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2020 Nissan Leaf

Performance


MSRP
$31,600
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Nissan Leaf Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.5

The 2020 Nissan Leaf has solid all-electric driving range, spry acceleration, and pleasing handling.

  • "An eerily quiet passenger space and smooth ride make for a pleasant environment." -- Autotrader
  • "The driving experience is best described as serene. There’s no engine noise, or, for that matter, the whine associated with electric motors that you might have experienced with earlier electrics." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As with most EVs, smooth, instant power and a total absence of shifting make the Nissan Leaf ridiculously easy to drive. It's a good choice if you want to impress your passengers with your chauffeuring skills." -- Edmunds (2019)

Acceleration and Power

The 2020 Nissan Leaf offers brisk acceleration thanks to instantly available electric torque, and it has plenty of power for passing at higher speeds. The Leaf also has good driving range and solid MPG-equivalent ratings.

All Leaf models have a 110 kW electric motor and a single-speed transmission. The base model produces 147 horsepower from a 40 kWh battery, it has an EPA-estimated range of 149 miles, and it gets 111 MPGe in combined city/highway driving. The Nissan Leaf Plus has a 62 kWh battery and produces 214 horsepower. It has a range of 226 miles and returns an estimated 108 MPGe combined.

  • "The [Leaf] managed a 7.4-second zero-to-60-mph time at our test track, but it feels perkier than this number suggests thanks to the instantaneous power delivery of the electric motor." -- Car and Driver
  • "The linear acceleration of the electric motor means smooth, quick starts. All of the torque comes alive the instant your foot gooses the accelerator. This is the ideal platform for a continuously variable transmission, because there's no constant screaming of an internal combustion engine at the peak of its rev range. Acceleration, even hard acceleration, is chaos free." -- Autotrader
  • "With its long range, onboard fast-charging system and extensive dealer network, Nissan’s 2020 Leaf may entice doubters to try an EV for the first time. What they will discover is instantaneous power delivery from the motor. The Leaf is snappy right off the line and has excellent mid-range passing power." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

The Nissan Leaf has light, easy steering and poised body control around turns. While ride quality is mostly smooth, larger bumps in the road are noticeable.

  • "The steering is light, which is in keeping with the Leaf’s primary mission of urban and freeway commuting. … Its larger battery is heavier, contributing to a low center of gravity that translates to driver confidence. The Leaf acts and drives like a real car, not some science project." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Leaf's ride is smooth and nicely controlled — it's neither too rigid nor too buoyant. It's good at swallowing large and small bumps alike, but a little road texture feel and intermittent jiggliness do come through." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "Much of the mass is contained in the battery packs, housed in the vehicle’s platform. This helps to provide slot-car handling traits, tempered somewhat by the Leaf’s simple torsion beam rear suspension. … Still, you can hustle this car through sets of twisties, even if it isn’t designed for that kind of driving." -- New York Daily News (2018)
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Nissan Leaf

MSRP: $31,600 - $43,900

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