We drove a $44,000 Nissan Leaf Plus to figure out if this 2019 Car of the Year runner-up is ready to take on Tesla
Crystal Cox/Business Insider
- The 2019 Nissan Leaf SL Plus is the fanciest version of the vehicle that first appeared in 2010.
- Although over 300,000 Leafs have been sold worldwide, the electric car has always been held back by its range.
- The Leaf Plus, however, serves up 214 miles on a single charge and has a more powerful motor.
- At $44,000, the Leaf SL Plus is a bit pricey, but you can opt for a cheaper trim level.
- Overall, the Leaf SL Plus is a dandy EV; it's well worth a look if you're shopping for a new car.
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Editor's note: Business Insider will name its 2019 Car of the Year on November 23. Each day this week, we're taking another look at the five vehicles that were runners-up selected from a pool of 16 finalists. The second vehicle is the 2019 Nissan Leaf SL Plus.
The Nissan Leaf was basically the first modern, mass-market, all-electric vehicle, beating the Tesla Model S to market by a few years.
When it launched, the Leaf had limited range and was sort of unimpressively designed, but there was a lot of buzz around EVs then. The Leaf was the cornerstone of a Nissan "Zero Emission" strategy.
Market reality hasn't quite lived up to expectations, but Nissan has continued to improve the Leaf. The second-generation arrived for the 2018 model year, with an updated design. For 2019, Nissan rolled out the Leaf Plus, a version of the EV that could achieve up to 226 miles on a single charge.
Generally, a baseline 200-mile number is magical; it eliminates much of the "range anxiety" that consumers suffer from because it adds a decent buffer and reduces the need to frequently recharge the Leaf.
I tested the Leaf Plus for a week in the New Jersey suburbs and even took a ride to Brooklyn. I concluded that the Leaf Plus was very good, and thus we have named it a 2019 Car of the Year runner-up.
Here's now my test went:
Photos by Crystal Cox unless otherwise indicated.