2018 Chevrolet Bolt and 2018 Nissan Leaf Full-Electric Car Comparison

July 15th, 2018 by

Not only is the electric car revolution here, consumers have more choices than ever to make between makes and models. One closely matched pair worthy of comparison for 2018 is the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf. Both are sporty looking five-door hatchbacks that look very similar from a distance. However, that’s where the similarity ends. There are significant differences in price, range, and features that require consideration.

Price and Range

2018 Chevrolet Bolt

Remember the days when all the talk was about miles per gallon? With electric cars, it’s about range. Range is a very significant factor as it has as a great deal to do with how far one can drive without recharging and, perhaps more importantly, the total cost. It stands to reason that the more lasting power a batter has, as measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), the more it is going to cost. Electric cars, like cordless power tools and other rechargeable technologies, are the same in this respect.

This is one of the major differences between the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf. The Bolt with its 60-kWh battery provides 238 miles of range as compared to the Leaf’s 40-kWh battery that provides a projected 150 miles. That’s a 60% difference.

Happily, it doesn’t represent a 60% difference in price but there is a difference in price. The Bolt’s price ranges between $36,620 and $40,095 while the Leaf ranges about $29,990 to $36,200. Overall, that is about a $7,000 difference or about a 19% increase on the overall cost. For those for whom range is a major consideration, it would be money well spent. Others in more close-in urban environments may think otherwise. This is one decision that needs close scrutiny. It is noteworthy to mention that Nissan is planning a Leaf model in 2019 with a 60-kWh battery that will be more expensive but will try to compete more directly with the Bolt.

Power, Performance, and Driving Impressions

Like miles per gallon and range, horsepower (HP) becomes kilowatts (kW) with electric cars. In this regard, the Chevrolet Bolt is significantly different with its 150-kWh motor as compared to the Leaf’s 110-kW motor. This translates to a difference of 200-HP as compared to 147-HP. This also translates to the Bolt having a noticeably quicker feel for the driver. As noted by a Green Car Reports comparison of the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt and 2018 Nissan Leaf, it is safe to say that the Bold is peppier. This report went on to say that with battery weight below the floor, both cars feel stable and grounded, but the nod went to the Bolt’s steering feel. The Leaf was viewed as being a little numb in comparison.

Features and Trim Levels

2018 Chevrolet Bolt

The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt for sale in Purcell, OK comes in two trim levels with the same 200-HP motor: the LT and Premier.

The LT has an onboard 7.2-kWh charger, cloth seats, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a rearview camera, 10.2-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker sound system, keyless ignition, keyless entry, xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, a configurable gauge cluster display, automatic climate control, OnStar communications, 4G LTE connection, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Optionally, the LT can be upgraded with the Comfort and Convenience package that adds heated front seats, leather steering wheel, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The LT can be further upgraded with the Driver Confidence I package that adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors.

Another separate LT option is a cargo area floor cover that adds extra storage capability.

The Premier trim level adds all of the aforementioned LT features including all the options. In addition to this, the Premier adds leather seats, ambient interior lighting, heated rear seats, a center rear armrest, cargo roof rails, a parking camera system, and a camera-based rearview mirror.

Options for the Premier include the Infotainment package that adds seven-speaker Bose audio, wireless smartphone charging, and two USB ports in the rear. The Premier’s Driver Confidence II package provides a forward collision warning system, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, a lane departure warning with an intervention system, and automatic high-beam headlamp dimming.

2018 Nissan Leaf

The 2018 Nissan Leaf is available in three trim levels – the S, SV, and SL all of which come with the 147-HP electric motor. The base S level comes with a five-inch LCD, display keyless entry, keyless ignition, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a USB port, four-speaker sound system, CD player, satellite radio, forward collision warning with intervention, automatic braking, and 16-inch steel wheels.
One option on the S trim level is the Charge package that includes a DC fast-charging port and a portable charging cable that can connect to either 120- or 240-volt sources.

The SV comes standard with the Charge package and adds a seven-inch touchscreen, adaptive cruise control, navigation, Nissan Connect web connectivity, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto smartphone integration, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The SV Technology package can be added that provides adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, LED running lights, a power driver seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic high beams, an electronic parking brake, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning with intervention.

Both the S and SV can add the All-Weather package with heated seats, heated steering wheel, heated side mirrors, and a heat pump cabin heater.

Going all-out with the SL, the All-Weather package is included with many of the features of the SV’s Technology package with added leather upholstery, and a seven-speaker Bose sound system. Only available for the SL is the SL Technology package that adds the rest of the SV Technology features plus Nissan ProPilot Assist for additional lane-keeping assist functionality.

Putting It All Together

Given the wide arrange of features and trim levels available, it is not an easy choice between the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt and the 2018 Nissan Leaf. As mentioned above, perhaps the biggest choice is in the amount of range one needs for their commutes. There is no question that the Bolt has a distinct advantage in this department in both range and power. This does come at a cost but may also be absolutely necessary for many. In fact, the Leaf is considered a “mid-range” electric car, which by default makes the Bolt a “long-range” vehicle. The Bolt also has few other not-so-profound advantages such as a much larger LCD display and a 7.2-kWh onboard charger, as opposed to the Leaf’s 6.6-kWh, that may make a difference in making the vehicle road ready.

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