Tesla is a step ahead of all competitors in the electric vehicle’s industry with better battery technology. However Nissan beats Tesla in one front, while Tesla targets a niche market with high-tech features and thus a high price, Nissan created a car targeted to the mass market. This has made the Nissan Leaf the top selling electric vehicle around the world currently.
With the 2016 Nissan Leaf, the automaker intends to spread the Leaf’s wings even further to areas it has not yet reached. The new Leaf comes with a more durable battery signaling Nissan’s commitment to better their technology.
2016 Nissan Leaf Exterior
Similar to the outgoing model, the new 2016 Nissan Leaf is based on the Nissan EV platform which features a rigid-mounted battery frame where batteries are housed on the floor for better weight distribution and packaging.
The vehicle rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, stretches 175.0 inches long with a width of 69.7-inches and a height of 61.0 inches. The new body is highly aerodynamic with smooth and elegant curves and lines which start from the low and compact hood all the way to the rear spoiler. Its headlights split and redirect airflow away from door mirrors helping reduce drag and wind noise. The headlights feature low-beam LED lights.
At the rear, the vehicle features slim LED taillights, crisp corners and an aerodynamic bumper that is integrated with a rear diffuser. Its coefficient of drag is 0.28. The five-door hatchback also comes with chrome door handles.
The S trim will ride on 16-inch steel wheels while the SL and SV will feature 5-spoke, 17-inch aluminum –alloy wheels. The S wheels will be wrapped with 205/55R16 all-season tires while the SL and SV will be wrapped with 215/50R17 Michelin Energy Saver all-season tires.
The exterior is offered in a choice of 8 colors including 4 new ones which are coulis red, deep blue pearl and forged bronze in addition to brilliant silver, gun metallic, glacier white, super black and pearl white.
2016 Nissan Leaf Interior
The cabin has received an upgrade and the automaker now features the NissanConnect infotainment system along with mobile apps suite available as standard on all trim levels. The S features a 5-inch touch-screen while the other two trims are equipped with 7-inch screens.
The top trim also comes with Nissan’s connected navigation system the NissanConnect EV service, a feature which enables drivers to monitor remotely their Leaf’s charging state through a web portal or an app. The cabin will comfortably accommodate five passengers. The front will feature bucket seats and a 60/40 split-folding seat at the rear. There is also a rear HVAC duct.
The cabin is upholstered in quality cloth with the SV featuring bio-PET upholstery, the SL is upholstered in standard leather. When the seats are upright, the vehicle offers 24 cubic feet of cargo space which is expanded by folding the rear seat. It also features a 3-spoke steering wheel which is heated and wrapped in leather on SV and SL. Other features include SIRIUSxm Satellite Radio, a 4-speaker sound system but the SL has 6 speakers while the SL and SV premium package has an option for the Bose® premium audio system with 7 speakers.
The interior is offered in black but the SV adds a light gray option. The vehicle comes with enhanced airbags and a host of other safety features and driving aides.
Engine Specs and Performance
Under the hood of the 2016 Nissan Leaf is where things get excited. Nissan has hooked up the Leaf with a new battery with a long range and a more durability. Nonetheless, the automaker still offers the previous battery package on the base model. All models will feature the current 80-kW AC synchronous motor. The motor produces 107 hp and 187 lb-ft of torque.
The base S trim will still be equipped with the lower 24-kWh battery pack size which has an 84-miles range. The new battery pack is equipped on higher trims i.e. the SV and SL trims. The two trims will feature a 30-Kwh battery pack with a whopping 107 miles range which is a 27% increase in range from the 24-kWh battery pack.
Though both battery packs are of the same size, the new 30-kWh adds 46 pounds more to the Leaf’s curb weight. The 30-kWh pack is EPA rated at 124 mpge for city, 101 mpge on highway and 112 mpge on combined drives while the base 24-kWh pack keeps the previous ratings of 126 mpge, 101 mpge and 114 mpge for city, highway and combined drives respectively.
Recharging from low battery to 80% only takes 30 minutes on a fast charging port while level 2 charging at a 6.6 kWh takes 6 hours for the 30 kWh pack hours and 5 hours for the 24-kWh battery.
Price and release date
The SV and SL trim levels come slightly expensive than the outgoing models but the base S trim will retain its 2015 price tag. The base S trim level will have a starting MSRP price of $28,060. The SV has a starting price of $ 35,050 while the SL starts at $ 37,640. There is also a potential federal tax incentive of $ 7,500 allowing you to get the Leaf on the cheap. Although the production of 2016 Nissan Leaf began in August 2015, the first copies in showrooms should be found by the end of the year.