Consumer Reports Drives New 2018 Nissan LEAF

DEC 29 2017 BY MARK KANE 24

Consumer Reports will buy the next-generation Nissan LEAF to begin tests this winter, but prior to delivery, it checked out the new car earlier at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

2018 Nissan LEAF

First impressions from a short test drive are positive, with the new LEAF improved on all fronts.

Besides stronger specs (40 kWh battery and around 150 miles of EPA range, as well as the 110 kW electric motor) at $29,990 before incentives, CR noted:

  • silent, quick and smooth acceleration
  • e-Pedal for one-pedal driving (but you can turn it off if you don’t like)
  • more conventional cabin
  • power seat with adjustable lumbar support
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • bigger trunk
  • ProPilot Assist

Driving experience is significantly improved too:

“The new Leaf is firmer than the softly sprung outgoing model, though its suspension still effectively takes the edge off bumps and manhole covers. Handling has improved, with less body lean and more decisive turn-in response.”

Source: Consumer Reports

Categories: Nissan

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24 Comments on "Consumer Reports Drives New 2018 Nissan LEAF"

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Has the new Leaf been crash-tested yet? It seems important to know if they issues with the previous generation have been fixed.

What are those issues?

You are probably referring to the four star crash test safety rating for the front passenger.

Also, the the “Poor” rating from IIHS, in the small overlap crash test, is still in effect for the previous (pre 2018) Leaf 1.0.

No new NHTSA or IIHS rating as of yet, or any NADA rating forthcoming, at this point in time for the new 2018 Leaf.

This is an impressive update.
They really only need one more improvement, get rid of that Torque Tube rear suspension, and replace with a Real Rear Independent Suspension, especially in this price catagory.

But, even so, this is a very nice car, and a welcome update.
Has nearly all the features of the BMW i3, except for the REX option.

“Nearly” however doesn’t include telescoping steering on any Nissan Leaf, as of yet. The newer BMW i3 is still significantly better, as a true drivers car.

Here’s to hoping that Nissan brings telescoping steering, a simple to add feature, to the 60 kWh battery 200+mi. range 2019 Leaf.

You do know that there is a huge price difference between the i3 and the Leaf, right?

The Nissan/BMW EV divide is “Huge”. You are right to point to the MSRP cost premium of the BMW i3, and its particular challenging value proposition.

Leasing does close that “Huge” Leaf / i3 gap for some shoppers, who are savvy enough to do some careful discount research, and timing their transaction to specific dealer Lease incentives and specials.

For example: due to the current Leaf 1.0< 2.0 supply chain transition (lack of CA dealer Leaf inventory) , the BMW i3 REx, is actually Less Expensive and more readily available (choices) to Lease. This non typical situation will last at least for the next few weeks, or maybe a bit longer.

Not everything is as it seems, when it comes down to the age old "value proposition"!

At least for the 2017 BMW i3 Rex version, this situation is obviously unique, and won't last much into February or March as things currently stand.

Calling the i3 a “driver’s car” is a misnomer.

While I like the i3 purely because it is,an electric car, it is truly not a value nor a “driver’s car”- a term denoting a great handling, curve carver.

Some BMW fans deride me here for pointing out the obvious. Hey, if you pride yourself in owning something made by BMW, that’s great if it floats your boat. It’s just when you start justifying the price you paid by downing cars like LEAF, Ioniq EV or others that a certain brand snobbery surfaces.

i3 is expensive and not as practical as the 5 seat EVs like Bolt and LEAF. Do a Thomas Jefferson List weighing the pros and cons of available 150+ mile AER EVs and the i3 fares rather poorly in many regards. And most importantly, it’s a boxy little commuter, not sporty, or a sports car.

I did state my acknowledgement of the “challenging value proposition” in reference to the BMW i3.

You are absolutely correct, that the BMW MSRP is “expensive”. Just by the current Lease costs (discounts & specials/incentives), however skewed that they temporarily currently are, the BMW i3 REx is the actual lower cost daily driver.

For some, the i3 is a bit quicker, a little more agile around corners, and easier to park in many confined metro/urban/city settings. The Leaf doesn’t have those unique particular traits that some drivers, who like road feel, and responsive steering feedback enjoy.

Disclosure: I have over 25 months and 50 K miles in at least a few Nissan Leaves, in the last few years.

And yes my buddies, who are in their BMW i3s, they are charging up to 97+ % at the L3 fast charger all the time. All without no noticeable battery degradation, and they do smile as they go on by after their 30 min. QC Session. Just saying!

“All without no noticeable battery degradation”
All without ANY noticeable battery degradation

Is there a “hilltop mode” for charging?

Not sure if Nissan continued with their selectable option for the 80% capacity stop charging feature, which is in the previous upper two SV & SL trim levels.
The Leaf uses this (80%) stop charging mode, as more of a “extend battery life mode”, than a traditional or typical “hilltop mode”.

Charge to 80% was removed in the 2014 LEAF.

“Rated range rises to 84 miles

Most importantly to new buyers, the range of the 2014 Leaf is now listed as 84 miles, up from last year’s 76 miles

That number seems like a significant improvement, but in fact the only change made to the car is the elimination of a software option that let owners set battery charging to stop at 80 percent.

In other words, the 2014 car has exactly the same battery, drivetrain, and real-world range as the 2013–only its EPA range rating has changed.”

I’m still mad they completely removed that option. Just let people set an arbitrary charge level, like the Tesla, and the EPA can’t penalise that.

You are right, I didn’t even get a chance to check my 2016 SV carefully enough over the past 14K miles, I just thought I couldn’t navigate the slightly updated menu from my 2013 SV.

Darn It CARLOS, Where Are You!!!!⚡️?⚡️

I have a 2013 and love the 80% charge option. It let the regen braking work in the start of my trip. I wish maybe it had a 90% charge point also like I understand a Tesla does.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I think this version and the longer range version will be a silent hit in 2018.

Silent EV drive! I see what you did there. ?

I need to write Car And Driver and ask them to do a track test between BMW i3, Nissan LEAF 2.0, Ioniq EV, Golf EV, Focus EV and Tesla Model 3.

Lap times and varied track conditions would be very interesting also.

Since its been proven an ICE Suzuki hatch beat i3 around a road course by eight seconds, and cost $17,000
less, I would think an EV shootout most compelling.

The new LEAF in N. American trim (Euro and Japanese version is softer sprung) would benefit from wider tires and better turning on wet roads and snow. Ioniq may well outlap an i3 also. On dry pavement it may be close. A performance version of LEAF, as shown by the Sport or Nismo iterations could prove, once and for all that the i3 is what it is, a narrow-wheeled, lightweight commuter EV that allows BMW more of a chance to break even on each one built or even make a profit. The lightweighting allows them to place less battery pack inside than others to reach 120-145 miles range. Yet they charge $42-55,000 for the privelage to drive a BMW.

Naturally, the Model 3 woukd win the track day hands down.

*Correction: The FWD Suzuki hatch subcompact Autocar used to beat an EV i3 around a road course actually cost $23,000 less than the BMW at that time.

BMW is changing (slightly) the i3 tire size in case you wanted a little better stick’em for the next cornering exercise on the test course. Should be a little bit more of a chase, on the next go round.

There are things I have pointed out about the i3 that I like. It feels nimble in town and it is rear wheel drive – always preferable in terms of driving dynamics. I live in rain country so my confidence in the thin, tall wheels and tires of the i3 isn’t the best. Unlike other BMWs though, i3 has whole new reasons for being. BMW’s CEO spent a whole lot of airtime on a YouTube video explaining to the American press how the i cars were a response to tightening environmental laws in Europe and abroad. Thus, “compliance” in so many words. That word draws contempt from so many of us early adopters but it’s just a major part of the contemporary EV landscape. Fascinating also was BMW inviting the SAE and IIHS to Germany to inspect it’s i production facilities. They were very proud that the highly automated CFRP process cut out a whole lot of human workers, cutting costs. This was the main goal of producing an electric car. If they were going to be forced to build them, why not invent ways to still break even or possibly make a profit whilst not building a whole lot… Read more »

Average commuter cars, especially sub 200 mi. EVs, experience very few “track day”s. These are urban transportation devices. BMW has the i3 as their version of the Beemer EV “Appliance”!

Do you buy your cars for “track use”, we have speed limits where I live. Let’s be honest “track tests” are completely irrelevant even for sports car owner’s…maybe bragging rights…but what difference will that make in your daily life if your car can do Nurburbring in a 7.xx time?, or has a 250 top doped for that matter? Also you want to compare cars in different price/style segments…makes no sense. Have you ever seen a comparison test beetwen a BMW 3 series a Toyota Camry and a Nissan Versa?