Finally saw a Bolt in person, sat in it, and judged

Discussion in 'Bolt EV' started by Domenick, Mar 29, 2018.

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  1. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    My mother used to say (often, for some reason)if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything. I'm about to go against that advice.

    Turns out, the Tallahassee Chevy dealer has a single Bolt on their premises, so I went over to see it in person. Got to take some pictures and sat in it, front and back.

    Design-wise, I find the exterior pretty unoffensive. Certainly a lot more visual weight than the Spark, of course, but it certainly doesn't make me think "crossover."

    Once I opened the door, though, it kind of went a bit south for me.

    The dash was more or less fine. I kind of like the textured white part. Certainly better than just a mass of gray.


    Sitting behind the wheel, there's plenty of room. But those seats. :( I drove a Sonic last year for a few weeks, and I thought though comfortable enough, they looked cheap. (They were (thin) leather, and if you looked in the space between seat and console, you could easily see it had an elastic sewn along the edge.) These were nowhere as nice.

    I'm not especially wide, but I could see where complaints of their narrowness come from. Covered in fabric, which is fine, they were pretty hard and unforgiving. I don't think I would enjoy sitting in it for more than 20 or 30 minutes. Road trip? Forget about it.

    Backseat had lots of head room (I'm 6'2"), and it would seat two comfortably (space-wise).

    Overall, though, I just kept thinking $37,500 for this? There was a lot of plastic, some of it in places I hadn't seen before (I should have taken pictures of the offending bits, Apologies.)
    It just didn't feel like it was a good value. Maybe $22,000, but certainly not $37.5. (Sure, incentives take care of some of that, unless, like me, you don't make enough to take advantage of more than $1,000 of that.)

    Compared to the Tesla Model 3 I drove, admittedly with the upgraded interior, well, there is no comparison. Had I the money, and both were easily available, there's no question I would take the (standard battery, cloth seat) Tesla. It's not even close.

    I have every confidence in the drivetrain, however, and that's a big plus for the Bolt. Good range, solid engineering. They just need to get that price point down (a lot). Like, imagine if you could buy the (temperature-regulated) 60-kWh LEAF for Bolt money. Who would buy the Bolt? Very few, I believe.

    Anyway, that's my two cents for now. Hopefully I'll get a chance to drive t, and maybe that'll improve my enthusiasm.
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  3. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Wow, I don't like that dash area at all.

    Of course we can't expect other cars to have the elegant simplicity of the dash of the Tesla Model 3 -- perhaps too much simplicity, given the lack of instrument cluster in that car -- but the Bolt's dash looks far too "busy" and asymmetrical to me. My sister just got a used Toyota RAV4, several years old, and I would much rather look at the dash in that than the Bolt EV's dash.

    Just my opinion of course. Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks, and De gustibus non est disputandum.
  4. Don1570

    Don1570 New Member

    At least here on the east coast, its pretty easy to find a decent selection of Bolts. The bigger dealers are taking 5 to 7k off of the sticker, before federal, state and local utility incentives. I've had a bolt for almost a year now. It has been trouble free, no recalls, and aside from the seats, which are not torture, but could definitely be better, have few complaints. The range is outstanding, power is fun. You can lease them as well, something you cant do with a model 3.
    Domenick likes this.
  5. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    Congratulations on your car. Glad to hear you're enjoying it.
    I really do hope I can snag a chance to drive one a bit. I expect the driving experience will be a lot more positive.
  6. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    If someone doesn't like the seats, they shouldn't go for the car. For sure! But I think they're fine. I have the premier and I drive it every day and never have pain or discomfort that other people report.

    Not to say that their complaints aren't legitimate, just that my body fits in the seat fine. ;)

    I think it's a fantastic price for the car considering the range and features. However, Nissan GM and Tesla all took their own shortcuts to get their prices as low as possible.

    Nissan has a rather dull interior almost identical to the last gen - it's functional but not impressive. But more important is the inferior battery tech to save on costs. GM and Tesla build better, more reliable EVs. I hope LG coming on board means that Nissan finally steps up their game here.

    GM went with a funky unique interior that I personally really like. (love the dash, I love physical buttons for things like A/C etc) But it isn't for everyone, I admit. My main issue is... why no electric seats? My wife and I both drive the car and having electric/memory seats would be great. I'll sacrifice range and pay extra money for them! Please!

    Tesla went with a sleek beautiful minimalist design. No doubt it looks and feels fantastic. But in doing so it did sacrifice a lot of things. Why use the touchscreen for simple things like setting cruise control? Other basic things like no keyfob just baffle me. Why no keyfob!? The keycards are an awful idea and phone as key is even worse! People who once praised phone as key are having constant issues with it.

    In other words, all three are great cars and are well worth the 30,000+. But none of them are perfect vehicles. They all had to make sacrifices to get to the price point they did.

    The only electric car I've driven that truly felt perfect was the Model S. And that's not really in my price range at the moment! ;)
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  8. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    I did like the dash. I didn't get to see how everything looks when it's turned on, but the shape and materials were fine with me. (My wife pointed out the textured white part would be difficult to clean, but I think it's fine. I like the texture.)

    Improved seats would go some distance to making it feel like a better value, so hopefully they'll do something about that. Like you said, at this price point (and stage in EV development) automakers need to take out cost somewhere, and every car is a compromise. On paper, at least, I'm more comfortable with that cost not coming out of the battery nanny system, so that's definitely something the Bolt holds over the LEAF for now..
    WadeTyhon likes this.
  9. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    The texture is very easy to clean! In fact it simply doesn't seem to attract much dust in the first place.
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  10. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

    I think it’s interesting that you said it would be fine at $22k, because factoring in dealer rebates and EV incentives (if you qualify) and TCO vs a gasoline car, it’s probably not too far off that. I’ve seen ads for Bolts for as low as $32k.
    Domenick likes this.
  11. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

    I wonder about #seatgate.

    Some people seem fine with them (I’ve sat a couple different Bolts and not sure what people are complaining about).

    Is it just different body types? Or a quality control issue with the seat supplier?

    I’m only 5’6”, and a lot of seats are too deep and cut me off just below the knees. But the Bolt seats fit me fine, and I have to raise the seat up to see properly, so maybe it becomes about the angle of the seat and knees for people?
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  13. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    This is a good point to bring up. The $37,500 base price is not what most people will pay. If they can get it now in the low $20's with dealer and gvrmnt incentives, then that's great and makes the Bolt a good value for those buyers.

    Everyone is going to have a different experience with the seats, because we're all shaped differently, and have different bias. Personally, I found them hard and not especially well-shaped for my body. The most comparable vehicle is the Sonic, built in the same factory, which had kind of cheapish seats, but were still comfortable enough (I drove the Sonic on several Tallahassee-to-Orlando trips and back, so I had the chance to spend extended periods in them, which will tell you a lot more about a seat than just sitting in them for a few minutes.).
  14. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Active Member

    All cars today have plastic interiors. They all look like plastic.

    A car is for driving; not looking at.

    The front seats could be better ergonomically, certainly.
  15. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    I totally recognize that fact. It was the plastic in places that I'm not used to seeing it that bothered me. I need to go back and take pics to illustrate my point. Apologies for not snapping them the first time.
  16. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

    Yeah, I don’t get the all the vehemence and hate spewed around about the lack of “soft touch” materials. Like I’m going to spend my time caressing my personal bits all Over the interior of a car. I have kids and use my cars as tools. They need to be easy to clean and robust.
    David Green and NeilBlanchard like this.
  17. HariN

    HariN New Member

    I checked out Bolt before buying Clarity PHEV,
    The driving Bolt is fun, however the design and quality aspect of Bolt interior in particular couldn’t get over. Such a nice engineering and poor design choice. Why?

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
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  18. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Active Member

    I've got no issues with the design or quality of the Bolt.
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  19. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    That last episode of Autoline, though mostly about the Tesla Model 3, does bring up the Chevy Bolt as a great example of designing a body for both lightness and strength (around the 1:03:39 mark).
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