Chevy Bolt vs. Nissan Leaf: Which affordable electric car is right for you?
October 10, 2017   Ronan Glon

Nissan Leaf
Chevy Bolt EV

The rivalry between the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the second-generation Nissan
Leaf went from flinging around theoretical specs, concept-car designs, and
faraway launch dates to mass-producing cars vying for the attention of
buyers who are ready to give up gas and go electric. They both promise
zero-emissions driving and a generous serving of tech, but they’re not
always on equal footing. Join us as we dive deeper into the Chevy Bolt vs.
Nissan Leaf debate.

Tech features

We’ve said this before — tech is the new measuring stick in the automotive
industry, especially when it comes to electric cars. Lane-keeping assist
with lane departure warning and automatic braking are available on the Bolt,
but they’re bundled into a $495 option package only offered on the Premier
trim, which costs $41,780. Even fully loaded, the Bolt comes with fewer tech
features than its rival.

The Leaf is the first car offered with Nissan’s ProPilot Assist technology.
It’s an optional suite of electronic driving aids that assists users when
driving becomes tedious or dangerous. It controls braking, acceleration, and
steering if the car is traveling on a single-lane highway between 18 and 62
mph. ProPilot Assist is a baby step towards full autonomy, which is Nissan’s
end goal. Pricing information hasn’t been announced yet because the Leaf is
so new — expect full details in the coming months.

Performance and range

The Bolt’s 60-kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides up to 238 miles of
range. The electric motor zaps the front wheels with 200 horsepower and 266
pound-feet of torque. Accelerating from zero to 60 mph takes a brisk 6.5
seconds. The Bolt is certainly not a Volkswagen GTI, but we found it to be
surprisingly zippy around town.

While the Bolt qualifies for the coveted “long-range EV” label, we can’t say
the same thing about the Leaf; usability is what truly sets the Chevrolet
and the Nissan apart. The Leaf’s 40-kWh battery pack only provides enough
electricity for up to 150 miles of range. Electricity reaches the front
wheels via an electric motor rated at 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of
torque. Nissan promises that a second version of the Leaf with more power
and more range will arrive a little bit later in the production run, and it
will pose a much bigger threat to the Bolt, but a more specific time frame
hasn’t been set yet.

Interior and exterior design

The Bolt and the Leaf fulfill similar missions in the zero-emissions world,
and their respective designs reflect that. The Chevrolet is a tall,
crossover-esque hatchback with plastic cladding that adds a faux rugged
touch to its look. Don’t let it fool you; the Bolt isn’t going anywhere near
a trail. The Leaf is more of a conventional hatchback that just happens to
be electric.
best electric cars Chevy Bolt vs. Nissan Leaf

Chevy Bolt EV

The Bolt’s front end falls in line with Chevrolet’s recent design language.
Inside, you’ll find a pretty standard cabin layout with a large touchscreen
on the center console, a three-spoke steering wheel, and a digital
instrument cluster that’s fully configurable. Curved horizontal lines
emphasize the cabin’s width.

Nissan finally ditched the original Leaf’s alien-esque design in favor of
more conventional styling, much to the satisfaction of anyone who has see
one on a regular basis. Look inside and you’ll find a three-spoke steering
wheel, a large touchscreen for the infotainment system, and a configurable
digital instrument cluster. Experiencing déjà vu? Both the Bolt and the Leaf
were developed with an emphasis on user-friendliness, not luxury. If a
premium electric car is what you’re after, we suggest you check out the
Tesla Model 3.

Chevrolet’s first full-production electric car offers 16.9 cubic feet of
trunk space behind the rear seats, or 56.6 cubic feet with the rear seats
folded flat. Nissan hasn’t revealed the Leaf’s cargo capacity yet.

Pricing and availability

The Bolt is available right now from Chevrolet dealers nationwide – no
reservation required, and no waiting in a virtual line to get one. Pricing
starts at $37,495 before federal and local incentives are factored in, which
makes it considerably more expensive than the Leaf.

Nissan expects the first examples of the 2018 Leaf will reach showrooms
early next year. Pricing starts at $29,990 before incentives are factored
in, meaning it’s actually cheaper than the outgoing first-generation model.
That’s a good chunk less than the Bolt, but be prepared to visit a charging
station more often.
[© 2017 Designtechnica]
Old Nissan Leaf vs new Chevrolet Bolt EV: owners weigh in
Oct 10, 2017  Sebastian Blanco

2015 Nissan Leaf, Denver, Colorado, Mar 2016  / Andrew Ganz

Sometimes, the best information comes straight from the horseless
carriage-owner’s mouth.

If you want to learn just how good or bad an electric vehicle is, it makes
sense to ask people who live with and drive them every day.

In the case of the first-gen Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Bolt EV, a number of
owners have been sharing their experiences online, and it looks like there’s
good and bad to report – just like there have been with every car ever.

David Fox was a Leaf owner for three years, but has really grown to love his
new Bolt EV after putting 1,700 miles on it.

[image]  2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car at EVgo fast-charging station,
Newport Centre, Jersey City, NJ

He describes the acceleration as “perfect,” even though his long history as
a Prius driver means he rarely flat-out floors it.

The other source of joy in the Bolt is the one-pedal driving. Chevy has made
the strong regen levels available in the Bolt a selling point, and it’s
apparently worked on Fox, who calls it his “favorite feature.”

All of the extra fun behind the wheel is enhanced – no surprise here – by
the increased range. Instead of worrying about running out of battery power
during a 70-mile drive, Fox was happy that he could make the trip without
any sort worry, even when leaving home with a less-than-full pack.

It’s not all sunshine and roses, though, with the thin seats and
questionable suspension capabilities being the main problem points. The
suspension is an issue that has received a fair bit of attention from other
drivers, so it’s something to consider when making your own test drive.

[image]  2017 Nissan Leaf

As for the seats, other people who’ve taken the Bolt EV for a test drive or
own one seem to agree that it really depends on your size if they’re
comfortable or not (the larger you are, the less comfortable they are, in
general). Most people declare them fine, but if you’re really unhappy, there
are some aftermarket options to make them more comfortable.

In the end, Fox is a fan. “All in all, we're really happy with the (Bolt
EV),” he wrote. “I definitely liked the Leaf's seats and softer interior
finish, and definitely its ride (and our Prius's) more than the Bolts. But
we're already getting used to this.”

For the full details, check out Fox’s post on Facebook and our own
comparison between the new Leaf and the Bolt EV.
[© 2017 Green Car Reports]
2018 Nissan Leaf squares off against 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Bolt EV vs Leaf first impressions

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