Car Review: Nissan packs more power, extended range in Leaf Plus

It wasn’t long ago that choosing an electric car meant something odd and bare-bones with a short range. But Nissan’s second generation Leaf fixes a lot of the common complaints about electric cars.

The vehicle certainly solves a lot of the range-anxiety, with up to 225 miles per charge. This is a big step in the right direction and turns the Leaf into more than just a commuter car. The 100kW quick-charge port makes for some fast charging. But I can’t say the charging network is always easy to use or get working properly. There was plenty of pep from the electric motor with an instant 214hp, if you choose the Leaf Plus model.

When Nissan redesigned the vehicle two years ago, it lost some of the quirky style it had before. Gone are the bug-eye headlights, and now the style is more in line with other Nissan sedans. The back-end still has some of that original flair, with taillights that pay some homage to the old design.

The usefulness of the five-door hatch layout can’t be denied. This small car packs good space for those upfront and those riding in the back. Even the cargo area is generous for the car’s size, but the rear seats didn’t seem to fold flat.

The Nissan Leaf SV Plus came nicely loaded, including a NAV with 8″ color touch display. There is also a lot of technology for the driver. I am a fan of the ProPilot Assist, and the Intelligent Cruise Control makes dealing with traffic easier.

Cost: $39,750; as tested $42,670
MPG: 114 MPGe City; 94 MPGe Highway. I managed 106.2 MPGe in 289 miles of mixed driving.
Options: $200 splash guards; $195 floor mats, trunk mat; $1,600 SV Plus technology package
Safety: Electronic brake force distribution and assist; intelligent cruise control; automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection; intelligent forward collision warning; rear automatic braking; blind spot warning; rear cross traffic alert; lane departure warning; intelligent engine braking; ProPILOT Assist, steering assist & intelligent cruise control with full range hold; high beam assist; safety shield 360
Things to know: The Nissan Leaf SV Plus comes with a bigger battery and more power to better compete in the electric car market.

Pros:

  • Loaded with safety and in-car technology with the Nissan Leaf SV Plus
  • Leaf Plus models come with extended range compared to normal Leaf models
  • Quick acceleration from the bigger motor models

Cons:

  • Styling is more generic than the first generation Leaf
  • Quick-charging network still leaves much to be desired
  • The back seat bottom is a bit stiff

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