Test drove a Bolt today, kind of spur of the moment thing as I got an email a couple days ago saying time was running out for my $50 gift card if I took a test drive in a Chevy product, before the end of the year......this was my first email
I called several local Chevy dealers looking for a Bolt, most didn't have one, several tried to talk me out of one over the phone, instead suggesting something like a Cruze
others had a Volt and said this would be a better vehicle for me.......but I finally found one that had one Premiere, basically fully loaded($43k list).
Well we drove to the dealer this morning in my '13 Leaf, -12F and even though I charged to 100% my Leaf only showed 60 mile range
which was just fine as the dealer was less than 20 miles RT. I was kind of hoping to plug in at the dealer while we test drove the Bolt but after a couple times around the dealer's lot, I didn't see any type of charging station
I asked the receptionist for the person who might be most knowledgeable in the Bolt and she said everyone should have been trained in it, so she called someone out for us. First thing I asked is if they had a charge station for customers use and got a blank stare
He said they might have one in service but nothing for customer use, I told him the local Nissan dealer I got my Leaf from not only had several free L2 stations but also a free L3, he didn't seem to know what I was talking about.....
He was a nice enough guy but knew absolutely NOTHING about the Bolt, other than it was an EV
As he really knew nothing about it he just made a photocopy of our driver's license and give us the FOB
actually as I knew little of the Bolt I wouldn't have minded at least some tips getting it going but alas I had to figure it out myself. After pushing the power button the F*ukin' radio came on, blaring louder than I'd probably every play it. I pushed the "power" button and the display said MUTE. After figuring out how to turn on the heat, heated seats and steering wheel heater next I had to figure how to get the damn thing out of gear
After figuring out I had to hold down the button on the left side of the shifting lever, we got going. Personally I like the Leaf mouse better, my favorite is our Prius's on the dash shifter but I could learn to live with the Bolt though.
Try as I could I couldn't find any sort of battery % meter(something I use 100% of the time on my Leaf) the best I could find was a visual picture of the battery under the car and the GOM. The GOM showed only 25 miles under normal conditions and the visual picture showed just one bank of green batteries
Strike 2. A vehicle with a 238 mile range, probably the first one to drive it for the day and 25 miles!
The heater, seats and steering wheel seemed to heat up well enough and get up and go was fine, couldn't really gun it as the roads were somewhat snow covered but then I've never been wanting any more power than my Leaf had, so I'm not too power hungry. I was trying to find out how the paddle regen thing worked, I tried the buttons behind the left side of the steering wheel but they didn't seem to do anything so I tried the ones on the right......and the F*uckin' radio came on blaring again! I quickly tried turning down the knob but ended up turning down the climate control to LOW
I then ended up pushing the power button again, which just muted the radio
F*in' morons! My guess is the person driving the car around for us to test drive did the same thing and when I started it up it just returned back to it's blaring state
I retried the left paddle and did find more regen this time, in fact so much that it locked the cars tires and put us into a slight spin before I let go of the paddle, wow! that's a lot of regen.
All in all I kind of liked it better than I thought I might, the seats were a bit tight on the sides but as it was so damn cold the cushions were quite stiff and it was tolerable, if I were to going to buy one though I'd want to retry it in the summer, I'm also not all that fond of leather but I'm guessing one might be forced to get it with the Premiere
Fit and finish seemed OK, not as nice as my "S" model Leaf but acceptable enough. I'd really really miss the %SOC meter though, maybe like Nissan they'll add it in later models.
Price seemed quite good, before takes and maybe transportation it was marked down to $38k so after the $7.5k tax rebate I'd be able to get, it would be close to $30k, not bad for a vehicle with a 60Kwh battery!
As par for the course, none of the vehicles I'd really be interested in purchasing were on the large sales floor, which were all basically larger SUVs and pickups
I did sit in an Equinox and really loved it, roomy front, back and rear and close to 40mpg hwy even with AWD, 40 with 2WD. I told the sales guy I'd buy one now if I could get it with the 60KWH battery and would be satisfied with even half the 238 mile range, nope just small vehicles for us EV'ers
Sat in a Traverse and while super roomy and 3 rows seating, it was just too large for my taste and no 40 mpg for it, I believe it topped out at mid 20s for hwy and upper teens?? for city, not for for this guy!
All in all it was a spotty experience, hard to find a Bolt, people telling me to not get it, the place that had one the people seemed to know little to nothing about it, not even how to plug it in
oh and it was filthy dirty and black, I HATE black cars and for just that. The vehicle itself would suffice although I'd much prefer a larger more deluxe vehicle even at the expense of range. I kind of would have liked to see/test drive a Volt again(last time was back in '13) but as it was still bitter cold we passed.
Oh by the time we got back from our short test drive the range was <20 miles and the green batteries had turned to orange, when walking back to our Leaf the Bolt was still sitting where we left it, not plugged in and it looked like someone else was going to take it out for a spin.....