Product Reviews

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EV Face-Off: Chevrolet Bolt vs. Hyundai Kona Electric

These two long-range electric vehicles motivate shoppers in different ways

Chevrolet Bolt and Hyundai Kona Electric

The Chevrolet Bolt and Hyundai Kona Electric are part of a small but growing selection of affordable electric vehicles (EVs) that can travel at least 250 miles on a single charge. Up until they arrived, you had to spend more than $70,000 for a Tesla if you wanted to go more than 140 miles on a fully charged battery.

More Electric Vehicles

Still, there’s a lot more to these cars than how far they can travel on a full battery charge. Here, we take a deeper look at each one and see how they fare in CR’s testing and our exclusive survey results. Which one is more reliable? Which is roomier? Does one have more standard safety features? After digesting all of that, we’ll tell you which one is tops in our book.

Chevrolet Bolt

The Case for It
The Bolt that we tested has an EPA-rated range of 238 miles, which is impressive in itself. But Chevrolet says it made some changes to the battery cells for the 2020 model, giving the EV an EPA-rated range of 259 miles. That puts it on a par with the Hyundai, rated at 258 miles.

Electric motors deliver immediate power when drivers step on the accelerator. Despite weighing more than most conventional compact cars, the Bolt gets from 0 to 60 mph in a quick 6.8 seconds, thanks to this instantaneous power.

The Bolt’s battery sits under the car’s floor, which helps keep the center of gravity low. This helps keep the tall and upright Bolt from leaning too much in turns. And that means the driver doesn’t have to slow down excessively at those points, which makes for a more enjoyable driving experience.

A cool feature is the ability to slow the Bolt with the “Regen on Demand” braking system. Pulling on a small, lever-like paddle behind the left side of the steering wheel reduces the car’s speed to the point that using the brake pedal isn’t always necessary. It’s fun to drive the car this way, with the right foot staying on or near the throttle, and braking with the left hand.

Most of the controls are easy to use. Screens for the infotainment system and the gauges can display a variety of information, including battery charge status and estimated remaining range.

The Bolt’s LED headlights are standouts. Chevrolet gives both trims standard LED high- and low-beam headlights, and both do a good job of illuminating the road straight ahead and to the sides. They’re significantly better than the headlights on the Kona. 

Finally, CR members who own the Bolt have told us that they're very satisfied with their car.