Auto123.com will be crowning winners of the 2019 Auto123.com Awards for best vehicles of the year at an event today in Toronto. We’ve already unveiled the three finalists in each of the 19 categories; today we look in more detail at the Green Vehicle of the Year finalists.
The Bolt is defending its title as Green Vehicle of the Year. To do that successfully, the little firefly will rely on its greater electric range (383 km) than the LEAF (241 km), and superior driving dynamics that make it an excellent choice for single people or younger couple who live in the city and who want to benefit from a driving experience that is not just neutral but positive.
On the other hand, the trunk is not huge, in fact it’s pretty small; with 478 litres of cargo space at its disposal, it doesn’t measure up the LEAF and its 668 litres. It’s also worth keeping in mind that in the real world, with our Canadian weather conditions, the actual range falls considerable short of that official 383-km figure. But what really matters is that for folks who are commuting short distances, the Bolt’s range is plenty sufficient.
The LEAF generation two made its debut last year, and some were disappointed by the lack of progress in terms of the range it delivered, which is virtually the same as before. Not that 241 km is terrible, but in a segment where new models are appearing at a furious clip, not advancing inevitable means falling behind. To wit, there’s a certain Kona electric coming shortly to the Canadian market, along with its 400+ km range.
Otherwise, the LEAF offers consumers a very solid product at every level. More spacious inside and in the trunk that many of its rivals, including the Bolt, the LEAF benefits from a comfortable interior environment, making it easy to imagine you’re driving a good-quality compact sedan. Back this year is the wonderful e-Pedal, which helps recover energy for the battery and makes the brake pedal just about redundant.
Tesla Model 3
What is there left to say about this car that has made such an impression on the U.S. market and elsewhere, for a number of reasons (some of which actually have to do with driving!)? While many of the big manufacturers are slow to get moving despite big promises and ambitious goals, the California-based independent carmaker has grabbed a significant part of the market, and even become the emblem of the movement towards electric mobility.
The Model 3, designed to make electric cars and the Tesla brand accessible to a wider slice of the consumer pie, is not without its problems. We’ve all heard ad nauseum about the many production delays, the brilliant/incomprehensible moves and statements by Elon Musk, and some issues with quality of construction. As well, the company may like to claim that the Model 3 is an affordable car, but it’s not all that affordable, really.
Still, the Tesla product range, and the Model 3 in particular, has forced and continues to force other manufacturers – and the industry as a whole – to change their approach and at least start to turn their ships around. Disrupter, game changer – call it what you will, but Tesla has bothered the status quo, and even if it trips occasionally it has been dynamic, and it has made the industry as whole more dynamic as well.