Photo Credits: Nissan, Car and Driver
Electric Power, Instant Thrills
2018 Nissan LEAF
Base MSRP: From $29,990
- S – From $29,990
- SV – From $32,490
- SL – From $36,200
Tax Credit: Up to $7,500
Battery Size: 40 kWh
EPA Range: Up to 150 pure-electric miles
Charging Acceptance Rate: 6.6kW
Performance: 110-kWh electric motor, 147 horsepower
Mileage estimate: 101-126 mpge
Price estimate: From $29,990 to $36,200
Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
Drivetrain Warranty: 5 years / 60,000 miles
Roadside Assistance: 3 years / unlimited
Corrosion Warranty: 5 years / unlimited
2018 Nissan LEAF Review
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 still unable to challenge several other notable EV vehicles, the LEAF has definitely made up some ground.
This 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.
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 were 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.
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 the 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 cheap, 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.
Range and Price
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 is price, starting at around $30,000. A base model Bolt goes for roughly $33,000 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.
Battery and Charging
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 kWh battery that will increase its range to 225 miles.
Performance and Speed
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.
Driving and Safety Features
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 keep 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.
Thanks to its range increase, alluring sticker price, improved performance, and new appealing exterior look, the 2018 Nissan LEAF will continue being a temping purchase for people looking for a suitable EV.
ClipperCreek Virtual Tour Video: Nissan LEAF
Recommended Charging Stations = HCS-40
Recommended Power Level of Charging Station = 32A
Vehicle Acceptance Rate: 6.6kW
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Manufacturer Details by Nissan
2018 Nissan LEAF Is KBB’s 5-Year Cost-To-Own Winner Among EVs by Inside EVs
11850 Kemper Rd., Auburn, CA 95603
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