Chevrolet Bolt EV vs. Kia Niro EV

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - November 19, 2019

Those who say electric vehicles aren't practical haven't sampled the Chevrolet Bolt EV or Kia Niro EV. Both offer spunky performance, generous cargo space, and plenty of range at a reasonable price. If they're both so appealing, which one do we like better?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Bolt EV & Niro EV »

What the Bolt EV Gets Right

The Chevy Bolt EV now boasts an EPA-estimated 259 miles of range, which is as good as it gets for a mass market electric vehicle. The motor produces 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, enough to make the Bolt EV a very quick hatchback.

Bringing a depleted battery back to full capacity takes 9.5 hours on a 240-volt (Level 2) home charger. With the optional Level 3 charger, drivers can get 90 miles of range for every 30 minutes plugged into a public charging station.

The Bolt EV feels much larger on the inside than its trim footprint suggests. The tall body permits abundant head room and the interior floor is virtually flat. Behind the rear seats, there's 16.9 cubic feet of cargo space, about the same as a large sedan. Folding the seats opens up up 56.6 cubic feet of cargo space, which matches many compact crossovers.

What the Niro EV Gets Right

Inside and out, the Kia Niro EV looks very much like one of the dozens of small crossovers on the market. Things are different under the hood, where the Niro EV packs an electric motor good for 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque. For comparison, the standard Niro with its gas-electric hybrid system musters a middling 139 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque.

Level 2 charging times are virtually identical to the Bolt EV. The Niro EV is a little quicker on a Level 3 charger, giving drivers 100 miles of range every 30 minutes. On a full charge, the Niro EV is good to go for up to 239 miles.

With the rear seat occupied, the cargo area holds up to 22 cubic feet. With it folded, load space expands to 53 cubic feet.

What's the Difference?

The Chevrolet Bolt EV isn't shy about being an electric vehicle. The towering hatchback body might be too out there for some, but the payoff is a remarkably large interior for a passenger car. Its strong acceleration and class-leading range dispel the notion that EVs aren't for the real world.

The same can be said for the Kia Niro EV, thought not quite so emphatically. It scores well across the board, but gives up a few points here and there to the Bolt EV. However, that not might matter to buyers who prefer the Niro EV's gently rugged style over the Bolt EV's blatant modernism – and we suspect there are many such folks.

Our Verdict: Chevrolet Bolt EV

A true believer in itself, the Chevy Bolt EV is designed from the ground up to make the most of electric power.

Take a closer look at the Chevrolet Bolt EV »

Take a closer look at the Kia Niro EV »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


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