2020 Nissan Leaf Plus evaluate: Extra energy, extra vary

2020 Nissan Leaf Plus Evaluate: Extra Energy, Extra Vary

The Nissan Leaf Plus is faster and can take you farther than the usual mannequin.

2020 Nissan Leaf Plus Evaluate: Extra Energy, Extra Vary

Jon Wong/Roadshow

2020 Nissan Leaf Plus Evaluate: Extra Energy, Extra Vary

Vary nervousness in electrical automobiles is a really actual factor. It is akin to the concern of your cellphone going useless, however as an alternative of not having the ability to verify Twitter for the newest sizzling takes, you are stranded on the aspect of the street — hopefully with a charged cellphone so you’ll be able to summon a tow truck. Within the Nissan Leaf’s case, an EPA-estimated driving vary of 149 miles is not miniscule, however you recognize what can be higher to alleviate vary worries? A variety of 226 miles, which is the place the Leaf Plus is available in.

2020 Nissan Leaf Plus Evaluate: Extra Energy, Extra Vary

LikeSmooth and fast accelerationSeamless regenerative and mechanical brake integrationImpressive listing of security expertise

2020 Nissan Leaf Plus Evaluate: Extra Energy, Extra Vary

Do not LikeLess driving vary than competitorsLight, uncommunicative steeringSteeper base worth than the opposition

2020 Nissan Leaf Plus Evaluate: Extra Energy, Extra Vary

Higher geared up to compete

2020 Nissan Leaf Plus Evaluate: Extra Energy, Extra Vary

Not like 2011 when the first-generation Leaf went on sale, the EV panorama right this moment is far completely different. The Nissan is now not the one electrical hatchback on the town, with entries just like the Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Kona Electrical and Kia Niro EV now in showrooms. Every boasts nicely over 200 miles of vary, leaving the bottom Leaf and its 40-kilowatt-hour battery pack far within the rearview mirror.

The Leaf Plus formally arrived final yr with a much bigger 62-kilowatt-hour battery. Within the base S Plus trim, it returns the beforehand talked about 226 miles of vary, however the better-equipped SV Plus and SL Plus fashions with extra choices that deplete energy obtain an official score of 215 miles. With out query, these numbers are a wholesome enchancment over the usual Leaf, however nonetheless lag behind the ranges of the Chevy (259 miles), Hyundai (258 miles) and Kia (239 miles).

2020 Nissan Leaf Plus: Going farther and faster than earlier than

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All through every week with an SL Plus tester, the 215-mile score appeared simply inside attain. I by no means let the battery dip a lot under a 30% cost due to vary nervousness however was comfortably on observe to cowl 215 miles of motoring utilizing the electron-sipping Eco mode. 

Activating the e-pedal system yields sturdy regenerative braking the second you carry off the suitable pedal. The regen brakes are muscular sufficient to convey the Leaf Plus to an entire cease for a one-pedal driving expertise. It is mildly entertaining driving it this fashion and satisfying whenever you navigate by city with out touching the brake pedal. Being easy and timing your throttle inputs accurately pays off as you cowl extra floor and hardly see the battery cost gauge drop.

While you do deplete the Plus, juicing it up with a 240-volt, Stage 2 charger takes 11.5 hours. A neat factor in regards to the Plus is that the usual charging cable handles each Stage 1 and Stage 2 charging. So, as an alternative of spending cash putting in a Stage 2 charger at dwelling, house owners can merely have a 240-volt outlet to plug into. As for Stage 1 charging from a standard family outlet, that takes north of 30 hours.

In case you reside close to a 100-kW DC charger, you can cost a drained Leaf Plus to 80% in 45 minutes.

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For individuals who reside close to a 50-kW DC charger, the Leaf Plus can cost from Zero to 80% in an hour. In case you’re lucky sufficient to have entry to a less-common 100-kW DC charger, that’ll reduce cost time for a useless battery to 80% to 45 minutes.

Extra energy

The opposite welcome enchancment accompanying the Plus’ upsized battery is an influence leap. The common Leaf is not any slouch with 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, however no one will protest a rise to 214 hp and 250 lb-ft. All that thrust is transmitted instantly to the entrance wheels by a single-speed transmission getting the Leaf Plus to 60 mph in about 7 seconds, which is roughly a second faster than the usual mannequin. There are zero points getting up to the mark for expressway merging and passing maneuvers are a cinch. Greater than its Zero-to-60 time, I am impressed with how quickly the Leaf Plus accelerates from 40 to 70 mph and past. 

Straight-line slingshots are in regards to the extent of the enjoyable within the Leaf Plus from a efficiency standpoint. Relying on trim stage, the Plus is about 340 kilos heavier than the bottom Leaf, and that does not assist dynamics. There’s some dive underneath braking and roll at flip in. The low-rolling-resistance 17-inch Michelin Power Saver A/S tires squawk in protest whenever you throw it right into a nook and stability management intervenes immediately to get issues so as.

A extra highly effective battery additionally signifies that the Leaf Plus is faster, with 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Journey high quality is, nevertheless, buttoned up and comfy on the 50-series sidewall tires. Impacts from greater bumps are nonetheless felt contained in the Leaf’s cabin. The handoff from regenerative to mechanical braking is seamless, with stopping drive progressively growing as you press the pedal. The steering is gentle and devoid of any suggestions, however that is high quality together with the less-than-stellar cornering chops. The Leaf is not presupposed to be a sports activities automotive. 

A Leaf in and out

In case you’re anticipating the Leaf Plus to look a lot completely different from the usual Leaf, then you are going to be dissatisfied. In addition to an extra blue accent strip on the entrance fascia and the Plus badge on the hatch beneath the trim stage designation, it seems to be like each different Leaf. And that is not a completely dangerous factor. The Leaf wears a reasonably aggressive face with Nissan’s signature V-motion grille, refined aspect character traces and five-spoke wheels with a contrasting silver face and grey insets.

Inside, there’s nothing to jot down dwelling about, both. It options the Leaf’s excessive seating place, blue accent stitching right here and there and loads of arduous plastic making up the entire sprint and parts of the door panels. Happily, the plastics are properly completed, and strategic spots are wrapped in vinyl and padded, such because the armrests, the center of the door panels and the aspect of the middle console, the place you would possibly relaxation your knees. 

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House within the Nissan’s front- and second-row seats is serviceable for many adults and there are sufficient cubbies to stash gadgets all through the cabin. The Leaf may transfer fairly a little bit of cargo, with 23.6 cubic toes on provide behind the rear seats, which grows to 30 cubic toes with the second row folded ahead.

Quarterbacking infotainment within the Leaf is the NissanConnect system with an Eight-inch touchscreen that does not have essentially the most vibrant graphics. It is a feature-rich system with a pleasant Bose audio setup, satellite tv for pc radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Within the SL Plus, it additionally has onboard navigation, which regularly takes somewhat little bit of time to calculate routes.

NissanConnect’s graphics are trying dated.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

On the energetic security expertise entrance, all Leaf fashions come customary with forward-collision warning with computerized emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and rear cross-traffic alert with rear computerized braking. On my SL Plus take a look at automotive, Nissan’s ProPilot driver help tech can also be included, utilizing adaptive cruise management and lane-keep help for partially automated, hands-on-the-wheel motoring that works extremely nicely in visitors.

How I might spec it 

I all the time attempt to hold my builds as budget-conscious as attainable, however with the Leaf Plus, I’ve to spring for the SL trim. Optioning the midgrade SV can have me including a few choice packages to get must-haves like heated seats and LED headlights, bumping the worth tag to near-SL ranges. Splurging on the range-topping mannequin prices $44,825, together with $925 for vacation spot. Tack on the $695 two-tone black and white paint job like on the automotive pictured right here and $195 ground and cargo mats, and that brings the underside line of my supreme automotive to $45,715. Sadly, that is not far more inexpensive than this $46,Zero45 tester.

With all of the bells and whistles and a few choices, this SL Plus take a look at automobile punches in at a hair over $46,000.

Jon Wong/Roadshow
A greater Leaf, however not the benchmark

The 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus will set you again $39,125 to start out, which is greater than the $37,890 Chevy Bolt and $38,365 Hyundai Kona Electrical, however extra inexpensive than the $40,210 Kia Niro EV. All three of the Leaf’s rivals provide a much bigger dose of fashion, are extra partaking to drive and, most significantly, provide longer driving ranges.

What the Leaf has working in its favor is a large listing of ordinary and accessible security tech options, and the truth that it is the best-selling EV up to now has certainly created some Nissan loyalists. However to anybody new to the EV world with no earlier allegiance to model or mannequin, the Leaf Plus probably is not the best choice within the inexpensive EV hatchback section.

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