Two of the most affordable and practical electric vehicles on the market are the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Both offer ample range and space in a compact hatchback package. They are both extremely popular at local Chevy and Nissan dealer locations.
How do these EVs stack up against each other? Before heading to your nearest Chevy or Nissan dealer, let’s compare the Leaf and Bolt across key categories to see which model offers the best value and ownership experience.
Range and Charging
The Bolt EV clearly wins when it comes to driving range, delivering an EPA-estimated 259 miles per charge from its 65 kWh battery pack. The base Leaf S only manages 149 miles from its smaller 40 kWh battery. Stepping up to the Leaf SV Plus extends the range to 212 miles thanks to a 62 kWh battery.
The Bolt also charges faster with its 55 kW DC fast charging capability, adding up to 100 miles of range in 30 minutes. The Leaf tops out at 50 kW charging, taking 40-60 minutes to reach 80% capacity, depending on the battery size. Both can fully recharge in under 12 hours on a 240V home Level 2 charger.
Performance and Handling
Performance metrics are fairly even between the two models. The Leaf SV Plus generates 214 horsepower, allowing a 0-60 mph time of around 6.5 seconds. The standard Bolt makes 200 horsepower with a quicker 0-60 mph sprint of 6.3 seconds. The Bolt feels sportier and more nimble on winding roads. The Leaf provides a softer, more isolated ride quality. Overall, driving dynamics suit both as easy-driving commuter vehicles.
Interior Space and Cargo Capacity
The Bolt sacrifices some interior room for its performance. Passenger space is tight, especially in the rear seats and cargo area, with only 16.6 cubic feet behind the second row. The Leaf is more comfortable for four adults and offers superior cargo versatility with 23.6 cubic feet of volume. The Leaf also has more front headroom and better access through its rear hatch.
Technology and Safety Features
Both EVs provide solid tech features, including Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Wi-Fi hotspots, and advanced driver assistance systems. The Bolt’s ten-inch touchscreen is larger than the Leaf’s eight-inch display. The Leaf SV Plus adds navigation and NissanConnect EV services. Available Super Cruise offers hands-free driving assistance on the Bolt. Safety advantages go to the Leaf with standard ProPilot Assist on SV Plus versus the Bolt’s optional equipment.
Cost to Own
The Bolt has a clear value advantage with its starting MSRP of $26,595, undercutting the Leaf S at $28,895. Factor in potential federal tax credits of $7,500 for the Leaf, and the gap narrows, but you must qualify based on income. Visit your local Chevy or Nissan dealer to learn more.
Should You Visit a Chevy or Nissan Dealer? The Verdict
For range and charging, the Bolt EV wins out over the Leaf with its larger battery, DC fast charging rate, and estimated 259 miles per charge. Performance is a toss-up, while interior space favors the Nissan Leaf. Tech and safety features are well-matched. Overall value leans towards the Bolt, but the Leaf merits consideration if federal tax credits apply to your situation. Either EV is a smart choice that delivers practicality and efficiency in an affordable package and will make any driver happier and more eco-friendly.
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