The Nissan Leaf is the bestselling electric car in history, but the current-generation model is beginning to show its age. The Leaf has been on sale since December 2010, which is a long time by industry standards. And so with a new second-generation model not expected until at least 2017, the 2016 Leaf is getting an upgrade.
It may look the same on the outside, but the 2016 Leaf gets a key new option in the form of a larger, 30-kilowatt-hour, lithium-ion battery pack. This should afford up to 107 miles of range per charge, Nissan says. That’s a 23-mile increase over the 24-kWh pack that was mandatory on previous models, and that remains standard on the 2016 Leaf.
With the larger pack, the Leaf’s range still falls short of the much more expensive Tesla Model S, but beats out pretty much every other similarly-priced electric car. The powertrain remains unchanged, with an electric motor sending 107 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels.
On the tech front, an updated NissanConnect with Mobile Apps infotainment system is now standard on all models, with a 5.0-inch display screen on the base Leaf S, and a 7.0-inch screen on the SV and SL models. The two upper trim levels also get a revised navigation system and voice controls. Nissan says menu graphics and customization options have been improved, and battery-charge information is updated more frequently.
SV and SL models also get the NissanConnect EV system, which allows remote control of certain vehicle functions. Drivers can use it to monitor the battery’s state of charge, start charging, and turn on the climate control. A subscription is required, although owners don’t have to pay anything for it.
The 2016 Nissan Leaf with the new 30-kWh battery pack starts at $35,050 for the Leaf SV, and $37,640 for the Leaf SL. The base Leaf S with the smaller 24-kWh pack starts at $29,860. All prices include destination.
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