Nissan Leaf Vs. Chevy Bolt: Which Should You Buy?


Years ago, when electric cars were first introduced to the market, buying one was mostly inconceivable. While certainly better for the environment, electric cars were tough to compare to their gas-guzzling counterparts. Many of them just did not have the durability or reliability and were often far more expensive than traditional gas-powered vehicles.

If you are in the market for a new vehicle and leaning towards an electric one, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt are two reliable vehicles with fair and comparable price points. Despite the vehicles sharing many similarities, they appeal to drivers with different tastes and needs.

Learning about the specifications of each vehicle will help make the decision of which one is better suited to you and your family. Keep reading to learn how the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt stack up against one another and how to decide on which vehicle to buy.

Nissan Leaf Vs. Chevy Bolt

The Chevy Bolt seems to give off the appearance of what you would expect should you encounter a new electric vehicle, whereas the Nissan Leaf tends to offer the looks of a more traditional vehicle. The sleek interior of the Leaf is beautiful.

If you are thinking of upgrading to a more high-end and designer-style vehicle, the Chevy Bolt may be the better option. It is an especially good vehicle for individuals or families who have longer commutes, like to travel or take weekend getaways, and spend more time on the go. Nevertheless, a key decision you will have to make before you choose either vehicle is deciding to get an electric vehicle in the first place.

Making the switch from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle can be an intimidating change. Stopping at the gas pump versus charging your car for extra juice can seem overwhelming. Yet, before diving deeper into the differences between the Chevy Bolt and the Nissan Leaf, two electric vehicles that can easily go head to head with one another, consider the benefits of owning an electric vehicle.

Pros of owning an electric vehicle include:

  • Better for the environment
  • No More Gas Expenses
  • Electricity is renewable, while gas is not
  • Less frequent maintenance
  • Quieter
  • Driving and Parking Perks

Many of the similarities between the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt are attributable to their status as electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are on the rise, so acknowledging the benefits of this class of vehicles is important before discussing their similarities and differences further. Read on to learn more about the pros of owning an electric vehicle.

Better for the Environment

Regarding the environment, lower fuel emissions mean the car is better for the environment than gas-powered vehicles. Exhaust from gas-powered vehicles gets expelled into the atmosphere, contributing to the greenhouse gas effect that is most notable for global warming. Electric vehicles do not have these emissions, making our planet take less of a hit over time.

No More Gas!

Gas is expensive. There is no contesting that. The average consumer spends between $2000-$4000 per year on gas alone, and that does not even include regular car maintenance. Although some consumers balk at the expensive price points of electric vehicles, the yearly savings in gas more than makes up the difference.

Electricity is Renewable

Gasoline is created using oil, which is a nonrenewable resource. This means that the amount of oil on our planet is finite, and once it is gone, it is gone. This is why finding alternative energy sources is so important. Electric vehicles operate with solar, wind, and water power. These resources are renewable, with an infinite amount of them available to us. Thus, electric cars are more likely to stick around for the long haul.

Less Frequent Maintenance

In a typical gas-powered vehicle, one of the most common expenses is oil changes. After every so many mile, your car needs to be serviced to be sure that things are running smoothly. If you opt not to change your oil, you run the risk of your car requiring more expensive repairs down the road that could be managed with more regular checkups and services.

Electric cars, on the other hand, do not operate using oil and therefore need less servicing than gas-powered cars. This means that not only is maintenance easier for electric-powered cars, but also far less easy on the wallet. In addition, electric cars tend to be easier on brakes than gas-powered cars, meaning that maintenance will be cheaper too.

Quieter

Since electric cars run solely on battery power, they tend to be quieter than gas-powered engines. In fact, there have been discussions of needing to make electric cars louder just to alert pedestrians on the road that a car is approaching. While noise may be a nonissue for some, those who have jobs that require early mornings may opt for a quieter vehicle so as not to wake the family.

Special Perks

As an incentive to buy electric cars, some places offer special perks to those who drive them. For example, some shopping centers have special parking for electric cars. Some of these spots are even equipped with charging stations, and they are almost always convenient spots that are closest to the entrances.

Additionally, some highways also offer special driving lanes for electric cars. These lanes make it possible for drivers to avoid rush hour traffic. Many of these incentives exist because of the positive impact electric cars have on fuel emissions, making them a great choice for your family and for the planet.

Nissan Leaf Vs. Chevy Bolt: Price Comparison

A vehicle is usually a major purchase for an individual, so price points of vehicles tend to matter. After all, you want to be spending your hard-earned cash on a vehicle that performs well and will last.

The Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt have fairly comparable price points, with the Chevy Bolt being just slightly more expensive. The Nissan Leaf base model has an MSRP starting at just $31,670. The Leaf Plus, which boasts a better battery, has an MSRP starting at $40,520. The Chevy Bolt base model comes in with an MSRP at $36,500.

One thing that makes the Nissan Leaf even more affordable is the federal tax credit offered. The federal tax credit for electric vehicles was instated over ten years ago. This incentive allowed consumers to get a tax credit of $7500 for the purchase of their electric vehicles.

This rebate was only allowed until the automakers sold 200,000 of their electric vehicles, thus making cars like the Chevy Bolt ineligible. Since Nissan only has one electric vehicle in the United States market, which is the Nissan Leaf, they still have not passed the 200,000 car threshold.

If you are looking for an affordable car that is good value for the money spent, the Nissan Leaf is an excellent choice. With lots of comfort and safety that comes standard in its vehicles, the Nissan Leaf is a great car for everyday use. It offers both affordability and special technological perks that are not to be overlooked. Coupled with the tax incentives, the Nissan Leaf is a great car for the money.

Nissan Leaf Pros

The 2021 Nissan Leaf, particularly their more premium version, the Leaf Plus, offers a number of pros over the 2021 Chevy Bolt.

An overview of some of the pros include:

  • More front headroom than the Bolt
  • Easier use of climate control
  • Better Handling
  • Better safety technology

The easy use of climate control and additional front headroom compared to the Chevy Bolt makes the Nissan Leaf a more comfortable vehicle to drive. Additionally, if you appreciate superb handling and safety technology, then the Nissan Leaf is also the better choice.

More Front Headroom

If you are tall, you know how important headroom can be in your vehicle. When it comes to headroom in the Nissan Leaf vs. the Chevy Bolt, the Leaf wins. The Nissan Leaf boasts 41.2 inches of headroom, while the Chevy Bolt boasts a modest 39.7 inches. If height is a concern for you, then the Nissan Bolt has a clear advantage.

For some, this additional headroom may not be that important, but this is something worth considering if you are tall and still deciding on which vehicle to buy.

Climate Control

Everyone wants to be comfortable when they drive, and climate control is one of the most important factors of comfortability. While both the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt come equipped with heated steering wheels and heated seats, climate control is easier to manage on the Nissan Leaf.

Drivers of the Nissan Leaf admit that using climate control in the car does not noticeably impact the charge of the car. Yet, in the Chevy Bolt, climate control impacts the range of miles the car is able to drive while fully charged. If you have long car rides and the weather is unpredictable, the Nissan Leaf may offer you better comfort.

Vehicle Handling

While comfort inside of the car is important, the way your car responds to the outside environment can equally impact comfort. When it comes to speed, both the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt are comparable. The Nissan Leaf can go from 0 mph to 60 mph in about 7 seconds, while the Chevy Bolt takes about 6.5 seconds.

Though slightly faster, the Chevy Bolt does not handle bumps in the road as easily as and smoothly as the Nissan Leaf. When driving through cities with less than ideal road conditions, the Nissan Leaf does a better job absorbing the movement, keeping the ride more comfortable for both the driver and passengers.

Improved Safety Technology

The Nissan Leaf comes equipped with better standard safety features than the Chevy Bolt. If you are someone that likes to take extra precautions on the road, the Nissan Leaf may help ease your mind.

Some of these safety features include:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Forward collision alert
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • ProPilot Assist

Each of these safety features protects the driver by alerting or assisting the driver in some capacity,  which reduces the stress on drivers in dubious situations. Although drivers should always stay aware on the road, these safety features ensure that the driver is properly informed at all times while on the road.

Automatic Emergency Braking

AEB is a technology that activates a vehicle braking system if a potential collision is detected. The driver does not need to put his or her foot on the brake pedal in order for this safety feature to be deployed. These systems detect cars, pedestrians, and other hindrances that the driver may miss and activate the brakes to avoid potential accidents.

Forward Collision Alert

Forward Collision Alert warns the driver of potential front-end accidents by sending an alert so the driver can take preventative action. In addition, this safety system can even alert drivers to tailgating issues, allowing drivers to back off of other cars in traffic which may help to mitigate collisions.

Rear Cross-Traffic Alert

This alert assists drivers in reversing their cars where they may not have a full range of vision for pedestrians or other traffic. The alert may be given visually or auditorily and will let the driver know if there is an approaching pedestrian or vehicle the driver may not see.

Lane Keep Assist

Lane Keep Assist helps to assist drivers back into their own lane if they drift into other lanes while driving. This is operated via a sensor that detects lane lines on a road or highway. This alert tends to work at higher rates of speed.

ProPilot Assist

ProPilot Assist is a program run by Nissan that combines cruise control and steering assist technologies to make your ride smoother. This high-tech program can even bring your vehicle to a full stop, keep it at a full stop within traffic, and then move your vehicle again once the flow of traffic picks up.

This system also links up with your navigation system to predict highway traffic patterns. It can help your car adjust the speed with which it takes turns, such as on and off-ramps. It also helps to set cruise control based on posted speed limits.

While the Chevy Bolt looks more high-end in appearance, the Nissan Bolt has a lot more to offer technologically speaking. The Chevy Bolt does have additional add-ons for safety features which include many of the ones listed above, but they do not come stock with the car.

In fact, the Chevy Bolt does not even come with adaptive cruise control in its base model. While ProPilot Assist has had known issues, the added touch can take some of the anxiety away from driving, especially long distances.

Chevy Bolt Pros

The Chevy Bolt is an equally solid choice for an electric vehicle, depending on what you are looking for. Fairly comparable in car specifications, the Chevy Bolt is a durable and reliable vehicle when compared to the Nissan Leaf.

Some of the pros when compared to the Nissan Leaf include:

  • More legroom
  • More cargo space
  • Increased range

Unlike the Nissan Leaf, which prioritizes safety, handling, and comfortability, the Chevy Bolt emphasizes storage space, legroom, and more range so you can drive for long distances without needing to recharge the battery.

More Legroom

If you have taller passengers who will be utilizing the backseat space, the Chevy Bolt proves more comfortable than the Nissan Leaf. The Chevy Bolt has approximately 36.5 inches of space for legroom in its second row, compared to only 33.5 inches for the Nissan Leaf.

More Cargo Space

It may appear at first glance that the Nissan Leaf offers more cargo space than the Chevy Bolt. The Nissan Leaf offers a total of 23.6 cubic feet in its trunk space behind the second row of seats. The Chevy Bolt only offers 16.9 cubic feet in the same space behind the second row of seats.

That said, the Chevy Bolt offers significantly more cargo room once that second row of seats is folded down. In the folded position, the Chevy Bolt offers a total of 56.6 cubic feet, which is 26.6 cubic feet more than the Nissan Leaf when its second row of seats is in the folded position.

Increased Range

One of the biggest downfalls of electric vehicles is the amount of time it takes to charge them. While electric vehicles save consumers tons of money in gas savings over the years, they still require regular charging, which can be a time-consuming aggravation. This is why range, or the number of miles expected on a single charge, can be an important consideration before buying an electric vehicle.

On one charge, the Chevy Bolt is able to drive approximately 259 miles, which clearly beats out the Nissan Leaf. The Nissan Leaf tends to average 226 miles on a single charge, and only when paired with the larger battery option. When looking at the stock Nissan leaf, a single charge only gets about 149 miles on average.

If you are someone who travels a lot, having more cargo space and more miles to a single charge may be a more important consideration for you.

Features Unique to Chevy Bolt

Just as the Nissan Leaf comes stock with an array of technologies that make it stand out from the Chevy Bolt, the Bolt also comes with features that make it stand apart from the crowd.

Some of these special features to take into consideration are:

  • One pedal driving
  • Sport Mode
  • Michelin Selfseal

These special features for the Chevy Bolt ensure that you are safer on the road while also enabling you to accelerate quickly to reach faster speeds.

Although the Chevy Bolt does not emphasize safety quite like the Nissan Leaf, the One Pedal driving and Michelin Selfseal features greatly help keep drivers safe. Keep reading to learn more about these special features.

One Pedal Driving

One pedal driving is a feature that allows automatic braking of the vehicle without ever needing to reach over to the actual brake pedal. One pedal braking is particularly effective in traffic, as typically the brake lights turn on, signaling to other drivers that the car is slowing down if the driver takes his or her foot off the accelerator.

By just removing your foot from the accelerator, the Chevy Bolt can eventually come to nearly a complete stop without ever pressing down on the brake pedal.

Sport Mode

Sport mode is a unique feature of the Chevy Bolt. When Sport Mode is activated, the car has a faster acceleration rate with less throttle. This is a nice way to give your car more oomph when pulling onto the road, and it comes stock in the Chevy Bolt.

Michelin Selfseal

Michelin Selfseal is the exact kind of technology any driver experiencing rough terrain might be happy to have on their car when they are far from home. This technology allows drivers to feel protected against sharp objects on the road.

When drivers accidentally run over some rough terrain, foreign objects, or stray nails in the road, the inner layer of Michelin Selfseal closes the hole to keep tires inflated until repairs can be made. This offers drivers peace of mind for those long car rides where repairs may not be easily made.

In-Car Entertainment

Nissan uses Apple CarPlay to connect your Nissan Leaf to your iPhone to help you use Siri, manage playlists, and use messaging apps. The car is also equipped with Standard Android Auto to help you connect your Android and have access to Google while you drive.

Even the cheapest model of the Nissan Leaf comes equipped with Sirius XM capability and even includes a three-month subscription to the radio service. This kind of radio offers more specialized stations, fewer commercials, and usually crisper sound than standard car radios.

Through NissanConnect, the connectivity you experience with your phone is integrated into your vehicle, with everything accessible via voice commands. In addition, even when at home, the NissanConnect app allows you access to your Leaf from your smartphone. By using the app, it is possible to set the cabin temperature before you step foot into your car, know your range, and also understand the current charge of your battery.

In addition to offering both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the Chevy Bolt also acts as a wifi hotspot. It also offers another level of connectivity through its app, Energy Assist. The Energy Assist shows drivers over 40,000 locations where they can charge their Bolt on the go. This is particularly beneficial to experienced road trippers.

Charge Time

Charge time for both cars should also be considered before making a purchasing decision. Charging time can take anywhere between 10-12 hours for a full charge on both vehicles, which makes changing overnight a must. Installing a 240-volt charging station at your home can make caring for your electric vehicle a whole lot easier.

What Are Consumers Saying?

When asked for their thoughts on the vehicles, consumers had much to share by way of both positive and negative opinions on each of the vehicles respectively.

Some of the cons listed for the Chevy Bolt include:

  • Firm seats (maybe a pro for some)
  • Touch screen response time lags

Some of the cons listed for the Nissan Leaf include:

  • Subpar interior materials
  • Rear seats do not fold completely flat

While these cons can make or break for some, consumers also shared their favorite parts about each vehicle. These positive highlights might help to sway your decision one way or another.

Favorite elements of the Chevy Bolt include:

  • Prompt acceleration
  • Excellent handling
  • Roomy
  • Great battery charge

Some perks of the Nissan Leaf include:

  • Quick acceleration
  • Easy to use the entertainment system
  • Spacious
  • Many features included standard

As far as standard features, the Nissan Leaf does beat out the Chevy Bolt. Not only are the safety features previously discussed part of the standard features for the Nissan Leaf, but the car even comes with performance tires in both front and rear as standard for the vehicle. Performance tires are also available for the Chevy Bolt, but they are just included as options.

Although the Chevy Bolt comes with less standard, it does come with heated mirrors, which can be a perk in the colder weather. If you live in a colder region, heated mirrors can help to defrost snow and ice more quickly and efficiently. At the end of the day, both cars have a lot to offer consumers, and both make for great choices as your next, or first, electric vehicle.

Final Thoughts

Choosing your next vehicle is a huge decision that requires much deliberation. If you are in the market for an electric vehicle, both the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Bolt are excellent options.

No matter which car you choose, know that investing in an electric vehicle is sure to save money over time and will even help to reduce your carbon footprint making the world a cleaner place for all.

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