Chevrolet Bolt vs. Nissan Leaf Vehicle Comparison


Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular and they have been taking an ever-increasing share of the market. However, most of them are still viewed as local transportation, used to run daily errands and shuttle the kids around town.

With this in mind, we’ve tested and compared two electric cars that meet those requirements, but also don’t bust the bank. The mythical Tesla Model 3 for the initially proposed price is still to be seen, so the market vastly turns to the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf.

Let’s see how they compare.

Power and Torque Comparison

First of all, electric motors have instant torque from zero revs. This means that their response is noticeably different than that of vehicles with internal combustion engines. For these, the stated top power and torque figures are what you get only at certain RPM. For electrics, the toque is instantly available at any RPM, so the figures stated below are even more significant.

The Bolt is a clear winner in this respect. It has 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, while the Leaf has 147 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. Both of these are respectable and more than sufficient for city cars. They react to the pedal push with ease and acceleration is smooth, confident and very fun. However, the difference is significant.

With 200 hp the Bolt is noticeably faster not only than the Leaf, but also most other cars on the street. It takes under 7 seconds to reach 100km/h, which is pretty good for a city car.

The Leaf, on the other hand, needs about one second more to 100. Now, it is not that you will be using either of these to race, but the difference plays an important role when it comes to overtaking or merging into motorways. Getting up to speed in both of these is fast and effortless, but the Bolt is noticeably better.

Range Comparison

Another major advantage for the Bolt is its range. Even with the facelift, the Leaf has only about 240 km of range. This will be enough for most applications, but it does limit its practicality significantly.

On the other hand, the Bolt is rated at 383 km of range, which makes it a lot more practical. Moreover, many owners have reported they get noticeably more than the official range suggests.

It is important to note that both of these cars offer increased range through ECO modes and regenerative braking. However, the difference is still in favour of the Bolt and by a great margin.

It is true that most electric vehicles will rarely go for more than 200 km before returning home. However, having the extra reach of the Bolt greatly improves its usability. It means you can drive for more time - or even days between recharges, you can go to more remote locations, and rarely (if ever) use other means of transport. It generally gives you a lot more freedom.

Interior Design

Both cars are practical and easy to use. The Leaf looks like a regular car – its controls are pretty easy to use and they are well positioned. The seats, especially in higher trim levels, are comfortable and supportive and the materials used are very good.

However, the Bolt wins this comparison as well. Its look is a modern one. Its controls are easy to use as well, very intuitive and positioned close to the steering wheel and the screen is positioned a lot better. Moreover, the screen in the Bolt is a 10.2” unit, while the Leaf has a 7” one. The central console is very small in the Bolt and it gives a more roomy feel.

Interior Space

This is a very interesting part of comparison. Numbers say that the Leaf is bigger, longer, with a wider track and with a longer wheelbase. At first sight, this should mean that it is more accommodating on the inside. Sitting at the front, this notion seems even more true. Neither car lacks space up front – in fact, we would be pressed to find a car in the entire industry that lacks space up front – but there is a bit more room in the Leaf.

But step in the back of the Bolt and there is more legroom, headroom, more hip and shoulder room. All these translate to more passenger volume overall by more than 60 l in the Bolt.

This was a very smart move from Chevrolet engineers. Sure there is more space in the Leaf up front, but the driver and the front passenger will not feel cramped in the Leaf or in the Bolt. On the other hand, rear space is a problem for a lot of the industry and offering a more accommodating rear is a big plus for the Bolt.

The only truly significant measurement where the Leaf is in the lead is its cargo volume which is more than 200 l bigger. Everything else is on the side of the Bolt.

The Leaf is in its second generation, so it is very familiar to the buyers looking for an EV. The Bolt, on the other hand, is a newer creation and it might take some time before it is as common as the Leaf. However, looking at the comparison, the catch up time might be very short.

Categories: New Inventory

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