One of the world's most popular EVs just got a lot better.
Following the recently revealed Pathfinder Rock Creek, Nissan has lifted the lid on the updated 2023 Nissan Leaf at the 2022 New York International Auto Show. The brand's popular EV is one of the most affordable battery-powered cars on the market, especially with incentives. To keep it fresh and appealing, the Japanese brand has bestowed several updates upon the hatchback.
Visually, subtle changes work together to lend the Leaf a modern aesthetic. A redesigned grille and bumper molding enliven the front end along with new headlights that boast a black inner finish. Additionally, the compact EV gains the redesigned Nissan badge, which is now illuminated.
Nissan has reshaped the tire deflectors, rear spoiler, and rear diffuser for enhanced aerodynamics. The most obvious change can be seen on the Leaf SV Plus, which gains intricately designed 17-inch wheels, mimicking the changes to the Euro-market Leaf.
Nissan currently offers five trim levels on the 2022 Leaf, but for the 2023 model year, the Leaf range will be streamlined into two trim levels: S and SV Plus. The SV Plus will head up the range, with a more affordable S model catering to value-minded buyers. Nissan says the decision to tailor the Leaf lineup "reflects the most customer-requested features and technologies."
The two trims differ in both features and mechanically. The Leaf S makes use of a 40-kWh battery and a 147-horsepower electric motor with 236 lb-ft of torque. In contrast, the SV Plus retains a 60-kWh battery and gets a more powerful electric motor with 214 hp and 250 lb-ft. Nissan says EPA range estimates are yet to be revealed, but they should be similar to 2022 models. The Leaf with the 40-kWh battery has a range of 149 miles while the SV Plus has a 215-mile range.
The sensible interior remains one dominated by common sense, with faint detail changes modernizing the cabin ever so slightly. A new start-up video on the instrument panel screen is of little interest but the steering wheel gains the new Nissan badge. Both trim levels receive somber black cloth upholstery as standard, although the SV Plus gains upmarket gloss black inlays which supplant the gray trim found on the S.
SV models also receive ProPILOT Assist, including the brand's Intelligent Cruise Control and steering assist technologies.
Despite the updates, the Leaf remains a superb value-for-money proposition. While pricing is not confirmed, Nissan says both models will maintain similar starting prices for 2023; the S currently retails for $27,400 and the SV Plus for $35,400, before incentives, including up to $7,500 in federal tax credit. As such, the Leaf remains one of the most affordable EVs in the USA. The eight-year/100,000-mile limited lithium-ion battery warranty adds peace of mind.
Until the next-generation Leaf is revealed in 2025, this facelift should keep the EV competitive for the next few years. The updated model will make its public debut at the 2022 New York Auto Show before it goes on sale this summer.