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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone,

Wracking my brain trying to decide between the Bolt EV and the new Leaf that's going to be coming out early 2018. The Bolt has an advertised 238 miles range while the Leaf has a 150 mile range. I was also contemplating the Ioniq EV but there doesn't seem to be any supply right now. The unlimited miles and reimbursement for electricity use was really appealing since I have solar at home.

I currently drive about 50 miles round trip for work. Most of my destinations will be about 45-50 miles each way so both vehicles should have plenty of range to cover my basic needs. If I ever need to take a longer trip I have access to other vehicles to use.

My main hangups with the Bolt are the seats. So many people have complained about them that it's giving me pause. When I went to test drive the Bolt when they were first released, I don't recall them being an issue. But I've read many people say that they've sat in 4-5 Bolts and all were fine except for one. So some people have speculated that there might be multiple manufacturers for the seats. Even if the seats are fine when I first get the car, I'm worried about the long term. I would be miserable if, down the road, the seats started to pinch and give me issues.

Also the interior of the car gives me pause. It just doesn't look as modern and nice as the Leaf.

Bolt Pros:
- Acceleration
- Range
- Availability
- Price with the large supply. Looks like $5k off MSRP is relatively easy to get.
- $700 Costco card

Cons:
- Interior (subjective)
- Seats
- Lack of adaptive Cruise Control (I'm stuck in traffic a lot)

Leaf Pros:
- Nicer Interior
- More tech, adaptive cruise (Pro-Pilot)

Cons:
- Not available yet.
- Price at MSRP is comparable to a discounted top of the line Bolt Premiere

Right now I'm wafting back and forth. I'm looking at available inventory at surrounding dealerships and if a killer deal drops I may just jump on it. Then later I tell myself I should just wait and test drive the Leaf when it finally becomes available.

Are there any other pros and cons that I've left out for those of you who have the Bolt now that can help sway my decision? If you were looking at a Bolt right now with a new competing EV car just a few months away, would you just wait yourself or just jump on the Bolt?
 

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buy the bolt. the seats are a non-issue for many people, it's just that the people who do find them uncomfortable are very vocal about it.

depending on where you are and how cold it gets, you may see a drastic reduction in range in the winter - there are other threads about that on here somewhere. so having the buffer of 238 miles under normal conditions will act in your favor.

the interior is obviously a personal preference - i do find the bolt interior to be a little cheap feeling, but the other pros make up for it.

*edit: i see you're in southern california, so probably don't have to worry about the cold. but you'll never regret having more range.
 

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Is it known for sure that the 2018 Leaf has an improved battery temperature management system? I remember reading that up to the 2017 model the temperature was controlled with fans (no liquid cooling), which some people weren't happy about.

I would also add, I have absolutely NO problem with the front seats. Matter of fact, I find them comfortable for my particular behind.

How do we know if 2018 Leaf has "nicer interior"? I know there are a couple of them in the US for promotion reasons, but until we see what they sell in dealerships, it's kind of hard to tell.
 

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I've had my Bolt for 10 months now (almost 13k miles on the odo), and while the seats aren't lazy boys, they aren't that bad. Are they great? I wouldn't say that, but they aren't some torture chamber some make them out to be either. If I were to give the driver's seat a grade, I'd give it a 7/10.

As for the new Leaf, be aware that even the new Leaf does not have active liquid cooling of the HV battery. As you are in SoCal and likely hit triple digits often during the summer months, I'd be extremely wary of battery fade. It could be that 150 mile range becomes 140/130/120 before you know it.
The Bolt has active liquid TMS, so it will always keep the battery nice and protected from the heat.
 

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I was originally planning on keeping my 2015 Leaf until the 2018 was available and then comparing the two vehicles carefully. However, when I read up on the 2018 Leaf, I realized that it was really just a refresh of the Leaf (new sheet metal, slightly larger battery). Even the car body is only slightly altered from the original design (you can see that the front and back doors are almost identical in dimensions to the 2011-2017 Leaf.

I loved by 2015 Leaf. It was a great car. Comfortable ride, efficient, etc. No complaints. But I drove the Bolt and discovered that the Leaf is an appliance. It has no real spirit or personality. It is quick but not particularly well handling. The Bolt is fast and actually handles pretty well (by comparison). As you mention the seats, I will tell you that there is a lot of discussion about how to modify the seats to resolve the narrow bolstering issues. Car seats are personal, but I will tell you that you can predict seat comfort pretty easily. I am 5'9" and 195lbs. The seats are slightly narrower than I would prefer, but certainly manageable for me. People with wider posteriors tend to find them uncomfortable. They fit my trim wife perfectly -- same for my athletic kids. So if you are built a bit wider, then room for concern. If you are thin, or even average, then they are fine.

Another factor to consider. When a car is first released, the dealers do not offer much in the way of incentive to get people to buy or lease them. When I got my Leaf, the dealer reduced the MSRP by the entire federal credit for my lease (making it a very good deal to lease the car). When I went to haggle on the Bolt, Chevy was not nearly as motivated to get me into a lease so I ultimately bought the car to capture the full $7500 Federal Credit. When the new Leaf comes out, Nissan is probably not going to be giving them away (or incentivizing) for 4-6 months. So expect that new 2018 Leafs will go for full price from April through September (most of the first model year). At the same time, early adopters of Bolts have already paid out and now Chevy is going to be digging in for sales against Leafs and Tesla 3s and offering the incentives they can to maintain their lead in the segment. This means you will pay full price for a Leaf, when you can get a Bolt at some discount (and the Bolt is mechanically a more advanced car). So if you are 'waiting' for the Leaf, understand that even when it gets here, it will be an apples to oranges price negotiation for most of 2018 -- and the Bolt will be ahead for that time.

One more difference that I have observed.. Both the Bolt and Leaf have a single gear transmission. In my experience, the Bolt seems to have a slightly more efficient gear ratio than the Leaf. I have noticed that the Leaf range (on highway) used to translate to a 1:1 for estimated to actual. So my 2015 could go, at maximum, about 80 miles on the highway (rated 84 mile range). My Bolt seems to have much longer legs. I'm not sure what the ratio is for the Bolt, but in my short highway commutes, I never seem to use as much electricity as I did in my Leaf.. maybe it is .75:1. I have yet to hit the highway for a longer trip, but I easily go a full week of mixed highway and surface driving on a single charge.

No question, the Leaf was a well designed vehicle in 2011, and it still holds up well in 2017. The 2018 is a 'plus' model or revision that seems to improve on the original. The Bolt is a 2017 design based on a lot of tech from the gen 1/2 Volts (so it is not a completely new tech), but the car is purpose built as an EV. Some of the interior and features may not be quite up to Tesla standards, but the underpinnings of the Bolt are an excellent car compared to ICE and EV vehicles. I do not regret my decision (after 2500 miles) and encourage you to take a last look at the Bolt before the remaining 2017 inventory depletes. Good timing on your part may result in a really good deal.
 

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We were driving a LEAF since 5/2014, and extended the lease in 2017 to reach to the new 2018 LEAF. I drove to a drive electric event to sit in one, signed up for a test drive, got a bunch of LEAF swag.

And I bought a Bolt 2 days ago.

The (possible, arguably unlikely) removal of the fed tax rebate started me looking at specs.

We do a lot of 200 mile round trip drives to family, so the difference 150/250 mile range is particularly acute for us. But in the end, it seems that the value for a car with a 60kWh versus a 40 kWh battery for not much more money....a no brainer.

We loved our old LEAF, but we are ready for a real next generation EV, not a refreshed LEAF with less than 2x the range (of our 24 kWh model). Our kids are now teens and we have added a 24 lb dog...so the much bigger back seat is also v nice.

And there is something to be said for novelty.

I would not get the Nissan LEAF at this point unless you really wanted the ACC and lane keeping features (we didn't), didn't care about the smaller cabin, and didn't plan on taking many trips beyond 150 miles. I also never got the Nissan infotainment/nav....and do prefer the Apple/Android approach the Bolt takes.

We were worried about the seats, but I am handy and will add some foam DIY.
 

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While the Bolt does not have adaptive cruise control, it does have a "three-distance" radar warning (both visual and aural) that your rate of closure needs attention. It DOES apply the brakes for you if you get too close, but no one (on this Forum) has tested this feature to its limits! I find that in cruise control, I feel plenty safe and informed. If you have the warning level set at too long of a distance, inconsiderate drivers will jump into the gap without sufficient clearance! Set the level to account for the idiots, and put the car in "L" so that the second you pause cruise control (by hitting the regen paddle) you start to significantly slow down while your foot moves to the brake pedal. It works just fine. After 7500 miles, I still do not miss AdCC.
 

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I just showed my Bolt to the owners of a 2017 Leaf and they were very positive about the Bolt. They liked sitting in it, appreciated the increased leg room and head room as well as the extended range. I did see a 2018 Leaf at the SF car show and it is much better looking than the 2017 Leaf. I think the seat issue in the Bolt is a non issue, unless you find it personally uncomfortable. Just go sit in one and that will answer that question. I just completed a trip, Berkeley to Healdsburg and back (about 145 miles) and had plenty of range to spare. In a new Leaf with 150 mile range, that would be to close to the limit for me.
 

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Is it known for sure that the 2018 Leaf has an improved battery temperature management system? I remember reading that up to the 2017 model the temperature was controlled with fans (no liquid cooling), which some people weren't happy about.

......

How do we know if 2018 Leaf has "nicer interior"? I know there are a couple of them in the US for promotion reasons, but until we see what they sell in dealerships, it's kind of hard to tell.
The LEAF (current and 2018) battery management is passive. Not only no liquid cooling, but no fans either.

While "nicer interior" is very subjective, the new LEAF interior is almost identical to the current gen. Some find it "nicer" than the Bolt, some don't.

We had one at our NDEW event, and I got a test drive. Still a "preproduction" unit, but no interior changes on the production version.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you everyone for all of your helpful replies.

I did actually test drive a Bolt, but this was way back when it first came out and it was only around the block. I don't recall having an issue with the seats, but I wasn't sitting in the vehicle for more than 10 minutes. I'm going to try and get a longer test drive soon since more dealers have them in stock. I'm a thin guy at 5'8 and 150lbs so I don't foresee the seats being an issue. But I've always owned sporty cars in the past and always appreciate more bolster when I want to do some spirited driving.

But all of your information about the battery management and cooling has me leaning heavily towards the Bolt so thank you for that. It does get very hot here in Southern California, especially this past summer where 100+ degrees wasn't unheard of it. So the active cooling sounds like a definite must.

I'm in contact with several local dealerships so hopefully I can square away a deal before the end of the year.

Thanks again everyone for your help!!
 

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Instead of a longer test drive, you could tell the dealer you're leaning toward the Bolt but are scared of the seat criticism you've read online.
Ask him if you could just sit in one for an hour on the lot.
Bring a book.
Then you'll know.

(I'm 6'0" 170 lbs and have noticed exactly NOTHING uncomfortable about the seats in 5000 miles.)
 

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If you can wait, wait for the leaf to come out and test drive both. Drive both long enough so you are really sure you know which one you like. For me the longer range makes it a no brainer but your results might vary!
 

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For me, the seat in the Bolt was easy to fix - just add some padding if you need.

I live in Texas and it gets hot, so I don't trust the long-term ability of Nissan's batteries to hold up, since they lack the thermal management systems that other manufacturers use.
 

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While "nicer interior" is very subjective, the new LEAF interior is almost identical to the current gen. Some find it "nicer" than the Bolt, some don't.
I wonder why the Bolt interior is often described as cheap, subpar etc. As long as it doesn't start showing scratches too soon, is easy to keep neat, is intuitive/convenient to use and is not unpleasant to touch, what else is needed?

Are my expectations too low? What should a car interior be like so that the connoisseurs would quit calling it names? Louis XIV tapestry for upholstery? Inlaid with gold, carved ivory dashboard? Handmaid Persian carpet for floor mats?
 

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I wonder why the Bolt interior is often described as cheap, subpar etc. As long as it doesn't start showing scratches too soon, is easy to keep neat, is intuitive/convenient to use and is not unpleasant to touch, what else is needed?

Are my expectations too low? What should a car interior be like so that the connoisseurs would quit calling it names? Louis XIV tapestry for upholstery? Inlaid with gold, carved ivory dashboard? Handmaid Persian carpet for floor mats?
I agree. I quite like the Bolt interior. I find it to be fresh and modern. I have noticed that most reviews focus on "soft touch surfaces" versus "hard plastic" when describing interior finishes. Usually the word "cheap" is used along with "hard". That applies to other vehicles too, not just the Bolt. I actually prefer the smooth (i.e., "hard") plastic finishes as they are easier to clean, and they don't split or crack after years of sun exposure.
 

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Bolt EV is a long-distance driver up to 450 miles per day

I did not hesitate to buy the Bolt EV. I have found the seats to be fine, but the real advantages of the Bolt EV are its range, active cooling and heating of the batteries, which likely protects the battery for the long haul, acceleration, handling, cargo space, and its a capable long-distance driver. I have driven around 3000 miles of long distance driving, with 450 miles being a comfortable day's driving, and distances like 400 miles or 300 miles being easy going. You can start with a full charge and drive 200 mile easily out of the starting block and two or three 30-40 minute DC fast charges brings you to 450 miles. Three hundred miles is only one DC charge on the road. This car has a longer range than the vaporware base model 3 Tesla, and less expensive than a longer range version of the Model 3. Unless, you never plan to drive long-distances there is no equal in all these features at this price level. Also, I would not hobble this great car by not buying the DC fast charge option. It makes a good car into a really great car.
 

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:DAt age 67, I'm not sure how many vehicles I've had in my life. Not that I don't remember each and could easily list each one. Rough guess would be a bunch. Based on volume, I can rate my Bolt Premier amongst the best. Ask me what I don't like, nothing. Ask me what I like, everything. Solid, fun car, size, range, ride, technology. I don't need a Tesla to enjoy long EV range and technology, minus auto pilot.
 
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