Looking at leases on 2018 Nissan Leaf electric car: how do they stack up?

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Nissan Leaf is the mainstream electric car we've been waiting for

Putting a Leaf in "gear" requires a gentle tug back and left on a mouse-shaped driving mode selector sitting on the console. Most of the Leaf was engineered from the ground up to operate silently--including specially quiet windshield wipers--but some interior fittings are shared with more basic Nissan models. We're not fond of the pendant parking-brake pedal, a throwback to the Eighties that replaced the electric parking brake on earlier Leafs.

Of the available colors, we like the rarely-seen rich Cayenne Red color, and there's also a distinctive Leaf blue. But you'll want to avoid ordering black if you live in a warm or hot climate; using the air conditioning to cool the cabin chews through battery energy and reduces the Leaf's effective range.

The Nissan Leaf is a perfect example of why electric cars are simply nicer to drive: It's a quiet, smooth five-door hatchback that delivers drama-free driving despite acceleration that's only average. Its handling and roadholding is adequate but far from engaging; rather than involving the driver in the car's abilities, it makes the process as low-effort as possible.

Driving a Leaf is notable only for its calm and simplicity. When required, the Leaf will accelerate briskly, but the driver has to push hard on the accelerator--an energy-saving measure to ensure that degree of power is really wanted. The kilowatt horsepower electric motor that powers the front wheels draws energy from the kilowatt-hour battery pack just under the cabin floor; the motor produces a healthy lb-ft of torque. It's in the handling and roadholding where the Leaf may disappoint those who enjoy the process of driving.

There's nothing inherently wrong or dangerous, but the electric steering is numb, with light weighting, and it provides very little feedback from the road. No matter which way a driver turns the wheel, its centering force seems to remain the same. The Leaf does provide an incredibly tight turning circle of just 17 feet--possibly the lowest of any car on the market today--due to the lack of an engine up front between the wheel wells.

There's little body roll in the Leaf, because the heaviest component the battery pack is carried at the car's lowest point. Because it's a tall car on small tires especially the Leaf S base model, which uses inch wheels , we found the Leaf sensitive to side winds. But the lack of road feel or control feedback makes "appliance-like" the most suitable adjective for the Leaf. It's fine, but it's the antithesis of anything sporty.

The EPA-rated electric range this year is quoted at 84 miles combined. Still, buyers need to know that any car running on battery power is sensitive to driving habits and temperature, both of which affect range in a major way.

Drivers learn to accelerate gently, coast down to stops, and plan ahead to avoid sudden acceleration or hard braking, all in the name of conserving energy. There's also a Eco mode for greater efficiency, which cuts maximum available power by 10 percent--although the effect feels much greater.

Flooring the accelerator thankfully overrides Eco mode, temporarily, for safety in sudden emergencies. In the Leaf, Eco mode is somewhere between slow and frustrating, and we avoided it in our road tests. As well as temperature--the lower it gets, the less range the battery delivers--high speeds burn through battery energy, reducing range as well.

High-speed travel in a Leaf feels breathless, with the steering feel getting heavier and acceleration declining noticeably above 50 or 60 mph as aerodynamic drag rises. Top speed is capped at 90 mph. While the Leaf is fine for freeway commuting, it may be most useful in around-town use up to 50 mph or regular commutes of predictable distances. To get the Leaf underway, a driver taps the Start button, pushes the mouse-like Drive Mode Indicator on the console left and back, and simply presses the accelerator.

The result is motion in virtual silence. When you need torque to pass other cars, it's there if you floor the accelerator, but it's still far from lightning-fast in the crucial tompg range. Nissan has tuned the regenerative braking to simulate the brakes of a conventional car.

There's no possibility of the "one-pedal driving" found in cars like the Tesla Model S or BMW i3, with their much greater regenerative braking. There's now a "B" mode, however, that increases the regeneration to mimic the effect of engine braking if the driver chooses that mode.

Like the Prius hybrid before it, the Leaf isn't hugely fun to drive, but it's a practical and very competent car. It's just that the Leaf won't use a drop of gasoline, ever. Despite some of its performance drawbacks, the Leaf feels to drivers and passengers just like a regular car that happens to be very, very quiet. It's a convincing sales tool for the benefits of electric cars, and many Leaf owners become de facto evangelists for the joys of plug-in travel, offering rides and drives to friends, relatives, neighbors, and colleagues.

The Nissan Leaf is smooth, quiet, and mostly serene on the road, especially at 40 mph or less, compared to any compact vehicle with a gasoline or diesel engine. You may hear a bit of low whine from the electronics and electric motor from time to time, but otherwise, it's smooth and notably free of vibrations. As the Leaf gathers speed, tire noise is far more evident because there's no engine or transmission noise to mask it. Starting around 30 mph, you'll hear the tires on pavement increase in volume to a muted roar at highway speeds, plus the whoosh of wind passing around the bodies.

It's hard to explain to novices how quiet electric cars are, and how jarring a return to gasoline cars can be after spending a day in a Leaf. What you hear in the electric Nissan is noises that are largely masked by mechanical racket in conventional cars. But up to about 40 mph, the Leaf is almost eerily silent.

The front seats are comfortable, there's plenty of headroom front and rear, and the rear passengers sit high--unlike cars with drooping rooflines that drop rear-seat occupants down toward the floor. Still, riders in the rear will find their knees slightly higher than they may expect, since instead of the conventional footwell, there's a flat battery pack just under the floorpan.

The base Leaf S and mid-level SV use a velvety pale gray seat upholstery that Nissan proudly explains is made from recycled soda bottles. Customer demand for black interiors, however, ensured that you can now get black as an option. The top SL trim level has standard leather upholstery. Still, power seats aren't offered--to save battery energy that could otherwise move the car--and the thin headliner is covered in "teddy-bear fur," a soft nap that camouflages an otherwise very insubstantial feeling panel.

In fact, there's a lot of room inside a Leaf. Be sure to bring your questions, and be ready for answers! Make the most of your shopping experience by creating an account.

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Log In Create Account. Save Cars and continue your research later at home or on the go with your phone! Additional premium upgrades to the SL trim include a Bose seven-speaker audio system and around view monitor, which puts cameras in front, in back and on the side mirrors for parking assistance. The European version has many of the same improvements of the Japanese and U. Also three versions will be available: Visia, Acenta and Tekna.

The European version was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show , and production of the model began in March at the Sunderland plant in the UK, and sales started in June The model year Leaf went on sale in December in the U. The Leaf is largely the same as the model year, except: On 2 October , for the model year, Nissan launched the new generation Leaf in Japan, though delivery to some customers was delayed due to a safety inspection issue.

Nissan plans an expansion to additional markets in early The first vehicles sold in the U. Department of Energy to allow the manufacturing plant to produce the Nissan Leaf and its advanced batteries. These cells are used in the battery pack of the model year Leaf built at the adjacent assembly plant. The cell fabrication factory in Smyrna is the largest plant in the U. In March , the Chinese government announced that a partnership between Nissan and Dongfeng Motor to build Leafs is being planned.

The initial production line will be able to produce 10, units per year until it is upgraded to 50, units by Nissan officially introduced the Leaf in a ceremony held at its global headquarters in Yokohama on 3 December Since December , Nissan sold 49, Leafs worldwide during its first two years in the market, making the Leaf the world's best-selling highway-capable electric car ever. Global Leaf sales passed the , unit milestone in December Global sales in climbed to 49, units, making the Leaf the world's second best-selling plug-in car after the Tesla Model S for the second year running.

Sales in were led by Europe with 18, units, followed by Japan with 14,, North America with 15, The rest of the world accounted for units. Initially the Leaf was sold in all markets including the battery pack and is not compatible with QuickDrop battery swapping developed by its alliance partner Renault.

The following table presents retail sales by year since deliveries of the Leaf began in December , for the national markets with cumulative sales of more than units through the end of In April , Nissan announced that customers in the United States and Japan reported problems in restarting their Leaf vehicles after switching the motor off.

Nissan said the problem does not pose any accident risk. Nissan announced that the problem only affected a small proportion of Leafs. Nissan engineers identified a programming error in an air conditioning system sensor that sometimes triggers an erroneous high voltage alert when the air conditioning unit is switched on, due to the increased demand for power.

The system issues an Inhibit Restart command, which does not prevent driving the vehicle, but does prevent it restarting after it is turned off. The solution requires reprogramming of the Vehicle Control Module by a Nissan dealer. Nissan announced a "service campaign" to apply the software fix to all 5, Nissan Leafs in operation around the world, but it was not an official recall because it was not a safety issue. In addition, the update changes the state-of-charge bars display to provide a true reserve capacity; the driver now has up to five miles to find a charging spot after the car reaches the zero miles remaining mark.

A number of early models had air conditioning failures due to a faulty hose. A number of customers have reported safety problems with the antilock brakes: In May , several U. As time went on, more people reported seeing the issue, and some had lost two, three, and even in rare cases, four battery capacity bars.

The battery capacity loss problem seems to be concentrated in regions with hot climate, and Phoenix, Arizona and the state of Texas in particular. In July , Nissan responded by saying they were investigating the issue, and a carmaker spokesman also said that "the problem is isolated to maybe 0. Crowd sourced reports of Nissan Leafs with premature battery degradation have been collected at the MyNissanLeaf. By early September , Nissan Executive Vice President said that there is "no problem with the Leaf battery, and that the any customer complaints were merely the result of instrument problems.

The test confirmed that the Leaf has poor instruments, but the test also found significant loss of range in some cars reflecting battery capacity loss.

According to Nissan, that average is "more than double the average Phoenix customer mileage of 7, miles per year. The company also decided to set up an independent advisory board to study how the company may improve its communication with customers about the performance of the Leaf. She will select the members of the advisory board that would make recommendations to Nissan. On 17 September , a federal class action lawsuit was filed by California Leaf lessee Humberto Daniel Klee and Arizona Leaf owner David Wallak, accusing Nissan of concealing in its advertising that its Leaf vehicles have a design defect that causes them to prematurely lose battery life and driving range.

In January , Nissan USA announced that it will offer an extended battery warranty on the model year Leaf and will include and model years as well. A report by insurance company Warranty Direct , stated that of 35, Leafs sold in Europe, three had a battery failure. On 7 July , U. Wallace Tashima of the 9th Circuit U. In March , Nissan is recalling nearly one million vehicles for a problem with the airbags. The occupant classification system OCS may incorrectly think that the passenger seat is empty when it is occupied by an adult, failing to activate the airbag in a collision.

Recall documents say that due to the sensitivity of the OCS software calibration, the system may not sense a passenger. That combined with high-engine vibration at idle when the seat is empty and then becomes occupied, or unusual occupant seating postures, can cause the system to fail.

If the car crashes during this time, the airbag won't deploy. Nissan will notify owners, and dealerships will fix the OCS software free of charge. The Leaf Aero Style exterior has a new front bumper, extended side skirts, restyled mirrors, LED daytime driving lights, and special wheels. The Leaf Nismo uses the Leaf's all-electric drive train with no extra power or performance improvements, but has an aerodynamic body kit with styling influenced by the electric Leaf RC demonstrator, new alloy wheels, and interior improvements.

It is based on the same platform as the Leaf, but it is expected to become Nissan's luxury electric car. It was expected to go into production in Nissan and its joint venture partner Dongfeng Motor unveiled a production version of the Venucia e30 electric car at the Auto Guangzhou. The car was initially scheduled for production in China by The Venucia e30 shares the bodywork, dimensions, electric-drive specifications and several other aspects of the Leaf.

Dongfeng Nissan started pilot projects in 15 Chinese cities to promote the Venucia e30 with local governments. These units were marketed as Venucia Morning Wind and they were badged Leafs since local production had not begun at the time.

The Venucia e30 was launched in the Chinese market in September In August , Nissan announced its plans to launch several driverless cars by The company is building in Japan a dedicated autonomous driving proving ground, to be completed in Nissan installed its autonomous car technology in a Nissan Leaf for demonstration purposes. The car was demonstrated at Nissan test drive event held in California in August The testing car will be used by Nissan engineers to evaluate how its in-house autonomous driving software performs in the real-world.

There were 20, pre-orders in the United States for the vehicle's debut. The Leaf has received awards from multiple organizations. Notable awards include the inclusion by Time magazine as one of the 50 best inventions of In , a former Tesla Motors marketing manager criticized Nissan about the cooling system chosen for thermal management in lithium-ion battery packs.

The consumer group also reminded that many older houses could require upgrading the electric service panel to install a volt circuit, which can cost several thousand dollars. One study showed that some of the 30 kWh Nissan Leaf battery packs are degrading at around three times the rate of the 24 kWh variant at 2 years of age. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages.

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The Nissan Cube -derived EV test car was Nissan's first prototype with the all-electric drive train later used in the Leaf. Location of the Leaf lithium-ion battery pack below the seats. This section may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards , as Violates WP: The discussion page may contain suggestions.

This section may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may interest only a particular audience. The Leaf's charging port with two inlets is located at the front of the car. Electric vehicle warning sounds. Nissan Leaf Aero Style. Nissan Leaf Nismo RC.

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