Nissan LEAF, New & Improved
Base MSRP: From $29,990
- S – From $29,990
- SV – From $32,490
- SL – From $36,200
Tax credit: Up to $7,500
EPA Range: 151 -226 miles, pure electric
Battery: 40-62 kWh
Charging Acceptance Rate: 6.6 kW
Performance: Electric vehicle (EV); 62 kWh battery, electric motor, 215 horsepower
Mileage estimate: 125 MPGe city / 100 highway MPGe
Price estimate: $30,200 to $38,300
Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
Drivetrain warranty: 5 years / 60,000 miles
Roadside assistance: 3 years/ Unlimited miles
Corrosion warranty: 5 years / Unlimited miles
Reviews of the Nissan Leaf 2019 Plus
2019 Nissan LEAF continues to improve
Historically, the Nissan Leaf has played a significant role in the growth of electric vehicles, bringing them to the masses during its 2011 debut as the world’s first mainstream battery-electric vehicle.
Although these days the competition is fierce, the five-seat compact hatchback remains a player. Entering 2019, all-time Leaf sales were approximately 365,00 globally (128,000 in the U.S.), making it the top-selling EV in the world. However, there has been a gradual slide. Last year, U.S. sales of the Leaf was 14,715, placing it eighth among EV models.
While it has remained relevant with the Leaf, the Nissan brain trust recognized it needed to keep making improvements. There could be as many as 100 all-electric vehicles on the market by the end of 2020. Plus, the number of hybrids and plug-in hybrids (PHEV) keeps growing as well.
Hoping to elevate its status this year, Nissan has added an addition to the Leaf. There’s been considerable buzz regarding the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus, which was introduced in the U.S in spring 2019. It has a much larger battery than the standard Leaf and can also travel a lot further before a charge is required. The Leaf Plus has a 226-mile range compared to 151 miles for the standard model.
Despite the impressive range, the Leaf Plus still trails some other EV competitors like the Chevrolet Bolt (238 miles), Kia Niro (239 miles) and Hyundai Kona (258). And don’t leave out the Tesla Model 3, the top-selling EV. The Model 3 possesses a 310-mile range.
The Leaf Pus interior is nothing fancy, so don’t expect anything resembling the cool complexity of a Tesla. But there are plenty of strong traits that combine to give it a solid interior. The front seats are fairly comfortable and roomy, while the back seats offer good leg and head room. The cargo area is sizable at 23.6 cubic feet behind the back seat.
An 8-inch touchscreen (the standard motel is 7 inch) has an updated navigation system that’s relatively easy to master and will support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Some annoying hard-plastic surfaces and no telescoping steering wheel are two of the negatives.
The 2019 Leaf and Leaf Plus possess a more conventional exterior. It’s now more aerodynamic than the rounded and quirky original Leaf. The Leaf Plus has a slightly revised front bumper with blue accents. It also has a rear trim-level badge (S Plus, SV Plus or SL Plus).
Vehicle Power and Speed
Besides its significant jump in range over the regular Leaf, the Leaf Plus delivers better acceleration. Reportedly 300 pounds heavier, the Leaf Plus features a 62 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery and the electric motor generates 215 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque.
Even though the battery is larger, Nissan says the Leaf Plus has charging times that are similar to the standard model. A full charge will take 11½ hours on a typical 240-volt outlet at home and around 7.5 hours on a 220-volt Level 2 charger. Equipped with a Quick Charge port, the Leaf Plus can be charged up to 80 percent in a mere 40 minutes.
Partly because the battery sits low, the Leaf Plus will give the driver a confident feeling that they are hugging the road. It drives smooth, quiet and the regenerative braking kicks in when one takes their foot of the accelerator, making the vehicle easy to slow down and come to a full stop.
The added mileage range and better performance will make the Nissan Leaf Plus a welcome addition to the Leaf lineup.
Reviews of the Nissan Leaf 2018
Upgrades for the Trailblazing 2018 Nissan Leaf
A more stylish, traditional appearance is the first indicator that something is new with the 2018 Nissan Leaf, a compact electric hatchback.
Gone is the somewhat bulbous shape of previous models that had the Leaf looking like the prototypical electric vehicle (EV), yet never receiving any points for an attractive design. Besides the new exterior, the 2018 Nissan Leaf features a longer range, more powerful motor, and introduces the e-Pedal and ProPilot Assist.
We’re in agreement with many other auto reviewers that applaud Nissan’s redesign. While the mileage range is lower than other EVs on the market today, the Leaf has definitely made up some ground.
Appearance-wise, the new Leaf is more in line with other Nissan vehicles, like the Versa, Sentra and Kicks. Gone are the Leaf’s odd headlights that stretched up to the front fenders; they are replaced with horizontal lights. The changes to the front end also include incorporating Nissan’s V-motion grille, a mainstay throughout the Japanese manufacturer’s lineup.
The Leaf was a trailblazer for EVs, debuting in 2011 and establishing itself as the first all-electric vehicle priced and designed for typical car buyers. However, the competition has grown since the Leaf arrived seven years ago.
Although the Leaf increased its range in 2018 by 44 miles – going from 107 to 151 miles – it still can’t match two other all-EV vehicles, the Chevy Bolt and Tesla 3. The Bolt goes 238 miles before needing a charge and the Tesla 3 just increased its range to approximately 310 miles.
Where the Leaf has an edge in price, starting at around $30,000. A base model Bolt goes for roughly $36,000 and the Tesla 3 at approximately $35,000. Note that all three EV vehicles receive around a $10,000 price reduction thanks to federal and California rebates.
The 2018 Leaf has a larger battery, a 40-kilowatt pack that can be fully recharged in just 40 minutes using a DC Fast Charging station or eight hours using a Level 2 charger (240-volt). Reportedly, Nissan will be equipping the SL model Leaf in 2019 with a 60 k-Wh battery that will increase its range to 225 miles.
Get behind the wheel and one can quickly tell there’s a noticeable performance upgrade with this year’s Leaf. The 110 kWh electric motor generates 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The Leaf can travel 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds, a huge jump from the 2017 model that was clocked at 10.2 seconds going 0-60 mph.
The 2018 Leaf feels quick, accelerates well in freeway situations, and topped out at 88 mph here with the accelerator floored. Depending on how it’s driven, the Leaf gets the equivalent of 101-126 mpg. The Leaf provides a smooth, controlled and extremely quiet ride. While not sporty, it handles well overall and is fun to drive.
We found the two driver additions – e-Pedal and ProPilot Assist – intriguing. The e-Pedal utilizes regenerative braking to slow the Leaf down appreciably. The e-Pedal is activated by a console button and goes to work when the driver takes their foot off the accelerator. The Leaf slows down right away and can even come to a complete stop.
ProPilot Assist is an adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist that’s camera-based and comes standard only on the SL and SV trims. It can automatically adjust the Leaf’s speed to match the traffic pattern and keeps the vehicle in its lane if the driver becomes distracted. Nissan says it’s not to be confused with an autonomous feature that offers self-driving.
We found the Nissan Leaf to be a comfortable fit with four people aboard. Put three in the rear seats and it gets real cramped. But overall leg and head room is fine for two adults. The cargo area is fairly spacious at 23.6 cubic feet and the space extends to 30 feet with the second row folded down.
Two negatives regarding the interior are the overuse of inexpensive, plastic material and the absence of a telescoping steering wheel, leaving the wheel too far away for some drivers. Most new cars these days have telescoping steering, while the Leaf only has tilt adjustment. The Leaf does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.
Thanks to its range increase, alluring sticker price, improved performance and new appealing exterior look, the 2018 Nissan Leaf will continue being a tempting purchase for people looking for a suitable EV.