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Tesla Mode 3 Size & Space vs. Chevy Bolt, BMW 330e, Honda Civic

We use official EPA data to compare the new Tesla Model 3's space and size to the other vehicles in its class.

The all-new Tesla Model 3's official EPA data is finally here. After four months of delays, the public can now use the EPA's guidelines to compare and contrast this exciting new vehicle to its peers. Since Tesla has not supplied the Model 3 to the media for third-party testing and review, this information is helpful in separating the hype from the reality of this new car. We have already done a comparison of the new Tesla Model 3 to its peers in terms of energy efficiency, range and cost per mile of energy. Here, we will compare the Model 3 to a group of its peers focusing on passenger volume and cargo volume to get a feel for how it stacks up. One note before we begin. The EPA data above lists Tesla's cargo capacity as 17 cu ft. However, a leaked Tesla Model 3 owners manual shows that Tesla lists it as 15 cu ft (page 134). We will use the larger capacity from the EPA in our comparison.

Tesla Model 3 vs. BMW 330e - Size
The new Tesla Model 3 is the EV that was supposed to intrude on BMW's dominance of the compact sports sedan segment. It has not yet happened. Since its introduction in July, the Tesla Model 3 has not come close to the sales volume the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid electric car has generated. So far, the BMW 330e is eating the Tesla Model 3's lunch.

Size-wise, the cars are very similar. As you can see from the chart above, the two are within a single cubic foot of one another in overall passenger volume at 97 cu ft for the Model 3 and 96 for the BMW 330e. The chart shows a big difference in cargo area though. The EPA pegs the BMW 330e's cargo at just 9 cu ft. That compared to the Tesla Model 3's 17 cu ft. However, BMW's official data differs from the EPA's. BMW lists its cargo area as 13 cu ft, a figure we think makes more sense given its exterior dimensions.

Tesla Model 3 vs. Chevy Bolt - Size
The Model 3 tops the Bolt's interior space by just 2 cubic feet, but has identical cargo volume. Here, the Bolt's engineers have done something clever. Rather than design the Bolt as a sedan, a configuration that is quickly losing favor with buyers, Chevy opted instead to design the Bolt as a sort of crossover/hatchback. The extra area behind the passenger seats is useful volume, and when the back seats are dropped, hatchbacks have excellent cargo practicality. Advantage Bolt. One further note; Chevy lists the Bolt's cargo capacity at 16.9 cu ft.

Tesla Model 3 vs. Honda Civic Hatch (5-Door) - Size
The Honda Civic comes in multiple configurations. The largest, and most practical, is the 5-Door Hatchback.The Civic and Tesla Model 3 have identical passenger volume according to the EPA. However, at 26 cu ft, the Civic has much more cargo area than does the Model 3 which has 17 cu ft. Furthermore, the hatchback design of the Civic affords more cargo flexibility when the passenger seats are folded.


Allan Honeytman (not verified)    December 5, 2017 - 3:46PM

BMW is eating Tesla's Model 3's lunch? You are comparing an existing vehicle to a vehicle which has been barely introduced. By the way, does the 330e have a HALF MILLION VEHICLE ORDER BACKLOG??? I think that is a stunning misinterpretation. Your cavalier dismissal of the EPA's volumetric figures is unbelievable. Cite the facts unless they disprove your position, then...well, just dismiss them.

As for the Bolt, you didn't mention their sales. Been pretty pathetic.

I don't know exactly what your problem is, but you exhibit a stunning lack of objectivity in this article. As a famous old statistician used to say, "Figures lie and liars figure." You were out to prove a point, and you did it...realities be damned.

John Goreham    December 6, 2017 - 7:13AM

In reply to by Allan Honeytman (not verified)

The Bolt's sales have been pathetic? Bolt was the top-selling EV in America last month (November) with just under 3,000 delivered. And the Bolt was the top-selling EV the month before that (October). And in July. And the Bolt is the second-leading seller year to date after the Model s having passed 20,000 units. All within its launch year. The Bolt outsold the Model 3 by 9 to 1 in November. A month in which Elon Musk had promised thousands of Model 3's would be delivered. Sorry for the omission.