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Chevy Bolt seat and seat frame discomfort

When the Chevy Bolt EV started appearing in late 2016 at Auto Shows and dealerships for test drives, people started noticing the front seat seemed uncomfortable.
As first deliveries of the Bolt started happening, happy new owners were becoming discouraged because the front seats were so thin some could ‘feel the frame’ and seat edges. Some drivers were even experiencing back pain after longer drives.

Cloth vs Leather Seats

As reported by forum member GPSMan, there is a fairly large difference between the cloth and leather seats. Forum post Testing was done by a 5’9″ person weighing 210 pounds with a 36″ waist.

Only some vehicles have the problem?

Forum member jmatero sat in 12 different Bolt EVs (7 Premiers and 5 LT’s with cloth seats) at Capitol Chevy in San Jose. After adjusting all of the seats to the same position, he noted differences in comfort. 4 of 7 Premium models and 2 of 5 LT models were comfortable, and the rest were painful. It also wasn’t based on newer or older build dates, the bad seats were spread throughout all models and build dates. “In the cars where the seat was comfortable, the cushion barely or partly compressed. In the uncomfortable seats, the cushion fully compressed to the point where the plastic seat-side pushed into my thigh. In fact, you can feel the difference pressing on the cushion with your hands… it isn’t subtle by any means: compresses with little forces vs compresses with lots of force.” Forum Post

Chevy Bolt Seat Fix Solutions

Bolt owners have come up with a variety of fixes for the uncomfortable seats.

  1. A few potential Bolt owners have decided to buy a different EV altogether, calling the Bolt seats a ‘deal killer’
  2. Some owners have purchased aftermarket seat cushions like this: https://www.amazon.com/Medic-Air-Back-Cushion-Blue-Corflex/dp/B012YI40HO/ or this: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B018QG6A12/
  3. Chevy Bolt Forum member BerkeleyBowlt created a how-to video on adding more foam padding to the seat base without removing the seat from the car or disassembling the seat. The change doesn’t affect the seat heater, takes around 15 minutes, and doesn’t require any tools.Howto: Add more padding to front seatsAdd cushioning to Chevrolet Bolt front seats
  4. Other owners have started a ‘Media Campaign’ where they contact Chevy, post on social media, etc, to try and raise attention at the automaker to have the seats fixed by dealerships, and in future vehicles. Bolt Front Seats Recall Media Campaign

Seat Discomfort Tracking

Some people don’t experience any issues. This table is an attempt to track good and bad reviews on the seats to see if the model, or seat material, or seat heater options, or even size of person have to do with the discomfort experienced.

Model Purchase (or delivery?) Date Last 5 of your VIN (for GM official tracking) MyChevyBolt.com Forum Username Your Size/Height Brief Summary Verdict / Solution
LT w/Heated Seats 12/17/2016 32007 flamaest 6’2″, 190lbs, 36″ waist Bottom seat edges are hard, seat sides also hard and dig into rib cage and kidneys, seat is also retaining heat BAD I have a CHEAP Jetta GL from 2003 and LOVE the seats in that car.
Premier 01/01/2017 boltage 69″ height, 30-31″ waist, 39-40″ chest, 38″ hip. No issue for me. However, I can see how wider people may find the hard parts of the side bolsters annoying, or the seat frame plastic that is exposed above the bolsters annoying. Fine for me, but I can see how some may complain. I prefer sportier seats, but see that sportier seats require making assumptions about driver size and that they are likely to be uncomfortable for drivers larger than the assumed size.
Premier 01/30/2017 36636 wq2345 5’8″ 165lbs. L4-L5 & L5-S1 herniated discs Very firm. Inadequate lumbar support. BAD. 2008 MiniE and 2014 Tesla Model S (Version 1 Leather seats) both had similar issues. Very firm and uncomfortable. This is the pillow I use https://www.amazon.com/Medic-Air-Back-Cushion-Blue-Corflex/dp/B012YI40HO/
Premier 12/30/2016 roundpeg 6-2, 155, 32″ No issues No problems
LT 12/01/2016 Fargoneandout 5’7″, 150lbs, 30 inch waist Seats are fine (LT) for me but I like a tight seat so I don’t slide around. Padding is just fine, bolsters are perfect for someone with a taste for not sliding around. I have sat in all four positions and have no issues with any of the seats. Firm? Yes. Uncomfortable in any way? No.
LT didn’t purchase joylove 6’2″, 210 lbs found the seat digging into my legs and I was fidgeting within 10 minutes of the test drive I do have an i3 and that also has thin lightweight seats that have given me no discomfort at all. The seat is badly designed
LT with cloth seats 01/25/2017 kdh 5’10” 170 pounds, 33 in waist The following day drove all over town only to realize how uncomfortable and painful these seat are called chevy to complain about all this, to see if they would let us out of our lease, and to make things easier for them, lease another chevy. The gentleman on the phone from chevy was very nice. They sent her some official form to fill out , and they said they would get back to us with a week
LT test drive only Sqwalker 6’2, 175 lbs, 32″ waist I thought the Premier leather seats felt better than the cloth, but both had major issues unless I was perfectly centered in the middle of the seat when driving. Other than the seats, I absolutely love the car. I’m going to have to pass and hope this gets addressed in the 2018 version. But by then the Model 3 will be very close to production, and I have a 1st day deposit already in place.
Premier, dark leather, heated 01/31/2017 JHawk me: 6’4″ 180lbs 33″ waist, her: 5’1″ 110lbs We notice the narrowness but so far not a problem, feels snug not uncomfortable
(We also often use an extra cushion sometimes (in all cars) as our rears get sore on long trips. We haven’t needed this yet on the Bolt but if we did it would eliminate any issue.) Fine: but can imagine it might be an issue for people with bigger bottoms
Premier, all options (leather / heated seats) 01/17/2017 28566 adamsocb XXL, 6’1″ The hard plastic seat frame is too narrow and protrudes above the seat cushion Bad for anyone who’s backside is wider than 15.” Probably OK for smaller folks. This is easy to fix with a slight redesign, there is plenty of room for a wider seat, or the hard plastic structure could be changed so-as not to dig into the driver’s hips. I am trying a high quality orthopedic wedge cushion to see if it resolves the problem for me in the short term. GM still needs to fix this.
Premier – Leather heated seats 01/09/2017 342127 dan2112 175lb, 5’11” I can feel the plastic but it is not painful. Not ultra comfortable either. Have done several hour or more drives and it doesn’t bother me that badly. My wife has to swing her feet out of the car to not get “hung-up” on the plastic, but otherwise ok for her also. Ok for me and my wife – but I am not thrilled about the seats. Scale of 1-10 would be about a 6. GM should fix them preferably this model year.
unknown devbolt 5’2″, 175 lbs and a 31″ waist. Wife is 5’4″, 150 pounds and a 30″ waist they’re just like the seats in my wife’s Mini Countryman. She approved of the seats in that car and she approves of the seats in this car. I’ll have some minor adjustment period, but it should be fine for me.
LT with heated seats 01-09-2017 31977 kozunak 6’1, 195 lbs The two (2) initial test drives were fine. However, as soon as I took the car on a longer ride (30+ min) I immediately started to feel pain on my left thigh/butt cheek area. I tried several foam/pillows from Amazon but nothing really seemed to help. I agree with most here that the leather seats option is much better. IMO the width biggest problem with the seats. They were made way too narrow so your body gets boxed in
LT w/heated cloth seats (leased) 02/04/2017 34*** sgt1372 5’8″, 160 lbs No issues Acceptable – not great or awful
premier 02-08-2017 rmalzo 5’9″, 180 lbs I find the seats fine and my first trip was 122 miles one way non stop all good
robmich even though the seats are OK for me, I was curious if I could make it better After trying several cushions, I found the perfect one! https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B018QG6A12/ Cushion overhangs the side bolsters about 1/2 inch
LT with heated seats test drive Knit 5’11”, 240 lbs. Wife is 5’1 140lbs My rear hits the plastic on the left side of the driver side. No issue on passenger side. My wife has no problem. Purchased a premier and the seat width issue is only very slightly there. I was able to find acceptable positions where my read did not touch hard plastic in the driver seat on the left hand side.
LT w-heated cloth seats leased 2/4/17 34*** gpsman 5’9″ 210 lbs no issue acceptable – not great or awful. Have been ok on 30 minute drives. Starting to think there is a “break-in” period for both the seats and driver’s butt.
I’m changing my recommendation from buyer beware, to give it a few weeks. I know, hard to get a several week test drive.
But the more time I spend in the seat: the better itb feels to me.
Premier NeilBlanchard 6’4″ – 225 lbs, 6’6″ – 245 lbs, 6’7″ – 265 lbs no issue All 3 of us found the seats firm and comfortable.
Premier Feb 2017 36520 msbmsu05 6’1″, 152lbs, 32″ waist firm, sporty seat. comfortable, but could see issue with larger framed person good
LT March 4, 2017 Lumpy12 220pounds, 38″ waist Passenger seat feels wider but the drivers seat doesn’t bother me. My wife was pretty bothered with the drivers seat but liked the passenger seat. If I take stuff out of my back pockets it’s fine
Premier March 25, 2017 MarshallinWA 5’10” 195 lbs waist 34 The seats are too narrow and the seat back digs into left side of my back Didn’t buy. Nice car otherwise
not specified March 25, 2017 EldRick 5’9″, 145lbs The seats are excellent and very sporty, aside from the headrest that pushes my head forward Removed the headrest and straightened the legs a bit to move them back
LT (leased) March 26, 2017 40984 Dori2002 200 pounds, 6′ tall, 38″ waist The outer edge of the driver’s seat is harder than the right side I removed the outer plastic which made it 50% better and added a seat pad. Passable but not great
Premier (purchased) March 6, 2017 NaCl 6’1″ 280 lbs The metal frame/bar digs into my thigh/butt, hips are as wide as the seat to I ride on the bolsters Upholstery shop re-stuffed the seats with high density padding – total cost $700
Bolt Premier with Leather March 21, 2017 47512 F404 5’11.5″ 180 lbs 33″ waist Outside edge of the seat is protruding and very stiff.Getting in and out of the car is also painful since you get in contact with this stiff portion of the seat and the plastic next to it. It worsen the pain every single time.
As a temporary fix I have added a folded towel to raise the middle part of the seat at the same level of the edges but this cannot be a permanent solution for a 50k $ car. Add the fact that with a seat cushion, your heated seat become useless. Very bad, GM you need to fix this if you respect your customers and the trusted they put in this new car model.
Premier March 22, 2017 47859 MykolW 6’2″ 230 lbs 36″ waist The seats are very uncomfortable and dig in both the thighs and back. My wife who is smaller than me hasn’t complained. I find myself shifting to try and find a different position that feels better. I bought this as a commuter car for a 1:10 trip back and forth to work. So far I’ve only spent 30 minutes at a time in it. Not looking forward to the long drives now. As someone else said, I LOVE everything else about this car. How did someone not notice the problems with the seats?!?! Bad. Hopefully there will be some fix for this…at GM’s cost!
LT March 6, 2017 37071 StuartM 6’2″ 208 lbs 38″ waist The seats are fine, only issue I had was lower back stiffness on longer trips unless I recline the seat a couple of notches. Don’t see what all the fuss is about
Premier January 2017 32850 Boltar 6’3″ 215 lbs Much as I detest cars being built by committee –unless I’m on it!!–usually manufacturers at least get the seats right. Especially one as apple pie as Chevy. Josh Tavel surely knows that most of his buyers don’t share his waist size, and that the ridiculous extra ounces of space wasting foam in the already space wasting non-rectangular spare tire well should have been used in the front seats instead. Adding insult to injury, there’s no reason the seats couldn’t be an inch wider when they sit pretty far inboard and don’t even efficiently use the space in this narrow car. And if they can’t possibly find the extra ounces (<> for lumbar adjustment, at least put in some decent lumbar support! I say this as one who *prefers* narrow, firm seats (last two VW GTI and Audi TT), that doesn’t mean you have to rest your hips and ribs on hard plastic. Can’t even imagine what the mainstream GM crowd would find to like in these seats. Beyond bad, embarrassing in an otherwise fine car. Will limit adoption beyond “Bay Area” vegan EV apologists. Glad (and embarrassed) to have had mine fixed upon leaving the dealer with my new Bolt. They better have this fixed for my 2020 Bolt SS AWD, or I’ll be looking back at the europeans.
LT (lease) April 3, 2017 55140 DoninLAlaland 6′ 175 lbs 32 waist Left hip feels like i’ve rammed into a steel stair rail right at the bone and my left hamstring where it connects to the butt is very very sore. I’m limping. I usually run 3 miles after workouts and can’t because of pain Very, very bad
LT with comfort package March 2017 AllElectric 6’2″ 225 lbs 36-38″ waist The seat base side is cutting off circulation to my left leg with pressure on my left hip/butt/upper thigh. Other issue with the seat is the left side plastic frame that digs into your leg every time you get out of the car. My wife especially hates this as she drives the car more than I do. Terrible. I drive our Kia Soul EV almost exclusively because the seats in the Bolt are so bad. Shame because the Bolt is such a great car otherwise.
ngasfme 6’6″ 220 lbs 38″ waist, 5’7″ 150lb wife Initially disliked the seats and thought they were too firm. After adjusting incline to fit my back and getting more time behind the wheel, I’ve adapted to the seats quite well and don’t even think about them anymore. Highly recommend that anyone who dislikes the seats try the vehicle out on a couple of road trips with a friend that has one. You might be surprised.
LT cloth seats January 2017 Jaybobbolt 5’9″ 170lbs, 32″ waist. Wife is 5’3″ 120 lbs My wife and I are not big people, but the overly narrow seat, coupled with the plastic digging into the side of your leg, literally drives a sciatic-type pain down the side of our legs. When we first got this car we both wanted to get to drive it, now we both want the other to drive it so we can drive our old cars. Beyond horrible! We bought the car sight-unseen (were waiting since last November for arrival), so we never really got to test drive it. If I/we had known how bad the seats were going to be we would not have made this purchase.

References
The seats are a deal killer
Bolt Seat Issue – Data Collection and Report Here
Leather vs Cloth Seats side by side comparison

Updated on November 30, 2018

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