2018 Nissan LEAF – First-Gen To Second-Gen Changes
Nissan’s new EV goes from happy-go-lucky to sporty and angry.
With more electric vehicles on the road, the Nissan Leaf now faces some stiffer competition in the long-range EV market – i.e. the Chevrolet Bolt and the Tesla Model 3. The new 2018 Nissan Leaf seeks to be more competitive with a slew of driver assistant technologies, an increased range, and a sportier and tech-forward design. Let’s take a look at just how different the new Leaf performs, and looks inside and out from its predecessor.
Editor’s Note: The longer range/60 kWh edition (good for 220-225 miles) arrives int he 2nd half of 2018 as a 2019 model year offering.
The new Leaf looks far angrier than its more easy-going predecessor. Replacing the big round headlights are angular projector-beam units that employ “dual, direct lens low and high beams,” complemented with LED accent lights. The Leaf also has a more traditional V-shape grill evocative of other Nissan vehicles, with a clear-blue 3D mesh pattern to establish its EV status in the lineup. The hood also has some steep creases to give the new Leaf a far sportier look.
The charge port is also bent 45-degrees to allow easier access for the charging cable.
A “floating roof” design element helps the new Leaf come closer in line with other vehicles in the Nissan portfolio. Angular character lines and stylized side sills give it a more planted look. In some configurations, the Leaf can be had with a contrasting blue color on the roof and side mirrors. New “clear-cut curve and aero-design wheels” also help reduce drag. With the bolder character lines, the profile has a sleeker and more tech-forward appearance.
Replacing the long and skinny taillights are new “boomerang” units that look like ones found on the Nissan Murano and 370Z. A new integrated rear spoiler sits on top of the hatch and is blacked out along with elements below the rear window, similar to the BMW i3. The underfloor and diffuser-type bumper not only help the Leaf look more aggressive, but also reduce overall drag.
Unlike the exterior, the interior design isn’t a far departure from the last-gen Leaf. Familiar elements like the circular shifter with blue accents, and climate controls remain. New elements include a seven-inch center touchscreen, blue stitching on the seats, instrument panel and steering wheel, different materials to create a more upscale feel, and matte grey and black accents throughout the cabin. In front of the driver, there’s a new analog speedometer paired with a multi-information digital display. A different cupholder configuration also allows for storage of a smart phone conveniently next to a 12-volt power outlet and USB port.