2017 Chevrolet Bolt
While last year saw Tesla attract plenty of press and hoopla over their compact Model 3, it is still months away from hitting the streets. But, what has already been hitting the streets for months now, is the Chevrolet Bolt EV. It does just about everything the Model 3 promises, for a whole lot less money. Score one for the bowtie boys!
We’re sure you’ve already heard plenty about this 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV from us and others, but this is the first chance we’ve had to spend an extended amount of time with one.
As you probably also know, the Bolt EV is the first to achieve the “EV holy grail” of traveling over 200-miles on a single charge and cost under 30-grand, with federal incentives of course.
The Bolt EV uses a 60kWh battery pack from LG that weighs 946-lbs. It powers a 150kW high capacity electric motor with a robust 266 lb-ft. of torque.
Range is rated at 238-miles; that’s further than any EV not made by Tesla. The Bolt EV earns a 119-Combined MPGe rating, and a near perfect Energy Impact Score, burning just 0.2-barrels of oil annually with no CO2 emissions.
Both the batteries and the motor are liquid-cooled, and can bolt this EV to 60 in just 6.5-seconds. That’s about as fast as a Mercedes-Benz C300 Coupe. But to make sure you don’t get too crazy, top speed is limited to 92 miles-per-hour.
And, if you’ve replaced your “range anxiety” with “battery anxiety”, just relax. Like most EVs and hybrids, the battery pack is covered by an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty.
You’ll probably want a Level 2, 240 Volt charger at home to juice it up, however. With that, it takes about 9-hours to fully charge; verses the almost 60 with standard 120. Even faster Level 3 charging is an option.
Setting aside the environmental benefits, as we’ve learned the more time we spend in the Bolt EV, it really is a great everyday car.
Unlike many subcompacts, it never feels underpowered. In fact it’s enormously peppy off the line, even throwing you back in your seat. It does settle down as you get up to speed, while providing more than enough capability, and is even mildly sporty in corners.
You can also play with regen braking, dialing up enough to barely have to touch the brake pedal in normal driving.
Overall, the interior is great, with fit and finish among the best from GM, though the piano white trim can cause some glares and reflections on sunny days. The front seating positions are also higher than a typical compact car.
There’s plenty of head and leg room for the rear seat too, and it really can accommodate three across. Even then, there’s ample cargo space at 16.9 cu-ft. That’s more than many subcompact crossovers. For more, the seatbacks fold almost completely flat.
It even has that small crossover look, with no obvious EV elements whatsoever. Being fully “in the now”, Chevy not only applied the “floating roof” treatment to the rear pillars, but to the front ones as well.
And, wherever we went, the Bolt EV attracted quite a bit of attention. We even got a few thumbs up from petrol drivers.
On that under 30G price, once you factor in $7,500 worth of federal tax credits, you’re left with $29,995. State credits may lower it more. Up level Premier trim, with heated leather seats front and rear, and a host of other niceties, can be yours for $34,280.
The bad news for some, is that the Bolt EV isn’t available everywhere yet. That will take till the end of summer, and even then not all Chevy dealers will have made the upgrades required to sell and service it. Also, looking at it from a pure penny pinching standpoint, many 40 MPG subcompact cars are available for much less money.
So, while it’s impossible to predict success of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, as fuel prices more than anything else will ultimately make or break its fortunes, it’s easy to recognize when the game has been changed. It may not offer the performance or cache of a Tesla, but the Bolt EV has clearly set a new standard for mass market electric vehicles; a real car that can be used by just about everybody, every day. In other words, the future has arrived, and it’s built in Detroit.
- Torque: 266 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
- Energy Impact: 0.2 barrels of oil/yr
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient
Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.
With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.
There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.
There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.
Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.
Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.
In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.
Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.
The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.
Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.
At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.
So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!
CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.
The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.
But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.
But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.
As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
- Horsepower: 196
- 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
- MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: e-CVT
- Torque: 139 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
- EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined