2018 Nissan LEAF Test Drive Review – It’s the Value Champ With 160-170 Miles Of Real-World Range

FEB 6 2018 BY MARK KANE 50

2018 Nissan LEAF

The new Nissan LEAF begins its adventure in the UK with high notes from Autocar, who appreciates all of the upgrades and feels its a leading BEV contender again, especially in terms of value for money.

Production begins of the new Nissan LEAF in Europe

It’s not as easy as in 2010/2011 when the first-generation LEAF quickly became a industry benchmark.

The 2018 LEAF has better looks, roughly 50% more range, 40% more power (110 kW) and 25% more torque. Additionally, its slightly reduced entry level price makes it a better overall value.

There are still some minor things that one could criticize. According to Autocar:

  • driving position is improved but could be better/lower
  • lack of telescopic steering column adjustment
  • interior quality is improved but it still falls short of cars similarly priced

Tests revealed that real world range is around 160-170 miles (257-274 km) on a charge. Expected EPA range is 150 miles using the 40 kWh battery.

The driving experience in fine:

“Driving the Leaf is certainly suggestive of greater premium-level refinements than the interior is. Being as brilliantly responsive to the accelerator as ever, and having greater torque-related thrust below about 50mph than just about anything short of a hot hatchback, the Leaf is a delight to drive around town. Nissan’s powertrain improvements also make it feel much less out of place on the motorway than the old one did. There’s a new ‘ePedal’ setting for the car, which filters in strong regenerative braking before you go anywhere near the brake pedal, and makes the Leaf at once easier to drive and better at recycling energy than the old one. And, perhaps more striking than everything else, this is now a seriously quiet and refined car – just as you’d want an EV to be.

The Leaf is based on an overhauled version of the old car’s mechanical platform but, having been made torsionally stiffer than its predecessor as well as quicker-steering and more resistant to body roll, it feels both comfortable-riding and fairly agile-handling on the road: enough in both cases, certainly, to satisfy most tastes. There’s well-tuned weight and return-to-centre springing about the steering too.”

Source: Autocar

Categories: Nissan, Test Drives

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50 Comments on "2018 Nissan LEAF Test Drive Review – It’s the Value Champ With 160-170 Miles Of Real-World Range"

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Just got called to test drive the new leaf here in Cleveland Ohio

Hey, Ohio isn’t a CARB state! Good to see that Nissan is serious about the “nationwide” part of their roll out.

If the 40 kWh battery actually has, say, 94% of usable capacity, that means they’re estimate of 170 miles says the car is netting 4.5 miles/kW – hard to believe.

Did they actually run the car to empty, or are they using the notorious Nissan Guess-O-Meter as their guide?

By the way, does anyone know if Leaf 2.0 has an improved gas gauge? The gas gauge in my 12 Leaf was one of few things I hated about the car.

The Gas Gauge is Broken!
And replaced with the “Nissan Guess-O-Meter”
Expected current range potential gauge!

Not so hard to believe – in the summer, we averaged 5.9-6.1 miles per kWh in our 2015 Leaf S.

That sounds plausible, if you never exceed 20 mph that is.

My 2012 is getting around 7.5km/kWh Summer and 4.5km/kWh Winter. The battery is at 78% SoH now and I just drive it without too much consideration for economy, it is still much cheaper than the ICE.
The only wish is that Nissan would spend some of their $bil profits installing CHAdeMO in my country. Really, an investment by them of $10mil would be nothing and would make the Leaf just so much more usable. It would be a real start to the EV revolution.

I agree with NeilBlanchard, I regularly get 4.2 to 4.4 miles per Kwh in my 2011 and that car is not as efficient as the newer ones. I had a 2015 for 3 years and got 4.9 to 5.3 miles per Kwh regularly because the 2015 is more efficient. The 2018 is stated to be even more efficient although a little heavier, still, I would expect at least 4.5 miles per Kwh or better.

Why do people keep saying that the new Leaf is more efficient? Wasn’t there an article here just a few weeks ago that showed the latest highway MPGe has actually decreased from the previous model year? https://insideevs.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/leaf.jpg

Here’s the article I was referring to. The new Leaf is NOT more efficient than the previous model year, and in fact the highway MPGe is worse in the new model year. WTF?

Exactly, this isn’t feasible in many “real world” scenarios.

On a 70°F day, with no climate control running, driving at 35 mph this is certainly achievable.

But at 35°F or highway speed? No way.

I like how they say it’s 50% more range. That figure isn’t really even accurate because the 1st Gen Leafs started losing range from the moment they were driven off the lots.

You mean like how Tesla’s have that comparatively big drop in the 1st year? Has anyone actually explained why it loses that much the 1st year and then really seems to taper off?

If anything with the 1st Gens going down quicker than most would want it would actually mean even the Leaf 2.0 has a greater % of range.

All cells loses capacity (range) during use. Some manufacturers limit the appearance of capacity loss by building in a large reserve like the Chevy Volt does–this takes many cycles until that reserve is used up before the loss of capacity becomes apparent.
Other factors can be the choice of cell chemistry and how well thermal management (or lack thereof) keeps the battery cells within a proper temperature range.
All of these factor into the total usable capacity of the vehicle.
My opinion of Tesla is that their NCA cells lose more capacity initially than NMC chemistry but this quickly tapers off. Tesla chooses not to have huge reserve capacity unless you have a software-limited 60 kWh pack, so the capacity loss is noticed earlier than other vehicles.
That being said, my personal experience with my 2014 MS 85 was:
– at delivery, greater than the 265 mile EPA range (272 miles)
– at 70K miles about a 9% decline from EPA range (240 miles)

“Tesla’s comparatively big drop in first year”? Ummm what? Data?

Did you mean a less than 8% drop after 5 years and 300,000 miles? That’s what the data shows.

Oh thanks, you have data. Please note state your source so we can look at the data.

Your example is one anecdotal case. It’s probably true, but it’s not hard to pick outliers for the LEAF as well. How about the taxi driver in the UK who had 300k miles using only DCFC on his first-gen LEAF? Is that “the data”?

Tesla fans that behave the way you do make me wonder if I must cancel my Model 3 reservation so I don’t risk people thinking I’m like you.

Terra, google could be your friend. Tesla’s battery packs averaged around less than 5% loss in the first 50K miles then another 5% loss in the next 100k miles and tapering much slower after that. Which is head and shoulders above what was happening to the original leafs.


FYI, my Leaf is just short of 5 years on the road, and is still showing all bars.

mines 5 years next month and i lost one bar but im in FL. Not too bad though. 40K miles.

Lou, individual experiences in the positive don’t really help those in the negative (like me). While I’m happy your Leaf hasn’t turned out to be utter garbage (like mine), I can’t channel your good experience into my Leaf.

But thanks anyway.

Bjorn just released the test.

New Leaf in summer:150 miles
New Leaf in winter:125 miles

It has the same range as the Ioniq.

The Ioniq has more range when driving normally in the US.

You got any proof on that ? The EPA range of Ioniq is 124 miles.

And whats ioniq range in the winter??

124 miles per Bjorn. He did the test last week.

Apparently, the Leaf’s aero sucks.

If you watch Bjorn’s test he was limited to only using a certain percentage of the range and making a calculation to come up with an estimation of range. He says he will do a more accurate test back in Norway when he is given a car for a few days instead of a few hours. He also had a massive head wind for part of the test and then it was a tail wind when he was doing the return journey. I didn’t see or hear Bjorn complain about the aero in his video’s.

Leaf gets only 100 mpge on the highway. Even the bolt got 110 mpge.

Watched Alex on auto review. He is estimating 3.6-3.8 miles/kWh. So about 130-136 miles.

Yelp up mountainous roads in alex auto, so thats outlier

Alex averaged 3 miles/kWh. He estimated 3.6-3.8 for the rest of us.

Dear Mr. Icahn,
Hats-off to your strategic vision and strong leadership at Nissan making the original Leaf a production reality rather than a marking concept promise… and now followed up with the improved production generation two Leaf. Please find a way for Leaf to gain access to a robust convenient & reliable supercharger network (for those occasional long distant trips) so Leaf will appeal to a wider consumer audience than EV early-adopter niche… the EV early-adopter phase is concluding within next 2 years so time is of essence for Nissan if it wishes to maintain its current EV early-move advantage.

Typo: “Dear Mr. Icahn” should read “Dear Mr. Ghosn”

Dear Mr Goshn,

Too bad you waited too long and let the Bolt beat you to the 200+ range race by 2 years.

Signed previous Leaf owner now Bolt owner.

Fair enough, but my guess is that the only company turning in a profit from selling EV’s is Nissan.

Chevy Bolt is now a local North American car, what a pitty because it’s a fine EV. But after GM sold Opel it became apparent it was losing 10000 Euro on each Bolt and that is too much and cannot be offset by the compliance benefits in Europe, and is enough in US? Whereas Leaf is sold even on markets where no compliance is necessary.
After restructuring its assets you cannot really count GM as a global car company, it left Europe, India and almost completely Russia, those are markets with 2 billion customers where you have no GM mainstream cars on offer.

Went to dealer here in ohio. The look nice but the msrp was 37k for the SV. To cold for a test drive 20f weather. I’ll call tomorrow.

If Tesla can dot USA, EU and China with superchargers, then Renault/Nissan can at least dot Britain, Ireland, Japan with superchargers and this will give a big boost to sales of Leaf, Zoe, etc.

Haha, not a chance.

The old-school car companies have always been used to the concept of ‘we provide the ride, someone else provides the juice’. And having lost the capacity to change, they stuck to that mantra.

The old-school car companies are also used to the concept of “We have to try to be profitable every quarter, instead of at some undefined point in the distant future.” They also aren’t selling $90k EVs with pre-paid charging access.

Bought the SV with tech package yesterday. It is a joy to drive over my previous 2015 I had leased. Full charge shows almost 200 miles with no interior items powered on. First run got almost 150 miles with aggressive driving. I suspect the only way to get 200 miles is staying under 60 mph in warmer weather.

The EPA range is 151 mile. What state are you in?

He is probably in the U.K.
I haven’t seen any reports of actual N.A customer deliveries yet here in the states. They may have already started, without any N.A. press coverage.

Yeah NEDC is 200 miles but totally unrealistic.

Here in NA the dealers getting them already. I went in yesterday in cleveland ohio to see one at the dealer

Value champ? Not compared to base Model3 if/when that becomes available. Closest leaf version including navigation and quick charging would be $32450 SV version. $2,500 for base Model 3 will buy you so much extra performance, range and style that I would not consider Leaf great value.

3 base is not yet and we dont know if it ever will come out. Still waiting for model S 40

“3 base is not yet and we dont know if it ever will come out. Still waiting for model S 40”

Really? The base Model 3 won’t be shipping in less than two months based on the Model S 40 when the market itself is proving Tesla’s demand claims related to the S 40. Why not just say there is no reason to believe Nissan will sell the new Leaf will sell either then? They haven’t updated the thing in years. The amount of BS spewed against this small American company is truly crazy.

Excuse me, i want the American company to succeed. The new leaf are already selling, there some in non carb states like Ohio. Tesla have been wasting money and looking backwards instead of moving forward. The model Y should have been the new car instead of 3 and Autopilot 1 should have been upgraded and updated instead of being thrown to the side and regressing

Good points. The truth is that one design will not fit all needs. There is truly a market for the Model 3 and one for a practical hatchback. As for the Model3 I want a manual volume control Mr. Musk!

The leaf just became available today to build on the Canadian website. Yeah!