The Nissan Leaf was the first modern electric vehicle to be mass produced and sold, and it has since surpassed all other electric vehicles in sales success. Nissan, however, is currently catching up.
When the second-generation Leaf was introduced in 2017, it could only manage an EPA-rated 150 miles of range, which is the limit for electric vehicles with more than 200 miles of range. The 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus is here. This new model has a range of up to 226 miles because of a bigger battery pack. Additionally, it has greater power than the normal Leaf. But the price is also higher.
The starting price of the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus is $37,445 – $6,560 more expensive than the Leaf’s base model (all costs include the $895 destination fee). Additionally, our test vehicle was a top-of-the-line SL model that cost $43,920. The SL comes with a range penalty in addition to amenities like leather seats, LED lighting, and Nissan’s ProPilot Assist driving assistance system. Only the base S trim level can travel the full 226 miles, while both the SL and the mid-range SV are rated for 215 miles of range.
With the styling of the current-generation Leaf, Nissan made a complete U-turn. The second-generation Leaf looks like a standard hatchback, in contrast to the first-generation Leaf’s sci-fi appearance that promoted its electric drivetrain. The “V-Motion” grille and “floating” roof line are styling cues that were taken from other recent Nissan cars. The charge port is located in the car’s nose, just like the original Leaf. However, it’s covertly tucked away this time between the grille and hood seam. The Plus model looks identical to the Leaf with the regular range, and the only indication that you’ve splurged for the additional range is subtle badging.
Additionally carried over from the base-model Leaf is the interior. The most of it is normal Nissan fare, which means that a pretty sensible design was let down by materials that looked cheap. The Leaf feels comfortingly typical because of how similar it is to other Nissan models overall—that is, until you try to put it in drive. You receive a circular device in place of a traditional lever that you move around to choose between drive and reverse (park is a button on top). The shifter is carried over from the first-generation Leaf, but the second-generation model’s more traditional styling makes its form over function design seem more out of place.
The Plus has an exceptionally elevated driving posture that we found to be a little uncomfortable, much like the standard-range Leaf. It was challenging to establish a comfortable driving position because of this and the steering column’s limited adjustment (it tilts but doesn’t telescope). Despite a sharply sloped windscreen and hefty rear pillars, the front seats are reasonably comfortable, and the vehicle gives good outside sight (aided by a 360-degree video system on our test car).
The Leaf is most likely the most useful electric vehicle that purchasers will be able to purchase.
The Leaf Plus has an 8.0-inch touchscreen as standard equipment, but to enable Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you must upgrade from the base S trim level to the SV. Even though the infotainment system is lacking in bells and frills, finding a SiriusXM channel is not difficult. We particularly appreciated the design of the digital instrument cluster display, which had clear, straightforward, and bold visuals.
The Leaf is most likely the most useful electric vehicle that purchasers will be able to purchase. The Tesla Model 3 is a sedan with a trunk rather than a rear hatch, unlike the Chevrolet Bolt EV and BMW i3 are both smaller hatchbacks. The Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Kona Electric, as well as the Kia Niro EV, Volkswagen e-Golf, and other electric vehicles, aren’t offered everywhere.
There isn’t much lost in terms of passenger and cargo space if you don’t live in a state where those automobiles are offered. With its back seats folded down, the Leaf has the most cargo space of any vehicle in the comparison group, including the tall-roofed Kia Niro EV. However, unlike most other electric hatchbacks, the cargo space does not significantly increase when the rear seats are folded.
Greater range and power
A larger battery pack—62 kilowatt-hours as opposed to 40 kWh for the normal Leaf—gives the Leaf Plus its increased range, but Nissan has made other improvements. The Plus has additional power as well. It has 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, up 67 horsepower and 14 pound-feet from the Leaf’s base model.
Getting through traffic quickly will make you happy.
From the driver’s seat, you can feel the additional power. The Leaf Plus accelerates forcefully up to highway speeds, in contrast to the standard-range Leaf, which seemed quite weak beyond initial throttle tip-in. The driving experience now includes something previously lacking: joy. Getting through traffic quickly will make you happy. The Leaf is still not a quick car, though. Nissan did not release acceleration data, but it would surprise us if the Leaf Plus could match the base Tesla Model 3’s anticipated 5.3-second zero to 60 mph time.
When Nissan modified the powertrain, we also wished they had also improved the suspension. The Plus model, like the standard-range Leaf, featured the body roll of a 1970s Lincoln Continental in turns but lacked the supple ride that went along with it. Again, the Tesla Model 3 is superior to the Nissan here, but the Chevrolet Bolt EV is also superior. The Chevy has a nimbler feel, which ups the fun factor. The Bolt EV is lighter and has more torque (266 lb-ft) than the Leaf Plus, yet has 200 fewer horsepower.
The Leaf Plus does have a trick that none of its competitors can duplicate. Regenerative braking, which uses energy from deceleration to replenish the battery pack, is now a standard feature on all electric vehicles. It entails a slight reduction in speed caused by simply releasing the accelerator pedal, much as engine braking in an internal combustion vehicle. With e-Pedal, Nissan went a step farther. This built-in feature almost eliminates the need for the driver to ever touch the brake pedal by combining regenerative braking with the vehicle’s basic friction brakes. If you let the system, the Leaf will slowly come to a stop. This eliminates the uncertainty surrounding when to rely on regenerative braking and when not to in stop-and-go traffic and works well. You can always mute it if you don’t like it.
Nissan is my passenger.
The ProPilot Assist technology from Nissan was installed in our test vehicle. Similar in principle to Cadillac’s Super Cruise or Tesla’s Autopilot, it enables the car to speed up, slow down, and maintain its position in its lane on highways while the driver keeps a close eye on the technology. ProPilot Assist, unlike Autopilot, is unable to do lane changes; instead, it must be manually deactivated by flicking the turn-signal stalk once the driver has finished the move. Though ProPilot Assist is more advanced than any driver assistance system available in other non-Tesla electric vehicles, this distinction is almost meaningless.
ProPilot Assist was created by Nissan to function on highways with distinct lane lines, clear skies, and alert drivers. It operates effectively in certain circumstances. Smooth steering input, acceleration, and deceleration are all present. The system also responded swiftly when we were cut off by other vehicles, which happens frequently if you drive within 50 miles of New York City at the posted speed limit. On our test stretch of the highway, we did discover a few curves that were too severe for the system. Due to insufficient steering angle application from ProPilot Assist, the vehicle coasted over the white lines.
Situations like that serve as a reminder that ProPilot Assist is not the same as autonomous driving. It essentially augments adaptive cruise control with lane centering, and if you take your hands off the wheel for even a brief period of time, you’ll receive a reminder to pay attention. Even in modest traffic, we found few opportunity to unwind even when ProPilot Assist was functioning. Simply put, there was too much going on, necessitating constant intervention to steer clear of merging traffic, slower moving vehicles, and other potentially problematic circumstances. We didn’t think ProPilot Assist significantly reduced the workload. ProPilot Assist is best compared to a very advanced cruise control system that is useful for extended stretches of straight-line highway travel but not particularly helpful otherwise.
The useful information
The purpose of the Leaf Plus is range. Once you could purchase a 238-mile Chevy Bolt EV (the Chevy is slated to attain 259 miles by 2020) or 240-mile Tesla Model 3 for a little bit more money, the regular Leaf’s EPA-rated 150-mile range was no longer sufficient. Although the Kia Niro EV is rated at 239 miles of range, the Hyundai Kona Electric provides a range of 258 miles (a Kia Soul EV with 243 miles of range is launching soon as well). Nissan’s electric vehicle is once again competitive thanks to the EPA-rated 226-mile range for the Leaf S Plus and 215-mile range for the Leaf SV and SL Plus.
The Leaf exhibited the same body roll in turns as a 1970s Lincoln Continental, but lacked the supple ride that went along with it.
If Nissan gave the Leaf a more potent charger, the range deficit of the Leaf might not even be a problem. According to Nissan, the regular 6.6-kilowatt unit can recharge the battery pack in 11.5 hours when attached to a 240-volt Level 2 AC supply. A similar-sized battery pack can be recharged by some rivals’ more potent chargers in about 9.5 hours. Nissan did standardize DC fast-charging for the Leaf Plus, enabling an 80% charge in 45 minutes. Nissan has been constructing a network of fast-charging stations for many years in collaboration with outside businesses, however coverage may differ depending on where you live.
Autonomous emergency braking is likewise included on the Leaf Plus, although adaptive cruise control is only available if you upgrade from the lowest S trim level to the SV. The top SL model level comes standard with ProPilot Assist, a 360-degree video system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a driver-alertness monitor.
Nissan provides a powertrain warranty of five years and 60,000 miles in addition to a three-year, 36,000-mile basic warranty. Consumer Reports gave the Leaf a mediocre dependability grade. Because there are fewer moving parts in an electric automobile than in an internal combustion vehicle, routine maintenance expenses should be reduced.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests gave the Leaf Plus top “good” ratings; however, the IIHS has not yet released its customary headlamp and front crash prevention ratings for the vehicle. None of the Leaf models from the current generation have received a star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for crash tests.
How DT would set up this vehicle
This one is challenging. The Leaf Plus’ advertised 226-mile range is only achieved by the cheapest S trim level, but it lacks key technological features like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and adaptive cruise control. So in order to purchase the SV trim level, which adds those goodies, we would have to forego 11 miles of range and pay an additional $1,960. However, that is the furthest we would go.
We don’t believe the additional driver aids, leather seats, and an improved audio system included in the top SL model level improve the vehicle. ProPilot Assist doesn’t offer enough practical value to justify the additional cost, and the interior of our test car didn’t feel commensurate with the sticker price. Value is the Leaf’s strongest suit, so making wise decisions pays off.
The 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus is simple to write off as being too late and too little. Nissan lost the top spot in the electric vehicle market, and despite all of its efforts, it cannot even outperform competitors’ vehicles in terms of range. But that doesn’t tell the whole tale. The Hyundai Kona Electric should pose a threat to the Leaf with a range of 258 miles and one of the best small-vehicle chassis currently on the market. But California is the only state where the Hyundai is sold.
Both the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Tesla Model 3 are sold across the country and both have a longer range than the Leaf Plus. However, the Nissan offers more cargo room than the Tesla, doesn’t require users to become accustomed to a foreign interface, and doesn’t have any delivery date ambiguity. Although the Bolt EV is more entertaining to drive than the Leaf, it also has less cargo room, and its outward appearance isn’t for those who want to blend in.
Do you need one?
Yes. Anyone looking for an electric vehicle that drives like a conventional vehicle should check out the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus.
You can also check 2019 BMW i3s review, price and all you need to know about it