My Very First EV– Part IV: 2023 Chevy Bolt EUV or 2020 Tesla Design 3?

When I chose in 2015 to purchase an electrical vehicle, the very first one I thought about was the Tesla Design 3. (See “ My Very First EV– Part I“) I evaluate drove one at the dealership and remembered. After attempting the Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Kona EV, and VW ID.4, I wound up purchasing a Chevy Bolt EUV with Super Cruise.

Recently we were going to a celebration at the Filimon Farms, about 40 miles from house. It was far enough away to validate a carpool, and more enjoyable. Some buddies provided to drive us and appeared at our house in their 2020 Tesla Design 3. My instant response was: “Can I drive?”

” Sure,” addressed my pal.

After putting 2,000 miles on my Bolt, I truly wished to compare it with the Design 3. However is this a reasonable contrast? My 2023 Bolt was $41,000 out the door. Examining Craigslist, a 2020 Design 3 opts for $35,000 to $40,000, plus DMV charges, so the contrast is reasonable in regards to expense. Here is my (subjective) evaluation.


This is a no contest. With more than double the horse power, the Design 3 is the clear winner. If this is necessary to you, the option is apparent.

Tesla: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Bolt: ☆ ☆ ☆

Control Panel

My pal sits shotgun while I am driving his vehicle. “The number of miles on your vehicle”? I ask. “I have no concept. Let me inspect,” he states. And he begins tapping on the tablet. He clicks some “Cars and truck” tab and opens a screen with lots of info. He looks, clicks some more, and after a couple of minutes quits. “I do not understand,” 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 make sure the info is someplace on the Tesla infotainment system, however difficult to discover. Compared to the Bolt, it’s simply childish. Another charge of the minimalistic style that Elon likes a lot.

Maybe the Tesla has a compass someplace and one might most likely discover it after various taps. Or perhaps it is constantly present, however you need to try to find it. Take a look at the compass on the Bolt display screen. One glimpse and you see it. The variety is likewise plainly shown. It does not need to take on the navigation map, the vehicle history, or whatever else you have actually shown on the control panel. It is constantly there, as it must be.

The environment manages on the Bolt are far better. Levers you push up and down to change the temperature level and the fan are easily positioned under the display screen. They are not menu products on the screen.

Tesla: ☆ ☆
Bolt: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


The Design 3, and I believe all the Teslas, have 2 methods of braking. In non-regenerative mode, the vehicle coasts when you take the foot off the accelerator. In regenerative mode, the vehicle brakes greatly when you take the foot off. In non-regenerative mode, you need to break the vehicle utilizing the brake pedal, and you do not recuperate your kinetic energy. In regenerative mode, you utilize your energy to charge the battery, however the only method you can break less is to push the accelerator a little.

The Bolt is various. You do not change in between the 2 modes. Rather, it has a brake-assist lever on the guiding wheel, easily put on the left side. When you launch the accelerator, the vehicle brakes a little– regenerative. You can brake greatly utilizing your left hand fingers. After a couple of hours of driving the Bolt, I discovered how to utilize the “hand brake” and I can stop the vehicle precisely where I desire, without ever touching the foot brake. I believe I can drive this vehicle 100,000 miles without changing the brake pads. I was unable to do the exact same with the Tesla. It either stopped prematurely or far too late, and I needed to utilize 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 series of the 2 automobiles is really comparable, 240 to 260 miles, depending upon how quick you drive. No winner here. As you can see in the image above, the Bolt even declares a 290 mile variety– if your previous driving was rather sluggish, on city streets.

Tesla: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Bolt: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


The Tesla is more trendy and the seats are really comfy. Both automobiles have artificial leather. The seats on the Bolt are perforated and the vehicle sends out hot or cold air through the leather, based upon the choice of the environment. I do not understand if the Tesla has the exact same function. [Editor’s note: The Model 3 has seat heaters but does not have perforated seats and cooling through the seat, unfortunately. —Zach]

The environment is excellent on both automobiles, other than settings are much easier on the Bolt. Without an accurate measurement, I discovered the roadway sound rather comparable, perhaps a bit greater on the Tesla. Perhaps I am not watchful enough, however I might not see a winner.

Tesla: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Bolt: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


SIDE MIRRORS: When I initially evaluate drove the Design 3, I discovered the display screen revealing all the automobiles in the nearby lines rather fascinating. Now I am not so sure. The Design 3 reveals all the automobiles behind, in line, and ahead of my vehicle, left wing and right. A great deal of info I do not appreciate. Really, I care just about the automobiles in my blind areas, left and right. And here the Bolt does an exceptional task.

The side mirrors of the Bolt have a little vehicle and a star beside it embedded in the mirror, towards the outdoors edge. When a cars and truck remains in your blind area, offer or take a couple of feet up and down, a traffic signal on the mirror illuminate. I discover this really hassle-free, specifically during the night. I do not need to try to find it. I see it with my peripheral vision without turning my head. The light is not too invasive, simply intense enough so you can see it. GM calls it Blind Zone Assist and it does simply that.

REARVIEW MIRROR: On all the automobiles I drove in the past, the rearview mirror had 2 positions, for day and night driving. I did not inspect the Tesla, however I believe it is the exact same. The Bolt is various.

In the typical setting, the rearview mirror is simply the plain mirror. When you pull on the level listed below, the mirror ends up being a screen revealing the view from a cam. Trick or helpful function?

The default setting has a much bigger view angle than the mirror. You can see things that you would not see in the typical mirror. You can change the zoom, luminosity, and tilt likewise. I discovered the video camera mirror really hassle-free when you have guests in the rear seat. The mirror view can be blocked a good deal, specifically if you have high buddies. Not so with the video camera view. Clear, unblocked view in all cases.

Tesla: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Bolt: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


All of us understand Elon extols “complete self-driving,” however this is a misconception. The Design 3 I drove did not have it to the max. Simply routine Auto-pilot on the highway, equivalent with the Bolt. I’ll examine various sections of this separately.


The Design 3 has the “equipment shift” on the best side of the guiding wheel level, where you usually have the wiper controls. The wipers are managed from the turn signal stalk, which I did not have the opportunity to try out, however I discover rather non-traditional. Nevertheless, releasing Auto-pilot is really simple. You simply push two times on the lever, and if the conditions appertain, the pilot engages.

The Bolt is a bit less hassle-free. You need to push a button on the left side of the guiding wheel. Not a huge offer, however you need to glimpse at it. Not as hassle-free as the Design 3, which does not need looking.

Tesla: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Bolt: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Vehicle Steering

When Auto-pilot takes control of, it guides the vehicle in the center lane and it drives at the predetermined speed, or it keeps a consistent range to the vehicle upfront. It was most likely difficult for Elon to quit on the “minimalistic” method, however here he yielded and set up a devoted wheel to change the range. I discovered it on my own without asking. The Bolt has a comparable wheel, other than the outcome is revealed on the control panel in front of you, not on the screen to your right.

Keeping the center of the driving lane is a fascinating difficulty. The vehicle needs to “look ahead” to see when a curve is coming, in order to begin guiding early enough. I believe both automobiles do an excellent task of browsing the curves– rather gotten out of the Tesla, however a good surprise from the Bolt. They’re both far better than an ICE Camry I leased in 2015 which had its own type of Auto-pilot.

Tesla: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Bolt: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Engagement Show

When Auto-pilot engages, the Design 3 reveals some sign of that on the touchscreen to the right, however inspecting the display screen is troublesome. On the Bolt, rather comforting, the leading sector of the guiding wheel turns green. You do not need to try to find it; you can see it right in front of you. If the pilot has doubts about steering, it turns blue. If it quits, it reddens.

Tesla: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Bolt: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Lane Altering

The Design 3 understands how to alter lanes. The Bolt does not. On the Design 3, you inform it to alter lanes by continuing the turn signal. On the Bolt, you signify your objective, the display screen turns blue, and you modification lanes. After the lane modification, the pilot re-engages and the display screen turns green. I must offer the Bolt absolutely no stars, and 5 to Tesla, however I discover the lane modification include a rather unsafe activity for the auto-pilot. If there is no traffic, the Design 3 does a best line modification. If the traffic is heavy, forget it. I attempted it on the Tesla and I needed to take control of. No ranking here– I choose to take control of when I alter lanes.


Simply by merely accumulating ball games, the Design 3 got 39 stars and the Bolt 42. I undoubtedly am subjective, due to the fact that I do not like the Tesla (absence of) control panel and I discover the positioning of the tablet annoying. I revealed more images of the Bolt controls, due to the fact that there is absolutely nothing to reveal on the Tesla.

So, if you remain in the marketplace for an EV, what should you select? The Design 3 begins at $40,000. The Bolt EUV begins at $27,000. So, most likely in the end, the Tesla will cost a minimum of $10,000 more. Your abundant Uncle Sam will pitch in as much as $7,500 for the Bolt or $3,750 for the Design 3 (unless you purchase the Design 3 Efficiency, the most costly alternative, in which case Uncle Sam will supply $7,500). If you like the minimalistic method and cash is trivial, the Design 3 is for you. If you like the conventional style and do not care what individuals believe if you drive a Chevy, the Bolt is your much better option. However ensure you inspect them both prior to choosing.

By Mihai Beffa


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