My First EV — Half IV: 2023 Chevy Bolt EUV or 2020 Tesla Mannequin 3?

Once I determined final 12 months to purchase an electrical automobile, the primary one I thought of was the Tesla Mannequin 3. (See “My First EV – Half I.”) I take a look at drove one on the vendor and took notes. After making an attempt the Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Kona EV, and VW ID.4, I ended up shopping for a Chevy Bolt EUV with Tremendous Cruise.

Final week we had been going to a celebration on the Filimon Farms, about 40 miles from residence. It was far sufficient away to justify a carpool, and extra enjoyable. Some buddies supplied to drive us and confirmed up at our residence of their 2020 Tesla Mannequin 3. My instant response was: “Can I drive?”

“Positive,” answered my good friend.

After placing 2,000 miles on my Bolt, I actually wished to match it with the Mannequin 3. However is that this a good comparability? My 2023 Bolt was $41,000 out the door. Checking Craigslist, a 2020 Mannequin 3 goes for $35,000 to $40,000, plus DMV charges, so the comparability is truthful by way of value. Right here is my (subjective) evaluation.


This can be a no contest. With greater than double the horsepower, the Mannequin 3 is the clear winner. If that is vital to you, the selection is apparent.

Tesla: ☆☆☆☆☆
Bolt: ☆☆☆


My good friend sits shotgun whereas I’m driving his automobile. “What number of miles in your automobile”? I ask. “I do not know. Let me verify,” he says. And he begins tapping on the pill. He clicks on some “Automobile” tab and opens a display screen with tons of data. He seems, clicks some extra, and after a couple of minutes offers up. “I have no idea,” he concludes. [Editor’s note: After clicking on the symbol of the car, you click on “Software” and your mileage total is there. I agree that it’s not the intuitive place to put it, but once you know where it is, it’s quick and easy to get to. —Zach Shahan]

I’m positive the knowledge is someplace on the Tesla infotainment system, however not straightforward to seek out. In comparison with the Bolt, it’s simply infantile. One other penalty of the minimalistic design that Elon loves a lot.

Maybe the Tesla has a compass someplace and one may most likely discover it after quite a few faucets. Or possibly it’s at all times current, however you need to search for it. Take a look at the compass on the Bolt show. One look and also you see it. The vary can also be clearly displayed. It doesn’t need to compete with the navigation map, the automobile historical past, or no matter else you’ve got displayed on the dashboard. It’s at all times there, appropriately.

The local weather controls on the Bolt are a lot better. Levers you press up and down to regulate the temperature and the fan are conveniently positioned beneath the show. They aren’t menu gadgets on the monitor.

Tesla: ☆☆
Bolt: ☆☆☆☆☆


The Mannequin 3, and I think all of the Teslas, have two methods of braking. In non-regenerative mode, the automobile coasts if you take the foot off the accelerator. In regenerative mode, the automobile brakes closely if you take the foot off. In non-regenerative mode, you need to break the automobile utilizing the brake pedal, and you don’t get better your kinetic vitality. In regenerative mode, you utilize your vitality to cost the battery, however the one means you’ll be able to break much less is to press the accelerator barely.

The Bolt is completely different. You don’t swap between the 2 modes. As an alternative, it has a brake-assist lever on the steering wheel, conveniently positioned on the left facet. Whenever you launch the accelerator, the automobile brakes barely — regenerative. You possibly can brake closely utilizing your left hand fingers. After a number of hours of driving the Bolt, I discovered learn how to use the “hand brake” and I can cease the automobile precisely the place I would like, with out ever touching the foot brake. I believe I can drive this automobile 100,000 miles with out changing the brake pads. I used to be not in a position to do the identical with the Tesla. It both stopped too quickly or too late, and I had to make use of the brake pedal. [Editor’s note: I think this is again just a case of getting used to it. I don’t remember the process of getting used to it, but I almost never have to touch the brake pedal, and I also don’t suffer from the problem of letting off the accelerator too soon or too quickly. Regen braking is super smooth and, I think, ideal on the Model 3. YMMV. — Zach]

Bolt handbrake

Tesla: ☆☆☆☆
Bolt: ☆☆☆☆☆


The vary of the 2 vehicles may be very comparable, 240 to 260 miles, relying on how briskly you drive. No winner right here. As you’ll be able to see within the image above, the Bolt even claims a 290 mile vary — in case your previous driving was reasonably gradual, on metropolis streets.

Tesla: ☆☆☆☆☆
Bolt: ☆☆☆☆☆


The Tesla is extra fashionable and the seats are very snug. Each vehicles have artificial leather-based. The seats on the Bolt are perforated and the automobile sends sizzling or chilly air by means of the leather-based, primarily based on the collection of the local weather. I have no idea if the Tesla has the identical characteristic. [Editor’s note: The Model 3 has seat heaters but does not have perforated seats and cooling through the seat, unfortunately. —Zach]

The local weather is sweet on each vehicles, besides settings are simpler on the Bolt. With out a exact measurement, I discovered the street noise fairly comparable, possibly just a little bit larger on the Tesla. Possibly I’m not observant sufficient, however I couldn’t see a winner.

Tesla: ☆☆☆☆☆
Bolt: ☆☆☆☆☆


SIDE MIRRORS: Once I first take a look at drove the Mannequin 3, I discovered the show displaying all of the vehicles within the adjoining strains fairly fascinating. Now I’m not so positive. The Mannequin 3 exhibits all of the vehicles behind, in line, and forward of my automobile, on the left and proper. Numerous info I don’t care about. Really, I care solely concerning the vehicles in my blind spots, left and proper. And right here the Bolt does a wonderful job.

The facet mirrors of the Bolt have just a little automobile and a star subsequent to it embedded within the mirror, in the direction of the surface edge. When a automobile is in your blind spot, give or take a number of ft up and down, a crimson mild on the mirror lights up. I discover this very handy, particularly at night time. I should not have to search for it. I see it with my peripheral imaginative and prescient with out turning my head. The sunshine will not be too intrusive, simply brilliant sufficient so you’ll be able to see it. GM calls it Blind Zone Help and it does simply that.

REARVIEW MIRROR: On all of the vehicles I drove prior to now, the rearview mirror had two positions, for day and night time driving. I didn’t verify the Tesla, however I think it’s the similar. The Bolt is completely different.

Within the regular setting, the rearview mirror is simply the plain mirror. Whenever you pull on the extent beneath, the mirror turns into a show displaying the view from a digital camera. Gimmick or helpful characteristic?

The default setting has a a lot bigger view angle than the mirror. You possibly can see objects that you wouldn’t see within the regular mirror. You possibly can modify the zoom, luminosity, and tilt additionally. I discovered the digital camera mirror very handy when you’ve got passengers within the rear seat. The mirror view may be obstructed a fantastic deal, particularly in case you have tall buddies. Not so with the digital camera view. Clear, unobstructed view in all circumstances.

Tesla: ☆☆☆☆
Bolt: ☆☆☆☆☆


Everyone knows Elon brags about “full self-driving,” however it is a fable. The Mannequin 3 I drove didn’t have it to the fullest. Simply common Autopilot on the freeway, comparable with the Bolt. I’ll evaluation completely different segments of this individually.


The Mannequin 3 has the “gear shift” on the correct facet of the steering wheel stage, the place you usually have the wiper controls. The wipers are managed from the flip sign stalk, which I didn’t have the possibility to experiment with, however I discover reasonably unconventional. Nonetheless, deploying Autopilot may be very straightforward. You simply press twice on the lever, and if the situations are correct, the pilot engages.

The Bolt is rather less handy. It’s important to press a button on the left facet of the steering wheel. Not an enormous deal, however you need to look at it. Not as handy because the Mannequin 3, which doesn’t require wanting.

Tesla: ☆☆☆☆☆
Bolt: ☆☆☆☆

Auto Steering

When Autopilot takes over, it steers the automobile within the middle lane and it drives on the preset velocity, or it retains a relentless distance to the automobile upfront. It was most likely arduous for Elon to surrender on the “minimalistic” method, however right here he conceded and put in a devoted wheel to regulate the gap. I discovered it alone with out asking. The Bolt has an identical wheel, besides the result’s proven on the dashboard in entrance of you, not on the monitor to your proper.

Maintaining the middle of the driving lane is an fascinating problem. The automobile has to “look forward” to see when a curve is coming, so as to begin steering early sufficient. I believe each vehicles do an excellent job of navigating the curves — considerably anticipated from the Tesla, however a pleasant shock from the Bolt. They’re each a lot better than an ICE Camry I rented final 12 months which had its personal type of Autopilot.

Tesla: ☆☆☆☆☆
Bolt: ☆☆☆☆☆

Engagement Show

When Autopilot engages, the Mannequin 3 exhibits some indication of that on the touchscreen to the correct, however checking the show is cumbersome. On the Bolt, fairly reassuring, the highest sector of the steering wheel turns inexperienced. You should not have to search for it; you’ll be able to see it proper in entrance of you. If the pilot has doubts about steering, it turns blue. If it offers up, it turns crimson.

Tesla: ☆☆☆☆
Bolt: ☆☆☆☆☆

Lane Altering

The Mannequin 3 is aware of learn how to change lanes. The Bolt doesn’t. On the Mannequin 3, you inform it to vary lanes by urgent on the flip sign. On the Bolt, you sign your intention, the show turns blue, and you change lanes. After the lane change, the pilot re-engages and the show turns inexperienced. I ought to give the Bolt zero stars, and 5 to Tesla, however I discover the lane change characteristic a reasonably harmful exercise for the autopilot. If there isn’t any site visitors, the Mannequin 3 does an ideal line change. If the site visitors is heavy, overlook it. I attempted it on the Tesla and I needed to take over. No score right here — I desire to take over once I change lanes.


Simply by merely including up the scores, the Mannequin 3 obtained 39 stars and the Bolt 42. I absolutely am subjective, as a result of I dislike the Tesla (lack of) dashboard and I discover the position of the pill annoying. I confirmed extra photos of the Bolt controls, as a result of there’s nothing to point out on the Tesla.

So, if you’re out there for an EV, what must you select? The Mannequin 3 begins at $40,000. The Bolt EUV begins at $27,000. So, most likely ultimately, the Tesla will value not less than $10,000 extra. Your wealthy Uncle Sam will pitch in as much as $7,500 for the Bolt or $3,750 for the Mannequin 3 (except you purchase the Mannequin 3 Efficiency, the most costly possibility, through which case Uncle Sam will present $7,500). When you just like the minimalistic method and cash will not be vital, the Mannequin 3 is for you. When you like the standard design and don’t care what individuals suppose in case you drive a Chevy, the Bolt is your more sensible choice. However be sure to verify them each earlier than deciding.

By Mihai Beffa


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