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Wentworth Chevytown in Portland has Bolts! All sold, of course, except for a kinetic blue premier with dealer graphics on the sides which is their demo. The salesmen were talking among themselves about how they needed to set up an appointment system because so many people wanted to see it.

Today, a little before noon, Mrs EMV and myself took a reasonably long test drive with a nice salesman. Of course having a Spark EV that comes off of lease towards the end of February marked us as hot prospects - and we were! Car looks good!. Kinetic blue is gorgeous. Orange burst, however, to us was a bust. Too yellow, but that's just our taste. Wrap me up an LT with heated seats and quick charging and lets make a deal. Then we got in it. What a disappointment.

Pros:

Fun to drive, seemed to have more power than the Spark.

Nimble in town.

Decent visibility.

Seeing 170 miles on the guess-o-meter is a hoot, and that's not with a full charge, wow!

Good rear seat room.

Big enough cargo compartment.

Cons:
The seats. What the theological place of eternal punishment were they thinking? The driver's seat was barely passable. The passenger side cushion cut in to our thighs. They are overly firm and way too narrow. I've sat in coach seats in an airliner that were more comfortable. I'm not tiny, but my butt is not the problem.

The center console. The armrest moves fore and aft but why not up and down too? Mostly what it did was make the car feel crowded. The front compartment felt much more crowded than those in the Spark. Not a deal killer though.

Interesting:
The dash material. The two toning worked but the off white part reminded me of matte finish Formica. Not a deal killer but hmm....

The rear camera mirror. What a clear picture of the rear. I mean clear! Unfortunately my old man eyes had trouble focusing on it while trying to watch out for the road ahead. YMMV.

Conclusion:
I really wanted this car. Really! Until the wife and I sat in it. These are the worst seats I've ever had the displeasure to sit in. They're too narrow, and there appeared to be plenty of room to fit wider seats. The type of seats that as the miles add up would make me question my sanity for getting this car. Perhaps Chevy will see fit to fix this in a subsequent year, then I'll come running back cash in hand. Right now it looks as if we will be purchasing the Spark when it comes off of lease.

Definitely test and judge for yourself.
 
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I've heard that the seats are the biggest polarizing factor. For some people they work fine. For others, like you, not so much. I found them to be fine on my short test drive, but I tend to be able to adapt to most things without a problem.

No center armrest in any car I've owned in the last 20+ years has the ability to move up/down, and the Bolt is the first one I've heard of that can move forward/backwards.

I only briefly got to play with the rear view mirror camera. Yes, the focus thing is something that others have pointed out. With my prescription, I was okay, but it was night and it was raining, so I wasn't able to really test things. Too bad there isn't a focus adjustment on the camera. With a traditional mirror it doesn't matter because of how the light is being bent and reflected into your eyes, but with the camera system, it's a whole other kettle of fish.
 

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I literally did the same as you did, albeit in Huntington Beach. My take was exactly the same as yours. Fit and finish and outside appearances looked great. It drives awesome, plenty of power, and doesn't look ostentatious.

However, the interior is a huge letdown, especially the seats. When I compare the car with something I can buy for an effective $32k (I ordered a $43k premier, less incentives) I'm blown away by how subpar the rest of the package is. I'm not expecting luxury brand quality, but even compared to the Volt I think it's a huge step down. I understand the concept of the cost going into the drivetrain, but the rest of the car, to me, is not a place I could spend a lot of time. It feels like a much, much cheaper car than it is. I'm bummed.

Seat covers will mask the issue a bit, but the reality is they're too narrow. If you're 5'10, 150lbs with a 32" waist you may not have an issue providing you center yourself in the seat perfectly. However, if you're a larger individual you'll definitely want to drive the car over some rougher roads before you buy it. Any bumps and you can feel the frame clearly through the seats. For reference, I'm 6'4" and 215. I wear a 36x34 or 38x34 in pants. I can't imagine how bad these seats will be in a few years.

Back to the drawing board for me. Looks like I'll be back to the i3 REX, a Volt, or a CPO Model S. If anyone wants a line on a loaded Premier in Nightfall Grey in San Diego, let me know. I have a written commitment from the dealer of $600 under invoice although he may not pass it to the next person. It will be in within 2 weeks.
 

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I know it's not something people want to pay for in a new car, but taking a car to a good custom upholstery shop and having the seat pan modified is pretty easy, done all the time in the custom world and likely wouldn't cost that much. Think of it as another option on the option list that you would gladly pay the dealer for.

I personally hate the wheels on the Bolt. I think they look totally dorky. I am willing to pay $700-$1000 to change that after I get mine. I look at as a "CIO", customer installed option. They just forgot to put it on the website. When you look at it like this, it's not so bad.

Ask yourself, if Chevy had on their website build list- Premium Enhanced Comfort Seats for say $1500 and the description read- "Wider seat pan with additional premium padding and contour molding comfort bolster", would you click the box and order it? If the answer is yes, think about it.
 

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I know it's not something people want to pay for in a new car, but taking a car to a good custom upholstery shop and having the seat pan modified is pretty easy, done all the time in the custom world and likely wouldn't cost that much. Think of it as another option on the option list that you would gladly pay the dealer for.

I personally hate the wheels on the Bolt. I think they look totally dorky. I am willing to pay $700-$1000 to change that after I get mine. I look at as a "CIO", customer installed option. They just forgot to put it on the website. When you look at it like this, it's not so bad.

Ask yourself, if Chevy had on their website build list- Premium Enhanced Comfort Seats for say $1500 and the description read- "Wider seat pan with additional premium padding and contour molding comfort bolster", would you click the box and order it? If the answer is yes, think about it.
these are not typical seats. They're more like the suspension seats in old Recaros. They cannot widen the base. The surface is already wider than the base. The issue is you can feel the frame through the seat cushion on bumps. The only solution would be a traditional seat option like Ford didn't with the Focus ST. If that box could be checked, I'd feel better. But now you're talking about a $45k hatchback with atrocious depreciation and a mediocre interior.
 

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these are not typical seats. They're more like the suspension seats in old Recaros. They cannot widen the base. The surface is already wider than the base. The issue is you can feel the frame through the seat cushion on bumps. The only solution would be a traditional seat option like Ford didn't with the Focus ST. If that box could be checked, I'd feel better. But now you're talking about a $45k hatchback with atrocious depreciation and a mediocre interior.
I've seen the seats. They can be fixed. I've been modding vehicles a long time. If the seat complaints continue after I get mine in a couple of months, I may take that sucker apart and figure this out. There may be a little money in it for me...
 

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I recommend Bright Auto Upholstery in Portland.

They have built up the seat-back bolsters on my last three cars, including the Spark EV. First-class work, and a few hundred $ for seats that work much better for enthusiastic driving.

I'm going to take a look at a Bolt tomorrow to verify that the seats can be tweaked, and that the stock seats will fit me. I'm 5'9" and 145, so it should be a lock, from what I read.
 

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No center armrest in any car I've owned in the last 20+ years has the ability to move up/down, and the Bolt is the first one I've heard of that can move forward/backwards.
The center armrest in the Tesla Model S can move forward/backwards. I haven't tried this in many other cars recently so I can't judge how common this is.
 

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The center armrest in the Tesla Model S can move forward/backwards. I haven't tried this in many other cars recently so I can't judge how common this is.
Somehow I'm not surprised that the Model S has that feature. Wish we had it in my wife's Countryman, but that's going to be a moot point in a couple of weeks.
 

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I did a quickie test drive this morning at Wentworth. Impressions:

It's a good size - small compact, but lots of room inside, and the trunk is big enough to keep my sports gear concealed. Compared to my Spark EV, I won't have to sit with my knees spread to drive in the Bolt.

You cannot see the road close in front of the car - the seating position is not forward like most vans, so the birds-eye view should be very useful for parking. Steering/handling felt good. I took one city corner moderately quickly, and it felt good - tight and little body roll.

The magic rearview mirror is a mixed blessing. As others have mentioned, it is a real wrench of the eyes to focus from distance to the screen. I don't think I could use it while driving.

The controversial seats are not for the average overweight American; they are made for narrow people. I'd expect that quite a few pre-orders will be cancelled because of the seat width. For me, at 5'9" and 150 lbs, they are very good - almost sportscar-like. The seatback bolsters don't come very far forward, but they are in the right place to keep you from leaning during hard cornering. They are firm, but the suspension is nicely calibrated to soak up the hard bumps, so that part is fine with me.

The armrest is a serious PIA. It hits me right where my elbow wants to be when my hands are on the wheel. It moves back, but not far enough to be out of the way. I would remove it immediately. (looks like two screws)

Compared to my Spark, it is quiet - very little tire noise by comparison.

Bottom line - it's a nice car, and a huge upgrade from the Spark EV (as it ought to be for three times the net price I paid for the Spark). I'll keep my order for a Black one.
 

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BTW,I think the worst visual aspect of the car is the white swoosh across the dashboard. It has a fine surface pattern that reminds me of the crocheted doilies that taxi drivers in Japan pin to the headrests of their cars. It really makes the whole interior look cheap.
 

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I know it's not something people want to pay for in a new car, but taking a car to a good custom upholstery shop and having the seat pan modified is pretty easy, done all the time in the custom world and likely wouldn't cost that much. Think of it as another option on the option list that you would gladly pay the dealer for.

I personally hate the wheels on the Bolt. I think they look totally dorky. I am willing to pay $700-$1000 to change that after I get mine. I look at as a "CIO", customer installed option. They just forgot to put it on the website. When you look at it like this, it's not so bad.

Ask yourself, if Chevy had on their website build list- Premium Enhanced Comfort Seats for say $1500 and the description read- "Wider seat pan with additional premium padding and contour molding comfort bolster", would you click the box and order it? If the answer is yes, think about it.
I agree. They could have really put more effort in quality materials and rims, etc in this car. As a flagship EV for Chevy, it's not really a full effort. Yeah I know...people keep harping on and on about the battery tech and the range. But it's a package. The effort needs to be there throughout the vehicle. The feel of the interior to me wasn't much above what it feels like in a Spark EV.
 

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BTW,I think the worst visual aspect of the car is the white swoosh across the dashboard. It has a fine surface pattern that reminds me of the crocheted doilies that taxi drivers in Japan pin to the headrests of their cars. It really makes the whole interior look cheap.
See, you can never please everybody. I think that texture on the dash pretty cool. I've see enough slabs of leather/vinyl plastic over the decades. I like that it's different.
 

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I agree. They could have really put more effort in quality materials and rims, etc in this car. As a flagship EV for Chevy, it's not really a full effort. Yeah I know...people keep harping on and on about the battery tech and the range. But it's a package. The effort needs to be there throughout the vehicle. The feel of the interior to me wasn't much above what it feels like in a Spark EV.
Better materials = money. How much more do you want to pay? Me personally not a penny more. It's not a flagship BEV as this is the only BEV they offer. It is a replacement for the Spark EV and that's about all.

Remember, it's mission as per GM is mostly a self driving taxi cab for millennials.
 

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Better materials = money. How much more do you want to pay? Me personally not a penny more. It's not a flagship BEV as this is the only BEV they offer. It is a replacement for the Spark EV and that's about all.

Remember, it's mission as per GM is mostly a self driving taxi cab for millennials.
I would say it is GM's flagship EV. Just like the EV1 was back then. Until they come out with another concurrent EV that is more expensive or better quality, this is their go-to EV product. Like I said, it's not just about the range, it's also about the overall product.

IMO if you're trying to promote an EV product to go mainstream, would you prefer someone to sit in the product and say..."Yes, this has premium feel and is a really nice car" or rather say "Man it feels so cheap for $43,000 dollars?"

If a few thousand dollars (at this price point) makes or breaks one's decision to buy the first EV that is close to the mean average priced ICE vehicle in the US AND has the range of many ICEs, then perhaps one shouldn't be looking at a vehicle at this price point to begin with.

Have you sat in the latest Mazda products? Such the CX3? What do you think of them? To me for mid-20k or there abouts, you get a fantastic interior. Perhaps one of the best in the biz at that price point.

I read somewhere that the Bolt's battery pack costs around $145/kW....so that's about $8700 for the battery pack. Add another $5K for the rest of the power-train and you position yourself at around $14-16K for the power-train alone. Subtract all the the mechanical ICE components in the Mazda and fit a Bolt power-train in there and I say you'd get a car about the same price of the Bolt.

If Mazda can make a car costing mid-20K with an exceptional interior like the CX3 why can't Chevy? What's their excuse?

The thing with some people here is that any criticism is automatically assumed to be anti-Bolt or that people who criticize would never consider a Bolt. That is something that some here need to understand isn't true. I would and am considering a Bolt and after driving one I liked the car.

However, that doesn't mean I've got to shut down my thoughts and not point out the obvious about the short-comings or the faults. I'm coming from a Spark EV as well and it's not an easy pill to swallow when I've got to spend quite a bit more for a vehicle that...yes...has 2.5 times the range of my Spark EV but still feels like my Spark EV inside....a budget compact car.

I hope you understand what I'm trying to convey here.
 

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See, you can never please everybody. I think that texture on the dash pretty cool. I've see enough slabs of leather/vinyl plastic over the decades. I like that it's different.
I like the dash design. It's nice and open. But the materials could be better. I really liked the cloth seats over the leather or leatherette. And the multi-color patterned seats are even nicer.
 

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I like the dash design. It's nice and open. But the materials could be better. I really liked the cloth seats over the leather or leatherette. And the multi-color patterned seats are even nicer.
The wife and I went to dinner tonight and drove the bolt. She said the blue lighted strip accross the dash board reminded her of Virgin airlines or another airline that has accent lights around the cabin.
 
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