Chevrolet Bolt EV vs. Nissan Leaf

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Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - October 11, 2017

The race to create the most affordable electric vehicle with a 200-mile range is in full swing, with the Chevrolet Bolt EV ringing up at under $40,000 and the Tesla Model 3 starting below $35,000. Now comes the 2018 Nissan Leaf, which features a whole new look, more features, and a longer range all at a floor-busting price.

But can a lower-priced Leaf actually keep up with the Bolt EV? Continue reading to find out.

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

What the Bolt EV Gets Right

The Chevrolet Bolt EV still holds the title as the longest-range sub-$40,000 electric vehicle at 238 miles. The Leaf, though, returns barely 150 miles per charge. The Bolt EV is also quite quick off the line, hitting 60 mph in around 6.5 seconds.

Inside, the Bolt EV’s cabin is far larger than its small footprint would lead you to believe. It offers a respectable-for-its-class 36.5 inches of rear leg room and a 16.9-cubic-foot cargo area behind the rear seats.

Finally, features are plentiful in the Bolt EV, even in its standard format. The standard equipment includes HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, a rearview camera, automatic climate control, two USB ports, an eight-inch digital instrument cluster, and a massive 10.2-inch center touchscreen.

What the Leaf Gets Right

After standing out a bit too much in its first generation, the Leaf gets more conventional sheetmetal as part of its redesign, aligning itself with the new, toned-down appearances becoming increasingly common in the EV world. These normal looks continue inside the cabin too, making Nissan's EV model more palatable to most buyers.

Pricing is also a key advantage for the LEAF, as it starts from just $30,875 ($885 destination fee included) before incentives. That’s nearly $6,000 less than the Bolt EV.

The Leaf also offers more advanced technology, thanks in large part to the available ProPilot a semi-autonomous-driving system, which pairs a number of active safety systems into a single suite designed to ease the burden on the driver. Automatic emergency braking and Nissan's new e-Pedal, which allegedly allows drivers to get by with just a single pedal, are both standard. Optional Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also nice touches that make it easier to safely integrate your cellphone into the driving experience.

Great Strides, but the Leaf Still Falls Short

The Leaf made huge strides in 2018 and comes close to overcoming the Bolt EV, but its 150-mile range still leaves room for some anxiety. Fortunately, Nissan will introduce a Leaf with longer range in the not-so-distant future, so the scale could tip in the Leaf's favor soon.

Verdict: Chevrolet Bolt EV

It was a closer competition, but the Bolt EV managed to squeak by the new Leaf. Its saving grace remains its 238-mile range and the huge amount of standard features.

Take a closer look at the Chevrolet Bolt EV »

Take a closer look at the Nissan Leaf »

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

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website