2013 Nissan LEAF gets big price cut, adds more affordable S model

By KBB.com Editors on January 15, 2013 6:43 AM
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Intent on bolstering buyer interest in its now-made-in-America EV entry, Nissan has expanded the LEAF family to include a new, lower-cost member that made its first public appearance in Detroit. Produced in the automaker's new facility in Smyrna, Tennessee, the 2013 Nissan LEAF S opens at $28,850 -- more than $6,000 below the price point of the least-expensive 2012 variant. It goes on sale next month alongside the existing SV and SL models, which also benefit from significant price reductions of their own. In some cases, various federal, state and local tax credits/rebates can drop the bottom line on the new LEAF S below $20,000. But regardless of specific dollar count, Nissan is confident of its claim that the LEAF S will be the lowest cost five-passenger electric vehicle sold in the U. S. The automaker confirmed that it also will continue to offer leases on the LEAF starting at $199/month with a 36-month term.

          Also: See more brand new models unveiled in Detroit

As one might rightly expect, the new LEAF S will arrive without a number of items that remain standard issue on its SV and SL siblings. However, for EV wannabes who can live without items like a navigation system, CARWINGS telematics, cruise control, hybrid heater system, alloy wheels and seat coverings partially made from recycled cloth this newcomer may provide an attractive entry point for their greener tomorrows. The most notable bit of kit absent from but available for the S is a new 6.6kWh on-board charger that's standard on the SV/SL and significantly reduces plug-in times compared to the 3.6wWh unit that comes with the LEAF S.

As for the remainder of the lineup, MSRP on the 2013 LEAF SV that does include all of the above features and more has been trimmed to $32,670 - a $3,380 drop compared to the 2012 while the leather-lined primo 2013 LEAF SL that also comes with a DC 480V fast-charge port opens at $35,690, or $2,410 below its 2012 level. While formal EPA numbers have yet to be released for the 2013 Nissan LEAF, minor tweaks to the aerodynamics and energy management systems also are expected to incrementally raise its per-charge range estimates.