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


After I determined final yr to purchase an electrical automobile, the primary one I thought-about was the Tesla Mannequin 3. (See “My First EV – Half I.”) I check drove one on the seller 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 have 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?”

“Certain,” answered my good friend.

After placing 2,000 miles on my Bolt, I actually needed to check 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 honest when it comes to price. 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 essential 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 “Automotive” tab and opens a display screen with tons of knowledge. He appears to be like, 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 certain the data is someplace on the Tesla infotainment system, however not simple to search 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 might most likely discover it after quite a few faucets. Or perhaps it’s at all times current, however you must search for it. Have 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 must compete with the navigation map, the automobile historical past, or no matter else you’ve gotten 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 believe 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 must 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 manner you possibly can break much less is to press the accelerator barely.

The Bolt is completely different. You don’t swap between the 2 modes. As a substitute, it has a brake-assist lever on the steering wheel, conveniently positioned on the left aspect. If you launch the accelerator, the automobile brakes barely — regenerative. You’ll be able to brake closely utilizing your left hand fingers. After just a few hours of driving the Bolt, I realized use the “hand brake” and I can cease the automobile precisely the place I would like, with out ever touching the foot brake. I feel I can drive this automobile 100,000 miles with out changing the brake pads. I used to be not capable of 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 possibly can see within the image above, the Bolt even claims a 290 mile vary — in case your previous driving was relatively gradual, on metropolis streets.

Tesla: ☆☆☆☆☆
Bolt: ☆☆☆☆☆


The Tesla is extra fashionable and the seats are very comfy. 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 highway noise fairly comparable, perhaps just a little bit increased on the Tesla. Perhaps I’m not observant sufficient, however I couldn’t see a winner.

Tesla: ☆☆☆☆☆
Bolt: ☆☆☆☆☆


SIDE MIRRORS: After I first check drove the Mannequin 3, I discovered the show exhibiting all of the vehicles within the adjoining strains fairly attention-grabbing. Now I’m not so certain. The Mannequin 3 exhibits all of the vehicles behind, in line, and forward of my automobile, on the left and proper. Loads of info I don’t care about. Truly, I care solely in regards to the vehicles in my blind spots, left and proper. And right here the Bolt does a superb job.

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

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

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

The default setting has a a lot bigger view angle than the mirror. You’ll be able to see objects that you wouldn’t see within the regular mirror. You’ll be able to alter the zoom, luminosity, and tilt additionally. I discovered the digital camera mirror very handy when you’ve gotten passengers within the rear seat. The mirror view could be obstructed an excellent deal, particularly when 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 delusion. 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 fitting aspect 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 relatively unconventional. Nonetheless, deploying Autopilot may be very simple. 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 aspect of the steering wheel. Not a giant deal, however you must look at it. Not as handy because the Mannequin 3, which doesn’t require trying.

Tesla: ☆☆☆☆☆
Bolt: ☆☆☆☆

Auto Steering

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

Retaining the middle of the driving lane is an attention-grabbing problem. The automobile has to “look forward” to see when a curve is coming, so as to begin steering early sufficient. I feel 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 yr 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 fitting, however checking the show is cumbersome. On the Bolt, fairly reassuring, the highest sector of the steering wheel turns inexperienced. You do not need to search for it; you possibly can see it proper in entrance of you. If the pilot has doubts about steering, it turns blue. If it offers up, it turns pink.

Tesla: ☆☆☆☆
Bolt: ☆☆☆☆☆

Lane Altering

The Mannequin 3 is aware of 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 relatively harmful exercise for the autopilot. If there is no such thing as a visitors, the Mannequin 3 does an ideal line change. If the visitors is heavy, neglect it. I attempted it on the Tesla and I needed to take over. No ranking right here — I favor 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 certainly 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, in case you are available in the market 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 price 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 (until you purchase the Mannequin 3 Efficiency, the most costly choice, during which case Uncle Sam will present $7,500). For those who just like the minimalistic strategy and cash is just not essential, the Mannequin 3 is for you. For those who like the standard design and don’t care what individuals assume if you happen to drive a Chevy, the Bolt is your better option. However ensure you verify them each earlier than deciding.

By Mihai Beffa


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