Long-Term Review

2018 Nissan Leaf Ownership: Long-Term Wrap-Up

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author photo by Eric Brandt August 2018

When the all-new 2018 Nissan Leaf was first unveiled, we had high hopes for the second-generation of the first mass-market electric car. With updated styling, a longer electric range and new technology, the new Leaf appeared to be a promising entry in the slowly-growing EV segment. So, did it live up to the hype?

Our tester was a well-appointed SL model which sits above the base S and mid-range SV as the nicest and most expensive Leaf. It also included the optional Technology Package ($650), which added the ProPILOT Assist suite of semi-autonomous features, automatic emergency braking and intelligent lane intervention. Other options in our Leaf were splash guards ($190), carpeted floor and cargo area mats ($190) and premium paint ($395) which we thought was well worth it for the lovely Scarlett Ember exterior color. The grand total MSRP for our tester before any state, local or federal EV incentives was $38,510.

For reference, a base Leaf S starts at just $29,990, the SV adds features like aluminum-alloy wheels, navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and intelligent cruise control and starts at $32,490, and an SL includes everything in the SV along with leather seats, a portable charge cable, LED headlights, Bose premium audio and a 360-degree camera, and can be purchased for $36,200. Again, all of these prices are before incentives.

In the five months that our editorial staff drove the 2018 Nissan Leaf, we were pleased to find out that the updates for the second-gen Leaf are more than skin deep. The first-generation car was never much of a looker, but the new model looks more refined and a bit more like a normal car. That continues in the upgraded interior with a more premium feel overall and more comfortable seats than the previous model, especially the leather seats which were heated in front in our tester.

However, there were a few annoyances we found in the interior. For instance, our editor Dwight noticed that it's a bit more of a hassle than it is in most cars to use Apple CarPlay. It's great that the feature is there alongside Android Auto, but it just didn't work as smoothly as it does in some competitors. On top of that, our other editor Ben had some trouble with the SiriusXM satellite radio displaying the wrong channel information.

That being said, there's a lot of technology we like in the Leaf. The new e-Pedal takes a little getting used to, but we found it to be useful, especially in city driving. Nissan's e-Pedal enables 1-pedal driving where the car uses both its regenerative braking and regular brakes to slow down the car without having to depress the brake pedal. This can recapture some extra electric range on top of the car's respectable 151-mile range on a full charge. We found the e-Pedal to be better suited to driving in stop-and-go traffic than on the highway.

In terms of usefulness, the 2018 Leaf is a lot more usable than its predecessor with its improved range, but our intern Ally encountered some of the disadvantages that are still inherent with electric cars. Ally's living situation doesn't give her the luxury of a parking space she can use all the time with access to an electrical outlet. That means she ran into some range anxiety when she wasn't able to keep the car plugged in overnight. Despite that inconvenience, Ally liked the peppy performance, smooth ride and environmental friendliness of the Nissan Leaf.

Ever since it was introduced, the Leaf has been a value proposition in electric cars. For the 2018 model, that value is stronger than ever. It has an affordable starting price of around $30,000 with destination charges and before incentives and a range that's enough for most drivers. Despite a few disappointments, the 2018 Nissan Leaf is one of the best values in electric cars.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Nissan Leaf Ownership: Long-Term Wrap-Up - Autotrader