2020 Nissan Leaf

2020 Nissan Leaf
2020 Nissan Leaf Rear Angle View
2020 Nissan Leaf Dashboard 1
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Photos

2020 Nissan Leaf Review: Honest Entry Into World Of EVs

by Michael Butler

The Nissan Leaf was one of the first modern electric vehicles to crack the broader car buying market when it was first introduced to the US market back in 2010. We Are now entering a new decade, and the Nissan Leaf is more capable than ever, but instead of trying to compete in the premium class against the likes of the BMW i3 and Jaguar I-Pace, the Leaf keeps things humble, and relatively low-priced. We aren't big fans of the exterior styling and plastic-filled interior, but the Leaf does offer good in-town performance, a competitive range, and a number of standard features such as pedestrian detection and blind-spot assist that makes this little EV worth every penny. A Tesla Model 3 will blow the doors off of this electric hatchback, and the Chevy Bolt might look better, but the Leaf offers an honest and affordable entry into the world of electric motoring.

Read in this review:

8.6
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2020 Nissan Leaf Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 Leaf?

The new Nissan Leaf gets a good helping of fresh feature upgrades for the new decade. Those who own, or have experienced a Leaf will be happy to learn that the sub-par five- and seven-inch infotainment displays have been replaced with a more contemporary eight-inch unit, and all models now feature standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Driver assistance features that were optional on last years' car are now standard; these include automatic forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic headlights, rear auto braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. The low-speed chime of the Leaf has also been replaced by something more audible, but a track off of Slayer's 1986 classic, Reign In Blood, would've likely had better effect.

Pros and Cons

  • Competitive driving range on extended range models
  • There's lots of space inside
  • Available semi-autonomous driving mode
  • Effortless acceleration
  • Back seats don't fold flat
  • It's not the most entertaining to drive
  • Lower spec models don't have the best range
  • Sound systems lack punch

What's the Price of the 2020 Nissan Leaf?

The price of electric vehicles is still higher than that of similarly equipped gas-powered cars, and the Nissan Leaf is priced at the lower end of this scale - but climbing up the trim ladder will see the price increase to Tesla Model 3 levels, a car that offers a longer range, more performance and a better overall driving and ownership experience in general. The 2020 Nissan Leaf starts off with an MSRP of $31,600, which excludes registration, taxes, and a destination fee of $925. By comparison, the base model Chevy Bolt starts at $36,620, and the Tesla Model 3 goes for $39,990 for the Standard Range Plus RWD. From the base model, the Leaf moves up to the SV, which goes for $34,190. The S Plus starts at $38,200. The SV Plus is on par with the Tesla Model 3 in terms of price at $39,750, and the SL Plus will cost you $43,900: over $2,000 more than the top-of-the-line Chevy Bolt. We would recommend the Nissan Leaf for those who are looking for a relatively low-cost entry point into the world of EVs.

Best Deals on 2020 Nissan Leaf

2020 Nissan Leaf Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S
Electric
Single Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$31,600
SV
Electric
Single Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$34,190
S PLUS
Electric
Single Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$38,200
SV PLUS
Electric
Single Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$39,750
SL PLUS
Electric
Single Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$43,900
See All 2020 Nissan Leaf Trims and Specs

2020 Leaf Exterior

2020 Nissan Leaf Front Angle View Nissan 2020 Nissan Leaf Front Angle View 1 Nissan 2020 Nissan Leaf Side View Nissan
2020 Nissan Leaf Front Angle View
2020 Nissan Leaf Front Angle View 1
2020 Nissan Leaf Side View
See All 2020 Nissan Leaf Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 176.4 in
  • Wheelbase 106.3 in
  • Height 61.4 in
  • Max Width 70.5 in
  • Front Width 60.6 in
  • Rear Width 61.2 in
  • Curb Weight 3,538.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Brilliant Silver Metallic
  • Glacier White
  • Gun Metallic
  • Super Black
  • Deep Blue Pearl
  • Scarlet Ember Tintcoat
  • Pearl White Tricoat
  • Sunset Drift Chromaflair
  • 2-Tone White/Black, (DISC), Build Out: 09/30/2020
  • 2-Tone White/Black, Build Out: 09/30/2020
  • Super Black, No longer available with K interior as of 09/30/2020.
  • Deep Blue Pearl, No longer available with K interior as of 09/30/2020.
  • Scarlet Ember Tintcoat, No longer available with K interior as of 09/30/2020.
  • 2-Tone White/Black, No longer available with K interior as of 09/30/2020.

2020 Leaf Performance

2020 Nissan Leaf Front Angle View 2 Nissan 2020 Nissan Leaf Charge Port Nissan 2020 Nissan Leaf Engine Bay Nissan
2020 Nissan Leaf Front Angle View 2
2020 Nissan Leaf Charge Port
2020 Nissan Leaf Engine Bay

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    Electric
  • Transmission
    Single Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Driving a Leaf is a serene experience. There are no V8 rumbles or turbo flutters here; the only sound you'll hear is a bit of tire noise, and You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban, a standard feature on all Nissan Leaf models. The Leaf is clearly set up to deliver a comfortable ride, especially with the active ride control set in its most cushy setting. That doesn't mean that its a complete boat; it will remain composed at high speed and always feels planted, but try to drive it like a sports car, and it will quickly remind you that it's not. The electrically assisted power steering is as light as a feather, which is a boon for city driving, but it just adds to the fact that the Leaf is no Porsche Boxster. If you want a more engaging driving experience, then we'd suggest looking at the athletic Tesla 3.

2020 Leaf Interior

2020 Nissan Leaf Dashboard Nissan 2020 Nissan Leaf Steering Wheel Controls Nissan 2020 Nissan Leaf Rear Passenger Seats Nissan
2020 Nissan Leaf Dashboard
2020 Nissan Leaf Steering Wheel Controls
2020 Nissan Leaf Rear Passenger Seats
See All 2020 Nissan Leaf Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.1 in
  • Front Head Room 41.2 in
  • Rear Leg Room 33.5 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.3 in

2020 Leaf Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Nissan Leaf Trunk Space Nissan 2020 Nissan Leaf Charger Nissan 2020 Nissan Leaf Top View Nissan
2020 Nissan Leaf Trunk Space
2020 Nissan Leaf Charger
2020 Nissan Leaf Top View
  • Maximum Cargo Space
    30 ft³

2020 Leaf Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ Unlimited Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: Is the 2020 Nissan Leaf A Good car?

The Nissan Leaf has been a staple of the EV market for a decade, and is a tried and trusted entry-point to the world of gas-free motoring. In the past few years, there has been a small explosion of new entries to the EV market by major brands such as Volkswagen and BMW, but their offerings have been focussed on the premium image, so you won't find any cheap and cheerful cars. The Nissan Leaf then is a no-nonsense practical five-door hatchback that does away with luxury features such as wood-grain inserts, massive sound systems, and sub-five-second sprint times. Instead, you get moderate performance and range, a comfortable ride, and enough features to make everyday driving feel like less of a chore. Nissan has made some notable changes, such as upgrading the infotainment system and adding driver assistance features such as auto-forward emergency braking with pedestrian control, which goes a long way to boost the appeal of this little electric hatchback, but prices get close to the much more impressive Tesla Model 3 when you get to higher trim levels.

What Nissan Leaf Model Should I Buy?

The Leaf might start off as an affordable alternative to the more premium offerings from Tesla, BMW, and others, but costs for the Nissan Leaf do get quite high at the top tier levels, and prices get dangerously close to some of its more competent rivals. For that reason, we'd suggest test driving the SV, one step up from the base model. The SV shares its low-output 110 kW AC synchronous electric motor and 40 kWh lithium-ion battery with the base model, and delivers more than enough go for regular driving situations in and around town. The SV shares features such as automatic forward braking with pedestrian detection and automatic climate control with the rest of the range and builds on the base model's offering by adding adaptive cruise control, navigation, fog lights, and a 50kW quick charge port for added practicality. Throw in the All Weather Package, not for the heated seats and steering wheel, but for the added efficiency of the heat pump, and you have a winner.

2020 Nissan Leaf Comparisons

Chevrolet Bolt EV Chevrolet
Tesla Model 3 Tesla
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Nissan Leaf147 hp123/99 mpg$28,040
Chevrolet Bolt EV 200 hp131/109 mpg$26,500
Tesla Model 3 257 hp138/126 mpg$38,990

2020 Nissan Leaf vs Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Chevrolet Bolt, just like the Leaf, is a five-door hatchback that will seat five adults. The 2020 Bolt is available in LT and Premier trims, and both get the same 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, which blow the lower-powered variants of the Leaf out of the yard and onto the sidewalk. The Bolt will return an impressive 127/108/118 mpg city/highway/combined and will reach 259 miles on a full charge, besting the Leaf by quite some distance. We think the Botl is the better-looking car, and it's interior feels more 2020 than the Leaf. On the road, the Bolt is a comfortable thing to drive, and although it is at its best on city roads, it can manage highway driving just fine. Its low center of gravity means minimal body roll in corners. Unfortunately, the Bolt misses out on a good amount of the standard features offered on the Leaf, such as blind-spot monitoring and pedestrian detection. Go for a mid-range Leaf instead of the more expensive entry-level Bolt with fewer features and a higher asking price.

See Chevrolet Bolt EV Review

2020 Nissan Leaf vs Tesla Model 3

Tesla has been grabbing headlines for a good few years now, and their EV cars have been dominating sales figures. One of their latest offerings, the low-cost Model 3 has taken the market by storm and offers great performance, comfort, driving dynamics, and style at a reasonable price. Powering the Model 3 is a single three-phase induction electric motor that produces between 258 and a serious 450 hp depending on spec-level. So not only will the Model 3 leave the Leaf in the dust, but it will also get more distance out of a single charge; standard cars will reach up to 250 miles, while long-range versions will reach well over 300 miles on a single charge. The interior of the Tesla Model 3 is a beautifully minimalist space that truly feels ahead of our time. Cabin space is good, but the Leaf offers more cargo space. Out on the road, the Tesla Model 3 is by far the better car to drive; it's comfortable enough around town, but can also engage the driver with entertaining dynamics. Starting at close to $40,000, we'd rather get a Model 3 than a top-end Leaf.

See Tesla Model 3 Review
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