Euro-Spec Nissan LEAF
The majority of the changes are subtle, but Nissan insists that over 100 tweaks have been applied to the 2013 Euro-spec LEAF.
Dark Interior a Welcome Addition for Messy Families
With European production set to commence in Spring, Nissan updated the Euro-spec LEAF with a host of changes and even tailored portions of the vehicle to please European drivers.
Most of these modifications are identical to the US' 2013 LEAF, including a tweaked powertrain, slight boost in range, revamped heating system, new color choices and a repositioned on-board charger. So, for info on all those changes, refer to this detailed post of ours from two months back.
It's worth noting that Nissan claims the Euro-spec LEAF's range jumped from the previous rating of 175 km (109 miles) to 200 km (124 miles) in the updated version. We're not buying that. Real-world range may have improved slightly, but not by leaps and bounds as Nissan claims.
Charge Port Light Added
Specific changes for the Euro-spec LEAF are in the ride and handling department. Europeans typically favor a firmer suspension, so Nissan did exactly that. The Euro-spec LEAF features firmer dampers for improved handling. A firmed-up suspension would be a welcome addition to some US buyers, but Nissan says these modifications are Euro-specific.
"Principal changes have been to damper settings to reduce float and deliver a more agile and dynamic drive without adversely affecting ride comfort. The steering system has been given more weight to provide steering feel more in tune with European tastes while the performance of the brakes has been improved to make them more progressive in use, while also increasing the amount of energy recovered."
In Europe, production will start shortly (sometime in Spring) in Sunderland in the UK, where the LEAF will share the assembly line with the Nissan Qashqai. The high-tech lithium-ion batteries are already in production at a nearby facility on the Sunderland site.
Paul Willcox, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Nissan Europe, commented:
"By sourcing Nissan LEAF and its batteries in Europe, we are underlining our faith not just in the ability of the Sunderland facility to build our most technically advanced car, but also in the fact that electric vehicles can be considered a genuine alternative to conventionally powered vehicles."
Instead of S, SV and SL trims, Europeans will see some wacky names in the LEAF lineup. In order from cheapest to most decked-out are Visia, Acenta and Tekna. This format is used on most all Nissan vehicles offered in Europe.
Finally, it's reported that pricing on Euro LEAFs have remained stable, but that the base Visia version will cost some $2,000 less than the mid-level Acenta, which works out to a after-incentive price of 23,990 euros ($31,350 US) in France for the stripped-down Visia.