Annual updates and an accompanying price hike mean the OG EV isn't as affordable as it once was.
We first got wind of the updated Nissan Leaf when the company's European subsidiary announced a facelift for the popular EV. Not much later, the fresh-faced hatchback arrived in the USA with enhanced safety specification and sharper styling. At the time, Nissan said the revised Leaf would remain a value-for-money proposition and, based on the recently revealed pricing strategy, they were right.
For the 2023 model year, the base model S and plusher SV Plus derivative are priced at $27,800 and $35,800, respectively, which represents a $400 MSRP increase across the board. As part of the life-cycle update, Nissan has elected to streamline the range to offer just two models; the 2022 range offered as many as five trims. With the sleeker styling and enhanced safety spec, the marginal price increase isn't much to worry about - but the Leaf no longer holds the title of America's cheapest EV.
That honor now falls to the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV. The bow-tie brand has slashed prices for the new model year, meaning bargain-seeking buyers can now purchase GM's littlest EV for just $26,595 - destination charge included. There's a very good chance that this may threaten Leaf sales, as the Bolt boasts a superior electric range.
The American can travel up to 259 miles on a single charge. Comparatively, the 60 kWh battery-equipped Leaf SV Plus can only manage an EPA-estimated 212 miles (and costs $10,000 more). The more affordable Leaf S can only travel up to 149 miles before its batteries need recharging.
However, the Chevrolet Bolt has had to contend with less-than-desirable circumstances over the past few years. This has given the EV a poor reputation amongst car shoppers - something which can't be said of the Nissan Leaf.
Even if the Bolt manages to steal sales from Nissan, The latter will have the last laugh as the next-generation Leaf is expected to debut in 2025. It may not be the most exciting car in the world, but the recently refreshed Japanese EV is still a sensible choice for many.
Aside from the aforementioned styling updates, all Leaf models now receive Nissan's Safety Shield 360 as standard equipment, which comprises six driver-assist systems. The SV builds on this with ProPILOT Assist and the company's steering assist technology and Intelligent Cruise Control.
With the $7,500 federal tax credit, the 2023 Nissan Leaf remains a bargain. If you're looking for an eco-friendly city-slicker, we'd stick with the base S model. However, the SV Plus boasts more power ( 214 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque) and has a superior range. All Leaf prices mentioned here are exclusive of Nissan's $1,095 destination and handling fee.