The Nissan Leaf is going strong in its second generation. Gone is the futuristic styling with the bulging bug eyes at the front. Unless you looked carefully at the badging, you might think this is simply another run-of-the-mill hatchback cruising down the road. This more conventional styling, small footprint, and great price point have made the Leaf a very capable city car. It has also made it the world's best-selling electric vehicle of all time.
Previous versions of the Leaf focused specifically on city driving. It's smaller size meant that it had a smaller battery and, therefore, a smaller total range. But that's all changed in 2019. Now each trim level has a "Plus" version that ups the battery pack from a 40 kWh size to a 62 kWh size. That puts the Leaf's range into the same ballpark as competitors like the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3.
So let's break down these different trims and what's included at their individual price points.
The 2019 Nissan Leaf S is the cheapest trim you can purchase, with a starting MSRP of $29,990. That's actually a cheaper starting price than previous years. The base version of the Leaf comes with a 40 kWh battery pack. According to EPA testing, it's capable of traveling about 150 miles on a single charge. While that's more than enough for daily commutes and errands, it falls much shorter of other competitors' standard ranges.
Some EVs with longer range include the Hyundai Kona Electric (258 miles), the Chevrolet Bolt (238 miles), and the Tesla Model 3 (220 miles). While these competitors have non-luxury pricing like the Nissan Leaf, they all land around a starting MSRP of $40,000. The standard Leaf, on the other hand, starts just shy of $30,000.
With the Leaf S, you’ll also get a 6.6 kW onboard charger and a portable trickle-charge cable in addition to the usual charge port. The Leaf S trim has 16-inch steel wheels and comes with a tire repair kit, just in case something happens while you’re out-and-about. This trim of the Nissan Leaf also allows you to focus on the road with a hands-free text messaging assistant and Bluetooth connectivity. You’ll also get a rearview monitor, cloth seating, 60/40 split fold-down rear seats, 5-inch color display, four speakers, and USB port.
For EV drivers with range anxiety, the 2019 Nissan Leaf now offers "Plus" versions with larger battery packs and longer range. With a starting MSRP of $36,300, the Leaf S Plus has a 62 kWh battery pack that lasts for an EPA-estimated 226 miles before needing a recharge. This is much closer to the competitors mentioned above while also remaining the least expensive option of the bunch.
The Leaf S Plus also comes with DC quick charging capability. New Level 3 DC quick charging stations can regenerate 80% of battery life in as little as 45 min. The Leaf S Plus also comes with an upgraded NissanConnect 8-inch touchscreen display and intelligent forward collision warning. Otherwise, the Leaf S and the Leaf S Plus are dimensionally and aesthetically similar.
The 2019 Nissan Leaf SV offers plenty more in this upgraded trim level. The Leaf SV starts at $32,600. At this higher price point, the wheels get an upgrade to 17-inch machine-finished aluminum-alloy.
The biggest change comes on the inside. A Nissan Navigation System is now included standard, as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. Drivers can also take advantage of NissanConnect EV with services powered by SiriusXM and complimentary trial access to 3-year EV and Select as well as 6-month Premium Plus packages.
The seats remain a cloth trim. Because this is not a Plus version, the infotainment touchscreen measures a smaller 7 inches diagonally (compared to the S Plus trim). The standard Leaf SV trim has the 40 kWh battery pack capable of 150 miles of range per charge.
Similar to the upgrades found on the previous trim, the Leaf SV Plus adds a bigger infotainment screen (8-in touchscreen instead of 7-in) and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Drivers will appreciate the addition of a hands-free text messaging assistant and Nissan Door-to-Door Navigation with 3D graphics and satellite imagery.
As before, "Plus" versions upgrade the battery pack to a 62 kWh configuration. On the SV Plus trim, this is good for 215 miles per charge. That's a little bit less than the Leaf S Plus but still within striking range of other competitors. Otherwise, it carries over the majority of the standard features from the standard SV trim. The starting MSRP is $38,510.
The 2019 Nissan Leaf SL is the most expensive option you can choose with a starting MSRP of $36,300, but this trim feels luxurious. Everything from the SV is still here, but the SL takes it even further. On the exterior, you lose the halogen headlights and get LED low-beam headlights with an automatic on/off feature. The charge port also has a light and lock.
The interior now features leather-appointed seating. Added safety features include blind-spot warning and intelligent Around View monitoring. Even the audio system is upgraded to a Bose Energy Efficient Series Premium Audio System with seven speakers.
The Leaf SL has the standard 40 kWh battery pack capable of 150 miles of range per charge.
The Leaf SL Plus starts at $42,550 and features the upgraded 62 kWh battery pack with 215 miles of range. The higher price tag also includes Nissan's ProPILOT Assist. This includes speed control, lane centering, and braking assist. It helps to maintain the distance between your car and the car ahead while also keeping you in the middle of your lane on the highway. An additional safety feature is automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Otherwise, it is dimensionally similar to the Leaf SL and comes with the same standard features.
(Featured image via Facebook)