There’s a new GM electric vehicle that graciously isn’t some horrible marketing rip-off of an iconic muscle car. It’s the new Chevrolet Menlo, a compact electric crossover perfect for the U.S. market that will only be sold in China for no good reason.
Update, Nov. 12: GM reached out to Jalopnik to confirm that there will be a previously-announced U.S.-market electric vehicle based on the Bolt and built in Michigan, completely separate of the new Menlo which is only built and sold in China. The rest of the original article continues below.
Chevy claims the Menlo has a range of 255 miles on the outdated NEDC testing cycle, which would likely leave it closer to a much more reasonable near-200-mile range based on European WLTP or American EPA standards, which is still fine for a cheap compact EV.
It features unique and much more athletic styling compared to its awkward American hatchback cousin, the Bolt, and its low wagon-like design reminds me mostly of the Kia Niro EV, which was an all-around fine vehicle that felt more like a mini-wagon in person than the potentially larger crossover it appears to be in pictures. I suspect it’s the same case for the Menlo.
The new EV also gets an updated Chevy MyLink infotainment system and some other tech frills like keyless entry, but more details are still to come as the car moves toward production early next year.
But as Roadshow confirmed with GM, this cute, practical EV crossover is not the Bolt replacement we need right now, apparently. It’s China only and staying that way, and Americans will get something else. It would seem we were all fooled when The General said it would introduce 20 new EVs by 2023—the last three, including the Menlo, have all been for the Chinese market only.
I can’t see any good reason why an all-wheel drive (it’s not clear if the China model is all-wheel drive, but one assumes it would be possible), 200-mile range compact crossover like the Menlo wouldn’t be the perfect antidote to the aging Bolt and imminent Tesla Model Y. Yet again, GM and Chevy’s actions are inexplicable.
Now, it would appear the next GM EV for the U.S. market will be a Cadillac. Which means expensive, probably. And big. It’s a big, stylish crossover. Not bad, but why can’t Chevy sell its cheap crossover to make up for all the people who will honestly probably never hear about the expensive Cadillac crossover?
Commit to something, anything, please, GM.