TAYLOR, Mich. – For the first time in a long time, the sun shone and the snow started to melt when we first saw the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV in person. Less than two weeks after unveiling the slightly larger sibling of the revised Bolt EV, we were invited to take a short ride that would highlight one of its most important and interesting features: Super Cruise.
The Bolt EUV is the first non-Cadillac vehicle to receive GM’s Advanced Driver Assistance System that allows the driver to take their hands off the wheel in certain scenarios. Super Cruise was impressive enough to win Autoblog’s 2019 Technology of the Year Award, but it has improved since those early days, with about 70,000 more miles of road it can travel on, plus refinements to the driver’s attention system. However, this isn’t the new-generation Super Cruise that automatically changes lanes at the touch of a turn signal – that system is launched on the 2021 Cadillac Escalade.
The version of Super Cruise in the Bolt EUV combines adaptive cruise control with lane tracking / centering technology to steer the car (a common feature nowadays), then adds a crucial layer of safety with its driver monitoring system, a camera on the steering column that shows the face and the follows the driver’s eyes to keep their attention on the road. On divided limited-access highways previously mapped using lidar technology and when lane markings are clearly visible, the driver starts Super Cruise by pressing a button on the steering wheel, allowing the car to brake, accelerate and steer taking over.
A light bar at the top of the steering wheel turns green when Super Cruise is active and invites the driver to take his hands and feet off the controls. As long as the conditions are met (known and permitted roads, clear lane markings, attentive driver), the vehicle zips at the set speed, slows down in slower traffic and steers the car through curves. The lightbar turns blue when the driver takes control without disengaging – such as when changing lanes – and returns to green when the system takes control again. The light will turn red and the system will beep at you when you want to take immediate control. It’s a lot more confidence inspiring and even relaxing than you might think.
Before we hit the road we had a few short moments to check out the Bolt EUV. The back seat was particularly curious. The EUV has three inches more wheelbase than the regular Bolt, which equates to an almost equal increase in rear legroom. What a difference it also makes. While headroom in the back seat isn’t great, a 6-footer behind a 6-footer has plenty of room to stretch the legs. In total, the EUV is 15 cm longer than its smaller sibling.
In the cockpit there are some new controls. Unlike the old Bolt EV’s unusual joystick-style gearshift, both 2021 Bolt models will get a series of buttons to select Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and, new for 2021, single-pedal drive mode. We like that the Bolt remembers whether the last was on or off when you turned the car off, and keeps the same setting when you return and start the car again. We also loved the inclusion of a camera feed in the rearview mirror. It can be switched to a standard reflection with the lever on the bottom, but we preferred the digital display, unobstructed by the rear seat headrests and the shape and size of the rear window.
Our time with the car was limited so we connected our phone via Bluetooth, turned on Apple CarPlay and added our car route to Google Maps in front of a caravan with other gathered members of the press and Chevy engineers. Our route was supposed to be mainly on the freeway, but we had been through the industrial streets of Taylor for a few miles before reaching our driveway.
After driving it like a normal car for a few minutes, we started driving with one pedal, the straightforward yet involved action of modulating the throttle to accelerate and slow down. It’s our favorite way to drive most EVs. Full ascent provided enough regenerative braking feel to slow us down in time for a red light, but this does so without the immediate jerky feeling of falling forward in our seat. Chevy really did strike a nice balance in the feel of this one-pedal driving, which probably shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the brand has been offering it since the first Volt plug-in hybrid a decade ago.
If you’ve driven the original version of the Chevy Bolt, the Bolt EUV will feel familiar. It shares the standard Bolt’s electric powertrain, with the same 65-kilowatt-hour battery with a range of 250 miles (nine less than the 2021 standard Bolt EV), and a single motor that sends 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque forward . wheels. It’s a lot of twist for a small hatchback (or, as Chevy would have you believe, a crossover, which this EUV is more like than the Bolt EV), and the wheels like to break traction and emit a joyful squeak when spraying . away from a stop sign. It feels positively punchy in town, and that solid acceleration carries over to the freeway in the driveway.
Once I was absorbed in highway traffic, I hired Super Cruise. The light on the steering wheel turned green and I took my hands off the steering wheel and my feet off the pedals. Not long after, the green light bar started flashing for a few seconds before turning red, transferring steering wheel controls back to human hands. Everything looked good. Lane markings were clear and we weren’t at a junction so I hit the button again. Solid green light, cruising, then flashing again before we got back in charge. I tried a third time, with the same sequence of events.
Turns out this is another problem caused by Covid-19: I was still wearing my mask at check-in. I took it off, re-hired Super Cruise and enjoyed many miles of smooth sailing. A small experiment showed that the driver-facing camera could tolerate the mask if the sunglasses were removed, or that sunglasses and a bushy beard were perfectly acceptable.
There was a more general and less 2021-specific pullout that we’ve seen at highway interchanges. Changing lanes to an exit would disable Super Cruise until we merged into the next highway. Even more interesting, though, it would come off at a junction where lanes were chipping off the main road even if we went straight. For example, traveling on I-75 North in the left three lanes, Super Cruise was shut down where the two right lanes separated to become 275. Once past the interchange, Super Cruise could be re-engaged.
With the car’s driver assistance system taking over the most stressful parts of the journey, you are free to relax, which is easier to do in the EUV than in the last-generation Bolt. For starters, the front seats are much more comfortable than the uncompromisingly thin stuff in the original Bolt (that was a space-saving measure to maximize rear legroom, in which this Bolt EUV is plentiful). There is some road noise and wind noise, but no more than you would get from a comparable class of internal combustion vehicles – without the drone of the engine, of course.
We look forward to spending more time with the Bolt EUV, seeing how we enjoy living by car for more than a few hours, and in more driving scenarios. So far, the Bolt EUV has impressed. It takes most of what we already like about the Bolt, improving it with a little more interior space and comfort. We’re also curious how it compares to the new Bolt EV – which we’ve yet to test – for a more direct comparison. It would be hard to think we’d pick the redesigned Bolt EV over the new EUV, despite the EUV’s base price being $ 2,000 higher. The extra comfort and the available technology make the EUV more attractive. Specifically, Super Cruise is not available in the standard Bolt EV.
The Bolt EUV starts at $ 33,995 including destination, but one has to opt for the Premier trim ($ 38,495) or the Launch Edition ($ 43,495) to get Super Cruise. The basic Bolt EUV LT comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wireless phone charger, and a two-tier charging cord. Chevy will even pay to upgrade your electrical system and install a 240-volt outlet in your home to take advantage of Level 2 charging. Premier adds leather seats, the rearview mirror, surround sound parking camera and adaptive cruise control. Super Cruise is a $ 2,000 option on the Premier and is included in the price of the Launch Edition. Unfortunately, GM electric vehicles are no longer eligible for the $ 7,500 federal tax credit.
In all fairness, the thought of including both the Bolt EV and the Bolt EUV in the lineup seems puzzling. Considering the larger and more comfortable EUV, why offering two bolts handles the main customer complaints with minimal range degradation? Chevy Marketing Manager Tony Johnson admits Chevy doesn’t know what the Bolt and Bolt EUV’s sales mix will be, but he thinks they both have their unique strengths in addition to their size and price differences. For example, the EUV offers more in the field of technology (Super Cruise), while the cheaper Bolt EV is a more basic ‘get this done’ car with an extra range of 14 kilometers. “We’ll see how it shakes,” he says.
In short, we will have to wait for the market to respond and clarify the benefits of the two-point approach. However, we can now state that there is clearly an improved offering compared to the single Bolt of yesteryear, and it has a larger rear seat and Super Cruise.