The Nissan Leaf is the best-selling electric vehicle in the world; however, the model has been receiving stiff competition from new versions of the Chevrolet Bolt as well as the Tesla Model 3. The world’s first mass-produced car undercuts its rivals in terms of pricing but has been trying to improve its offering on other fronts to match the more expensive Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt. For 2018, the automaker has replaced the model’s 30 kWh battery pack with a new 40kWh unit in a bid to offer more mileage like its rivals. In addition, the automaker has improved the Leaf’s technologies including an e-Pedal, a technology that enables one-pedal driving (more of this later on). What’s more, the 2018 Nissan Leaf will be cheaper than the current model.
2018 Nissan Leaf Exterior
The Leaf was beginning to look rather dull compared to the new EVs that are cropping up everywhere, more so the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3. The model thus needed a significant revamp to make it look modern.
The automaker has enlarged the V-shaped grille and added a 3D mesh pattern in a Clear Blue finish. Below the grille is a sporty-looking bumper that integrates DRLs and intakes at each corner as well as slim vents at the center. The headlights flanking the grille have been revised; they are now slimmer and more angular while the hood is sculpted towards the fenders to align with the front fascia’s V shape.
The flanks feature a solid beltline that begins at the front fenders and stretches rearwards and upwards to the taillights. Another character line above the Leaf’s rear wheel arch makes the side profile look sportier. Black pillars result in a “floating roof” look, a signature look on almost every new Nissan vehicle.
At the rear, Nissan has opted for boomerang-looking taillights in place of the vertical units on current models. The model also features a conventional-looking rear glass, roof spoiler and lower tailgate which make it look like a more conventional hatchback.
There is an option for a two-tone color finish.
Exterior dimensions have not changed; thus, the 2018 Nissan Leaf is still 176.4 inches long, 70.5 inches wide and 61.4 inches tall; it has a wheelbase of 106.3 inches.
2018 Nissan Leaf Interior
The cabin has been redesigned to offer a more premium feel. The redesign starts with the dash which has a 3-tier design characterized by a wider center stack with revised A/C vents and a 7.0-inch infotainment display. However, the screen is surrounded by many knobs and buttons which is a bit of a turn off in an age where models are going for a clean dash. The instrument cluster features a huge analog dial on the right and a small digital display screen on the right.
The dash, seats, as well as the steering wheel, get a blue contrast stitching. The leather-wrapped steering wheel flaunts a matte chrome finishing.
A navigation system is standard on top trims and optional for lower trims; a model with the navigation system feature Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The model also features the automaker’s Intelligent Integration platform that integrates NissanConnect which enables the driver to search for various information such as charging stations and their availability. There is also a ProPilot Assist, a driver assist technology that works on single-lane driving. It manages the distance between the Leaf and the car in front when cruising at between 18 mph and 60 mph. The system also assists the driver to keep the car on its lane and it automatically applies brakes when the car in front comes to a halt.
The most captivating technology is, however, the new e-pedal which enables a driver to operate the car with a single pedal for both braking and acceleration once the e-Pedal button is switched on. This technology works by determining what the driver wants to be based on his/her input of the pedal. The second pedal for braking is still offered for those drivers afraid to try out the single pedal.
The cargo area has also been redesigned and now offers 23.6 cubic feet of space.
Drive-train and performance
Nissan keeps on improving the Leaf’s drivetrain. The Leaf made its initial debut with a battery pack that only offered a 24kWh battery pack that provided a 73-mile range which Nissan improved to 84-mile range. Later on, the automaker replaced the 24kWh battery pack with a 30kWh unit good for 107 miles range. The EV market is growing at a fast pace such that the 1076 mile range is pretty dismal as there are models offering over a 200-mile range, these are the Chevy Bolt that offers 238 miles and Tesla is set to up Model 3 range to 220 miles. Due to this, Nissan had to improve the Leaf’s mileage.
Nissan has hooked up the 2018 Nissan Leaf with a new electric drivetrain that churns out 147 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, an improvement of 40 hp and 49 lb-ft of torque over the outgoing variant. In addition, the drive-train is now backed by a new 40kWh battery pack. The system has improved the Leaf’s mileage to 150 miles, a 40% improvement over the current Nissan Leaf. The battery pack takes 16 hours to replenish when using a 3kW outlet while a 6kW outlet takes only 8 hours; it takes only 40 minutes to attain an 80% charge level.
Before you point out that the new Leaf’s mileage is meager compared to the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3, Nissan has said it is bringing their own 200-mile Leaf backed by a 60kWh battery pack for the 2019 model year so hold your peace for just one more year.
Price and release date
Considering the Leaf slots behinds the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 in terms of mileage, Nissan cleverly prices it lower than the two rivals. The current model is even cheaper than the outgoing version despite the increase in range. The model has an MSRP of $29,990 compared to the outgoing model’s $30,680. In comparison, the base Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3 are $7,500 and $5,000 more expensive respectively. The SV trim fetches $32,490 while the top-of-the-range SL trim attracts $36,200. Sales will commence in the automaker’s native Japan this October while in other markets including North America sales will commence in the first quarter of 2018. A federal tax credit of $7,500 will make the Leaf even more affordable in the states.
The SV trim fetches $32,490 while the top-of-the-range SL trim attracts $36,200. Sales will commence in the automaker’s native Japan this October while in other markets including North America sales will commence in the first quarter of 2018. A federal tax credit of $7,500 will make the Leaf even more affordable in the states.
The Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3 are the Nissan Leaf’s top rivals.