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2018 Nissan Leaf Overview
The Nissan Leaf is one of the best-selling electric vehicles (EVs) in the world, with almost 300,000 models sold since its launch back in 2010. But during this time, it has become overshadowed by the likes of Tesla and the Chevrolet Bolt. Nissan hopes to bring the spotlight back onto the Leaf with the launch of the second-generation model early next year. The 2018 Leaf receives significant improvements to the electric powertrain and overall range and introduces some new tech that will also appear on other Nissan models down the road.
Nissan has boosted the 2018 Leaf’s electric motor from 107 hp and 187 lb-ft of torque to 147 and 236, respectively, thanks to a new powertrain inverter. The lithium-ion battery-pack capacity has also grown from 30 to 40kWh, bumping overall range from 107 to 150 miles per charge. And if that still isn’t enough, Nissan is building a 60kWh Leaf that promises a range of at least 225 miles, although you’ll need to wait until the 2019 model year to order it. When it comes time to recharge the Leaf, Nissan claims it will take about 16 hours with a 120-volt outlet or 8 hours with a 240-volt charger. The Leaf is also compatible with public quick chargers and can reach 80 percent battery charge in just 40 minutes.
All Leafs come standard with Nissan’s e-Pedal system, which allows the driver to start and stop the vehicle using only the accelerator pedal in what’s known as "one-pedal driving." How is this possible? Nissan has programmed the regenerative brakes to provide the maximum amount of braking when you take your foot off the accelerator. It can even keep the Leaf stationary on a hill.
With all this technology, you might expect the 2018 Leaf to sport an edgy, futuristic design that distinguishes it from the rest of the pack. But the new Leaf looks very conventional, almost like a Sentra hatchback. If it weren’t for the "zero-emission" badging on the front doors, you might not even realize you’re looking at an EV. Designers recognized that the old Leaf’s polarizing exterior was ultimately a turn-off for many prospective buyers, so they went the safe route for the redesigned 2018 model. Additionally, a number of Nissan design touches are present, such as the V-Motion grille, boomerang-shaped head- and taillights, and a blacked-out rear pillar that gives the illusion of a floating roof.
The Leaf’s interior follows the same conventional design as the exterior, with a simple center-stack layout and a flowing dash. Nissan has worked to make the cabin look and feel more premium with soft-touch surfaces and blue stitching on the seats. The instrument cluster is comprised of analog gauges as well as a color display that provides key driving information. The base S trim receives a 6-inch infotainment system screen, while the SV and SL trims feature a 7-inch screen with navigation, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.
The 2018 Leaf will be the first Nissan model to come with the company’s semi-autonomous ProPilot Assist system, available on SV and SL trims. ProPilot Assist combines adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist to provide self-driving technology at an affordable price. All you need to do is set the speed and the distance between your vehicle and the car in front and the system will take care of the rest, including making minor steering adjustments. ProPilot will also bring the Leaf to a complete stop and start back up in congested traffic situations. Also available is Nissan’s Safety Shield package, which adds an around-view camera system, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and more.
As for pricing, the 2018 Leaf will be one of the least expensive EVs on the market, with the base S trim carrying a price tag of just $29,990.
Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.
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