2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Super Cruise Review: Multi-Tasker’s Dream
Chevrolet Bolt EUV Premier Super Cruise review highlights:
- GM’s partial-autonomy Super Cruise is a $2200 option on the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Premier
- It doesn’t work on all roads and in all conditions, but it’s genuinely smooth and simple to use and makes commuting with distractions less dangerous and mentally taxing
- If you understand what Super Cruise can and can’t do, it’s a worthwhile option on the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, especially if you spend a lot of time in city highway traffic
Make no mistake, autonomous vehicles aren’t here yet, but several companies are dead set on making them a reality. And while Tesla’s AutoPilot hogs the spotlight, other partial-autonomy suites, including GM’s Super Cruise, have arguably eclipsed its capabilities. But what’s it actually like to drive…ride…experience (?) Super Cruise on a real road? I recently found out behind the wheel of a 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV.
The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV is the first non-Cadillac to offer Super Cruise
When GM first introduced Super Cruise, it was initially limited to one or two Cadillacs. Now, though, not only do more Caddies offer it, but it’s starting to spread to other GM brands. And the first Chevrolet to offer it is the 2022 Bolt EUV. Well, a version of it.
I say ‘offer’ because it’s not a standard feature. It’s a $2200 option on the 2022 Bolt EUV Premier, the higher of the two trims. Also, Chevrolet’s version of Super Cruise doesn’t offer automatic lane changing like Cadillac’s and GMC’s versions. Checking that $2200 box does get you enhanced automatic emergency braking, too, though.
However, not including automatic lane changing isn’t a cost-cutting measure. A Chevrolet spokesperson told me that feature requires “GM’s latest electrical architecture,” which the 2022 Bolt EUV lacks. The current Escalade, 2023 Chevy Tahoe, and several upcoming full-size trucks and Cadillac crossovers, though, do have this architecture. So, until Chevrolet overhauls the Bolt EUV, it won’t change lanes automatically while using Super Cruise.
But the Bolt EUV’s version is far from a one-trick pony.
How does it work?
Like the Cadillac and GMC versions, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV’s version of Super Cruise is classified as Level 2 on the SAE’s partial-autonomy scale. So, it absolutely cannot drive everywhere on its own. However, on certain roads and under specific conditions, it can control the Bolt EUV with someone attentive behind the wheel.
To use Super Cruise in the Bolt EUV, you first activate the adaptive cruise control. Next, you must be on a road that GM has mapped with LiDAR to the Super Cruise database. By the end of 2022, GM claims over 400,000 miles of American and Canadian highways will be in the database. For now, though, it’s limited to just over 200,000 miles. Regardless, you’ll know you’re on a compatible road when a little white steering wheel icon appears on the digital driver’s display.
Once that icon appears, get the Bolt EUV centered in your lane. Activating lane-keeping assist isn’t necessary, but it can help. Then, press, the Super Cruise button on the steering wheel. If you’ve set everything up correctly, a green bar will light up on the steering wheel. And bingo, it’s on; you are now free to take your hands off the wheel.
Once Super Cruise is on, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV uses its 360° camera system and radar sensors together with GPS and LiDAR map data to position itself on the road. And it monitors your eye movements through a camera on the steering wheel. If it sees you’re not paying attention, it’ll beep at you, turn that light bar red, and deactivate. So, no texting and driving.
But you can also manually deactivate it if you need to take temporary control. This brings up a blue light on the wheel. Then, once you’ve re-centered the Bolt EUV in the lane, you can re-activate Super Cruise.
What’s it like using Super Cruise in the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV on a real highway?
I’ll admit, I was nervous testing the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV’s Super Cruise on Chicago’s highways. Yes, they’re mapped to the database, but have you seen Chicago traffic? Nevertheless, I got onto the highway, turned the adaptive cruise control on, and waited for the go-ahead. And with a deep breath, I pressed the button.
The first few minutes were…odd. I mean, you’re still scanning the road and mirrors, but your feet aren’t on the pedals. And it’s just plain weird seeing the steering wheel move on its own. But even over broken pavement, the Bolt EUV kept steady.
I drove, uh, used Super Cruise for several miles going north and south on the highway. During that time, the system only deactivated once. As it separates from I-90 going north, I-94 curves away to the east. I think the change in lane markings at that curve threw the system off, which is why it deactivated. However, it gave me more than enough notice to grab the wheel. That beeping and light show helps a lot.
Otherwise, though, I cruised effortlessly (and silently) in the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, my hands off the wheel the whole time. The EV never bounced off lane markers, lost its way, or steered violently around bends. It was smooth sailing the entire way, even over pockmarked spots with minor lane marker breaks. Admittedly, I didn’t have a chance to take it on a long road trip. But I expect, if I paid attention, Super Cruise would work just as well.
If you’re a highway busybody, you’ll love using Super Cruise
Therein lies the issue, though: you must pay attention while Super Cruise is on. So, to paraphrase a recent Road & Track sentiment, why not just drive yourself? The answer came to me as I was trying to readjust my fallen backpack on the passenger’s side floor. Although briefly, I had to take my eyes off the road to do so. And if I had my hands on the wheel, I’d need to move at least one, too.
In a normal car, that’s risky at best. But with Super Cruise, it’s not. Even if it’s only for a few seconds, it lets you grab fallen bags, reach for out-of-sight objects, and turn to your passengers without worrying about crashing into someone or something. And how many times have you panic-eaten something in your car, trying to chew and pay attention to the road? I know I have. That’s not a problem in a Chevrolet Bolt EUV with Super Cruise.
Furthermore, that bit about road trips? I’ve driven backpackers in vans on cross-country hikes multiple times. Having the Super Cruise safety net there would undoubtedly make those drives less draining.
Is it worth getting?
As noted earlier, Super Cruise is an option on the higher 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV trim. Even though the 2023 model is cheaper, that means paying at least $35,000 before taxes. In addition, Super Cruise doesn’t work without Chevrolet’s Connected Services. You get three years of connectivity standard, but after that, there’s a subscription fee. Plus, the system requires clear lane markings, not to mention clean camera lenses. And even then, it only works on mapped highways.
But even with these drawbacks, I still think Super Cruise is worth it, especially on the commute-focused Bolt EUV. After all the times I’ve sat stressing in city traffic, I’d gladly pay $2200 to lessen my mental load. To paraphrase R&T again, commuting is not fun driving—anything that makes it less soul-sucking is helpful.
No, Super Cruise isn’t full self-driving, even if it’s arguably a steppingstone on that path. Nor is it foolproof or a replacement for proper safety training. But it’s definitely a helpful tool that’s worth at least a test drive. Er, ride.
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