Comparison Test: Tesla Model 3, 2018 Nissan LEAF, And Chevy Bolt

Tesla Model 3 competitor

DEC 11 2017 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 92

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3, LA Auto Show (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

Leave it to Motor Trend to be the first to release a much-anticipated Tesla Model 3, 2018 Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Bolt comparison piece.

Of course, Motor Trend is likely the only outfit to have yet had access to these three cars all in one place at one time. This is because Tesla and Nissan supplied MT with the cars for the recent Car of the Year competition. Not to mention the fact that the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt was MT’s COTY winner last year.

Tesla Model 3 competitor

Chevrolet Bolt EV

First of all, MT makes a point of letting us know that they’ve been reviewing EVs since the days of the GM EV1. To add to their already reputable team of experts, they’ve done some recruiting for help with this matchup. MT shares:

“To help with evaluating our exclusive gathering, we brought in some veteran co-conspirators of all things electric.

Patrick Hong has a 23-career testing cars (including that same GM EV1) and carries degrees in both mechanical and aerospace engineering. A

lec Brooks is a seminal figure in the history of the modern electric car, having led the development of the GM Impact, predecessor of the EV1, and run the development of the of the tzero electric sports car, which was the inspiration for Tesla’s Roadster.”

MT admits that comparing the Model 3 to the Bolt and LEAF isn’t really fair. You have to really determine if features and luxury are worth the added cost. Hong says:

“Comparing this Model 3 to the Bolt and Leaf isn’t fair—like comparing a BMW 3 Series with a Camry or Accord.”

Let’s take a brief look at notable takeaways from MT’s comparison testing, along with editor and expert picks.

Notable takeaways:

Tesla Model 3 competitor

2018 Nissan LEAF

Let’s get the most obvious out of the way first. The Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan LEAF are no contest for the Tesla Model 3’s acceleration and driving dynamics. However, due to its sportier suspension, the Model 3 doesn’t offer the quiet, coddling ride quality that the LEAF provides. The Bolt falls somewhere in between.

The test drivers said that the Model 3 rear seats were the hardest to access, offered the least amount of space, and felt “sunken in.” The Bolt received the most cred for its rear-seat space and accessibility. Added to this, it offers superb headroom, which isn’t found in the Model 3 because of the sweeping roofline. Speaking of roofs, there were complaints that the Tesla’s panoramic roof lets in too much heat and sunlight (we’ve heard that one before).

Regenerative braking is quite different among the models, and MT does a nice job of spelling it all out for us. In summary, the Bolt and LEAF do a nice job with one-pedal driving. With the Model 3, you’ll find it more necessary to use the brakes more often.

In terms of efficiency (mpg-e), the Model 3 is ahead of the others, but we knew that already.

Finally, there’s some information about Autopilot vs. ProPilot assist. The LEAF’s ProPilot tech, while simple, does what it’s supposed to, and does it confidently. The Model 3’s Autopilot faulters and is still in the update stage. Its performance proved inconsistent, and it’s obviously not ready just yet. However, the system, in terms of hardware, is much more involved than Nissan’s tech and has the potential to be more advanced.

And the winner is …

Brooks and Hong both preferred the Bolt with all things considered (likely assuming the fact that Model 3 pricing is just too out of reach for the average car buyer). Brooks believes that once the longer range LEAF (~60 kWh battery pack/225 miles) comes along, it will give the Bolt more competition. Though he did call the LEAF’s display about 10 years behind.

Hong called the LEAF’s interior outdated, but well-finished. He admitted that the LEAF is a fantastic deal if you don’t drive a lot of miles, but range was the primary issue for him as well.

In the end, MT’s Kim Reynolds concludes that the Tesla Model 3 wins this battle. He explains:

“In broad-brush, the Bolt and Leaf are great cars but leaned-back EVs … The Model 3 leans into the future with a reckless glee you cannot avoid noticing. Its infotainment and autonomous systems are still a work in progress, but new software features are being beamed in seemingly every night … You may need to talk yourself into a Bolt or a Leaf; you need to talk yourself out of paying the premium for this Model 3.”

Click the link below to see all of Motor Trend’s photos, charts, and a plethora of additional details.

Source: Motor Trend

Categories: Chevrolet, Nissan, Tesla

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92 Comments on "Comparison Test: Tesla Model 3, 2018 Nissan LEAF, And Chevy Bolt"

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Ziv

I can’t wait to start seeing M3’s on the streets of the DC Metro area. It is a very cool car. Hopefully they will sell a ton of them! 5,000 a month is a good place to start. But 20,000 a month can’t come to soon.
I love my Volt but the future can’t arrive too soon.

mx

Yes, like they said at the start of the article. Driving Dynamics: Model 3.

I personally can’t see how you can “weight” other attributes so heavily to diminish the absolute Trounce this car performs on the Leaf and Bolt.

MT try’s to make them all winners.
The Leaf should have been mentioned as the “Account’s Choice”, if you’re really going to do that. It clearly wins on Best Value.

tech_guy

“Weight”? $23k carries plenty of weight for me.

This comparo is like pitting a Corvette Z06 against a Mustang. Corvette “should” beat the Mustang, else why would anyone pay the extra cash?

DL

Their data chart at the end of the article seems to indicate that the “real” efficiency of the Bolt is much higher than the M3: 121 versus 104 mpg-e. Am I reading that right?

Mint

I think you’re correct, but I have a feeling that their city driving is a bit more aggressive.

At the same time, their real data shows the Model 3 and Bolt both getting 128 mpge on the highway. That’s impressive.

Ron

I have seen a lot of comments about other Tesla models having vampire losses which are severe enough to affect monthly MPGe if energy used in a parking lot without using energy saving mode is considered (about 135 watts = ~10 miles/day)

Rhaman68

I find this comparisons with little value. It is a test in controlled condition that have little as to what drivers do behind the wheel and the geographical location. But on top of that is the designed function of each model. Like all cars EV’s are purchased based on needs, of requirements. Purchase costs, dealer support and other factors will come in play.

Pushmi-Pullyu
“It is a test in controlled condition that have little as to what drivers do behind the wheel…” Oh, I entirely disagree. I think it’s pretty obvious that how a driver chooses to drive a car makes a big difference in terms of energy used per mile. This is quite noticeable when you read “hypermiling” reports. If you read Motor Trend’s earlier “First Drive” review of the Model 3, it was made very obvious that their reviewer was eager to drive the Model 3 like it’s a sports car, pushing it to the edge of its performance. A comment in this discussion thread says the same reviewer was involved in this comparison. If he’s trying to drive all the cars as much as possible as if they’re sports cars, then it’s no wonder they came up with a considerably higher energy consumption for the Model 3 than the EPA’s test showed! And of course the other cars don’t have anywhere near the performance of the TM3, so the driver wouldn’t be able to push them to such extremes even if he wanted to. I have not checked, but if I’m right, then the numbers given in this article for energy… Read more »
Mark.ca

I would think they tested the extended range TM3 which has a bigger battery than the Bolt so it’s heavier…I’m guessing.

Another Euro point of view
Nice comparison but I wish more “real life” comparisons were made. On site Pushevs they are writing about a EV comparison made by Auto Bilt with winter conditions (+5°C) and some 130km/h highway included in the mix and I came to realize that even the Bolt (Ampera e) in such conditions had really limited range (273 km). It took a “normal” (not EV orientated) magazine to make a comparison worth something for people like me, driving a diesel but seduced by EV technical simplicity. Made me realize that unless battery prices are drastically reduced (as a 75Kwh seems the lower limit to at least have a 300km+ range in ALL conditions) and an extended ultra fast charging net work (150Kw+), the EVs will simply not make it mainstream. Of course a 40kwh battery is OK for a second car or for a few that never uses a car for driving long distances, but that’s a very very limited market when said EV is till quite expensive as compared to ICE (as the current 2% market penetration in most countries seems to confirm). Now the EV talibans out there please don’t chop my head off. Just putting a bit of reality… Read more »
Dan

Actually, most cars are sold in places like China, California, and the US northeast corridor. EVs make perfect sense in those locations. What you’re describing with 130 km/h speeds is likely Germany and is more the exception than the rule. Germans don’t do EVs. We get it. Tell us something new. For the vast majority of the world who use cars for their 20, 30, 40, maybe 50 miles a day use with the occasional road trip, an EV works remarkably well.

Serial anti tesla troll thomas

But Another Euro point of view has right. I’m living only a few km away from Germany and drive often on German highways with 200 km/h+. And for that you need a EV which unfortunately not exists yet. Either it reduces power and I cannot drive 200+ km/h anymore or after 1 hour the battery is empty. Therefore I will drive my 320 hp Infiti a few years more and I guess that the next car will be again an ICE. Afterwards hopefully EVs are that good that I will buy one.

Serial anti tesla troll thomas

Infiniti

Dan

Like I said – Germany, like Texas, is not made for EVs. I predict that it will be the last country on earth to adopt EVs, and even then, it will be kicking and screaming.

WadeTyhon

Last I checked, Texas is a top 5 EV selling state and has the 2nd largest amount of charging infrastructure in the US.

https://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/stations_counts.html

The adoption rate wasn’t super high last year but that should be going up for 2017. The Bolt has been a big success here in Dallas and Austin.

http://evadoption.com/ev-market-share/ev-market-share-state/

Dan

Your own link says that Texas has a 0.29% EV market share. Awkward.

The only reason Texas is in the top 5 is because Texas has nearly one tenth of the US population.

WadeTyhon

Uh yeah, I know. I said that.

“The adoption rate wasn’t super high last year but that should be going up for 2017.”

🙂 Of course almost all of those EVs is sold in DFW / Austin / Houston areas. Its central Texas that is an EV wasteland.

Dan

True. The metroplex area especially. CCS coverage in that area has been improving very rapidly.

Brave Lil' Toaster

Which is why Tesla wins at infrastructure. CCS gets put everywhere that it’s not in the least bit useful for actually getting anywhere useful. There has to be some kind of architectural plan made by *someone* (where I live, it’s being done by the government and some very dedicated EV champions) before that happens, but in the USA, the only body doing that is Tesla.

Dan

OK. So, there is a Tesla charger in bumblefck, Kansas. Party time!

WadeTyhon

Love my Bolt, and in my area the CCS coverage is good enough to get me to lots of places in Texas and surrounding states.

But it can not get me cross country. Tesla rules charging infrastructure. No one being honest would argue that!

Of course they’re also leaving money on the table! 😉 I am looking forward to when Tesla inevitably starts adding a few CCS stations at major supercharger sites.

Get Real

Serial troll and another euro pov are possibly nationalistic “concern trolls” plain and simple and their repeated anti-
Tesla ravings over time here are just more proof of this.

PEVS are if anything even better suited to Europe with its high fuel costs and usually lower distances travelled.

One only has to look at Norway as a good example of how PEVs can do in a cold environment.

When you actually own and drive a PEV you learn how to adapt a little by not driving crazy fast (there is no rule that on the Autobahn that you have to go 200 kmh).

The benefits of PEVs FAR outweigh the drawbacks and battery costs and range/performance/charging and even prices are all improving rapidly and the results of these trends will only continue to improve.

Get Real

Got cut off above.

Was also going to say that even a decent 20 mile range PHEV like the Prius Prime should allow the best of both worlds with local driving in electric and highway driving at speed with gasoline/petrol.

Another Euro point of view

That the Euro Point of view anti Tesla troll can agree with you. A good PHEV is likely what we need while waiting for cheaper long range EVs. Now they don’t come cheap either in Europe and many of them are super boring (slow) or limited in space they offer or expensive. The only one that could suit my needs is the Passat PHEV but its really more expensive than a ICE and actually more expensive on highway as uses a petrol engine that is notoriously not as good as a TDI getting miles per gallon.

Asak

I highly doubt that a Prius is even capable of driving at 124 mph. I think the engine would fall apart first.

Asak

That’s all well and good but I’d say the majority of Germans don’t drive at 200 km/h, ever, even when they possibly could. That’s 124 mph. A lot of cars can’t even do over 90, and I’m not talking about just EVs.

The idea that for a car to sell in Germany it has to be capable of driving hundreds of miles at that speed is absurd.

Also, I sincerely hope that you don’t end up getting killed, or worse killing someone else, by driving recklessly at 200 km/h (just going that speed is reckless regardless of however else you’re driving). At that speed any little problem be it a blow out or whatever can be lethal.

Dan

To add, the primary reason preventing penetration is not range, it is cost. In many places, it is incentives holding up the market. If the Leaf can sell at the same cost as a Camry without incentives, you will see a vastly different result.

WadeTyhon

What is auto bilt? What climate settings did they have the Bolt set to? Do you have a link?

I have so far had very good range on my Bolt this winter. The temperature dropped below 30* F on 2 occasions this past week while I was driving. I have still had 220 – 230 miles of range each day.

Are they intentionally not pre-heating the cabin while plugged in? Are they setting the heater to full blast? Loading up the car with 5 people + luggage? Not using the front and back seat heaters?

Another Euro point of view

http://pushevs.com/2017/12/09/auto-bild-tested-range-8-electric-cars/

I don’t read German so did not go & check original article although I probably could using Google Chrome. To those above saying that all of this is because of the German driving too fast. No. They mention 130 km/h. That is a plain normal highway speed in most of Europe. Even in places limited at 120 km/h like Belgium, 130 km/h is often the main flow nevertheless. I don’t know about USA it’s too long I have been. It is no big deal and I think I could live with those limitations but not paying more than an ICE, same price OK, so you have limited practicality (range) but compensated by lower energy price, so all in all it is a fair deal. When I see the Leaf 2 being sold here at EUR 37K it is just way too expensive. Such car should be sold max. EUR 23K. So we are just maybe about 4 years too early with EVs, into the eyes of people like me at least.

Another Euro point of view

So to conclude, EV fans seems often disappointed by how slow EV adoption goes. I say, dear car makers, please make us an extensive choise (all body forms) of 75Kwh EV at $30K max with a bit super charging networks. Then I am sure many of us ICE owners will gladly swap to EVs. Before that I am very glad to read EV news and follow the slow incremental technology improvements and price reductions.

Bill Howland
Your comments are interesting: I always thought EV’s would do Much much better in Europe since, although your electricity cost is just somewhat higher than in the states, your petrol/gasoline/diesel cost (or essentially what we heat some homes with, #2 fuel oil), is MUCH MUCH higher and throws the daily operating expense clearly in the EV’s or PHEV’s camp. Not sure which country you hail from, – French car companies seem to do much better on the range front. German car companies get under 20 miles from their PHEV products, (some under 10), such that a Toyota Prius Prime – which is considered a ‘puny’ battery in the States – would be considered a “LONG RANGE” Phev there. And BEV’s other than Tesla seem few and far between. Understood that driving on the Autobahn requires a MUCH larger battery than currently exists on any vehicle, but you’d think that the huge fuel savings of an EV in your area would foster sales of mostly anything EV. Ev’s are having a bit of a hard time in the states because competing fuels are so cheap. Hydrogen vehicles are having the same issue. If there was nothing else available, Hydrogen cars might… Read more »
Dan

It depends on which parts of the US and which parts of Europe you’re comparing.

EVs in the US have found a goldilocks spot in parts of the country that are in the donuts around big cities. The cities themselves are too dense and the competition is too great from public transit or walking. Exurban areas and rural areas involve too much driving at 75-80mph for current batteries to be practical. If you’re that guy who lives in a leafy suburban town in a large metro area, average highway speeds in your neck of the woords are going to be quite low at most times of the day and the EV’s performance in 35-70mph range really starts to shine.

This subset of the market is not small in the US. I wouldn’t be surprised if two thirds or more of all American car buyers fit into that demographic.

If you look at the roads in less auto centric parts of Europe, that same sweet spot exists. Central Europe, where big cars and faster roads are the norm, does not really fit that criteria of a sweet spot.

Alex

Hard to argue. If I combine prices of my MS90D with something more down to Earth like e-Golf then I would end up in the region of Euro160k, which is a lot of money. Upper middle class people spend (by means of borrowing) this kind of money only when they like something very very much (as I do like my MS90D) but if you need wheels to get from A to B then it simply doesn’t make sense. If the above mentioned e-Golf had 400 km range in any conditions and price tag of Euro30k and let’s call it e-Passat Variant (estate) had 500 km range and price of Euro45k then it would be something affordable for masses. Model 3 is close to the latter one but has completely wrong body type.

Again, I prepared to suffer financially for the sake of fun owning a Tesla but many of my colleagues just don’t get it and simply think that it is not practical and expensive toy.

Another Euro point of view

“Model 3 is close to the latter one but has completely wrong body type”.

Wrong body type, indeed, at least for Europe. Should it has been a hatchback and cost less then we had an EV for the masses. No real need of 0-60 Model 3 performances. Again, in cold wet dark winters any HP count above 200 is likely to get yourself killed more than anything else in case one use all of them.

wavelet

I also consider the Model 3 a completely wrong body type, useless for a family if it’s the only car. 2-box designs are always more space-efficient than 3-box (sedans). I still don’t understand why Tesla didn’t make the Model 3 a liftback like the Model S, or the previous-model Mazda 6.

My current car is a Škoda Roomster, and although it’s much shorter (by 50cm!) than the M3, and narrower (by 25cm), it still has a lot more room for the rear passengers, and more luggage space (480 litres, while the M3’s trunk is 340 litres. Yes, there’s a 56-liter frunk, but it’s not helpful to carry large items).
No way the Model 3 will handle a week’s vacation or a long weekend’ camping for a family of four, unless you also have a roof rack. Or, for that matter, a trip to IKEA for furniture.
Dealbreaker for me.

WadeTyhon

Certainly EVs don’t work for everyone yet 🙂

I just find those results to be extreme compared to my hands on experience. But I am coming up on 3 years of EV ownership and my last car had an 82 mile range that I regularly got 90+ miles out of. I think I have just gotten good over the years at maximizing without thinking about it.

Ron

When did the conversion, I found that 130 km/hr is about 81 mph. Much of the ‘Fly-Over” portion of the USA has 75 mph speed limits with 85 mph flow.
Tesla with SC access is the only EV I can drive from Albuquerque to any other state without having to bring my L2 charger for use at RV parks.

Another Euro point of view

This is the problem with current EV offer. To have no restrictions linked with range you need to have a Tesla, and those cars does not come cheap and (arguably), even by selling them an high price profits are not so easily made. Moreover I like station wagons with huge trunks but still not too huge of a car, Tesla just don’t make that body form. This is why I thing what we are witnessing know is very timid beginning of the EV movements and it will likely take years (5 ??) before Joe from the street notices EVs and buys one. Even in Europe with expensive gas. I am following this site with interest for 5 years now and can only witness how slow the developments are (price reduction/range increase/charging network).

Dan

All but the most expensive EVs remain dependant on tax credits/rebates for their sales. If those do go away with tax “reform”, at this point (in terms of price/capability of EVs) sales will drop sharply.

EVShopper

Try looking at total cost of ownership of an EV vs a comparable ICE, and the EV is usually close or a better deal. Especially when you take local and regional incentives into account.

But I agree that it is currently initial cost which is mostly holding back EV adoption. People are too used to just looking at MSRP as a comparison instead of TCO.

Blot driver

We had temps in the 20’s last week and my Bolt range dropped to 170 or less. I was averaging less than 3m/kWh on my commute. Almost 60 miles less than I could get during the summer. As far as I can tell it also looks like I have lost about 2kwh from the pack aver 12,000 miles and 6 months.

WadeTyhon

I would probably get something similar if I was blasting the heater and going 80 mph. Thats why I wanted to know how they got to that figure.

My cars min estimated range this morning was in the 180s for instance. The temp was in the high 40s. And I use Hilltop reserve.

Bill Howland

I’m EXTREMELY interested in your comment. Do you think your ‘2 kwh range loss’ is a PERMANENT LOSS that will be gone next summer as well?

Questions: Did you charge daily to 100%? Or did you turn ‘hilltop reserve’ ON to limit the charge to 90%?

After charging to 100%, did you leave the car for hours/days at a time with 100% charge in it (the thing that is supposedly hard on LI-Ion batteries)?

Bolt driver

The 2kwh loss is based on how many estimated kWh I can get from the battery and put back in. It is hard to tell as I can’t run it all the way down due to fear of getting stranded.
I almost always use hill top reserve and the range dropped to 140-150 miles last week. Now I do use the heated seats and steering wheel, but am no willing to turn off the heat. For my daily commute which is 50-100 miles that is still enough range for every day. So why suffer. Travel is another issue and I take another car to do my 280 mile weekly trip as I don’t want to spend an hour charging for 4 hrs of driving.

Joshili

Blot driver,

I doubt you have lost much battery capacity, if any, in 6 months. I think you are just experiencing the typical winter range loss (which is not permanent.) The Bolt’s heater is an energy hog. It is very effective at heating, but also at gobbling energy. I have only had my Bolt for a month or so, but in 30 degree weather, without the heater I can get 4-5 miles/kWh. Turn the heater on to 70 degrees, and I am at 3 miles/kWh. That’s the difference between a 250 miles+ battery range and a 150-180 miles battery range.

If you need the extra range, it will take some effort with preconditioning and managing the heater and using heated seats and steering wheel.

WadeTyhon

+1 exactly correct. Hitting 220+ in cold weather is easy.

Get the car warm by preconditioning. The majority of the heater use is getting the temp up from 30* to your preferred temp.

Then turn on heated seats and steering wheel.

The heater doesn’t need to be “off”. Just set the temp to 60 or 65 and turn on the defroster rather than the standard vents. Set the fan speed to 1 or 2. Turn off the incredibly inefficient ‘auto’.

This combo keeps me plenty cozy and gives me plenty of range.

bro1999

I’m writing a blog about my recent trip to middle of nowhere, PA this past weekend in the snow/freezing temperatures.

Bottom line? Learned some new things, that’s for sure!

Tim Miser

Well when it is below 30, preheating gets you about 5 minutes before you have to crank the heater up. Don’t know how you can get 220-230 when I’m getting 170 in the same conditions.

WadeTyhon

I usually don’t need to crank the heater up. It very rarely gets colder than the mid- 20s in Dallas.

I have the defroster on and the seat heaters/steering wheel heaters on. Enough to keep me warm.

I think it probably is as much the flat terrain and an average speed of ~50 mph. Even when I am on the highway during the week it is usually stop and go traffic in Dallas lol.

Ziv

If your car is pre-heated when you leave home, you don’t need the heat to go above Eco 1 or Eco 2 to keep the cabin warm and the windshield clear. The problem is that if you park outdoors at work, then start the car without pre-heating, then you need Eco 3 or Comfort 2 on the heater to heat the cabin up. That is the part that kills my 2013 Volts range.
I average 42-43 during the 9 warmer months but as soon as the temps go below 40-45 degrees my range drops to 27-30 miles. I have had a day or two when it was cold and snowy where my genset kicked on after just 25 miles. All this from a car rated at 38 miles of combined AER.

Nix

So get a PHEV. Solved.

It is amazing how hard some people try to find reasons to bash plug-ins, when 99% of the time the answer is that if there is a reason for YOU that a pure EV won’t work for YOU, that you can simply buy a PHEV.

Instead nutters turn their own personal needs into some grand referendum about EV’s.

Another Euro point of view

The offering regarding PHEV is ridiculously small. The problem of PEVs and PHEVs addressing mass market is not to make an handfull of models as is the case now. One of the reason of ICE are still dominating the market by 98-99% is the offer variety. Customers are used to getting their weirdest desires met, they won’t compromise unless of course being an EV taliban for example. I want a 4.5-4.7m station wagon EV with very good fit and finish, 250 miles range but not too expensive. Come on Tesla, please deliver. I can wait a 1000 years. Seriously I will need to wait at least 10 years before such EV is made. very good fit and finish likely eliminates all the US, French & Italian production so would need to wait for the Germans, the Japs or the Koreans to take note of my demand.

The nutter

Mark.ca

You want german? Fine, go to bmw and get one of the e models. They have them in 3, 5 or 7 series.

Pushmi-Pullyu
It’s certainly true that those in the market for buying an EV should be aware that in regions where it gets very cold in the winter (obviously not such places as California or Florida!), you should expect ~30% loss of range when the car is left unheated for hours. Preferably the car should be left on the charger so the battery heater can keep the pack warm, but even in such a case, if the car is used as a commuter vehicle, there will still be a considerable loss of range at the end of the work day, when the commuter wants to return home. For this reason, those who live in less balmy climates should allow for at least 30% loss of range, and 40% would be prudent if you want to use the cabin heater and/or you want some safety margin when returning home at the end of the day. Sadly, this advice is not going to be given to you by any car salesman interested in selling you a BEV! * * * * * That said, I think “Another Euro…” is being unduly pessimistic. Just because one particular BEV’s range is too short for his personal… Read more »
George Bower

Why doesn’t Tesla’s AP work better? I read all these articles about Tesla developing their own chip with AMD. I read about the new computer board they have that can do 10 million calcs per second but they still can’t get their software to work right. Geesh

Maybe they should just outsource the whole thing.

Pushmi-Pullyu
Reading the original article, it seems to me that what happened was Motor Trend tested a car with Autopilot before it was properly calibrated. Unfortunately, Tesla says it can take up to two weeks for a new car to calibrate the Autopilot system, and not just two weeks of driving anywhere. It has to be on roads with clear lane markings… there may be other requirements, I forget the details. Now, that’s not to excuse the problem. Speaking as a software programmer, I’m appalled that Tesla would deliver a car that hasn’t had the software properly calibrated. I can’t understand why Tesla can’t establish a “baseline” calibration and pre-program all cars with that, so Autopilot would function from the start. If the car needs time to adjust to certain conditions such as the driver’s settings, then that’s understandable. That is, I can understand why the functionality of Autopilot might improve over time, but that it doesn’t have some minimal acceptable baseline functionality “out of the box” is, again, something that I would not find acceptable were I in the market for buying a car. In a previous discussion of this problem, someone suggested that individual cars had so much variation… Read more »
Mint

I think the Leaf was the big winner from this comparison due to the data and observations.

7.7 seconds to 60 mph and a 45-65 mph passing time of 4.0s (faster than the Volt!) were pleasant surprises to me.

ProPilot getting the nod over Autopilot was also surprising, and shows it to be a big step above lane keeping systems from Toyota, GM, Honda, etc (okay, GM’s higher end supercruise could be another story).

Viking79

The 45-65 speed was still much slower than the other two cars in the test (Bolt EV at 3 sec and Model 3 at 2.1 sec).

Isn’t ProPilot provided by Mobileye? In other words, similar to what would have been the next generation of Tesla AP1.

I think you are right though, it will be a fairly palatable EV.

Mint

No question that the Bolt and especially the Model 3 are better cars. I didn’t mean that the Leaf won the comparison, even if my wording looks like that.

I meant the Leaf was the winner in terms of what we learned from the comparison. It’s quicker than expected (Nissan was saying a mere 15% faster). ProPilot is closer to Tesla’s autopilot than typical LKAS.

MT even measured a significantly quieter and less bumpy ride.

SparkEV

45-65 time is slower than SparkEV. In fact, Leaf is slower to accelerate than SparkEV after 30 MPH.

VazzedUp

So the reviewers prefered the Bolt, but InsidEVs concluded with the 3 winning? Confused, is MT Reynolds overruling the reviewers, or is this plain old bias on the InsidEVs staff writeup?

Assaf

Not Insideevs, the Motor Trend article author. But you’ve gotten the point:

– He commissioned 2 experts;
– Both experts gave the Bolt the clear #1;
– He overruled that and declared Model 3 the winner, because Glee something something 🙂

Bill Howland

Assaf: I hate that ‘Thumb on the Scales’ stuff.

Rather like when Consumer Reports gushed about the “S” being 110% out of 100 or some ridiculous nonsense. When they rated overall the Chevy Impala as being the best large car – but then set the Tesla aside.

If there was ever a time when the CR guys were doing a ‘pump and dump’ with their Call options than later PUT options, this was pretty transparently what they were doing in my opinion. Shortly thereafter they rated the car as ‘Not Recommended’ and I know the excuses given for that also.

They just ‘coincidentally’ made a lot of money I bet.

Ambulator

Consumer Reports would never do that. I may not agree with their opinion but they’ve always been squeaky clean.

wavelet

Not my experience with them, at least a.f.a. as their review subscription services go.I once subscribed to the minimum period to do research on car safety seats. Turns out there was an “auto-renew” on the account, even though that was not stated when subscribing, or looking at the account details screen.
I found out about it by accident, when reviewing my CC records months later.
I wrote them twice, complaining and asking for a refund (I didn’t download any reports after the first period, so they would have been able to tell I didn’t make use of the new period). They never bothered to answer. I’m not in the US, and the sum wasn’t large, so it wasn’t worthwhile escalating, but from my PoV, they’re a scammy organization.

Mint

How do you figure that?

Brooks chose the Bolt, while “Hong is a Bolt fan, too, but thought better of the Leaf”. That’s hardly giving the Bolt a clear number 1.

justanotherguy50

The “too” of that sentence implies he agrees with the first assessment by Brooks that the Bolt was the #1 winner.

Saying “but thought better of the Leaf” may not be saying it was better than the Bolt, but better than Brooks assessment of the Leaf.

Pushmi-Pullyu

Yeah. Motor Trend may have called on well-credentialed car experts to research this comparison, but they would have been better off concentrating more on finding a writer who was more interested in relating information clearly than in showing off his vocabulary with a surfeit of adjectives and adverbs, to the point of annoyance for at least this reader.

Sometimes less is more.

HVACman

Kim likes performance cars. When you read his Model 3 first-drive review, that is clear. And the Model 3 is designed tailor-made to his preferences. High-speed handling, acceleration, and other performance characteristics, along with “style”. The Bolt was designed for the soccer mom and for the global urban mobility market (taxis, Lyft, and the for-profit autonomous market). Overall, the Bolt (and the Leaf) and their progeny may outsell the Model 3 in the coming years, but the Model 3 will rank supreme (for a while) as the “car you drool for” – if testosterone drives your purchase decision.

Nix

I think MT realized they had made a mistaking hiring two former GM employees that had personally been involved with GM’s electric car programs.

Not exactly the best choice of reviewers for a test that includes a GM product that is the progeny of their own personal prior work.

Get Real

The MT article is a hot mess in my opinion. In a couple of months their will be fairly good numbers of Model 3sLeaf 1.5s out there and we will start getting much more reviews and comparisons from daily drivers and the car rags and it will become clearer at that point.

Leon

Why are they comparing a car you can buy now with 2 cars you can’t buy now? Although the 2018 Leaf with be available next month by the time I can get a M3 the 60 Kwh Leaf will be out.

Maybe compare the M3 with the 2019 EVs.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I’ve seen some cars win awards and they haevn’t even been built!

Mark.ca

You can see the TM3 on the street in CA. You can’t get one till 2019? That’s your problem…and Tesla’s.

Pushmi-Pullyu

Great to see an in-depth comparison between three PEVs! This should boost sales of all three models. No need to characterize this as a zero-sum game; it’s a win-win-win for the Model 3, the Bolt EV and the new Leaf!

Up the EV revolution!

EVShopper

+1.

CCIE

As most of us who have experienced GM’s “under-promise & over-deliver” EV philosophy expected, the Bolt holds its own well even against cars released 1+ year after it.

theflew

Agreed. In a month we’ll be hearing about Buicks version of the Bolt. Tesla has had years to itself. Now competition is going to come from several directions and different styles.

Mark.ca

Not fast enough. The best looking ev suv (X excluded) at the LA Auto was the VW Crozz. Still can’t believe GM brought the base version of the Bolt, what fools!

theflew

At most car shows the “normal” vehicles just come off the dealer lots. And given the Bolt is selling pretty well right now with limited inventory in CA. A dealer probably gave what they could afford without losing a sale at the end of the year. GM is selling all they really plan on making at this point. Also word of mouth and media is selling the Bolt more than a car show ever could.

Mark.ca

Get that lie out of your head! In CA, there are plenty of Bolts on the lots. I can show you photos if you really want to see. I pass by 2 Chevy dealers every day. They are not selling all they can, not even close. It was sad to see no one looking at the car when i was there while the TM3 was swamped by about 20 people. The least they could have done is to put their best foot forward just like bmw, Hyundai, volvo. Then again, Nissan was even lamer.

Lawrence

We’re just as excited to get our Model 3 as our upcoming Leaf. They both have their pluses.

Peter G.

Before even getting to the EVs
MT compares the Compact BMW 3 series to the Midsized Camry & Accord.
How am I supposed to trust anything they say beyond that?

Pushmi-Pullyu

I haven’t read a lot of Motor Trend articles, but what I have read leaves me very unimpressed with their ability to objectively review cars. The article summarized here has a rather distinct anti-Tesla bias from the very first paragraph. Compare that to Motor Trend’s previous “First Drive” review of the Tesla Model 3 (link below), which is such a love letter than even as stout Tesla fan I find it rather embarrassing. The difference in attitude towards the TM3 between the two reviews is startling. If you were to print out both articles and block out the words “Tesla” and “Model 3” everywhere they appear, and hand them to someone to read, I seriously question they would ever guess both articles are talking about the same car!

These two articles come across to me as if the writers are much more interested in delivering “interesting reading” than they are in delivering objective reviews and reliable, factual data. Is this the norm for Motor Trend?

If I want to get a solid, well-researched, honest review of a car, I’ll head to Edmunds.com (shameless plug!).

http://www.motortrend.com/cars/tesla/model-3/2018/exclusive-tesla-model-3-first-drive-review/

Tom W

Got a glimpse on the street in Sacramento a few weeks ago of an M3 that pulled up to the curb in front of us. It was pretty cool seeing this in the wild so soon! Didn’t have permanent plates yet so it was brand new. I’m a Bolt owner but I’m happy to see the Mod 3 is starting to ramp up.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I’ve seen a few of them here in downtown Sac.

Mark.ca

Nothing so far here in LA, looks like most if not all are in Bay area close to home.

EVShopper

Rear seat headroom in the Model 3 base version without the premium upgrade with the glass roof, is going to be even more cramped.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

and with the Pano roof you’d bee a baked cookie in summer!

MTN Ranger

The rear glass is standard and affects the rear seat the same in all versions. The option is the center glass over the driver. Model 3 has better rear headroom than the Model S.