The 2018 Nissan Leaf is improved in every way over its aged predecessor: it’s better-looking, nicer inside, and has more power and battery range, at a relatively affordable price.
The 2018 Nissan Leaf is a restyled version of the world’s best-selling electric car. This year it adopts new designs for the exterior and interior, more battery range, a host of active-safety features, and a price slightly lower than last year’s model. The heavily revised electric car comes in three trim levels: base Leaf S, mid-level Leaf SV, and top-of-the-line Leaf SL.
The 2018 Leaf tones down its shape and wears more normal sheet metal. The compact five-door hatchback now shares many styling cues with other recent Nissan designs. Only the plug-port door on the nose and the mushroom-shaped drive selector inside give away its electric drivetrain, and that will likely appeal to many buyers turned off by the previous car’s distinctive, polarizing looks.
Overall, we score the 2018 Nissan Leaf at 7.0 out of 10 points, considerably higher than its aging predecessor. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Review continues below
The new Leaf gains points in essentially every category, and with a range that’s double that of the first 2011 Leaf, it should be considered by a wider swath of buyers. (This score could rise if the 2018 Leaf does well on crash-safety test rankings from the NHTSA and IIHS.)
We consider Nissan’s 2018 Leaf a strong contender as a practical electric car that’s almost $7,000 cheaper than the longer-range Chevrolet Bolt EV. Other contenders including the Ford Focus Electric, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, and Volkswagen e-Golf have less range (114 to 125 miles) and are sold only in limited areas of the U.S. Like the Bolt EV, the Leaf will be available nationwide, starting early in 2018.
For those who need more range, a 2019 model with 200 miles or more of range has already been promised. As it is, Nissan is launching the Leaf into a white space between the 125-mile e-Golf, at about the same price, and the more expensive 238-mile Bolt EV.