The 2021 Nissan Leaf remains the best for affordability and safety among electric vehicles

In the world of affordable electric vehicles, the Nissan Leaf NSANY, + 1.10% is a successful pioneer, with more than 500,000 sales worldwide since its launch a decade ago. Now in its second generation, the Leaf has progressed with an available longer-range battery as well as more safety and convenience features, but the Leaf 2021 is no longer alone in the entry-level EV segment, with the advent of new highly competitive models. rivals such as Hyundai HYMTF, + 1.47% Kona Electric, Kia 000270, + 1.00% Niro EV and Chevrolet Bolt.

To its credit, the base Leaf is still significantly cheaper than the competition, at $ 32,545 (including a $ 925 destination charge). Unfortunately, the 2021 Leaf S and SV models equipped with a 40 kWh battery pack have a range of just 149 miles, well below EV rivals that boast a range of more than 250 miles. More: The 10 Most Affordable Electric Cars on the Market To move to a longer-range battery with the Leaf, buyers should opt for the Leaf Plus trim levels, which have a 62 kWh battery and a potential range of 226 miles. as tested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The least expensive Leaf Plus model starts at $ 39,170. We’re still fans of the Leaf’s extensive set of safety features and the ability to manage battery charge remotely. In terms of practicality, the Leaf is a spacious vehicle, with seating for five and the cargo-carrying flexibility of its tailgate design. Heading into 2021, the Leaf maintains its place as an attractive offering among lower-priced EVs, but faces some serious and compelling competition. No changes for 2021. The Leaf continues to offer two front-wheel drive electric powertrains. The Leaf S and SV models come with a 110 kW motor and a 40 kWh battery, offering an EPA-rated range of 149 miles. The 160 kW engine and 62 kWh battery powertrain power the S Plus, SV Plus and SL Plus models, which can travel up to 226 miles on one charge.

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The Nissan Leaf Nissan

Inside, the Leaf’s comfortable five-passenger cabin has a 60/40 split rear seat, making up to 30 cubic feet of storage available with the seat folded down. Plus models come standard with Nissan’s ProPilot Assist system, which offers semi-autonomous driving functions, including braking and steering assist. Don’t Miss: The 12 Best New Cars of the Year A Nissan app allows Leaf owners to remotely control and monitor the vehicle’s charge and precondition the car with hot or cold air while still connected to a charger. As for battery charging, the Leaf can be charged up to 80% in 40-45 minutes at a public charging network station and at the vehicle’s fast charging port. If not, it’s about using the vehicle’s portable charging cord to charge from a 120-volt or preferably 240-volt outlet. The latter will take about seven hours, while a 120-volt connection will take much longer. What we like Cheerful performance of the Plus models Impressive safety equipment Spacious and practical cabin What we do not have Poor range in the base model How much? $ 32,545 to $ 44,845 (includes $ 925 destination charge) Fuel Economy EPA uses a different formula, MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) to calculate fuel economy for electric vehicles. As such, the Leaf registers a rating of 123 MPGe in the city, 99 MPGe on the highway, and 111 MPGe combined. The Leaf Plus has 118 MPGe city / 97 MPGe highway / 108 MPGe combined. Standard Features and Options The 2021 Leaf comes with a choice of two powertrains and five trim levels. Starting with the base 40 kWh Leaf battery, there are two versions, S and SV. The 62 kWh Leaf Plus has three trim levels, S Plus, SV Plus and SL Plus. The Leaf S ($ 32,545) has an impressive list of standard equipment that includes front and rear disc brakes, electronic pedal mode, hill start assist, power mirrors, cruise control, push button start, six airbags, an 8-inch screen, automatic climate control and emergency braking system. Safety features also include Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Lane Keeping Assist. There is an optional charging package with a 50 kW fast charge port and a 240 volt charging cable. To the S content, the SV ($ 35,835) adds standard 17-inch alloy wheels, a quick-charge port, heated front seats, heated mirrors, and an upgraded sound system. Several options on the SV include Nissan ProPilot Assist, which adds semi-autonomous driver aids, an 8-way power driver’s seat, LED headlights, and an electronic parking brake. Moving up to the Leaf Plus, the S model ($ 39,145) packs the 62 kWh battery with a 226-mile range, along with a 100 kW fast-charge port. The SV Plus ($ 41,395) adopts the content of the regular SV, with the addition of the larger 62 kWh battery. At the top of the hill is the SL Plus ($ 44,845), which adds standard LED headlights, an intelligent perimeter vision monitor, leather seats, and a ProPilot Assist driver assistance system. Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The vehicle also comes with a full suite of safety systems and driver assistance technologies. Some of the more advanced semi-autonomous driving aids are available in higher trim levels. Behind the wheel For its size, EVs are heavy due to their batteries and, like some of its rivals, the Leaf feels a bit awkward to drive. Compared to similarly sized conventional motor vehicles, the Leaf’s handling is less responsive on winding roads. On the other hand, the Leaf, especially in the Plus version, provides the agile quality of acceleration that most EVs are known for. You Might Like It: Best 3-Row SUVs Under $ 40k in 2021 Another special aspect of the Leaf’s driving experience is its e-Pedal feature, which makes it possible to monitor the car’s progress just by using the accelerator pedal. The driver can select different regenerative braking modes so that lifting the throttle causes the car to slip or slow down as braking energy is used to recharge the battery. As a pioneer in the electric vehicle market, Nissan has earned considerable credibility with the Leaf. It may not be the best in terms of battery life, but in most other respects it deserves some serious consideration.Other Cars to Consider 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric – We like the Kona Electric for its distinctive looks, good range, qualities driving performance and excellent warranty. 2021 Chevrolet Bolt – The Bolt is fast, a lot of fun to drive, and goes further than the Leaf Plus on a charge, making it a worthy candidate for an electric vehicle. 2021 Kia Niro EV – Slightly less impressive than its corporate cousin, the Hyundai Kona Electric, the Kia EV has plenty of safety features and a long warranty. Used Tesla Model 3: Excellent performance, handling and long battery life make a used version of this Tesla stand out among electric vehicles. But Tesla’s reputation for TSLA quality, -3.46% is questionable compared to major automakers. Read: Here are all your EV options, and which have the best safety features. Tip from Autotrader We would definitely go for the Leaf Plus over the standard version for the extra battery range. That said, the Leaf S Plus’s trim level makes the most sense for buyers looking to balance range and cost. This story was originally published on Autotrader.com.