2018 Nissan Leaf

The new 2018 Nissan Leaf might seem to be an enticing electric vehicle at first blush. It offers decent battery range and a low entry price. The base model is thousands less than the entry-level Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3, even before federal or state tax incentives.

But even though this redesign improves on the original, it offers little beyond an attractive price to distinguish it from its EV competitors.

The Leaf’s 40-kWh battery gives it a range of 140 miles, which should be enough for most commuters. But that’s far less than the Bolt and the Model 3. Shoppers may want to wait for the 2019 Leaf, which will offer a 60-kWh battery with a promised range of over 200 miles. 

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Our Leaf delivered power smoothly when accelerating from a standstill, but it ran out of oomph at highway speeds.

The mushy handling doesn’t inspire driver confidence, and the soft suspension can bottom out, sending a nasty thump to the cabin.

We found the SL’s powered driver’s seat to be comfortable, helped by the adjustable lumbar support. The Leaf is missing a telescoping steering column to accommodate drivers of all sizes, and the center console rubs against the driver’s knee, which can be annoying.

Nissan’s optional ProPilot Assist combines adaptive cruise control with lane-centering. It’s not designed as a self-driving feature but can be a convenience in stop-and-go traffic. Forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking are standard. 

Read the complete Nissan Leaf road test.

2018 Nissan Leaf Review studio photo

HIGHS: Low running costs, quietness, power delivery, access, standard automatic emergency braking
LOWS: Charging times, driving position, agility, ride
POWERTRAIN: 147-hp electric motor; 1-speed direct-drive transmission; front-wheel drive
RANGE: 140 miles/8 hrs. (27.5 amps) to charge on 240 volts
PRICE AS TESTED: $38,115

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the September 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.