The Best Leaf Yet
As the world’s best-selling electric vehicle,
the Nissan Leaf is recognized as a leader in battery electric technology. But
time marches on, and the status quo with electrified vehicle development is
never standing still. Neither is Nissan.
This year Nissan offers two versions of the
Leaf. The standard model, which was all-new in 2018, has a 150-mile all-electric
driving range; new for 2019, the Leaf Plus can go up to 226 miles. This
50-percent increase in maximum driving range makes the Leaf Plus competitive
with other electric cars that have surpassed the 200-mile range mark.
The Leaf Plus Advantage: More Power, More
The 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus with a 160-kilowatt
electric motor puts out 214 horsepower, a 45-percent increase over the standard
Leaf, and 250 pounds-feet of torque. The torque is delivered across a wide
band, making for spirited launches. While there is no wheel spin when tromping
on the right-side pedal, there is a smooth and effortless linear acceleration
that gets the Leaf Plus from 0-60 in about seven seconds. Not head snapping,
but certainly a rewarding sensation from an electric car. Want to go twice as
fast, then buy a Tesla Model 3 Performance. But also plan on spending about
twice as much than the Leaf Plus. Life is often series of trade-offs, so in this
instance it depends on your thrill factor versus bank account.
For most drivers, the increase from 150 to
226 miles of driving range is what will get their attention.Dash gauges
and read-outs track the remaining driving range, and the navigation screen provides
information on electric charging stations in your driving area. So, it is easy
to stay on top of the battery charge and remaining miles before needing to plug
Nissan has been one of the leaders in the
development of advanced driver assist systems (ADAS). At one point cruise
control seemed advanced, but no more. Beginning with the 2018 Leaf, Nissan
debuted two new technologies: ProPilot Assist and E-Pedal. Nissan calls this its
Intelligent Mobility, which is comprised of driving, power and integration
The first of these systems available on the
2019 Leaf Plus is ProPilot
which Nissan repeatedly stresses is NOT autopilot. This system is hands-on and,
when engaged, aids the driver keeping the Leaf centered between lane lines. If
lane lines are faded or covered in mud or snow, the system automatically
It works very well, even when doing what
Nissan said NOT to do, which was driving with hands off the wheel. But why
would you drive with your hands off the wheel? Well, you won’t unless there is
an emergency. Not trying to be disobedient, we wanted to test the sequence of
progressive warning lights and sounds. They became more frequent and louder the
longer our hands were off the wheel as ProPilot Assist is designed to help a
sleepy or physically incapacitated driver safely bring the Leaf to a stop.
Carefully, on a very deserted road, we confirmed the system will bring the Leaf
Plus to a full stop, demonstrating how a person’s life could be saved.
The second available ADAS technology is
E-Pedal, offering one pedal driving, which Nissan says reduces “the need to
switch between accelerator and brake pedals.” E-Pedal driving is accomplished
by first setting the system, then acceleration, deceleration, stopping and
holding at a stop are all controlled by the pressure applied to the accelerator
pedal. The ‘stop’ feature, even up-to a 30-percent grade, was an industry
first. E-Pedal is easy to learn and can be fun to experiment with. However, if
you are like us at Clean Fleet Report, using the accelerator and brake
pedal is real driving, and is where our time in the Leaf Plus was spent.
Charging is through plugging-in and
regenerative braking, which happens when applying the brakes or coasting. At
that point kinetic energy is converted into electric energy and is stored in
There are three plug-in options for charging.
From a nearly empty battery, times will be:
- Level 1 (120V) – 20
- Level 2 (240V) – 8
- Level 3 (DC Fast
Charging) – 30 minutes
Leaf Plus: On the Road
The 2019 Leaf Plus is a good handling car
that is light in its feel, nimble and responsive. The steering offered so-so
road feedback, but this is made-up for with flat cornering that Nissan
engineers say is due to the “heavy components, including the battery, being
placed in the center of the body.” This then improves “directional stability
enabling smoother cornering.” In other words, the center of gravity is low,
making twisties entertaining with little body roll. Replace the 17-inch
Michelin Primacy Energy Saver tires with something stickier, and the handling
would improve. But again, there is that trade-off thing again, this time it is
performance versus driving range. If you buy the Leaf Plus for how it was
designed, expect and be grateful for the latter.
Leaf Plus Design
The first-generation Leaf was known for its very unique design, which included those interesting headlights that were oh so aerodynamic, but also not pleasing to many people. When the all-new 2018 Leaf was redesigned, (which is carried over to the 2019 Leaf Plus), those headlights became a thing of the past. Behind the very recognizable signature V-Motion grille are the charge ports, which is by far the most convenient location when plugging in. The floating roofline, gently sweeping to the rear hatch, with a small spoiler over the rear glass, is the stand-out feature, creating an aerodynamic silhouette resulting in a 0.28 coefficient of drag. Look for blue highlights that sets the Leaf Plus apart from its Leaf sibling. While still recognizable as a Leaf, it does not scream “I am different!” but softly says “Hey, check me out.”
The interior is driver-friendly with easy-to-read
gauges. Everything is well within the driver’s outstretched arm, including the
volume and channel knobs for the sound system. NissanConnect allows the driver to
stay connected throughthe 8.0-inch color touchscreen, which houses the
navigation, voice recognition and AM/FM/SiriusXM with Apple CarPlay and Android
The Leaf Plus seats were comfortable and
supportive, with ample leg and headroom. As part of the optional SV Plus
Technology Package ($1,800), the driver gets eight-way power adjustments, the
front passenger six-way manual. The rear seat splits 60/40 and folds flat
offering 30 cubic feet of storage space.
The 2019 Nissan Leaf comes in six trim levels
models. The MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) for the six models
Leaf S –
Leaf SV – $32,600
Leaf SL – $36,300
Leaf S Plus – $36,550
Leaf SV Plus –
Leaf SL Plus –
The 2019 Leaf SV Plus Clean Fleet Report
tested had a final price of $41,685. All listed prices do not include the $885
destination and handling fee.
Depending where you live and your taxable
income, you could reduce your final cost through federal and state programs. It
is recommended to contact your CPA before considering a Leaf purchase so you
are completely clear on the tax credits and rebates. Not relying on the dealer
to provide this information will serve them and you best.
those in California, the Leaf automatically qualifies for the coveted HOV
sticker, which allows driving in the Carpool lane with just the driver. If you
haven’t heard the stories, people buy the Leaf just for this benefit.
Observations: 2019 Nissan Leaf SV Plus
The base 2019 Nissan Leaf coming in at under $30,000 (before any tax credits or rebates) is one of the best electric vehicle bargains on the market. Even when highly optioned like our test model, it still ranks among the best values for the money for an all-electric sedan.
After seven years on the market, the first-generation
Leaf was replaced by the all-new 2018 Leaf. Then the Leaf Plus was added to the
lineup in 2019, giving consumers one more electric vehicle that easily surpasses
the 200-mile driving range mark. The Leaf Plus is certainly worth your time to
set an appointment with your local Nissan dealer, asking to take a test drive
with one of their factory-trained EV specialists. We think you will be pleased
with what you find.
Make sure to opt-in to the Clean Fleet Report newsletter (top right
of page) to be notified of all new stories and vehicle reviews.
you end up buying, enjoy your new car. Happy Driving!
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles
from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are
based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address
issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition,
we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or
technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation,
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Source: Electric, Hybrid, Clean Diesel & High-MPG Vehicles