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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Prius 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 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.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Prius LE/XLE/Limited has standard Parking Support Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Bolt doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Prius offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Bolt doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The Prius’ 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 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.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Toyota Prius is safer than the Chevrolet Bolt:
New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.
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 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 101 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Bolt was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.
The Prius’ corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Bolt’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).
Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Prius 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.
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’ reliability 37 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.
The Prius’ maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 655.4 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Bolt’s range is only 259 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.
The Prius stops much shorter than the Bolt:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
60 to 0 MPH
The Prius XLE/Limited’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Bolt’s 50 series tires.
The Prius LE FWD has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Bolt; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Prius 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 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Prius flat and controlled during cornering. The Bolt’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
The Prius 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’ wheelbase is 3.9 inches longer than on the Bolt (106.3 inches vs. 102.4 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Prius is .7 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Bolt.
The Prius Limited handles at .90 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’ turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Bolt’s (33.5 feet vs. 35.4 feet).
The Toyota Prius may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 550 pounds less than the Chevrolet Bolt.
The design of the Toyota Prius amounts to more than styling. The Prius has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .24 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 get better fuel mileage.
The front grille of the Prius 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.
The Prius has .7 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear hip room and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Bolt.
The Prius has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Bolt with its rear seat up (27.4 vs. 16.9 cubic feet). The Prius has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Bolt with its rear seat folded (65.5 vs. 56.6 cubic feet).
The Prius (except L/LE) offers an available heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation 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’ 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.
If the windows are left open on the Prius the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Bolt can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Prius 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 XLE/Limited’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’ headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Bolt’s headlights are rated “Poor.”
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Prius (except L/LE) offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Bolt doesn’t offer cornering lights.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Prius 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 LE/XLE/Limited’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.
Insurance will cost less for the Prius owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Prius will cost $965 to $2995 less than the Bolt over a five-year period.
The Prius will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Prius will retain 44.07% to 45.12% of its original price after five years, while the Bolt only retains 34.49% to 35.47%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Prius is less expensive to operate than the Bolt because it costs $272 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Prius than the Bolt, including $17 less for a water pump and $1 less for front brake pads.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Prius will be $6797 to $10484 less than for the Chevrolet Bolt.
Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Prius as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Toyota Prius outsold the Chevrolet Bolt by almost four to one during the 2019 model year.
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