Nissan, a leading Japanese car brand in Russia, China, and Mexico, continues to battle for its cut in the EV market space, with the upgraded Leaf. This car is famous for its affordability, but should the price solely dictate the vehicle that you’re going to choose? We are here today to review the Korean model along with its number one rival: Chevy Bolt. Which one of these models provides a bigger bang for the buck? Stay tuned to find out.
Driving, battery, range
The standard Nissan Leaf model comes with 147 horsepower single electric motor powering the front wheels, while the Leaf Plus offers a 214 hp motor and a larger, 62 kWh battery. Per ev-database.org, standard Leaf achieves 0 to 100km/h in just under 8 seconds, compared to the Leaf Plus’s 7.3sec. The biggest disadvantage with this EV is the range that it offers. A real range of just about 230km (140 miles) limits this vehicle to only those people who do not cover a lot of miles in their car, at least not daily. Leaf Plus can be a better option, but only slightly, with a maximum of around 350km (215 miles) of driving range. Nissan has made the CHAdeMO quick-charging port standard across the Leaf lineup. It is located neatly in the front, next to the Type 2 port. They claim 20% to 80% battery charge in 60minutes, with 480V DC Fast Charging, on a regular Leaf.
Chevy Bolt consists of a 60kWh battery and 200 horsepower motor, that’s on front wheels. With this battery capacity, the car’s estimated range comes out to around 415km (259 miles), per their official website. This should be plenty of range for a regular driver. Fast charging capabilities are somewhat similar to that of the Leaf: in this InsideEvs video, they charged the car from 5% to 80% in almost 70minutes. The car might look slow, but that is far from the truth: Bolt reaches 0 to 100km/h in 6.5sec, putting it ahead of its competitor. Also, you can choose between two modes of driving: Normal and Sport. Sport mode adjusts the accelerator, resulting in more responsive driving. The exterior looks fresh, and the front mask reminds us a little of Citroen e-c4. Sure, Bolt has got a weird shape due to its dimensions, but it still looks futuristic.
Infotainment and tech
When it comes to the interior of Nissan Leaf, it is mostly a mixture of black plastics. It’s got a sporty wheel with optional heating, a feature not very often present in such cars. Generally speaking, the interior feels dated, unlike the EV models being built today. The gauge cluster offers a large analog speedometer next to a 7.0-inch digital screen. And in the front center, this vehicle is working with an 8.0-inch infotainment system, that supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and optional navigation.
The shift lever on Nissan is odd-looking, and it might confuse someone who finds itself in this car for the first time. With that said, Leaf’s owners never complained about it.
The interior of Chevy Bolt, on the other hand, looks sporty, fresh and stylish. It’s got a 10.2-inch screen located at the center of the console, that is surrounded by dark colors, giving it a modern look. There’s also an 8-inch digital instrument cluster on the center console, as well as a Honda-style electronic shifter that takes up less space than a typical one. It does have an armrest, while its rival Leaf doesn’t. Overall, we are impressed with the new Chevy look.
Nissan Safety Shield: automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, blindspot warning, lane departure warning, and high beam assist. The e-Pedal feature on the Leaf allows the driver to switch between regenerative braking modes: one that allows the car to coast when the driver lifts off the throttle(like on a standard ICE) and another, that slows the car as soon as you take the foot off the gas and uses that energy to recharge itself. For a hatchback, it’s got one of the largest capacities. The only downside is that the seats don’t create a flat load floor when folded. In addition, Nissan Leaf is equipped with front and back seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags, front-seat knee air bags, and roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags with rollover sensor.
Bolt comes standard with the Chevy Safety Assist package that includes lane-keeping, automated emergency braking, and forward-collision alert, among other things. Adaptive cruise control and rear cross-traffic alert are optional. It is also equipped with a “regen-on-demand” paddle, located behind the wheels, that captures the energy produced and returns it to the battery. Instead of regular braking when you want to slow down, just press the paddle and let the car slow itself down, while regenerating some of the energy. Another thing you can do is put it in “L mode”. L mode is the mechanism that Leaf has, essentially controlling the car only via the gas pedal. When you find an optimal speed, hold the foot at the gas, and when you want to slow down or stop, just take the foot off, and the car will do it for you.
The cheapest Leaf (model S) starts from $27,400, and that is before the federal tax credit. With the credit maxed to its limit ($7500), this car comes right at the $20.000 mark.
Chevy Bolt, on the other hand, starts from $31,000, before the tax credit. That’s higher than the Leaf’s price, but it’s about $5000 cheaper than the previous Bolt model. The more expensive model of Bolt does not offer better performances, like Nissans models. What it does offer are more safety features and leather-appointed seats.
With everything in mind, we are inclined to choose Bolt as our winner. Even if we forget the interior design and acceleration performances, the base version of this car offers a big difference in battery performance, compared to the Korean car. If having a vehicle with a smaller range does not impact your daily chores, you should go with Nissan. We’re expecting to see more of these models on the road during the next couple of years, due to the affordability and functionality that they offer.
If you liked the comparison, please check out some of the earlier ones we did at the link here.