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Review: 2017 Nissan Leaf: More Of The Same, For Now

The 2017 Nissan Leaf represents the seventh model year of this venerable electric car. Over time, it has become the world’s best selling full-electric car capable of highway travel, selling over 238,000 since it was released in 2010. This 2017 Nissan Leaf review will look at the latest model Leaf, where it stands in today’s competitive electric vehicle market, and how it will evolve in the near future.

Key Specifications

  • Make: Nissan
  • Model: Leaf 2017
  • First available: January 2010
  • Next Upgrade: January 2017
  • Electric/Hybrid: Electric
  • Seats: 5
  • Range: 107 miles
  • Price: $30,680
    Price: £22'230

Range & Battery

  • Battery options

    30 kWh 360 V lithium-ion

  • Charge time

    The 30 kWh battery can be quick-charged to 80 percent (from the low battery charge warning) in about 30 minutes. Charging on a home charging system (Level 2, 240V) is estimated to take about six hours with the 6.6 kW onboard charger.

Innovation & Self-driving

  • Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Start
  • Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System
  • Nissan VTRS (Vehicle Tracking and Recovery System) – $500
    (VTRS requires owner registration, a constant 12-volt source, and cellular and GPS satellite availability to function properly)

 

SAFETY

  • Nissan Advanced Air Bag System

  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)

  • Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)

  • Traction Control System (TCS)

  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Designed For Value, Not For Style

The 2017 Nissan Leaf is built on the same 5-door hatchback platform as the original, so all 2011-2017 Leafs look pretty much alike. Nissan planned the Leaf to be a practical vehicle for all-around use, and this form factor achieves that. The 2017 Leaf is made in three different trim levels: S, SV, and SL. As the least expensive reasonably-sized full-electric vehicle available in the US, with availability in all 50 states and a large network of Nissan dealers, the Leaf has become an established player in the electric car market.

Evolutionary, Not Revolutionary Electric Power

The 2017 Nissan Leaf builds on its previous history as a competent electric vehicle. An improved 30 kWh battery is now standard on all models. It comes with an 8-year, 100,000 mile limited warranty that also covers loss of battery capacity below nine bars for the full warranty period. Range on a full charge is estimated by the EPA at 107 miles. From the low-battery warning level, it can be quick-charged to 80% in 30 minutes. On a Level 2 240V home charging system, charging time is estimated at around six hours with the 6.6 kW onboard quick charger (which is an option on the S, but standard on SV and SL).

All models of the 2017 Leaf come with an 80 kW electric motor with an output of 107 hp and 187 lb.-ft. of torque, driving through the front wheels.

The Connectivity That An EV Needs

The Leaf’s SV and SL trims have the NissanConnect with Navigation EV information system. This lets you locate public charging stations, schedule money-saving off-peak charging sessions, or precondition the interior temperature. The NissanConnect EV smartphone app lets you perform many of these tasks remotely, and also monitor your charge and range status. Onboard Wi-Fi is not available in the 2017 Leaf.

Driving The Leaf

The 2017 Nissan Leaf is peppy around town, thanks to its instant electric torque from a standing start. Zero to sixty mph takes 10.2 seconds. Handling is stable and sure-footed, due to the battery pack’s placement low in the chassis. Overall, the Leaf is a fun car to drive.

New, Tough Competition Is Here

The 2017 Nissan Leaf is a competent full-electric vehicle with a long track record. But it is already up against the now-available Chevrolet Bolt, GM’s latest electric entry, boasting 238 miles of range at around the same price. The Tesla Model 3 will also compete at a similar price point and offer 200+ miles of range when it starts production. Others will follow. Nissan will need to boost the Leaf’s range to be competitive.

Turning Over A New Leaf –Soon

A new model of the Leaf is rumoured to be coming in a year or so. Nissan has announced that the next generation of the Leaf will share its platform with the Renault Zoe and a Mitsubishi version as well. Key components like the motor, the inverter and the battery will also be common to the three models. It is hoped that the cost savings that result from these commonalities will allow a 20% price reduction, placing the Leaf on par with gasoline-powered cars in terms of price. If such cost savings can be realized while also improving the range to over 200 miles, the Leaf may retain its crown as the electric vehicle sales leader.

Please read our 2018 Nissan LEAF review and our other  published Electric Car reviews

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