Note that the Model 3 as tested was priced at $60.5k.. . . Notable takeaways:
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Hong called the LEAF’s interior outdated, but well-finished.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. . . .
Direct link to MT review: http://www.motortrend.com/cars/tesla/model-3/2017/the-automobile-2-0-chevrolet-bolt-ev-premier-vs-nissan-leaf-sl-vs-tesla-model-3-long-range/
Re the Bolt's driver's seat, one of the reviewers wrote:
As for seat comfort in general, Brooks found the Tesla’s and Leaf’s front seats more comfortable than the Bolt’s—the Chevy’s bottom cushion is too narrow; its little side bolsters cut into his thighs.