The Chevrolet Bolt EV is our Best Electric Car to Buy once again.
Last year, we pointed out that the Bolt EV rendered all other affordable electric vehicles "outdated and nearly obsolete," and it remains the case. What's most surprising is the way that the Bolt EV remains the segment leader a year on, even though a new Nissan Leaf will be in dealers soon.
MORE: Read all about our Best Car To Buy 2018 awards
The Bolt EV scores big for the way it achieves its numbers: 238 miles of electric range for about $30,000 (once a $7,500 federal tax credit is factored in). That's nearly 90 miles more than the 2018 Nissan Leaf, a clean-slate redesign and it's nearly 20 miles more than the vaunted Tesla Model 3.
Not to mention that the Bolt EV is about the same price as the Tesla. Yes, Tesla will (at least theoretically) sell you a Model 3 with a 310-mile range, but it's considerably more than the Bolt EV. And, well, you can't exactly pop into your local Tesla showroom and take one home today like you can with the Bolt EV.
The choice is as clear today as it was a year ago: "range anxiety" is a thing of the past with the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
What's most remarkable about the Bolt EV is that it's mostly a normal car. It rides well, it handles nicely, and its interior is quiet and finished with quality materials. Sure, it's not much to look at, but its chunky crossover-esque styling isn't really a turn-off, either. There's plenty of room for four adults and a full complement of luggage.
There's plenty of tech, too, but it's not overwhelming. Credit is due to the Chevy folks for realizing that if electric cars are going to catch on, they don't need to be, well, weird. There's an 8.0-inch screen in the instrument cluster complemented by a larger 10.2-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system. A third screen is integrated into the rearview mirror that can display a live feed of the road behind. That's tech we'd praise on a car at double the price.
The Bolt EV also drives like a regular, gas-powered car, albeit one with a mountain of torque available as soon as the accelerator is pressed. The drive mode selector calls up normal and low modes that can add more regenerative braking to bring the vehicle to a halt.
Over the last year, we've had plenty of time to ponder the question: Can the Bolt EV be truly "groundbreaking" if it acts like a regular car?