Nissan LEAF 2021 – Review, Specs, Photos

Nissan is making a handful of driver-assistance features standard on the 2021 Leaf that were optional last year. Bundled together in the Safety Shield 360 suite of features, buyers will find automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high-beam headlamps, lane-departure warning, rear automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Last year’s standard 5.0- and 7.0-inch infotainment displays have mercifully been replaced with an 8.0-inch unit that also features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Pedestrians might also notice that the 2021 Leaf sings a new tune when it motors past at low speeds. All the necessary information about – 2021 Nissan LEAF read on.

New Nissan LEAF 2021

Nissan is expanding its line of electric vehicles with the 2021 Ariya concept, recently announced at the Tokyo auto show—and it could go on sale in the U.S. as soon as next year. The new SUV—which ultimately may receive a different name in production—will join the Leaf hatchback, which boasts up to 226 miles of driving range. Nissan hasn’t released all of the details on the Ariya, but the design of the compact crossover is a shift from the current sharp, angular lines seen on many of Nissan’s vehicles. The low, wide stance of the Ariya differentiates it from the Rogue and gives it a sportier look. The Ariya should build on what Nissan has created in the Leaf, and if Nissan delivers on the technology it has described, the Ariya will be an impressive electric vehicle that should be worth the wait. Nissan LEAF 2021 – see interior and exterior photos in the article.

Interior

The Ariya’s interior looks futuristic and minimal. Nissan appears to have forgone every button possible in pursuit of a smooth dashboard that favors a sleek look that matches the design of the exterior. For all the information that Nissan has held back in the announcement of the Ariya, it has given us the car’s dimensions. It’s four inches shorter in length and height in comparison with the Rogue, but is more than three inches wider. The Rogue performed admirably in our carry-on luggage test and held 22 carry-ons with the rear seats folded, but we anticipate the slightly shorter Ariya will offer less cargo space. New Nissan LEAF 2021 – see the photo on this page!

Exterior

Two years removed from its awkward beginnings, the 2021 Leaf is more normal and more stylish than before without going overboard. In fact, it’s only the charge port and “Zero Emissions” badge that are a dead giveaway that the Leaf is anything different than a regular hatchback. Starting from an average score of 5 the Leaf gets a point above average for its exterior. It’s a 6. The blacked-out portions of the Leaf are clever and complex, a nod to other vehicles in the Nissan stable that have nothing to do with electrification at all. The new design is more cluttered than the old, bug-like look—and infinitely better, too. In profile, the Leaf looks similar to the outgoing car but with a longer hood that could almost (almost) have an internal combustion engine beneath. The hood sports a deeply bending grille trim piece found on other Nissan vehicles, but on the Leaf it frames the charge door. The rear end gets some parting creases that complete the look, along with the “floating” roof pieces, a la Murano. Inside, the Leaf looks more conventional, but with an odd-looking mushroom shifter that we’d like to send back into the woods. The seating position is more upright in the Leaf than in other cars, which gives it more interior room than we expected. The dash and instrument cluster are more conventional this time around, which we like. The only demerit: In direct sunlight, the touchscreen washes out and some of the hard plastics look thin.

Colors

As the longtime “weird-looking” electric car from Nissan, the Leaf’s performance has been largely overlooked. This year, like last year, there are two different flavors for the Leaf and both are bright and relatively fun to drive owing to their all-electric powertrains. We rate the Leaf based on the Leaf Plus, which is more powerful and has the longer range of the two, and the most popular among buyers. It’s a 6 for performance. The Leaf Plus makes 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque from its electric motor that drives the front wheels only. Its range from a 62-kwh battery is 215 or 226 miles, depending on trim level and tire size, although that range is diminished by 10% or more in very cold weather.

Fuel economy

The second-generation Leaf, supposedly the world’s best-selling affordable, mass-production electric vehicle, went on sale early last year with more power, range and technology, all wrapped in a new exterior and interior design. The Leaf features an aerodynamic exterior, roomy high tech interior and advanced technologies, including ProPilot Assist and e-Pedal. It was followed this year with the Leaf Pus, a high-power version with increased motor power and battery capacity with a price premium. The “Plus” designation refers to the increased energy density of the model’s 62 kWh battery pack and the higher output of its powertrain. The new powertrain adds to the car’s range by approximately 50 per cent, with an NRCan range of up to 363 kilometres. The high-capacity battery, and more powerful 160 kW motor in the Leaf Plus combine to produce 214 horsepower — an increase of 45 per cent — and 250 lb-ft of torque. The standard Leaf offers a 40 kWh battery pack with an NRCan range of up to 243 km.

Horsepower

The Nissan Leaf is an all-electric hatchback that has a 147-horsepower electric motor and 150 miles of estimated driving range. There’s also the Leaf Plus that increases output to 214 hp and extends its range to 226 miles. The original Leaf debuted in 2011 and this second-generation model was fully redesigned in 2021. Since it’s only three years into its current generation, we don’t expect a refresh until next year. (Nissan tends to update styling and add significant features after four years.) That means if you’re considering a Nissan Leaf, you probably won’t be missing out on much by opting for the 2021 model. That said, if the refresh does indeed happen for 2022, it’s likely the Leaf will benefit from an increase in battery range. Since range is one of the most significant factors for any EV, you may want to check out the competition if you can’t wait.

Technical specifications

The standard 2021 Leaf models come with a 110-kW electric motor that pumps out 147 horsepower to the front wheels; a 40-kWh battery pack provides the power. Leaf Plus models come with a gutsier, 214-hp 160-kW electric motor and a larger 62-kWh battery. The former managed a 7.4-second zero-to-60-mph time at our test track, but it feels perkier than this number suggests thanks to the instantaneous power delivery of the electric motor. This result makes it quicker than the Volkswagen e-Golf, but slower than the Bolt EV, the BMW i3s, and the Model 3. Upgrading to the more powerful Plus models will no doubt result in quicker acceleration, but we won’t know until we are able to test them. The Leaf’s e-Pedal feature allows the driver to toggle back and forth between regenerative braking modes, one of which allows the car to coast when the driver lifts off the throttle and another that dramatically slows the car and uses that energy to recharge the battery.

Price

S: $40,000 (est.); SV: $42,000 (est.); SL: $45,000 (est.); Nissan hasn’t released pricing, but look for it to start around $40,000, putting it above the Leaf and other affordable EVs. The Leaf has three different trims and while it’s hard to say what the Ariya will offer, it’s fair to expect it to follow a similar product plan.

Safety

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have performed crash tests on the Ariya, but Nissan is bundling in plenty of driver-assistance features. The Ariya will feature ProPilot 2.0, Nissan’s second generation of the ProPilot semi-autonomous technology. The system allows drivers to remove their hands from the wheel in certain driving scenarios, but C/D staff hasn’t tested the setup. We liked the original ProPilot system when we used it in 2021—and if that’s any indication of how the ProPilot 2.0 will perform, our expectations are high. Key safety features include: Available automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection; Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist; Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode.

Motors

The drivetrain on the Ariya will be just one of the major points differentiating it from the Leaf. Instead of a simple, front-wheel-drive arrangement, the Ariya will pull from features developed in other cars, including the GT-R sports car’s torque-split system, and all-wheel drive will be provided by a dual front/rear electric motor configuration. We estimate that the Ariya will go from zero to 60 mph in less than 5.0 seconds, a feat that is similar to higher-end electric vehicles.

Configurations

The Nissan Leaf was the first mass-market electric vehicle to come to America when it debuted for the 2011 model year. It’s now in its second generation, which came out for 2021. Nissan has also enhanced the 2021 model with more standard driver-assistance features, more airbags, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. In base form, the 2021 Leaf is one of the more affordable EVs around. For the money, you get 150 miles of estimated range and a 147-horsepower electric motor. If you’re looking for an accessible EV for typical city commuting, it’s a solid choice. Alternatively, you can upgrade to the 214-hp Leaf Plus that has an estimated range of up to 226 miles. There are more choices for an electric vehicle than ever before. Topping the list is the Tesla Model 3. It’s more expensive than the Leaf, but it’s a lot more rewarding to drive and has an arguably higher prestige factor. We’re also partial to the Kia Niro EV and the Hyundai Kona Electric. These models have crossover SUV-like styling and more range than the Leaf. Overall, however, the pioneering Leaf still has a seat at the table and is certainly worth a look if you’re shopping for an affordable and well-equipped EV.

Review

The Nissan LEAF appears set to be a carryover for the 2021 model year. No major changes appear to be in store for buyers in terms of battery capacity. According to an early document for fleet buyers, the 2021 LEAF will continue to feature a choice between 40kWh and 60kWh batteries, although it’s worth noting that the 40kWh SL trim will no longer be offered. The current LEAF is rated at up to 226 miles of range with the 60kWh pack, although sticking with the 40kWh version drops that down to just 149 miles. While these figures are certainly better than previous versions of the LEAF, they pale in comparison to cars like the Tesla Model 3 and its range of up to 322 miles in the case of the Dual-Motor AWD Long Range model. Official pricing for the 2021 LEAF has not yet been announced. For reference, the current car starts at $32,525 and ranges up to nearly $45,000. That said, one of the LEAF’s major advantages is that it remains eligible for a full $7,500 federal tax credit plus state & local offers like the $2,000 California Clean Vehicle Rebate. Some of its direct competitors are not.

Release date

Speaking of the Leaf Plus, its cheapest form will cost $39,125, up $1,650 from the last model year. The SV Plus now costs $40,675, up $1,240, and the range-topping SL Plus rings in at $44,825, an increase of $1,350. Not much else changes for the Leaf across the board save for an updated pedestrian alert tone. The latest “Canto” tone is now onboard, which is Nissan’s corporate tone selected to meet “quiet-car regulations” swinging into effect. Translated from Latin, it means “I sing.” Nissan also made the car sing a Christmas carol this past holiday season to show the tone off. Weird, but kind of neat.

Video

The 2021 Nissan Leaf will house far more standard equipment than before, but shoppers will find a price increase for every single trim grade available. Nissan on Friday said the 2021 Leaf will start at $32,525 after a $925 destination charge. That’s $1,610 more than the 2021 model. However, even base cars will now get goods such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Previously, the Leaf S trim left them out and buyers needed to jump into a Leaf SV trim, which costs $35,115 — a $1,590 increase. There’s also an eight-inch touchscreen standard for infotainment actions, up from a seven-inch display, and Nissan’s suite of active safety systems is also now standard. As for passive safety, even more airbags are onboard to keep passengers safe.

Photos/Pictures Gallery

See photos of the interior and exterior Nissan LEAF 2021 on this site.




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