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Performance isn’t the first reason many people will consider a 2019 Bolt EV. Its perky powertrain is a pleasant fringe benefit.

Despite the Bolt EV’s focus on efficiency, it manages to accelerate and hold the road well, which are both byproducts of an electric powertrain with a low, even weight distribution.

The Bolt EV earns a 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The big, flat 60-kwh batteries are low in the floor and feed the front electric motor’s 200 hp for up to 238 miles. At its peak the motor delivers 266 lb-ft of torque, most of it early on, in ways only electric motors can provide. The Bolt EV accelerates up to 60 mph in less than seven seconds, not ideal for efficiency, but not bad either.

The range is the Bolt EV’s most immediate perk, and the 238-mile rating is real—and real repeatable. In many drives, we were able to reliably drive the car for 200 miles or more, which means to us that “238” isn’t just attainable, it’s reliable.

The Bolt EV offers two drive modes that can best be described as “Normal,” and perhaps “Normal for EVs.”

The normal mode functions like any car would, including idle creep—where the front wheels inch forward when the brake pedal is released. For EVs, idle creep is functionally useless: the electric motors should only power the wheels when the accelerator is pressed. For first-time EV drivers, the mode might ease them into a new world.

The second mode is a more one-pedal experience, with stiffer regenerative braking and no idle creep. EV fans will recognize it as more normal to them, and first-timers might ease into the mode for more efficient driving.

Regardless of drive mode, the Bolt EV handles well with a generous on-center steering zone that keeps the Chevy tracking down highways with minimal fuss.

The transition between regenerative braking and friction braking was so subtle, we hardly noticed it in our drives.

Review continues below

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