2019 Toyota Prius Prime vs. 2019 Chevrolet Bolt

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Prius Prime are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Bolt doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Prius Prime has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Bolt doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Prius Prime’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Bolt doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Prius Prime and the Bolt have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Prius Prime the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Bolt was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The Prius Prime’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Bolt’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Prius Prime for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Chevrolet only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Bolt.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Prius Prime’s reliability 41 points higher than the Bolt.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked fourth.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 23rd.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Prius Prime running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Bolt (145 city/121 hwy vs. 128 city/110 hwy MPGe).

The Prius Prime’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel and a full charge is 652 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Bolt’s range is only 238 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only a 45% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 50 hours.

Brakes and Stopping

The Prius Prime stops shorter than the Bolt:

 

Prius

Bolt

 

70 to 0 MPH

184 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Prius Prime has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Chevrolet Bolt has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Prius Prime has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Prius Prime flat and controlled during cornering. The Bolt’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Prius Prime has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Bolt doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Prius Prime’s wheelbase is 3.9 inches longer than on the Bolt (106.3 inches vs. 102.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Prius Prime is 1.1 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Bolt.

The Prius Prime Plus handles at .79 G’s, while the Bolt Premier pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Prius Prime’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Bolt’s (33.4 feet vs. 35.4 feet).

Chassis

The design of the Toyota Prius Prime amounts to more than styling. The Prius Prime has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .25 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Bolt (.31) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Prius Prime get better fuel mileage.

The front grille of the Prius Prime uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Bolt doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Prius Prime has 1.6 inches more front legroom, 2.1 inches more front hip room, .8 inches more rear hip room and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Bolt.

Cargo Capacity

The Prius Prime has a much larger trunk than the Bolt with its rear seat up (19.8 vs. 16.9 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Prius Prime Advanced has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Bolt doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Prius Prime’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Bolt’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

The Prius Prime has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Bolt doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Prius Prime Advanced’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Bolt’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Prius Prime’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Bolt’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Prius Prime has a standard Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Bolt doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Prius Prime Advanced’s Intelligent Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Bolt doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Prius Prime is less expensive to operate than the Bolt because it costs $270 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Prius Prime than the Bolt, including $23 less for front brake pads and $324 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports performed a comparison test in its September 2017 issue and the Toyota Prius Prime Premium won out over the Chevrolet Bolt Premier.

The Toyota Prius outsold the Chevrolet Bolt by almost five to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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