Just sat in the new Nissan Leaf

Just sat in the new Nissan Leaf

I have an extra day in Tokyo waiting for the typhoon to move. In Ginza for now. They have a Nissan showroom right outside the Metro station. Two new Leafs (Leaves? ;-) ) on display.

It's kinda fugly for a new car. Interior is filled with buttons; I'm not a fan of those after the simplicity of my MS. Screen is TINY. Battery 40 kWh--claims of 400 km range at 120 kWh/km. I can get 400 km in my P85+; I have my doubts about this Leaf.

Front wheel motor and drive, but there's still a hump in the middle of the back floor. Trunk seemed to have lots of space; front was cluttered with electronics and whatnot--is that all supposed to make people feel comfortable making the transition from ICE?

Nissan sells the #2 range car after Tesla in Japan. I thought they would do better by now.

Coastal Cruiser. | September 17, 2017

Thanx for the report Jay. Kinda confirms what many are thinking. After looking at a photo of the new Leaf (ha ha. Nissan turned over a NEW LEAF... but not really) it looks sort of "Boltish" to me. So we have a sort of Bolt Lite being released into the wild. And perhaps US sales will reflect that.

This is shaping up as an interim step for Nissan. Another report I just read has Nissan switching battery suppliers for the next iteration of the Leaf. The report stated they are going to LG Chem.


(ah... three days with no visual captcha, and now it's back. It's like when you start beating your head against the wall)

noleaf4me | September 17, 2017

I thought about trading in my 4 year old leaf and lease a new one as the lease rates are really cheap with the $7500 credit. The range on my 2013 really stinks -- I can maybe get 80 miles now if the wind is blowing in the right direction.....(usually in the 70's after about 35k total miles) but after seeing it and knowing it's only 150 miles at best (my guess it will be closer to 145 in reality) I just don't think it would be worth it as a second EV. Round trip dropping one of my kids off where he is going to school is about 110 miles and mostly ATL highway were the slow lane does 75 mph....The Bolt is better for range, but the lease rates and poor interior have turned me off......I may just hold onto the Leaf for a couple more years and maybe buy a lower end Model 3 for shorter commutes -- or if the timing is right -- a Model Y for the wife!!

ReD eXiLe ms us | September 17, 2017

Some are amazingly promoting the 'BOLT Lite' principle as a plus for Nissan by saying they have strategically carved out a market niche for themselves in a post Model 3 world by aiming for price point affordability instead of long range drivability.

Yeah. Right. Gotcha.

noleaf4me | September 17, 2017

The one I don't get is the i3. What the hell is BMW thinking with the 2018 refresh. Less range, ugly styling and a high price -- yea that sounds like a winner!

BMW is quickly losing its's just another overpriced legacy German car.

KP in NPT | September 17, 2017

the new leaf showcases Nissan's inability to react AT ALL to the competition in any reasonable amount of time.

jaroslawbednarz | September 17, 2017

Come-on people, both the Bolt and the new Leaf are excellent cars; they don't stink or make noise. We are just so used with Tesla's superior products that we may not see it.

Model_D | September 17, 2017

It is great to have choices in real world range:
100 mile range $25,000 Ford Focus
140 mile range $30,000 Nissan Leaf
200 mile range $35,000 Tesla Model 3
240 mile range $37,500 Chevy Bolt
280 mile range $44,000 Moldel 3

Not too surprising that the cost per mile of range gets better with higher price. Although, after the US federal tax credit the Bolt is the best. I would only own a Focus or Model 3 on that list. Looks matter.

CraigW | September 17, 2017

People are on this thread to 1) discuss Tesla or 2) troll. I wouldn't expect people who need range to consider the Leaf - perhaps the Bolt if you are tnoleaf4me in Atlanta. These cars are not designed to be the only car in an American family - they are designed for shorter range driving in Europe or Japan. That is their market, and they may very well sell in numbers over there - maybe not the limited production Bolt - just look at the Zoe Renault in Europe.

For a 2nd car in an American city, these BEVs are a real alternative. The thing I think is going to sink them in the long run is the gimmicks in the interior and battery life. Nissan is already admitting this with the switch in future battery manufacturers. IMO, Nissan is the most likely manufacturer to decide that pairing with Tesla on the supercharger network just makes too much sense. Then they could bring out their lower cost car and not have to worry about US CHADmo expansion.

ebiggs | September 17, 2017

Regarding the i3... it might have a high price to buy but isn't it insanely inexpensive to lease?


Coastal Cruiser. | September 17, 2017

That's a good point about the Zoe. I was reading an article on that car recently pointing out that the masses will tend to favor the 'best value EV' over the 'best EV' ... explaining why the Zoe is outselling all other EVs.

But one must wonder how this current iteration of the Leaf will penetrate much further into the market, until massive price cuts put the car into the value sweet spot. This seems a lot more like a stop-gap move on Nissan's part to maintain market share while they address the battery issues. Can you imagine how much wailing and gnashing of teeth took place behind closed doors leading up to Ghosn deciding that his current supplier wasn't going to be able to deliver?

hoffmannjames | September 17, 2017

I think Nissan is banking on the Model 3 still being too expensive for some people. That's where the new Leaf comes in. It is not trying to beat the Model 3 pound for pound. it is an incremental improvement over the first Leaf and provides a "good enough" EV at a cheaper price.

cessna182 | September 17, 2017

...all reasons I have turned to the 3. Until this car things like cost, range and charging support made the change from ice to electric daunting. 49K is still high, but to make all the variables work for me, this is the only electric that makes any sense for me.

topher | September 17, 2017

"100 mile range $25,000 Ford Focus
140 mile range $30,000 Nissan Leaf
200 mile range $35,000 Tesla Model 3
240 mile range $37,500 Chevy Bolt
280 mile range $44,000 Moldel 3"

Use EPA numbers, or document your actual tests... Because that just looks like FUD.

Thank you kindly.

Model_D | September 17, 2017

I think my point will be the same with EPA numbers. Feel free to figure it out and post it.
1. We now have a range of prices on EV's. Two years ago it was low price short range or very expensive long range.
2. A bigger the battery generally means lower $/mile. | September 17, 2017

I also saw the new Leaf yesterday at a local EV show. I thought it looked dramatically better than the old Leaf. No longer fugly, but not as nice as the Model 3. Has two smaller screens (one with touch) and an analog speedometer. As Jay pointed out, strange hump in the middle of the rear floor that seems stupid for an EV. The very small center arm rest may be useless for smaller owners who move the seat up. No frunk either. The car on display didn't have any parking sensors, but presumably there will be an option for that. So many buttons and a scary number of them on the steering wheel - more than I've seen on any other car!

One nice feature is a the ability to do V2G (Vehicle to Grid). Didn't get a cost or availability for the V2G system, which is external to the car. They were using the car and the V2G system to power the booth, as it was out in a parking lot without nearby power.

Overall I liked it better than the Bolt, except for the range. A later 60 kWh version may solve that. No idea how it handles or the performance - I expect not near the Model 3. I don't think many people with 3 reservations will switch to the Leaf, unless they have to get a car and can't wait for the 3.

Tropopause | September 17, 2017

TT & Jay,

Thanks for your firsthand reports. Seeing the new Leaf only on Youtube I was disappointed with the looks. I thought they dropped the ball... on the car. ;)

SamO | September 17, 2017

I just drove a 2011 Leaf Saturday. Peppy, plenty of space. A bit of a weirdmobile. Fast charging and 200 miles range, I'd consider it. Nissan has made good cars, although passive cooling in Leaf 1.0 hasn't been optimal.

Offline | September 17, 2017

Model_D: Your point would be the same, except you wouldn't be deliberately posting incorrect information. Use EPA numbers across the board, or provide detail on why you chose the numbers you chose.

ReD eXiLe ms us | September 17, 2017

Model_DETROIT: The Ford Focus Electric costs $4,120 more than you listed, it also has an EPA range 15 miles greater than you listed.

The EPA range for the Chevrolet BOLT is two miles less than you listed.

You forgot to list the BMW i3 BEV it seems. It currently offers a whopping huge 114 miles of EPA rated fully electric range, for the measely sum of $450 more than the Model 3 Long Range.

You also overlooked the Hyundai Ioniq Electric somehow, which sports an EPA range rating of 124 miles, but costs $29,500 to start.

Bubba2000 | September 17, 2017

They new Leaf is same as the old Leaf: City car. It lacks access to an ubiquitous fast charging network and even then it would not be practical for long distance driving or as the only car. Like in the case of the Bolt, limited Model 3 availability, will drives the sales of the Leaf. The price difference of the Leaf versus the Model 3 is not that much.

We will find out soon how fast Tesla can ramp-up production of Model 3.

Model_D | September 17, 2017

Red, good catch on the Focus price. I had read that they increased the range without increasing the price. I made a mistake.

I was trying to list the top value in each level of price and range. I deliberately left out the Fiat, Kia, Hyundai, BMW, etc. I should have left the Focus off completely since the new Leaf is about the same price and much better range. The Hyundai is also not that great either for the price.

Offline, my numbers are based on talking to owners of the cars I listed, reading articles from reliable sources, owning a 2015 Focus Electric and a Model X and extrapolating based on experience since we don't have real world data for the Model 3 or Leaf. EPA numbers are not realistic and my numbers are based on drivers of less than one year old cars. Ask Leaf owners with 30k miles on them and range might be different.

If anything y'all should be complaining that real word price/lease deals can vary the price, manufacturer rebates, the fact that the Model 3 will have a lower tax credit in a year, etc. Those are much different in the $/mile compared to EPA and my range numbers.

JayInJapan | September 17, 2017

I had the same feeling about the buttons, @TT. I had to wait forever to sit in the driver's seat. I finally sat in the passenger seat, and the guy who wouldn't leave turned out to be a Leaf owner who was inundating the poor salesperson with questions about some feature. He snapped out of it when I got in, and I ran around and snagged the open seat. So many buttons to push...

Shock | September 18, 2017

Looks like a rental car to me. When you put a pic of it next to the model 3 the difference is nothing short of glaring. Will sell well in Japan because of the locals. It might sell okay in the US because of people scared off by tesla but the m3 seems a million times better to me, particularly when you start looking at what the Leaf SL offers.

It's kind of sad that the first major manufacturer to come out with an accessible EV has done so darn little in the seven years since the first Leaf. This new one now trails the pack badly on range and power.

If the new leaf leases similarly to the original one (very low), it will be a much cheaper car than the tesla because nissan eats all the loss and artificially inflates residual to keep lease rates low.

Fredbob711 | September 18, 2017

I dragged my wife to our local Drive Electric ( event (ours was basically just a small car show at the science center). It looked like they gave a few people test drives in an i3 or leaf, but all the Teslas were privately owned so no test drives there. I did sit in a Model X 100D with the white interior, holy crap that was a nice car, but I just can't imagine keeping that interior clean. My wife wants an X now though.

I sat in an i3 and interior of that car just did not appeal to me at all. It was awkward because it was from one of the local BMW dealerships so they had a salesperson standing there and I couldn't think of a single thing to ask him. The car is neat in a 'weirdmobile' kind of way, but nothing I'd really ever seriously consider owning. There were a few Leafs there, but only the older generation, didn't even look at those. There was one Chevy Bolt, first time I've seen one in person, and meh... nothing really to talk about in my opinion.

ReD eXiLe ms us | September 18, 2017

Fredbob711: Remember the Volkswagen Thing Acapulco? That's what the BMW i3 reminds me of -- something to tool around in while on vacation on an island resort... But that I'd never consider for personal ownership. That said, the EV THiNG is pretty cool...

triangles | September 18, 2017

The new Leaf is a big improvement over the Leaf 1.0 but it feels more like Leaf 1.5 than 2.0. The new backend looks like a copy of a Ford Focus hatchback and the front like a cross between a nissan sedan front end and chevy front end. Basically it looks like all they did was refresh the sheet metal on the front and back and use an updated battery chemistry to get more range. While a vast improvement I was disappointed we didn't get Leaf 2.0 with a new chassis and better range battery giving 200+ miles. The 2018 Leaf would have been a smash hit if it was released in 2015 but seems a little too late for 2017. It will probably still sell ok though. | September 18, 2017

@SamO "Fast charging and 200 miles range..."

I suspect you meant to say "IF fast charging and 200 mile range..." :)

The 2018 Leaf is supposed to get 150 miles of range on a 40 kWh battery. A 60 kWh battery is in the works, but no timeframe or range estimate.

95dawg | September 18, 2017

Styling of the new Leaf is still goofy and haphazard. Obviously Nissan is still thinking they have to limit the Leaf from gaining broad appeal. Shame, since they could have really jumped ahead in the EV race.

SamO | September 18, 2017


Yes. I assumed that a future Nissan Leaf would offer both features. Obviously not the 2007 I tried, nor the one JiJ was able to check out.


ReD eXiLe ms us | September 18, 2017

TeslaTap: I've heard it reported the 60 kWh version of the LEAF 2.0 will have a 225 mile range.

Tropopause | September 18, 2017

If VW made a retro EV-Thing, it would sell like hotcakes. Well, maybe sell like churros. Never fear, the new VW is on the horizon, ready to amend their ways and take us into the future with 80 (yes, count them up some how) EV's (or possibly electrified PHEV) . VW has seen the light! And that light is shaded green... for money, not environment.

Tropopause | September 18, 2017

Still waiting for a battery factory announcement from VW.

ReD eXiLe ms us | September 18, 2017

Tropopause: I think the entire pre-1967 lineup of offerings from Volkswagen or Porsche would sell well as proper retro-styled EV revivals. It has been rather obvious for a couple of decades at least. All those old rear engine air cooled rear wheel drive cars are begging to be updated as EVs.

Yodrak. | September 18, 2017

The hump down the middle of a Leaf is where some of the batteries are. Notice also that the rear seats are slightly elevated compared to the front seats ...

mos6507 | September 19, 2017

"Obviously Nissan is still thinking they have to limit the Leaf from gaining broad appeal."

Lookup hanlon's razor. Nissan just doesn't have good designers. Look at their gas cars. They're not really that stylish either. So Nissan is not intentionally fuglifying the Leaf.

95dawg | September 19, 2017

@mos6507 370Z? Or even Pulsar? It's a economy car but it certainly looks better than the new Leaf. uk/vehicles/new-vehicles/pulsar.html

mos6507 | September 19, 2017

Sorry, still not impressed. I mean, isn't Nissan really more of a brand-engineered Renault at this point? The french don't really know how to make stylish cars.

95dawg | September 19, 2017

@mos6507 Opinion about Nissan design philosophy is a different topic, albeit conflating in your mind. Back to the intended conversation: Relatively, do you think Leaf is uglier than 370Z?

Carl Thompson | September 20, 2017

The new Leaf is no uglier than many other cars in its price range. It's just... a car. Not particularly sexy but not particularly ugly either.


finman100 | September 20, 2017

Sorry Nissan, a bigger box of sealed batteries will NOT compete with Tesla. NO thermal management system? Are you kidding me? 7 years into this and you still think you've got it solved with...nothing? Second car, yes, but not a game changer or gasser replacement. Essentially Leafs (and I have driven one for 3 years!) are disposable machines. Sad, really, as I really have LOVED the no-gas thing, but there is this company called Tesla that is making my next car. TMS? 2017? And you want to DC fast charge? Nope, I don't get it.

Yes, there's a market for this car, but a very limited one as shown by the number of Leaf reservations (ha).

And the Supercharger network is the icing on the EV cake that NO ONE is willing to compete with. Wake me up when the VW diesel scandal money actually gets 100 kW chargers installed in the same numbers as Tesla...

Frank99 | September 20, 2017

Living in Phoenix, I can't see buying a Leaf without battery cooling. Are you kidding me?

Ross1 | September 21, 2017

Nissan has great designers for their concept cars; Nissan IDS is my dream car.

Carl Thompson | September 21, 2017

Meh. the IDS looks like they're trying too hard.

I notice it has "suicide" (AKA "coach") rear doors just like the Mission E concept. I hope that doesn't become a thing. It's one of the things I dislike about my i3. Looks cool in photos but a pain in the butt when you have multiple people trying to exit the car in a parking lot.


bmz | September 21, 2017

That is the steering system I thought Elon had in mind for the M3.

Fredbob711 | September 21, 2017

I was interested in the Nissan Bladeglider concept, thought it looked pretty cool, but then they flat out said they had no intention of ever bringing anything like it to market.

Of course there were lawsuits (settled confidentially) between Nissan and a company called DeltaWing over the designs.