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 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined