The 2023 Nissan Leafelectric vehicle (EV) costs less than $30,000 to start with, which sounds great. But when compared to other EVs, it doesn’t drive as far and its charging technology is old-fashioned, which makes it harder to use. The Leaf can only go about 200 miles on a full battery, while other cars like the Chevy Bolt EV, Kia EV6, and Tesla Model 3 can go much farther. Also, not all charging stations work with the Leaf’s charging connector. But if you only plan to drive around town and can charge the car at home, the Leaf might be a good choice. It’s a small car that’s easy to drive in the city and has a roomy cabin with cool tech features. However, there are other cars that are just as good, if not better, and have longer driving ranges and more charging stations available.
What’s New for 2023?
Nissan has made some updates to its electric car for 2023. The car now has a new front grille, front bumper, and exterior lights that look really nice. It also has some new wheels with many spokes and a Nissan badge that lights up. The new Leaf only comes in two models now: the base S model and the longer-range SV Plus model.
The base S model has a starting price below $30,000, which is pretty affordable for an electric car. However, it has a shorter driving range than some of its competitors, and its charging technology is outdated, which can make it less convenient to charge the car.
Price and Selection
Out of the two models available, the SV Plus seems to offer the best value. It has a reasonable price and comes with the longest driving range out of all the Nissan Leaf models. It also has a more powerful electric motor, which means it can accelerate faster than the base S model.
On top of that, the SV Plus model comes with a good set of standard features. It has an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, making it easy to connect your smartphone to the car. It also has automatic climate control, which means you can set the temperature to your liking without having to manually adjust it.
The Nissan Leaf is a front-wheel drive car. The standard Leaf S comes with a not-so-powerful 147-horsepower electric motor and a small 40.0-kWh battery pack, which is considered small compared to other electric cars in the market. The Leaf SV Plus, on the other hand, has a stronger 214-hp electric motor and a larger 62.0-kWh battery pack.
When tested, the Leaf S was able to go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 7.4 seconds, which is slower than some of its competitors like the Bolt EV and the Model 3. However, the Leaf feels more responsive due to the instant power delivery of the electric motor. We haven’t tested the Leaf SV Plus yet, but it’s expected to have faster acceleration than the S model.
The Leaf also comes with a unique feature called e-Pedal. This feature allows the driver to switch between two modes of regenerative braking. One mode lets the car coast when the driver lifts off the throttle, while the other slows the car down and uses the energy to recharge the battery when the driver takes their foot off the gas pedal.
In summary, the Leaf S model has a relatively weaker electric motor and a smaller battery pack, which makes it slower than some of its competitors. However, the Leaf’s e-Pedal feature and instant power delivery make up for this. The Leaf SV Plus model has a stronger electric motor and a larger battery pack, which is expected to result in faster acceleration.
The Leaf can be charged with a regular 120-volt outlet or a 240-volt outlet. But the charging times are different. If you use a 240-volt connection, both the regular Leaf’s battery and the larger one in the Leaf Plus can be recharged in seven hours according to Nissan. The Leaf S has a 40.0-kWh battery and can only travel 149 miles. This range might be enough for short commutes, but it’s not as good as the Model 3’s Long Range model which can go more than double that distance. However, the SV Plus has a bigger battery and can go up to 215 miles on a single charge, according to EPA ratings. All trims of the Leaf come with a DC fast-charging connection.
Real-World MPGe and Fuel Efficiency
During our testing of the SV Plus model, we found that it was able to achieve an impressive fuel economy rating on the highway, surpassing the official EPA rating of 94 MPGe. In fact, our testing revealed that the SV Plus was able to achieve a fuel economy rating of 98 MPGe over a 75-mile-per-hour highway fuel economy test route. Despite this achievement, we observed that the car’s range was somewhat limited during this test, with only 180 miles of range achieved. This is a common observation for electric vehicles, as they often achieve lower ranges than their official EPA rating when driven on the highway.
Interior of Nissan Leaf
Although the interior of the Leaf is mostly made of black plastic, the different textures and good assembly give it a higher-quality look. The gauge cluster has an analog speedometer that is big and next to it is a 7.0-inch digital readout that can be reconfigured to display different information. The seats in the Leaf are very comfortable and are similar to La-Z-Boy chairs. The back seat is spacious and can fit adults easily. Although the Leaf’s back seat doesn’t fold down completely flat, the cargo capacity is among the best in its class. We could fit seven carry-on suitcases behind the back seat and up to 19 with the back seat folded. This is significantly more than the Bolt EV, which could only hold five in its cargo area and 16 with the back seats folded. The Niro EV, which has a more SUV-like body style, was able to hold slightly more cargo than the Leaf in our tests, but the Leaf still has the most cargo capacity among electric cars.
Every version of the Leaf has an 8.0-inch infotainment display that works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Navigation is not included but can be added as an option. The software on the infotainment system, called Nissan Connect, may not look very nice but it’s easy to use and responds quickly to touch. The audio system on the Leaf is not great, with only six speakers as standard. You can pay extra for a seven-speaker Bose system, but it wasn’t much better in our test drive.
Nissan equips all Leaf models with the Safety Shield 360 suite of driver-assistance technologies, while the optional ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving mode is also available. To find out more about how the Leaf performs in crash tests, you can visit the websites of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Some important safety features of the Leaf include automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection and blind-spot monitoring with a rear cross-traffic alert that comes standard. Adaptive cruise control, which can support semi-autonomous driving, is also available.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Nissan provides a warranty for the Leaf that is the same as the rest of their cars, but the battery warranty is much longer. The battery is covered for up to eight years or 100,000 miles, while the limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles, and the powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Nissan Leaf
Zero emissions: As an electric car, the Leaf produces zero emissions, making it an environmentally friendly option.
Low operating costs: Since it doesn’t require gasoline, the Leaf has lower operating costs than traditional cars.
Quiet and smooth: Electric cars tend to be quieter and smoother than traditional cars due to the absence of a combustion engine.
Government incentives: There are government incentives for buying electric cars, such as tax credits and rebates, which can make the Leaf more affordable.
Limited range: The Leaf’s range is limited compared to traditional cars, meaning it needs to be recharged frequently for longer trips.
Long charging time: Even with a fast-charging connection, the Leaf takes longer to recharge than filling up a traditional car with gas.
Higher initial cost: Electric cars tend to have a higher initial cost than traditional cars, which can make the Leaf more expensive upfront.
Battery degradation: Over time, the Leaf’s battery may degrade, reducing its range and performance.