2020 Nissan Leaf Electric

#10
in Hatchbacks
2020 MODEL
$31,600 - $43,900
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7.0

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2020 Nissan Leaf electric Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: January 31, 2020
Anuron Deka's image

Anuron Deka

Automotive Journalist

The Leaf was one of the very first cars that brought EVs to the mainstream US market. Prior to that, it was an extremely niche market. However, with flashy offerings from big houses such as Tesla, Audi and even Porsche, the Leaf has forgotten by many. Is this Nissan still relevant in the current time or the time has come to turn the leaf and move on?

See detailed review »

Pros

Enhanced driving range

Optional semi-autonomous driving mode available

Comfortable cabin

Cons

Poor driving dynamics, especially with the lower trims

Poor audio system

What's New?

2 new trim levels

New powertrains

Updated standard features

Bigger infotainment screen


Pictures & Videos

Exterior
Interior
Videos
 2020 Nissan Leaf electric Exterior video
 2020 Nissan Leaf electric Review video
 2020 Nissan Leaf electric Interior video

Styles

 2020 Nissan Leaf electric in Brilliant Silver Metallic color  2020 Nissan Leaf electric in Deep Blue Pearl color  2020 Nissan Leaf electric in Glacier White color  2020 Nissan Leaf electric in Gun Metallic color
Brilliant Silver Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.0

Engine And Performance

6.0

Fuel Economy

10

Interior

6.0

Exterior

6.0

Final Verdict

7.0

7.0

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2020 Nissan Leaf electric S

S

power
TBD
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$31,600


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) Starting at $31,600 MSRP TBD electric,
TBD TBD TBD

 2020 Nissan Leaf electric SV

SV

power
TBD
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$34,190


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SV 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) Starting at $34,190 MSRP TBD electric,
TBD TBD TBD

 2020 Nissan Leaf electric S PLUS

S PLUS

power
TBD
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$38,200


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S PLUS 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) Starting at $38,200 MSRP TBD electric,
TBD TBD TBD

 2020 Nissan Leaf electric SV PLUS

SV PLUS

power
TBD
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$39,750


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SV PLUS 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) Starting at $39,750 MSRP TBD electric,
TBD TBD TBD

 2020 Nissan Leaf electric SL PLUS

SL PLUS

power
TBD
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$43,900


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SL PLUS 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) Starting at $43,900 MSRP TBD electric,
TBD TBD TBD

Expert Review

7.0

Overall Rating


The year was 2010 when Nissan first introduced the Leaf EV to the world. It was a runaway success and earned various accolades, the 2010 Green Car Vision Award, the 2011 European Car of the Year, the 2011 World Car of the Year, and the 2011–2012 Car of the Year Japan just to name a few. It was also the largest selling EV in the US until the end of 2018.

It’s 2020 and the EV is one of the most exciting segments in the US car market. All the major manufacturers want a part of the pie and have impressive offerings in the segment. Nissan has refreshed the Leaf in a bid to stay relevant and competitive in the market. The exterior shell has been re-styled, a larger battery pack with a more powerful motor has been installed and the infotainment system has also been updated. Locking horns against the likes of Hyundai Ioniq EV and BMW i3, can the Leaf start a new chapter for itself?

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback Front View
2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback Rear View

7.0/10
Features

 

6.0/10
Engine and Performance

 

10/10
Fuel Economy

 

6.0/10
Interior

 

6.0/10
Exterior

 
 
 

7.0/10
Final Verdict

 

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Features

7.0/10

2020 Nissan Leafs sees the addition of two new trim levels. Thus, this EV is now available in 5 trim levels. The base S and SV trims are powered by a 40 kWh battery pack with 110 kW motor while the Plus trims are powered by a 62 kWh battery pack with 110 kW motor.

Trim

S

SV

S Plus

SV Plus

SL Plus

MSRP

 $32,525

 $35,115

$39,125

$40,675

$44,825

Key

Features

40 kWh battery pack with 110 kW motor

Nissan Navigation system

62 kWh battery pack with 110 kW motor

Leather-appointed seats

Steering Assist and Intelligent Cruise Control

 

Automatic Temperature Control

17-inch Machine-finished Aluminum-alloy wheels

16-in Aluminum-alloy Wheels

Blind Spot Warning

LED headlights and LED signature daytime running lights

 

Standard Automatic Emergency Braking

 

 

Intelligent Around View Monitor

8-way power driver’s seat with 2-way lumbar support

 

Rear diffuser

NissanConnect EV with Services powered by SiriusXM with complimentary trial access to 3-year EV and Select and 6-month Premium Plus packages

 

NissanConnect Services Powered by SiriusXM

Heated front seats

 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

 

 

Intelligent Cruise Control

Bose Premium Audio with seven speakers

The standard features list has been upgraded and is really impressive. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are now standard along with bigger infotainment screens. Driver and front passenger knee supplemental airbags, rear seat-mounted outboard side-impact supplemental airbags added to all models.

Which trim do we recommend?

We recommend you opt for the SV Plus trim. It gets the bigger battery pack with an increased driving range and a lot of other convenience features that will hugely add to the overall experience with the Leaf.

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Engine and Performance

6.0/10

2020 Leaf is available with two battery pack options. The S and SV trims get a 40 kWh pack while the Plus trims come with a bigger 62 kWh pack. Nissan has made sure that it meets the driving needs of every customer. The standard choice of motor is a 110 kW electric motor. Power figures for the 2020 Leaf stand at 147 hp and 236 lb-ft of peak torque.

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback 1-speed direct drive Transmission

Models

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

MSRP

$32,525

$31,000

$46,000

Engine

Electric Motor (40kWh)

Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (38.3 kWh)

Synchronous Traction Motor (42.2-kWh)

Transmission

1-speed direct drive

1-speed direct drive

1-speed direct drive

Horsepower

147 hp

134 hp

170 hp

Torque

236 lb-ft

218 lb-ft

184 lb-ft

Transmissions duties are taken care of by a single-speed direct drive system that transfers the power to the front wheels. The leaf is excellent for daily driving. Power is sufficient and maneuvering through the narrow streets is easy for this compact SUV. With an enhanced range of 226 miles on the Plus trims, it should easily last a week on a single charge. On the highway too, this EV is comfortable. However, the range may be an issue.

How fast is it?

The leaf is designed for a comfortable driving experience. Therefore, if you are expecting a Tesla Esque acceleration, you will be disappointed. However, it isn’t a sloth either. It is fairly quick and unless you are taking part in drag-race, you’ll have no complaints with this EV. the 0-60 run takes 8.4 seconds, which is faster than the Ioniq EV.

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback covers 0-60 in 9 sec

Models

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

0-60 MPH

8.4

9.9 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter mile

N/A

17.4 sec

N/A

Emission

(Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

N/A

N/A N/A

The acceleration of the Plus trims is better than the lower trims. The 62 kWh Plus powertrain allows faster acceleration when driving at high speeds. Acceleration from 50 mph to 75 mph is nearly 13 percent quicker than the standard lower trims. This allows Plus trims to confidently pass slower-moving vehicles, exit corners faster and more seamlessly, and merge easily with fast-moving traffic. The top speed is also approximately 10 percent higher for comfortable cruising.

How well does it stop?

To decelerate gently, you need not use the brake pedal, as you would in a conventional car. Instead, just roll off the accelerator, and the car will convert your motion (kinetic energy) into battery charge (electrical energy). When the need to shed speed is high though, you can depress the pedal and disc brake setup on all four wheels gets engaged. With left foot hard on the pedal, this car comes to a dead stop at a distance of 128 feet, which is average.

Model

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

Brake Front (in.)

11.1

11.2

11

Brake Rear (in.)

11.5

11.2

11

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3433

3164

2965

60-0 MPH (ft.)

128

N/A

N/A

Talking about the braking setup, the Leaf gets disc brakes on all four wheels. The front wheels get 11.1-inch rotors while the rear ones get 11.5 inchers.

How does it handle?

When it comes to performance and agility, the 2020 Nissan Leaf excel. Heavy components, including the battery, are placed in the center of the body, helping achieve smaller yaw moments of inertia compared with front-engine vehicles and thereby improving directional stability, enabling smoother cornering.

The electric power steering system has a linear feel that enhances confidence, especially on highways, with enhanced feedback from the road surface. The lack of pesky clutch pedals and gear shifters does make life easy in the cities. To be honest, with its simple controls, driving the Leaf feels more like playing a videogame.

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Fuel Economy

10/10

The Leaf has been one of the most efficient EV since its inception. Yes, there are other cars now that have better efficiency than this EV, but the Nissan is still relevant. The claimed converted figures for the 2020 Leaf are 124 in the city and 99 on the highway.

This is in contrast to gasoline-powered vehicles whose efficiency goes up on the highways. This is because EVs are meant to be driven at a moderate speed. Different companies have their own sweet spot, which is generally close to 50 mph.

Model

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

MPG (city)

124

145

129

MPG (highway)

99

121

106

MPG (combined)

112

136

118

Range (miles)

149

170

259

The base trims with the 40 kWh battery pack has a claimed range of 149 miles on a single charge while the Plus trims with the 62 kWh battery pack has a superior range of 226 miles. There is also regenerative braking that increases the range as you brake or take your pedal of the gas.

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Interior

6.0/10

Looking at the dashboard, there's nothing that implies that you're sitting in an EV. You won't find a floating display, or dual-tone interiors, or futuristic angular lines, or a ton of touch controls. The dashboard is plain and minimal, but extremely well built. Even though it's built of plastic, everything is nicely held together and you'll never hear any squeaky noises.

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback Front Seating

In the absence of a shifter, there is a drive mode selector that allows you to switch between drive, reverse and parking modes. The uniquely designed selector looks every bit of futuristic as the car it is attached to.

Model

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

Passenger capacity

5

5

4

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

41.2/54.3/42.1

39.1/56.1/42.2

39.6/53.6/40.5

Second

(Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

37.3/52.5/33.3

37.4/55.0/35.7

37.2/49.2/31.9

The cabin of the 2020 Leaf is quite spacious and airy when compared to the likes of the Ioniq. There is no dearth of space and can easily fit in 6’ tall adults. The sound insulation of the cabin coupled with the quiet electric powertrain makes for a very quiet drive.

The front seats are “zero gravity” which is inspired by NASA's space technology and said to minimize fatigue and stress during long drives. The S and SV trims have a 6-way manual adjustable driver bucket seats while the Plus trims get an 8-way power-adjustable driver bucket seats along with heating capabilities for both the front seats.

The rear seats, like the front seats, are spacious. However, accommodating 3 adult passengers will be quite a task. Children, on the other hand, will have a great time in the rear seats. The seats are 60/40 split-folding and also comes with 2 complete sets of latch anchors.

What’s there to keep you entertained?

All trims of the 2020 Leaf gets an updated 8” infotainment screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard across the trim ladder. Nissan's latest Nissan Connect software interface, while not particularly pleasing to the eye, is intuitive and quick to respond to inputs.

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback Infotainment Screen

If you are an audiophile, skip the lower trims as the standard 6 speaker sound system is very ordinary. The top of the line SL Plus trim comes with a Bose Premium Audio with seven speakers that result in the extremely rich and vibrant audio output.

How much cargo can it store?

The default cargo space of the 2020 Nissan Leaf is 23.6 cubic feet. It is not the most that is offered in the segment, but enough to handle all your daily needs with ease, be it a trip to the closest supermarket or going to pick up your loved one from the airport.

Model

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

Cargo Volume (ft.3)

23.6

23.0

36.9

The rear seats are 60/40 split-folding but do not completely fall back to the floor level and hence the increase in the cargo space is not very significant. The maxed-out cargo space of the leaf is 30 cubic feet.

What are the creature comforts on offer?

2020 Nissan leaf offers quite a few convenience features. Some of them are

  • Dual-zone automatic temperature control
  • Rear passenger air conditioning vents
  • Rear door alert
  • Nissan intelligent key with push-button ignition
  • Remote engine start system
  • Tilt and telescoping steering column
  • Variable intermittent speed-sensitive windshield wipers
  • Sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors and extensions
  • Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror
2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback Interior
2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback Interior

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Exterior

6.0/10

One of the most eye-catching exterior elements of the second-generation Nissan LEAF is the car’s sleek, streamlined silhouette, which maximizes aerodynamic efficiency. The car’s bold fascia features Nissan’s signature V-Motion grille with blue 3D mesh. The car’s sleek profile gives it a sporty look, while the rear features a distinctive tail light design. Thanks to the aerodynamic body styling, including a rear bumper with a clear-cut curve and aero-design wheels, the Nissan LEAF has a 0.28 coefficient of drag.

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback Front View

Model

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

Curb weight (lbs.)

3433

3164

2965

Length(in)

176.4

176.0

158.3

Width(in)

70.5

71.7

69.9

Height(in)

61.4

57.1

62.9

Ground clearance (in)

5.9

5.5

N/A

Wheelbase (in)

106.3

106.3

101.2

Track width (in) F/R

60.6/61.2

61.2/61.6

61.9/62

The exterior shell of the Plus trims are tweaked a little to make it distinctive from the lower trims. Subtle clues to its Plus designation include a revised front fascia with blue highlights and an e+ logo plate on the underside of the charge port lid. There are also rear trim level badges designating the grade levels. Talking about the charge point, it’s intelligently designed so that customers can effortlessly connect it to the charging point without bending down.

What are the highlights of the exterior shell?

The refreshed exterior shell of the Leaf has quite a few distinctive features. Some of them are

  • LED headlamps
  • LED DRLs
  • Aerodynamic underbody panels and rear diffuser
  • UV reducing solar glass
  • Acoustic laminated glass
  • Chrome v-motion grille
  • Dark chrome v-motion grille
2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback
2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback
2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback
2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback
2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback
2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback
2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback
2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback
2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback
2020 Nissan Leaf electric Hatchback

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Safety

2020 Nissan Leaf has not been crash-tested by IIHS or NHTSA. However, we can assure you that this car is a very safe one. The standard list of safety tech with the 2020 Leaf is very impressive. Some of them are

  • Nissan Advanced Air Bag System with Dual-Stage Supplemental Front Air Bags with Seat Belt and Occupant-Classification Sensors
  • Driver and Front-Passenger Seat-Mounted Side-Impact Supplemental Air Bags
  • Roof-Mounted Curtain Supplemental Air Bags with Rollover Sensor for Side-Impact Head Protection For Front And Rear-Seat Outboard Occupants
  • Front Seat Belts with Pretensioners And Load Limiters
  • 3-Point ALR/ELR Passenger Seat Belt System (ELR For Driver)
  • Zone Body Construction with Front and Rear Crumple Zones
  • LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children)
  • Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) With Traction Control System (TCS)

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Competition

Nissan Leaf vs Hyundai Ioniq

The Nissan Leaf was the 1st car in the world that showed people that EVs can compete head-on with the gas power ones. The Leaf delivers 149 miles of driving range in a full charge and offers a lot of features. The Nissan, however, can’t match the practicality that the Ioniq offers. The Leaf is best suited for people, who are most willing to drive in the city limits, while the Ioniq will be suited for long drives due to its range.

2020 Hyundai Ioniq

Nissan Leaf vs BMW i3

The Bimmer is a much more premium offering than the Nissan, and it feels like one too, both on the inside and outside. You could easily forget that this car is a “budget” offering, at least by BMW standards. You also get better range in the i3, and if you decide to spend a little extra, a range extender as well, which simply put, is just a gasoline engine that powers the battery when the charge goes down. Overall, the BMW is a much better offering, provided you are prepared to spend the extra cash.

2020 BMW i3

 

2020 Nissan Leaf electric Final Verdict

7.0/10

Nissan has done a lot of things right with the Leaf because of which it has been so successful over the years. One complaint that the folks had with the Leaf was its range. Nissan addressed the issue and released the Leaf Plus trims that have a range of 226 miles on a full charge. Therefore, when all is said and done, Nissan is not ready to surrender its supremacy on the EV market and the 2020 Nissan Leaf is here to see to that.