicles is apparent in the Model 3, and it has a top speed of 140, therefore it shouldn’t come as a surprise that its power figure is the best in the budget EV segment. Unfortunately for the Kona EV, it has the lowest power output but a much better torque figure that comes close to rivaling that of the Tesla. The abundance of torque lets the Kona Electric beat the Chevy Bolt EV and the Nissan Leaf to 60 mph from a standstill. 

How does the 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV handle?

Chevy has actually done a great job at combining the possible advantages of EV architecture and the way a conventional car drives. The Bolt EV has a solid feel to it and the way it drives, and the weight of the battery isn’t really felt until you spin the steering too quickly. It makes good work of all kinds of driver inputs, although it does have a toy car-ish feel to it due to a general numbness and lack of feedback from the car and its tires.

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Hatchback ride and handling

The ride quality is very acceptable. It feels comfortable over the best of roads, and never crosses a certain point of harshness when met with sharp bumps, potholes, or a poorly done road. The one-pedal driving scheme is also a great addition, allowing for minimal effort driving and regenerative braking simultaneously.

Braking Performance 

The regenerative braking property of electric vehicles is pretty useful on its own, and the way the Bolt EV utilizes it is even better. Combining physical brakes and a pulling effect similar to engine braking, the 2021 Chevy Bolt EV has an encouraging brake setup. It uses 11” and 10” disc brake rotors on the front and rear wheels, respectively.

Models

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2021 Hyundai Kona EV

2021 Nissan Leaf

2021 Tesla Model 3

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

11

12

11.1

12.6

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

10

11.8

11.5

13.2

Curb Weight (lbs)

3563

3715

3501

3582

60-0 (feet)

NA

NA

153

NA

We don’t have the braking distance figure for the 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV, but we expect it to be similar to that of the Nissan Leaf due to the regenerative braking enforcement. Since all the vehicles in the comparison table weigh as much as one another, we expect the Tesla Model 3 to have the lowest braking distance.

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Fuel Economy

7.0/10

The Chevrolet Bolt EV does offer a decent 259-mile range, making it the best around. Moreover, the DC fast charging outlet is not a standard feature in the LT, and if you don’t pay the additional $750 or pick the Premier trim, you’re stuck to a charging rate of 4 miles an hour from your home outlet. That’s quite an unacceptable figure for someone really looking to capitalize on the low running costs of an EV, as you’d get around 48 miles of range overnight.

Models

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2021 Hyundai Kona EV

2021 Nissan Leaf

2021 Tesla Model 3

MPG (City)

127

132

123

148

MPG (Highway)

108

108

99

132

MPG (Combined)

118

120

111

141

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

NA

NA

NA

NA

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

259

258

149

250

The Nissan Leaf hasn’t received a much-required range upgrade to remain competitive, and we can’t imagine how that’s affected sales. The Bolt EV actually offers more range on a full charge than the Tesla Model 3 as standard, although there is a long-range upgrade Tesla offers to allow the Model 3 to travel 353 miles on a single full charge. Both the Hyundai Kona and Chevy Bolt EVs have a similar range.

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Interior

7.0/10

The interior of the Bolt EV is well laid out and very ergonomic with respect to every seating position, however, mundane styling and color schemes dull the cabin down a bit, and a lack of illumination makes it even more so. It is safe to say that Chevrolet hasn’t really taken advantage of the presence of a much larger battery than normal by not including as much technology and quality as they should have.

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Hatchback cockpit area

Models

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2021 Hyundai Kona EV

2021 Nissan Leaf

2021 Tesla Model 3

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

40.1/54.6/44.3

39.6/55.5/41.5

41.2/54.3/42.1

40.3/56.3/42.7

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

37.8/52.7/35.6

37.7/54.5/33.4

37.3/52.5/33.5

37.7/54/35.2

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

16.6

19.2

23.6

15

Despite its hatchback dimensions, the 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV offers a commendable 40.1” of front headroom and a segment-best 44.3” of front legroom. It also manages to offer best-in-class headroom and legroom for the rear seats, while providing a reasonably sized trunk as well. The Nissan Leaf does offer much more room for cargo at 23.6 cubic feet, while the Tesla Model 3 is the least practical of the lot with most of the available room appointed to passenger seating.

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Hatchback instrument cluster

Standout interior features in the 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV include:

  • Optional - Heated seats
  • Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror
  • Leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel
  • Option between cloth or leather seats
  • Wireless Charging Pad

How intuitive is the infotainment in the 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV?

The Chevy Bolt offers infotainment that’s good enough to compete with just about any gasoline-powered vehicle but comes short of the advanced systems manufacturers like Tesla have begun to provide in their EVs. The infotainment is operated mainly through a 10.2” touchscreen on the dashboard that sits atop the climate control functions. Chevrolet offers the added convenience of a few physical buttons and a knob for usage on the go. To sum it up, the infotainment is made more resolute by the EV architecture but isn’t too special. Highlights of the 2021 Chevy Bolt EV infotainment include:

  • 10.2” touchscreen
  • Available 7-speaker Bose premium audio system
  • Apple CarPlay integration
  • Android Auto compatibility

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Exterior

8.0/10

The Chevy Bolt features different kinds of styling across its trims. While the overall idea is to be as conventional as the current automobile, the Bolt EV looks rather mundane in its LT trim, and the generous use of chrome in the Premier trim makes for a much better look. While the EVs exterior looks have some sharpness to them, it is only with the chrome that the design calls for the attention it deserves.

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Hatchback 

Models

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2021 Hyundai Kona EV

2021 Nissan Leaf

2021 Tesla Model 3

Curb Weight (lb)

3563

3715

3501

3582

Length (inches)

164.0

164.6

176.4

184.8

Width (inches)

69.5

70.9

70.5

72.8

Height (inches)

62.8

61.2

61.4

56.8

Ground Clearance (inches)

N/A

6.2

5.9

5.5

Wheelbase (inches)

102.4

102.4

106.3

113.2

The hatchback looks of the 2021 Chevy Bolt EV aren’t that misleading, no matter how much the abundance of the interior room makes you believe. It remains a humble 164 inches long, making it the shortest EV in the segment. It isn’t the widest either and is the only EV in the segment less than 70” wide. The wheelbase matches that of the 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric. Standout exterior features include:

  • Heated outer rearview mirrors
  • Programmable hands-free electronic tailgate
  • LED Headlights
  • 17” Alloys

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Safety

9.0/10

Based on a platform that’s entirely its own, the hatchback offers safety levels comparable to the current generation of gas-powered cars. It isn’t the safest option out there, but there is no compromise in the department either, as it gets a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. The IIHS rates the Bolt EV well enough but doesn’t name it as one of the safest EVs out there either, despite getting 'Good' ratings in almost every aspect of their safety testing. Two Driver Confidence packages are also included, which come with a few driver assistance programs that help avoid crashes and lessen the burden of driving on those who feel it. Notable safety features include:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Forward collision alert
  • Forward distance indicator
  • Lane-keeping assist with lane departure warning
  • Lance change alert with blind zone alert
  • Front pedestrian detection 

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Competition

8.0/10

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV vs 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric 

The Bolt EV has been around longer than the Kona Electric but not by much. The Kona Electric comes into the EV segment offering promising figures and seemingly reliable mechanicals that are inspired by the fact that it shares its name and bears a resemblance to the Hyundai Kona. Both offer hatchback-like bodies that are fairly commodious, and their range differs by just one mile. The Kona Electric rides and drives much more relaxed than the Bolt EV, which is much more sensitive to throttle inputs and is quicker on paper too.

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV vs 2021 Nissan Leaf EV

Due to the duration for which they have been on sale, both these EVs have a bit of an arch rivalry going on between them. Although they look like similar body styles, the Leaf EV is larger than the Bolt on the outside and offers better storage behind the seating, while the Chevy EV is more people-friendly than the Nissan EV. Having gone head-to-head for quite some time now, the Nissan Leaf EV is falling behind the competition due to its unimpressive 149-mile range.

2021 Nissan Leaf EV

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV vs 2021 Tesla Model 3

If we were forced to decide between the two a few years ago, the carmaking pedigree of Chevrolet would have instantly invalidated the Tesla Model 3 as an alternative to the Bolt EV. However, some good marketing, focused engineering, and clever pricing have led to Tesla becoming a valuable name in the EV sector, and the versatility and level of customization they offer in their vehicles is unmatched by the car-imitating Chevrolet Bolt EV.

2021 Tesla Model 3

 

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric Final Verdict

Chevrolet put plenty of work into the Bolt EV when it came out, and while it received heaps of praise for its range and output figures then, the competition have come leaps and bounds as well, offering better range and rapid straight-line performance that beats the instantaneous nature of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and it's driving manners. Nevertheless, it remains an excellent option for a city runabout as it may fall short of what long-range equipped Teslas or conventional gasoline cars can achieve.