An EV With Mass Appeal. While the majority of automakers are focusing on high-end electric cars, the Nissan Leaf originally came out in 2011 as an affordable EV for everyone. Roughly 11 years later, that’s still the Leaf’s main goal.

The base Leaf S 40 kWh starts at $28,425 (with destination), while the range-topping SL Plus with the 62 kWh battery pack costs $38,425. The Leaf is also eligible for the full amount of the $7,500 federal tax credit, making it even more affordable.

Against its main competitors, the Leaf is one of the more affordable options on the market. The Chevrolet Bolt EV costs $32,395, Tesla Model 3 starts at $48,190, Kia EV6 costs $42,115, Hyundai IONIQ 5 is priced at $45,245, and VW ID.4 costs $42,425.

Roomy Hatchback Design. For some, the Leaf’s conservative design will be a positive over the more futuristic electric cars on sale. Because of the Leaf’s conventional design, the EV has a roomy cabin.

There’s plenty of space on the inside for four people. While the Leaf has five seats, the middle seat in the rear row is virtually unusable because of the battery pack in the floor. The Leaf has 37.3 inches of rear headroom and 33.5 inches of rear legroom. That’s plenty of space for adults.

Cargo capacity is another one of the Leaf’s strengths. The hatchback offers 26.3 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 30 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. While there’s plenty of space in the cargo area, the electric car’s rear seats don’t fold completely flat.

Intuitive Tech Features. Every Leaf comes with an eight-inch touchscreen with a simple menu system and straightforward controls. Compared to the massive vertically-oriented screens on some EVs, the infotainment system in the Leaf isn’t as stylish, but it’s far easier to use – it doesn’t require a manual to comprehend.

Like other EVs, the Leaf is available with a high-tech driver-assist feature that makes long treks on the highway easier. Nissan’s ProPilot Assist system is optional starting on the SV trim with the $1,490 Tech package. ProPilot Assist combines adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assist and lane departure technology to handle a lot of driving tasks on the highway.

While it’s not as advanced as Tesla’s system or Ford’s hands-free Blue Cruise, Nissan’s ProPilot Assist is easy to use and more than capable enough.

Lackluster Range. While most electric cars are getting close to the 300-mile mark for range, the Leaf is well behind the pack. The standard 40-kWh battery pack has a range of 149 miles, while the available 62-kWh pack brings a range of up to 226 miles. Compared to the Model 3 which has 358 miles of range, the Leaf is lacking in this area.

The Leaf also falls behind competitors when it comes to performance. The base Leaf comes with an electric motor that produces 147 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque. The larger battery pack also brings an upgraded electric motor with 214 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. With the more powerful motor, the Leaf can get to 60 mph from a standstill in roughly seven seconds. The Model 3 Performance will make the sprint in 3.1 seconds, while the EV6 can hit that figure in approximately 4.5 seconds.

Final Thoughts. The 2022 Nissan Leaf doesn’t have the same cutting-edge safety features, performance, or range as other competitors in the segment, but it’s affordable and roomy. It’s also eligible for the full federal tax credit, which will be an important quality for some shoppers. As long as you map out your daily commute to work and find the Leaf’s range to be adequate, it remains a good option for consumers that don’t expect to travel a long distance.

The Tesla Model 3 leads the way forward in performance, range, and tech. It’s far more expensive than the Leaf but is a better overall EV. The Chevrolet Bolt EV is also worth considering, now that Chevrolet has taken care of the recall. It’s roomy, has 259 miles of range, and has intuitive tech features.

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