2018 Nissan Leaf SL drive review: Slightly more range, slightly less anxiety. And so, with a few asterisks, the Leaf gives the opportunity to perform a round trip where each leg takes about an hour and a half, without recharging. The Leaf makes more sense in the seat and on paper than it once did, but the 150-mile range may still be a bit of a nail-biter for some.
Through these years the Leaf has gained range, going from 73 to 84 miles to 107 miles, and finally up to 150 miles, all while maintaining a grip on the more utilitarian side of the EV market. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, Nissan Cube the Mobile Device of 2009's Future. The Leaf's aerodynamics are so good that wind noise very modest at highway speeds, and there isn't much tire noise either even if these aren't the quietest tires out there.
The result is quicker acceleration, but more importantly a greater (but not quite cross-country-worthy) range of approximately 150 miles on a full charge thanks to a more energy-dense battery. The Leaf's most relevant competitor at the moment is the 238-mile Chevy Bolt, which offers more range for the price of a well-equipped Leaf, and there is no shortage of competitors working their way through automaker pipelines at the moment that will make a 150-mile range feel even more dated in a year or two.
This feature is aimed to stop-and-go commutes, but it's equally applicable to in-town driving if not rapid deceleration from highway speeds down an off-ramp. More than simply giving the Leaf a bigger battery for 2018, Nissan has revamped the hatchback's handling, giving the steering a quicker ratio and tightening the anti-roll bars to keep body roll in check. Is the 2021 Rogue Good Enough to Transform Nissan? The Leaf's handling is still geared toward comfort, as the steering works to insulate the cabin from the horrors of modern urban pavement, but it permits an acceptable level of steering feel that's moderated a bit by the slightly stiff tires. Handling at highway speeds is a little touchy -- the suspension reacts a little too much to sharp steering inputs -- but overall it's a nicely predictable experience even if lead-footing it tends to drain the battery much faster.
The 2018 Nissan Leaf is available in three trim levels: S, SV and SL.As the lowest trim level, the S is a bit bare-bones, at least as electric mobility goes. The improvements to handling and acceleration can be readily felt in this model, which also sharpened the frumpy lines of the first-gen Leaf.
Overall, the Leaf exhibits good road manners in city driving and can hold its own on the interstate as well if you want to say "range be damned -- I'm just going to open it up." All have the same electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack and therefore have the same range. The Leaf has also kept most of its electric motor, but improvements including a new inverter give a solid kick to horsepower and torque, adding 40 hp and 49 lb-ft of torque for a total of 147 and 236. The mid-grade SV trim levels adds 17-inch wheels, Intelligent Cruise Control, and NissanConnect with Navigation featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, among other items. The range-topping SL trim level features leather seats along with a six-way driver's power seat, heated steering and seats, LED headlights, seven-speaker Bose premium audio, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, and an around-view monitor.
A version with even more range is on the way, due next year, for those with extra-long commutes, but the new 150-mile Leaf has the commuter half of the EV market in its sights, leaving greater range and luxury features to the raft of German newcomers as well as Tesla.
And I'm sure that if I crawled at in-town speeds the whole way, seeking out 25 mph zones, I would have had more range left when I completed the trip. I departed with a fully-charged battery, not planning to even stop in for a coffee at a drive-thru, and successfully made the round trip with 18 miles to spare -- not cutting it too close -- but having about 25 minutes worth of driving time in reserve. Speaking of the battery, discussions of non-luxury, commuter-type EVs inevitably tend to boil down to range and price, as their buyers are seen as filling a very specific need: Will this get me to work and back with a stop at a supermarket without having to recharge someplace, along with a comfortable safety cushion of range? 112 MPGe, PROS: Maneuverable, quick, spacious and well-designed cabin, good ergonomics, Watch NHRA's DeJoria Escape Huge Fireball in Texas. Search from 189 Used Nissan Leaf cars for sale, including a 2018 Nissan Leaf, a 2018 Nissan Leaf SL, and a Certified 2018 Nissan Leaf.
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For the majority of commutes, with the exception of some horrible ones, this is adequate if you're just relying on your home charger, but at the same time this underscores the almost commute-only nature of this version of the Leaf unless you live in a part of the country that's very well stocked with fast-chargers every few miles. The second-generation model that debuted a year ago picked up where the previous Leaf left off, keeping the profile of a large hatch but losing a bit of the bulbous styling in the process.
Each leg of the trip took about an hour and a half, as I cruised in the right lane at about 5 mph under the speed limit, because as you know if you've ever driven an EV the concept of "miles remaining" can be quite an elastic one. For an appealing set of features without stepping up to the range-topping SL, seek out the SV trim.
BASE PRICE: $30,875 (before $7500 Federal rebate), POWERTRAIN: AC Synchronous electric motor, FWD, FUEL ECONOMY: 151 miles range (mfg.) See good deals, great deals and more on a Used 2018 Nissan Leaf.
With more electric vehicles on the road, the Nissan Leaf now faces some stiffer competition in the long-range EV market – i.e. The Leaf's starting price of $30,875 is meant to make the economy EVs a much more difficult proposition than they already are, as its starting price lands squarely in the middle of the short-range EVs that have somehow been getting by in the marketplace.
Autoweek participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. The 2018 Nissan Leaf comes in three trims: S, SV, and SL. The first-gen Leaf debuted all the way back in 2011, as Nissan entered the EV market, and over the course of its product cycle the very large hatch was effectively the best-selling electric car in the U.S. in its price range, holding off a raft of less popular EVs. Last Car Available Here With 4-Speed Manual Trans?
With a starting price now in line with the entry-level EVs, those old entry-level EVs may want to pack up and get out of the segment entirely or double their battery capacity.
The EPA has given the 2018 Nissan Leaf an estimated range of 151 miles from its 40-kWh battery. During my time with the Leaf I had just such a round trip come up: I had to travel to the airport that's 61 miles away and back, with the round trip representing a good mix of city and highway driving. At the moment this range places it between the bargain EVs on the market with ranges around 100 miles or less that are becoming less alluring with each passing month, and luxury or long-range EVs currently offering at least 200 miles of range. Aside from the sharper looks and greater range, the Leaf now offers "one-pedal" driving via the e-Pedal option, allowing drivers to rely on the accelerator pedal a vast majority of the time, as the Leaf automatically provides gradual and gentle braking automatically using its powertrain.
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