Here is the 2018 Nissan Leaf, a car we’ve already heard almost everything about. It may look like you wouldn’t be able to tell if it was a Chevy Bolt or a Honda Fit if it got in even the slightest of traffic incidents, but the technology has been improved and it actually seems like a pretty sweet deal.
The new Leaf is a neat little car that seems perfect for a daily commute that isn’t punishingly long. While it’s performance figures put it at a disadvantage against a Chevy Bolt or a Tesla Model 3, its $29,990 starting price before incentives puts it at a big cost advantage. That is attractively cheap for a reliable and easily-serviceable electric vehicle.
The all-new model improves on just about everything from the outgoing Leaf, though the smooth, egg-like styling did slowly grow on me. Nonetheless, the new Leaf now has an EPA-estimated 150 miles of range from a new 40 kWh battery. Nissan claims it will reveal a more powerful Leaf sometime next year.
Previous leaked reported figures of 147 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque have been confirmed, and top speed is limited to 87 mph. The gross vehicle weight is rated at 4,453 pounds.
The exciting stuff is all of the other technology Nissan has piped into the car, including some semi-autonomous functionalities with its ProPilot system, where the car can manage single-lane highway driving. That’s paired with a self-parking feature, as well as a single-pedal operation mode called e-Pedal, where you can control acceleration and deceleration with just a single pedal.
The outgoing Leaf sold moderately well with 112,000 puppies pushed out in the U.S. since 2010, but I can’t decide if the new one is enough to boost those numbers against a growing field of competent and stylish competitors. But if the prospect of a very affordable fuel-less 5-door hatchback appeals to you as it should millions of people, Nissan might be in its sweet spot.
The Leaf will go on sale in all 50 states early next year.