Nissan has made a series of long-rumored enhancements to its pioneering LEAF electric vehicle for 2016. The key change is a new larger-capacity battery to the SV and SL models that ups per-charge range to 107 miles - the best in class among affordably priced EVs. However, all versions of this super-green 5-door hatch which continue to share the same 107-horsepower electric motor also benefit from various infotainment system and connectivity upgrades. 

While the entry level 2016 LEAF S carries on with its existing 24kWh lithium-ion pack and 84-mile EPA per-charge rating, the redesigned 30kWh pack in the LEAF SV and SL features an all-new design that offers considerably more than a 27-percent bump in usable range. Identical in size and weighing just 46 pounds more, the new system boasts revised chemistry and upgraded electrode material that contribute to higher power density and enhanced durability reflected in changes to the warranty. While both batteries share a common 8 year/100,000 mile guarantee against defects, the new pack is backed over the same interval against excessive capacity loss while the S-spec battery keeps its current 5-year/60,000-mile limit.

Enhanced infotainment 

Although the only exterior revamps for the 2016 LEAF involve a trio of new paint colors, inside the Nissan LEAF S adds new NissanConnect with Mobile Apps and a 5.0-inch color display. In addition to its revised and more legible graphic interface plus improved voice recognition, the system also includes Bluetooth Hands-free Phone/Streaming Audio, Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant and a USB port/interface for iPods and other compatible devices. The SV and SL models add NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps plus a 7.0-inch color display with multi-touch control and Nissan Voice Recognition. This package also includes HD radio and subscription-based SiriusXM Travel Link for weather, fuel prices, movie listings, stock info and sports.

Also: Class of 2016 -- New Cars Ready to Roll 

"The enhancements to the 2016 LEAF in terms of graphic interface design and user friendliness are significant," notes Andrew Speaker, director, Nissan EV Sales & Marketing. "We listened to our owners and added features they can use every day, such as the automatic updating of charging stations while driving and one-shot destination entry with voice recognition."  

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2015

Pricing for the 2016 Nissan LEAF S carries over unchanged, starting at $22,360 before the applicable $7,500 federal tax credit or other state/local incentives. The LEAF SV opens at $27,500 while the LEAF SL begins at $30,140, both also before any federal/state/local spiffs.

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