Arriving for the 2011 model year, the Nissan Leaf changed the electric vehicle segment forever by providing enough range to meet the requirements of most daily drivers. Thanks to a spacious cabin and a cargo area that rivals what much bigger vehicles offer, the Nissan’s EV is much more than a gimmick. The Leaf has what it takes to be a legitimate replacement for the traditional gas-powered family car.
Nissan Leaf Overview
The Nissan Leaf is a five-door compact electric car first offered for the 2011 model year. While the Leaf has not significantly changed since its launch, Nissan has refined the vehicle by adding options and improving its driving range. With a relatively affordable starting price, the Leaf is a significant vehicle in the global pursuit of transportation that utilizes alternative fuels.
The Nissan Leaf is powered by an 80 kilowatt electric motor and a single-speed reduction gear. The power plant creates 107 horsepower and an impressive 207 pound-feet of torque. However, the numbers don’t tell the entire performance story. Thanks to the all-or-nothing approach of an electric drivetrain, instant torque gives the Leaf a little more punch that you might expect.
The Nissan Leaf contains a high-level of standard features for a relatively affordable compact electric vehicle. Automatic climate control, heated front seats and push-button start are all standard. Bluetooth and USB connectivity are also included. Higher trim levels can include an upgraded audio system, leather appointed seating, a heated steering wheel, navigation, fog lights and more.
A pioneer in the affordable family-friendly EV segment, the Nissan Leaf now has a few competitors from today’s top automotive manufacturers, although most come with a caveat or two. The Kia Soul EV offers a competitive price point and features, while the Volkswagen e-Golf has a design that’s arguably more attractive. You may also want to investigate the Chevrolet Bolt and Ford Focus Electric as alternatives to the Leaf. Another viable option is the BMW i3, although it is priced significantly higher and loses a good deal of the Leaf’s utility.