The Nissan Leaf Plus is faster and can take you farther than the usual mannequin.
Vary nervousness in electrical autos is a really actual factor. It is akin to the worry of your telephone going lifeless, however as a substitute of not having the ability to examine Twitter for the most recent scorching takes, you are stranded on the aspect of the highway — hopefully with a charged telephone so you possibly can summon a tow truck. Within the Nissan Leaf’s case, an EPA-estimated driving vary of 149 miles is not miniscule, however you understand what can be higher to alleviate vary worries? A spread of 226 miles, which is the place the Leaf Plus is available in.
LikeSmooth and fast accelerationSeamless regenerative and mechanical brake integrationImpressive listing of security expertise
Do not LikeLess driving vary than competitorsLight, uncommunicative steeringSteeper base value than the opposition
Higher outfitted to compete
Not like 2011 when the first-generation Leaf went on sale, the EV panorama at present is way totally different. The Nissan is now not the one electrical hatchback on the town, with entries just like the Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Kona Electrical and Kia Niro EV now in showrooms. Every boasts nicely over 200 miles of vary, leaving the bottom Leaf and its 40-kilowatt-hour battery pack far within the rearview mirror.
The Leaf Plus formally arrived final 12 months with an even bigger 62-kilowatt-hour battery. Within the base S Plus trim, it returns the beforehand talked about 226 miles of vary, however the better-equipped SV Plus and SL Plus fashions with extra choices that expend energy obtain an official score of 215 miles. With out query, these numbers are a wholesome enchancment over the usual Leaf, however nonetheless lag behind the ranges of the Chevy (259 miles), Hyundai (258 miles) and Kia (239 miles).
2020 Nissan Leaf Plus: Going farther and faster than earlier than
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All through per week with an SL Plus tester, the 215-mile score appeared simply inside attain. I by no means let the battery dip a lot beneath a 30% cost due to vary nervousness however was comfortably on observe to cowl 215 miles of motoring utilizing the electron-sipping Eco mode.
Activating the e-pedal system yields robust regenerative braking the second you carry off the correct pedal. The regen brakes are muscular sufficient to carry the Leaf Plus to a whole cease for a one-pedal driving expertise. It is mildly entertaining driving it this manner and satisfying once you navigate by city with out touching the brake pedal. Being clean and timing your throttle inputs accurately pays off as you cowl extra floor and hardly see the battery cost gauge drop.
While you do deplete the Plus, juicing it up with a 240-volt, Degree 2 charger takes 11.5 hours. A neat factor in regards to the Plus is that the usual charging cable handles each Degree 1 and Degree 2 charging. So, as a substitute of spending cash putting in a Degree 2 charger at residence, homeowners can merely have a 240-volt outlet to plug into. As for Degree 1 charging from a standard family outlet, that takes north of 30 hours.
When you stay close to a 100-kW DC charger, you can cost a drained Leaf Plus to 80% in 45 minutes.
For many who stay close to a 50-kW DC charger, the Leaf Plus can cost from Zero to 80% in an hour. When you’re lucky sufficient to have entry to a less-common 100-kW DC charger, that’ll reduce cost time for a lifeless battery to 80% to 45 minutes.
The opposite welcome enchancment accompanying the Plus’ upsized battery is an influence soar. The common Leaf isn’t any slouch with 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, however no person will protest a rise to 214 hp and 250 lb-ft. All that thrust is transmitted instantly to the entrance wheels by a single-speed transmission getting the Leaf Plus to 60 mph in about 7 seconds, which is roughly a second faster than the usual mannequin. There are zero points getting in control for expressway merging and passing maneuvers are a cinch. Greater than its 0-to-60 time, I am impressed with how quickly the Leaf Plus accelerates from 40 to 70 mph and past.
Straight-line slingshots are in regards to the extent of the enjoyable within the Leaf Plus from a efficiency standpoint. Relying on trim degree, the Plus is about 340 kilos heavier than the bottom Leaf, and that does not assist dynamics. There’s some dive below braking and roll at flip in. The low-rolling-resistance 17-inch Michelin Power Saver A/S tires squawk in protest once you throw it right into a nook and stability management intervenes instantly to get issues so as.
A extra highly effective battery additionally signifies that the Leaf Plus is faster, with 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque.
Journey high quality is, nevertheless, buttoned up and cozy on the 50-series sidewall tires. Impacts from larger bumps are nonetheless felt contained in the Leaf’s cabin. The handoff from regenerative to mechanical braking is seamless, with stopping pressure progressively rising as you press the pedal. The steering is mild and devoid of any suggestions, however that is nice together with the less-than-stellar cornering chops. The Leaf is not presupposed to be a sports activities automotive.
A Leaf in and out
When you’re anticipating the Leaf Plus to look a lot totally different from the usual Leaf, then you are going to be dissatisfied. Apart from an extra blue accent strip on the entrance fascia and the Plus badge on the hatch beneath the trim degree designation, it appears to be like like each different Leaf. And that is not a wholly dangerous factor. The Leaf wears a reasonably aggressive face with Nissan’s signature V-motion grille, delicate aspect character strains and five-spoke wheels with a contrasting silver face and grey insets.
Inside, there’s nothing to write down residence about, both. It options the Leaf’s excessive seating place, blue accent stitching right here and there and loads of laborious plastic making up the entire sprint and parts of the door panels. Thankfully, the plastics are properly completed, and strategic spots are wrapped in vinyl and padded, such because the armrests, the center of the door panels and the aspect of the middle console, the place you may relaxation your knees.
Area within the Nissan’s front- and second-row seats is serviceable for many adults and there are sufficient cubbies to stash gadgets all through the cabin. The Leaf may also transfer fairly a little bit of cargo, with 23.6 cubic ft on provide behind the rear seats, which grows to 30 cubic ft with the second row folded ahead.
Quarterbacking infotainment within the Leaf is the NissanConnect system with an 8-inch touchscreen that does not have essentially the most vibrant graphics. It is a feature-rich system with a pleasant Bose audio setup, satellite tv for pc radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Within the SL Plus, it additionally has onboard navigation, which regularly takes a bit little bit of time to calculate routes.
NissanConnect’s graphics are wanting dated.
On the energetic security expertise entrance, all Leaf fashions come commonplace with forward-collision warning with computerized emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and rear cross-traffic alert with rear computerized braking. On my SL Plus take a look at automotive, Nissan’s ProPilot driver help tech can also be included, utilizing adaptive cruise management and lane-keep help for partially automated, hands-on-the-wheel motoring that works extremely nicely in visitors.
How I might spec it
I at all times attempt to preserve my builds as budget-conscious as doable, however with the Leaf Plus, I’ve to spring for the SL trim. Optioning the midgrade SV could have me including a few possibility packages to get must-haves like heated seats and LED headlights, bumping the value tag to near-SL ranges. Splurging on the range-topping mannequin prices $44,825, together with $925 for vacation spot. Tack on the $695 two-tone black and white paint job like on the automotive pictured right here and $195 ground and cargo mats, and that brings the underside line of my superb automotive to $45,715. Sadly, that is not far more inexpensive than this $46,045 tester.
With all of the bells and whistles and a few choices, this SL Plus take a look at automobile punches in at a hair over $46,000.
A greater Leaf, however not the benchmark
The 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus will set you again $39,125 to begin, which is greater than the $37,890 Chevy Bolt and $38,365 Hyundai Kona Electrical, however extra inexpensive than the $40,210 Kia Niro EV. All three of the Leaf’s rivals provide an even bigger dose of favor, are extra participating to drive and, most significantly, provide longer driving ranges.
What the Leaf has working in its favor is a large listing of normal and accessible security tech options, and the truth that it is the best-selling EV up to now has certainly created some Nissan loyalists. However to anybody new to the EV world with no earlier allegiance to model or mannequin, the Leaf Plus seemingly is not the most suitable choice within the inexpensive EV hatchback section.