The Nissan LEAF is the best-selling electric vehicle of all time, and have been popularized due to a low price and solid range. However, it’s far more than just an electric transportation appliance. Here are seven reasons why you want to live with a LEAF.
No gas, ever
Most potential EV owners only look at the reduced cost of electricity versus gasoline, but the benefits here go much further than just cost savings. A complete lack of gasoline, and being able to charge at home, means never getting out of your vehicle at gas stations in blazing hot or freezing cold weather, never again visiting stations at night, or in unfamiliar areas. And no risk of card skimmers. Charging at home is easier, and more convenient.
Lowest cost of ownership over 5 years
The Nissan LEAF is one of the most affordable cars on the road to own and operate. A large part of that is due to electricity in the USA being roughly 1/3 the cost of gas. That’s how EVs rack up huge savings when compared to even a thrifty Toyota Prius. Uncle Sam will save you even more here, as unlike the Tesla Model 3, the LEAF still qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Maintenance costs are lower too, and regenerative braking means you will likely never replace the brake pads or rotors. Even the tires are cheap, with the base 16-inch tires currently listing for under $50 each. This car will save you thousands.
The LEAF doesn’t look fast, but prepare to be impressed. The electric motor in the LEAF Plus trim level makes 250 lb-ft of torque, the same as the sporty Volkswagen Golf GTI. Zero to 60 MPH is the standard metric for car performance, and the most recent model runs that in 7.4 seconds, edging out the brand new Toyota Corolla XSE. More importantly, is a vehicle’s performance around town. Accelerating away from a stop light, you can hit 30 MPH in just 3.1 seconds, making powering around the city effortless. Kelley Blue Book said its “snappy right off the line and has excellent mid-range passing power.”
Simply put, the LEAF has incredible front seats. Supportive like sports car seats, but comfortable like large sedan seats, but also with an upright position like SUV seating, Nissan nailed the goal of attempting to please everyone here. Our recent test drive had 6’3″ and 5’5″ drivers both commenting on the perfect fit of the seats. The leather option looks particularly good in a dark finish with precise looking stitching. You’d swear the LEAF’s seats were out of a $60,000 car.
New for 2018
The second generation model debuted for 2018, offering longer range, more tech, and more reasons to buy. The new exterior design features many wind tunnel tested aero improvements, but also a sportier appearance than the first generation, topped off by LED headlights. The driving range has been extended to 151 miles for the base model, and 226 miles for the LEAF Plus. The 2018+ can quick charge to 80% in just 40 minutes on a level 3 charger, or you can get a level 2 charge at home with a 240 volt outlet for $10 from Home Depot. Push the new “e-Pedal” button and you get a strong energy regeneration that charges the battery every time you lift off the accelerator pedal. That’s cool.
Yup, lux in a LEAF. The high-end SV model adds nice touches, on top of the Bentley-like total silence. The center 8-inch touchscreen infotainment is bright and responsive, with 3D graphics overlaid over satellite maps, and there’s an additional 7-inch display acting as gauge cluster. All the touch surfaces feel solid and high quality. The rest of the interior is sporty but polished, like something you would expect in a more expensive Nissan Maxima or Nissan Murano.
“Don’t get a small car, they’re not safe,” says your uncle, the guy that’s stuck in the ’70s. It’s no longer necessary to have acres of sheet metal to protect you in a crash. Crumple zones, safety cage construction, and smart air bags have dramatically improved the safety ratings of even the smallest cars like the SMART Fortwo. The LEAF is compact but mighty, with a heft of around 3,600 pounds, it weighs the same as a Toyota RAV4. This attention to detail shows up in the crash tests, with perfect five stars from both the NHTSA and Europe’s NCAP safety tests, and solid “Good” scores from the IIHS.