- Five-seat, pure-electric hatchback
- Backup camera now standard
- EPA-estimated 75 miles of range per charge
Nissan’s pure-electric Leaf returns for 2014, offering a newly standard backup camera and 75 miles of emissions-free (and gas free) motoring.
Last year the Leaf got significant updates, which improved energy efficiency and made it more aerodynamic. Both of these changes positively impacted the Leaf’s range, which is now estimated at 75 miles per charge, more than long enough to handle the majority of daily commutes for most Americans. A new, optional 6.6-kW onboard charger was also added that can slash the charge time on a 220-volt charger from seven hours to four.
Not much has changed on the exterior, the 2014 Leaf keeps the same bug-eyed look and hatchback shape it’s had since it debuted. The raised headlamps are not just for appearances though, they help to route air around the side mirrors while the car is in motion, which reduces road noise. 16-inch steel wheels, LED taillights, and a rear spoiler are standard.
Under the hood, you’ll find an electric drive motor which turns the front wheels and outputs 107-hp and 187 pounds-feet of torque. It is powered by a 340-volt lithium-ion battery pack located on the underside of the car. Charge times vary based on outlet type. On a standard 120 volt socket, it’s 21 hours, versus seven or four hours on an optional 220-volt charger. Public quick-charge stations will help in a pinch, and can charge a depleted battery to 80 percent capacity in around half an hour.
Inside, the Leaf has seating for up to five passengers and a long list of standard features, including heated front and rear seats, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, and a heated steering wheel. Leather upholstery is optional, along with helpful tech features like Pandora internet radio and a navigation system. To keep drivers informed of how much range is left in the Leaf, the dashboard screen can display available power, current use, and remaining miles to empty. The navigation system also has a new feature which can suggest routes that will conserve energy.
Standard safety features include six airbags and the requisite antilock brakes and electronic stability system. The battery pack has also been designed with safety in mind; it disconnects automatically if the airbags deploy or it senses a submersion in water to prevent electrocutions.