2020 Nissan Leaf Plus review: More power, more range

Matthew N. Henry

The Nissan Leaf Plus is more quickly and will take you farther than the conventional design.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Assortment anxiousness in electric powered automobiles is a extremely serious issue. It can be akin to the fear of your telephone going useless, but in its place of not staying equipped to test Twitter for the most up-to-date warm can take, you’re stranded on the facet of the street — ideally with a charged telephone so you can summon a tow truck. In the Nissan Leaf’s scenario, an EPA-approximated driving vary of 149 miles just isn’t miniscule, but you know what would be improved to ease vary problems? A vary of 226 miles, which is the place the Leaf Plus will come in.


  • Easy and brief acceleration
  • Seamless regenerative and mechanical brake integration
  • Outstanding record of security technologies

Will not Like

  • A lot less driving vary than rivals
  • Light-weight, uncommunicative steering
  • Steeper base value than the opposition

Far better outfitted to compete

Contrary to 2011 when the first-generation Leaf went on sale, the EV landscape now is considerably different. The Nissan is no more time the only electric powered hatchback in town, with entries like the Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Kona Electric powered and Kia Niro EV now in showrooms. Each features perfectly in excess of two hundred miles of vary, leaving the base Leaf and its 40-kilowatt-hour battery pack considerably in the rearview mirror.

The Leaf Plus formally arrived last calendar year with a more substantial sixty two-kilowatt-hour battery. In the base S Plus trim, it returns the formerly described 226 miles of vary, but the improved-outfitted SV Plus and SL Plus products with much more choices that use up electricity acquire an formal score of 215 miles. Without question, those people quantities are a healthy advancement in excess of the conventional Leaf, but continue to lag guiding the ranges of the Chevy (259 miles), Hyundai (258 miles) and Kia (239 miles).

All over a week with an SL Plus tester, the 215-mile score appeared quickly within access. I in no way let the battery dip considerably below a thirty% charge mainly because of vary anxiousness but was easily on keep track of to include 215 miles of motoring working with the electron-sipping Eco mode. 

Activating the e-pedal system yields potent regenerative braking the second you elevate off the suitable pedal. The regen brakes are muscular more than enough to bring the Leaf Plus to a finish prevent for a 1-pedal driving knowledge. It can be mildly entertaining driving it this way and gratifying when you navigate by means of town devoid of touching the brake pedal. Staying smooth and timing your throttle inputs the right way pays off as you include much more ground and rarely see the battery charge gauge fall.

When you do deplete the Plus, juicing it up with a 240-volt, Degree 2 charger can take eleven.five several hours. A neat issue about the Plus is that the conventional charging cable handles both Degree 1 and Degree 2 charging. So, in its place of shelling out money putting in a Degree 2 charger at property, homeowners can basically have a 240-volt outlet to plug into. As for Degree 1 charging from a usual residence outlet, that can take north of thirty several hours.

If you live close to a one hundred-kW DC charger, you’ll be equipped to charge a drained Leaf Plus to 80% in forty five minutes.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

For those people who live close to a fifty-kW DC charger, the Leaf Plus can charge from to 80% in an hour. If you’re lucky more than enough to have obtain to a much less-typical one hundred-kW DC charger, that’ll slash charge time for a useless battery to 80% to forty five minutes.

More electricity

The other welcome advancement accompanying the Plus’ upsized battery is a electricity leap. The frequent Leaf is no slouch with 147 horsepower and 236 pound-ft of torque, but no person will protest an boost to 214 hp and 250 lb-ft. All that thrust is transmitted quickly to the entrance wheels by means of a one-velocity transmission obtaining the Leaf Plus to 60 mph in about 7 seconds, which is about a second more quickly than the conventional design. There are zero concerns obtaining up to velocity for expressway merging and passing maneuvers are a cinch. More than its -to-60 time, I am amazed with how swiftly the Leaf Plus accelerates from 40 to 70 mph and over and above. 

Straight-line slingshots are about the extent of the fun in the Leaf Plus from a general performance standpoint. Dependent on trim amount, the Plus is about 340 pounds heavier than the base Leaf, and that does not assistance dynamics. There is certainly some dive underneath braking and roll at convert in. The low-rolling-resistance seventeen-inch Michelin Power Saver A/S tires squawk in protest when you toss it into a corner and stability management intervenes suitable absent to get factors in buy.

A much more strong battery also indicates that the Leaf Plus is more quickly, with 214 horsepower and 250 pound-ft of torque.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Experience good quality is, nevertheless, buttoned up and relaxed on the fifty-collection sidewall tires. Impacts from more substantial bumps are continue to felt within the Leaf’s cabin. The handoff from regenerative to mechanical braking is seamless, with stopping pressure progressively raising as you press the pedal. The steering is gentle and devoid of any opinions, but which is good along with the much less-than-stellar cornering chops. The Leaf just isn’t intended to be a sports activities auto. 

A Leaf within and out

If you’re expecting the Leaf Plus to search considerably different from the conventional Leaf, then you’re going to be disappointed. In addition to an added blue accent strip on the entrance fascia and the Plus badge on the hatch beneath the trim amount designation, it appears like every single other Leaf. And which is not an fully lousy issue. The Leaf wears a reasonably aggressive experience with Nissan’s signature V-motion grille, subtle facet character strains and five-spoke wheels with a contrasting silver experience and gray insets.

Within, you can find practically nothing to generate property about, possibly. It attributes the Leaf’s significant seating position, blue accent stitching listed here and there and loads of tricky plastic building up the whole sprint and portions of the door panels. Fortuitously, the plastics are properly concluded, and strategic places are wrapped in vinyl and padded, this kind of as the armrests, the center of the door panels and the facet of the middle console, the place you may well relaxation your knees. 

Jon Wong/Roadshow

House in the Nissan’s entrance- and second-row seats is serviceable for most older people and there are more than enough cubbies to stash merchandise through the cabin. The Leaf can also shift pretty a bit of cargo, with 23.6 cubic ft on present guiding the rear seats, which grows to thirty cubic ft with the second row folded forward.

Quarterbacking infotainment in the Leaf is the NissanConnect system with an eight-inch touchscreen that does not have the most lively graphics. It can be a characteristic-abundant system with a wonderful Bose audio setup, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile. In the SL Plus, it also has onboard navigation, which frequently can take a small bit of time to determine routes.

NissanConnect’s graphics are on the lookout dated.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

On the active security technologies entrance, all Leaf products appear conventional with forward-collision warning with automatic unexpected emergency braking, blind-location checking, lane-departure warning and rear cross-traffic notify with rear automatic braking. On my SL Plus exam auto, Nissan’s ProPilot driver guidance tech is also incorporated, working with adaptive cruise management and lane-preserve help for partly automated, hands-on-the-wheel motoring that performs unbelievably perfectly in traffic.

How I might spec it 

I always test to preserve my builds as budget-aware as doable, but with the Leaf Plus, I have to spring for the SL trim. Optioning the midgrade SV will have me including a couple of choice packages to get need to-haves like heated seats and LED headlights, bumping the value tag to close to-SL degrees. Splurging on the vary-topping design expenses $44,825, like $925 for vacation spot. Tack on the $695 two-tone black and white paint position like on the auto pictured listed here and $195 flooring and cargo mats, and that delivers the bottom line of my suitable auto to $forty five,715. Sadly, which is not considerably much more economical than this $46,045 tester.

With all the bells and whistles and a couple of choices, this SL Plus exam auto punches in at a hair in excess of $46,000.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

A improved Leaf, but not the benchmark

The 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus will set you back again $39,125 to begin, which is much more than the $37,890 Chevy Bolt and $38,365 Hyundai Kona Electric powered, but much more economical than the $40,210 Kia Niro EV. All a few of the Leaf’s rivals present a more substantial dose of type, are much more partaking to travel and, most importantly, present more time driving ranges.

What the Leaf has functioning in its favor is a sizable record of conventional and accessible security tech attributes, and the point that it is the very best-advertising EV to day has surely made some Nissan loyalists. But to any person new to the EV earth with no past allegiance to brand name or design, the Leaf Plus most likely just isn’t the very best choice in the economical EV hatchback section.

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