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2017 Nissan LEAF KBB Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating 8.6 / 10
This Car - 2017 Nissan LEAF
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Consumer Rating 8.8 / 10

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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Matt Degen

When the Nissan Leaf debuted in 2011, it brought electric vehicles to the masses. Easy to drive, whisper-quiet, respectable cargo capacity thanks to its hatchback design, and refueling that's as easy as plugging in a power cord, the Leaf has moved nearly a quarter-million units worldwide, making it the best-selling EV yet. In the years since, pure electric vehicles have risen like beanstalks on fertile ground, some successful (the Tesla Model S, and nearly six figures at that), some not (Mitsubishi i-MiEV, anyone?). While the Leaf still touts the positive traits that made it compelling initially, this EV now faces its fiercest rival yet in the Chevy Bolt, whose range is more than double the Nissan's and whose technology and design are fresher.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you drive less than 100 miles a day and want an electric vehicle (EV) at a mainstream price, the Nissan Leaf is about as mainstream as it gets for battery-powered cars. As the first major EV, it's also a known quantity.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Range anxiety is real, and real life can necessitate longer trips. Chevy’s Bolt offers 238 miles in range and costs just a few thousand more, while the gas-electric Chevy Volt is even less of a financial stretch and offers over 400 miles of range. The upcoming Hyundai Ioniq also boasts newer technology.

What's New for 2017

The 30-kWh lithium-ion battery that arrived in higher trims last year and enabled a total range of 107 miles is now standard on every 2017 Nissan Leaf, replacing the former system that was rated at 84 miles of range before needing to be recharged.

Driving It Driving Impressions

Driving Nissan’s Leaf electric vehicle for the first time can be an eye-opening experience. With no engine noise, the car simply alerts you that it’s ready to go, at which point a simple press of the accelerator starts one gliding silently down the road. Only the faint whine of the electric motor and the slight whir from the tires indicate momentum, followed by the rushing wind as speed increases. Thanks to its torque-happy electric powertrain, the Leaf is quick off the line and rather sprightly. However, to achieve the promised 107-mile range, one should avoid hard acceleration. Engaging the Eco mode will increase efficiency through regenerative braking and a reduction of the motor and climate systems. B-Mode activates an even more aggressive regenerative braking cycle, most useful on long, slow descents. But you need to be mindful of range. Run out of juice, and you'll need to call a tow truck.

Favorite Features

The Nissan Connect EV is a smartphone app available for iPhone- and Android-based systems that allows remote monitoring of battery state and the ability to begin charging the car or start its heating or cooling systems from your phone. The system is standard on 2017 Nissan Leaf SV and SL trims.

You'll never hear an engine rumble in a Leaf electric car because, well, there's no traditional combustion engine. This makes driving a Nissan Leaf surprisingly serene. Outside noise is further reduced thanks to a specially insulated windshield and dual-isolated mounting system for the electric motor.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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