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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I had some free time today so I rode up to my local Chevy dealer to take a closer look at the Bolt. Dealership was open and there were a few Bolts and one eager salesman so he offered a test ride. My scheduled test ride with Smart is for later this week so I thought it would be good to try it so I could compare, plus I have never driven an electric car before so the novelty of it all compelled me all the more. First impressions of the Bolt are all positive, I like the look of the car and it's utility. This was the demo car and even though it had been in service that day it still had 161 miles left according to the display. It's not super fancy but very modern looking on the inside with nice finishes throughout, much nicer than the rather cheap looking/feeling Smart car bits and pieces. It's smooth, silent and comfortable, not sure what more you could ask of a car.

Really the only advantages I can see with the Smart car are the size (applicable to some) and the price. I will know more when I test drive the Smart later this week.

I should point out that I didn't write this to bash the Smart, I'm genuinely interested in electric cars and very fond of the Smart styling and the small footprint is a big bonus for me. I just hope that after trying the Smart that the novelty of it's diminutive size isn't the only thing that I find interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
One other thought and this has to do with salespeople. I find it completely irritating when a salesperson wants to be my friend in lieu of offering anything substantive about the car I'm interested in buying. You would think with a cutting edge vehicle like the Bolt that the Chevy dealer would have trained it's staff. This guy was either lazy or stupid, I would not want to do business with him. For the entire test drive all he did was tell me about his former occupation (our fields were related) and at the end try to divine how much money I make by asking indirect questions about my lifestyle, where I live, etc. The only thing he mentioned about the car was the torque on acceleration, the size of the touchscreen (it's quite large) and the 120 vs. 240 volt charging option. That was it. I hope my Smart dealer has more on the ball and actually can offer insights about the car and it's features, it's competition and how it would work for me as a vehicle. I had thought the "good-ol' boy" salesmanship tactic was history by now.
 

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One other thought and this has to do with salespeople. I find it completely irritating when a salesperson wants to be my friend in lieu of offering anything substantive about the car I'm interested in buying. You would think with a cutting edge vehicle like the Bolt that the Chevy dealer would have trained it's staff. This guy was either lazy or stupid, I would not want to do business with him. For the entire test drive all he did was tell me about his former occupation (our fields were related) and at the end try to divine how much money I make by asking indirect questions about my lifestyle, where I live, etc. The only thing he mentioned about the car was the torque on acceleration, the size of the touchscreen (it's quite large) and the 120 vs. 240 volt charging option. That was it. I hope my Smart dealer has more on the ball and actually can offer insights about the car and it's features, it's competition and how it would work for me as a vehicle. I had thought the "good-ol' boy" salesmanship tactic was history by now.


I seem to run I to that every time I go to test drive a vehicle. I always research everything I can about a vehicle. Sad how often I go in having to teach the salesman what he's selling. (Happened with my PT Cruiser GT, my Pontiac Vibe, my smart, our Prius really sad that people actually fall for the good ol boy bit. I'd rather you know what your selling.
 

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I seem to run I to that every time I go to test drive a vehicle. I always research everything I can about a vehicle. Sad how often I go in having to teach the salesman what he's selling. (Happened with my PT Cruiser GT, my Pontiac Vibe, my smart, our Prius really sad that people actually fall for the good ol boy bit. I'd rather you know what your selling.
He may have been selling stoves and washer/dryers last week, you never know. There seems to be a real shortage of professional sales people until get into the much higher priced specialty car.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So last night my wife and I were able to test drive the new Smart 453, it was a Prime model. Compared to the Chevy Bolt the Smart is a lesser car by almost every objective standard. That doesn't mean the Smart is a bad car by any stretch, matter of fact it's quite fun to drive, more than roomy for two people and the styling both inside and out is quirky and unique, reminiscent of of the Mini Cooper. It's not as fast as the Bolt but it's quick off the line with enough pop to get you going even though it runs out of steam pretty quick. It's easy to speed on city roads because the car is so quiet and the suspension quite solid. I found myself unintentionally going ten over the limit quite frequently. One of the common criticisms of the Smart is the short wheelbase leading to a rough suspension, while it's not billowy soft like you're riding on a cloud I found it surprisingly well sorted and a bit on the stout side. Bigger bumps in the road do transmit through the car but the suspension eats it up pretty good. The biggest negative for me was the steering, it's not bad but it feels vague to me. That could be because I'm used to my Mazda 3 and our Audi Q5, both of which have stellar feedback and are very responsive. I had mentioned that I thought the Smart was rather cheap looking/feeling in it's interior. I want to walk that comment back a little bit, overall it is actually quite nice but the few cheap parts really stand out. For example the transmission (I know it doesn't have a transmission) lever, the switches and buttons and the plastics on the door all very cheap feeling. Conversely the steering wheel feel, the quality of the seats and the beautiful panoramic sunroof are quality stuff. So it's really a mixed bag inside the Smart.

In summary if you are looking for a comprehensive electric car the Chevy Bolt is more like a "real" car and is definitely more feature rich and better sorted for a traditional lifestyle. Between range and passenger capacity it's really hard to beat. The only objective benefit of a Smart car are it's turning radius (which is fun) and it's compact nature which is great for city life and it's cheaper. If you go into subjective feelings then for me the Smart is a more interesting car and far less generic, it has a certain charm that just doesn't come across with the Bolt.

Between the two I would buy a Bolt and lease a Smart. I think in a few years the Bolt would still be relevant and have value while the Smart is really hampered by it's lack of range and niche design.

And since I mentioned salesmenship earlier I would be remiss not to mention my Smart salesperson. His name is Dan and he is a member of this forum, complete professional, knew the car, carefully explained the features and was honest with what he did not know. It's a complete 180 of the Chevy dealer rep. It's the type of salesperson I can respect whether I choose to do business with them or not and would not hesitate sending someone his way.
 

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In summary if you are looking for a comprehensive electric car the Chevy Bolt is more like a "real" car and is definitely more feature rich and better sorted for a traditional lifestyle. Between range and passenger capacity it's really hard to beat. The only objective benefit of a Smart car are it's turning radius (which is fun) and it's compact nature which is great for city life and it's cheaper. If you go into subjective feelings then for me the Smart is a more interesting car and far less generic, it has a certain charm that just doesn't come across with the Bolt.
Seems to me a better comparison would be between the Bolt and either the new Tesla or the Leaf. Particularly if range and larger seating are an issue as you mention above. It's also a bit understated to say "it's cheaper", considering the MSRP on the Bolt is $37K, the SMART $25K. If you get $10K in tax credits as many do, that difference is $27K to $15K, which is almost a factor of two difference. I'm sure if you compared an ICE car to another ICE car that cost $12K more you would notice a nicer car as well. I'm not disagreeing with your assessment, I'm just saying it is a bit like comparing a Holiday Inn to a Marriott. Double the price and you get a lot more.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Seems to me a better comparison would be between the Bolt and either the new Tesla or the Leaf. Particularly if range and larger seating are an issue as you mention above. It's also a bit understated to say "it's cheaper", considering the MSRP on the Bolt is $37K, the SMART $25K. If you get $10K in tax credits as many do, that difference is $27K to $15K, which is almost a factor of two difference. I'm sure if you compared an ICE car to another ICE car that cost $12K more you would notice a nicer car as well. I'm not disagreeing with your assessment, I'm just saying it is a bit like comparing a Holiday Inn to a Marriott. Double the price and you get a lot more.
Yep, the Bolt is better compared to the Leaf, Tesla, Ioniq, eGolf and others. I compare the Smart and Bolt because they were the only two I was interested in owning. And sure the price difference is significant but for my part I was comparing a $30k Smart Prime vs a $37k Bolt, that's only a $7k difference. For a $30k car the Smart has some pretty rudimentary bits and pieces. The cars do have different missions but a $30k price tag should offer a bit more polish.
 

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The Bolt looks like a good car, however for cross country travel the charging network falters, as it does for all non Tesla cars.

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And sure the price difference is significant but for my part I was comparing a $30k Smart Prime vs a $37k Bolt, that's only a $7k difference.
Sadly, for many folks even $7K is a lot of money. Indeed, for those who don't require a 2017 or 2018 ED, that is more money than is needed to purchase an ED outright. Many folks on this forum have reported buying a new or barely used 2014 or 2015 for less than $7K. Not just the downpayment; the entire price. AAA reported today (see USATODAY for the story) that lightly used electric cars are one of the best values in the car market today (this was the flip side of their conclusion that brand new electric cars are not a good value due to very rapid depreciation). USATODAY also noted the massive push by all automakers into electrics, despite the current low numbers on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sadly, for many folks even $7K is a lot of money. Indeed, for those who don't require a 2017 or 2018 ED, that is more money than is needed to purchase an ED outright. Many folks on this forum have reported buying a new or barely used 2014 or 2015 for less than $7K. Not just the downpayment; the entire price. AAA reported today (see USATODAY for the story) that lightly used electric cars are one of the best values in the car market today (this was the flip side of their conclusion that brand new electric cars are not a good value due to very rapid depreciation). USATODAY also noted the massive push by all automakers into electrics, despite the current low numbers on the road.
While true it doesn't change the fact that I was comparing a new Smart Prime vs a New Bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You have to spend $42k on a Bolt to get leather seats, as the Prime would be equipped.
As I mentioned to hurricanes, my comparison was a Smart Prime vs Chevy Bolt. The base Bolt comes very nicely equipped. Theses were simply two electric cars that caught my attention, all the others don't really excite me... well maybe the BMW i3.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The all-new Leaf is scheduled to debut momentarily, and it just might better the Bolt.
My problem with the Leaf has nothing to do with objective standards. I think currently it's an ugly design. Don't know what the new one looks like so if it matches up to the Bolt and it improves it's looks it will certainly have my attention.

It will be interesting to see where electric cars are in three years after our lease on the Smart is over. It's one of the factors my wife brought up just before we signed, thinking that the Smart was a great gateway electric car.
 

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The new design Leaf looks more main stream and less frog-like.


40 kWh battery, plus a longer range battery option (~60 kWh?)
Range of up to 165 miles for the base (we think ~150 miles EPA, 200+ for the larger option )
147 HP 236 pound-feet of torque
S, SV, and SL trim levels, with the price tags of $29,990,*$32,490, and*$36,200

Stats from: Inside EVs

Debut date September 6.


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Discussion Starter #18
I'm guessing this is a prototype?



If it does look anything like this then I think it's a big improvement in the looks department. Decent range too and a more competitive price.
 
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