Now that the Chevy Bolt is almost here, boasting an impressive 200-plus mile range claim, there will be many EV buyers going to GM for their electric car needs. The large promised range could sway buyers from other EVs and will satisfy GM fans even further. But since it isn’t actually on the market yet, we have no way of knowing if it will actually be able to get 200 miles of range without extreme hypermiling or if it will be any good to drive. The only thing we can compare is its styling, both inside and out, to its main competitors — the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf.
In terms of the exterior, the Chevy Bolt actually has similar styling to the Leaf and i3, in terms of overall size and shape. All three of them are four-door hatchbacks with aerodynamic styling and are all around the same size. Though the Leaf is the smallest of the group. The Leaf is also the most dated looking of the three. The BMW i3, despite being older than the Bolt, looks the more futuristic of the three and has the strangest design. The Chevy Bolt is an attractive looking car and looks the part of a modern EV. It looks far more modern than the, frankly ugly, Nissan Leaf, but it’s just a touch short of the i3. The BMW i3 is still the best looking car of the three, at least to our eyes, but the Bolt isn’t far behind.
Inside, both the i3 and the Bolt look like they share similar design philosophies. They tend to both look very open and airy with a strong emphasis on simplicity. The Bolt uses a very cohesive design and is one of the best looking Chevy interiors to date. However, if there is any knock on the Bolt’s interior, it’s that it is clearly a Chevy interior and if you saw it in an Impala, it wouldn’t look out of place. The BMW i3’s interior is something of another planet, it seems like, as it looks like nothing else on the road, even other BMW’s. It’s different and that’s good. The Leaf’s interior is just plain dated. It looks like a base-model Nissan Versa on the inside and it’s in desperate need of an upgrade. It’s all black plastics and cheap-looking screens.
If there was a true competitor to the BMW i3, in terms of styling, quality and interior space, the new Chevy Bolt seems to be it. It’s very good looking, looks more premium than anything else aside from the i3, has great cargo space and boasts an excellent proposed range. Obviously, we can’t comment on handling, performance or actual real-life range, but it seems as if the Bolt is off to a good start. Chevy seems to be on a bit of a roll, with the new Volt being very good and this new Bolt showing great promise. BMW is going to be working on a new i Division car and the i3 will be receiving a range boost in 2016. So BMW will have to get to work to keep up with the Bolt.