Are you ready to leave the gas pump behind forever, never worry about another oil change, and enjoy the exhilarating performance of instant torque the moment you press the pedal? Then an electric vehicle (EV) is the choice for you, but picking the right one can be a bit of a challenge. Although the Nissan ARIYA has been getting a lot of attention lately as the new kid on the block, it’s not the only model you’ll find when you look at electric vehicles for sale at your favourite Nissan dealer. The 2023 Nissan LEAF has enjoyed a redesign this year, which means it looks and feels better than ever as a result. Whether you’re focused primarily on range and performance, gorgeous and comfortable interior features, or advanced safety technology, the LEAF has you covered. Let’s take a look at what it brings to the road and see if it’s the right EV for you.
Electric Range with Two Options
For a while now, one of the biggest factors for a lot of people interested in an EV but uncertain about the whole thing was concerns about how far they could drive before charging. The industry even came up with a clever little name for this: range anxiety. Fortunately, while these concerns persist for some folks, they’re largely unnecessary because modern EVs have fantastic range. Simple evidence of this is the 2023 Nissan LEAF and the two options available for it.
The standard LEAF SV model comes with a 40 kWh lithium-ion battery paired with a 110 kW AC synchronous motor, providing it with 148 hp and solid overall performance. With this setup, the 2023 LEAF can go an estimated 240 km on a full charge and can recharge to 80% in 40 minutes at a DC Quick Charge station. These are the fast Level 3 charging stations that you can find for public use, but Level 2 home charging will take longer, so keep that in mind.
If you’re looking for something to take you further, then there’s an SV Plus model that replaces the standard powertrain with a 60 kWh battery and a 160 kW AC synchronous motor, boosting performance to 214 hp. Not only do you get zippier performance with this option, but it also gets an estimated 342 km of range from a full charge, though it takes a little longer to get an 80% charge due to its higher capacity. Both of these options come with a hybrid heater system, which is perfect for optimal performance in places with cold weather, and you’ll experience the instant torque that makes the LEAF incredibly fun to drive.
Sleek and Functional From the Outside
Sedans are great, but they can be a little small inside; SUVs are incredibly functional, but they can be large and aren’t always practical. The Nissan LEAF is a hatchback that gives you the best of both worlds: a spacious interior with a rear hatch that can fit pretty much anything. It looks great from the outside and features 43 cm wheels, heated outside mirrors, and an aerodynamic design that ensures you get a great drive. LED headlights and signature daytime running lights are standard on all LEAF trims, along with fog lights and more. Looking at the SL Plus trim, the highest option, you’ll also get integrated LED turn signals on the side mirrors to provide other drivers with better visibility of your intentions.
As I said, this beauty isn’t too large, measuring about 4.5 metres long, roughly 1.8 meters wide, and around 1.6 metres tall. Moving inside, you’ll find over a metre of headroom up front, along with more than a metre of legroom; your rear-seat passengers get a bit less space, but not by much. There’s room for five passengers to safely fit inside, with more than 660 L of cargo space in the trunk and about 850 L of total cargo space behind the front seats with the 60/40-split rear seats down. A standard rear cargo cover lets you keep your belongings out of view, while the rear hatch makes it easy to get to everything you need inside.
Stylish and Innovative on the Inside
Speaking of that spacious interior, you’ll find impressive comfort and luxury throughout, along with innovative technology that ensures you’ll look forward to every chance to get behind the wheel. There are three trim levels, but the SV and SV Plus are essentially the same except for the battery and motor. However, the SL Plus trim has some upgrades inside. Every 2023 Nissan LEAF comes with an eight-way power driver’s seat with two-way lumbar support, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and Intelligent Auto Headlights. You get a customizable, full-colour digital instrument cluster that makes it easy to keep track of important information, along with an e-Pedal Mode with regenerative braking.
A leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard in every LEAF trim, but the SL comes with leather-appointed seating and a universal garage door opener that you won’t find on the two SV trims. A 20 cm infotainment display is standard on the LEAF with Nissan Door-to-Door Navigation, including support for over-the-air firmware updates. The SV trims come with a six-speaker sound system, while the SL upgrades that to a Bose Energy Efficient Series premium audio system with seven speakers for a fantastic listening experience. You’ll find some nice upgrades with the SL, but every LEAF offers a welcoming interior that you’ll love getting to drive.
Road-Worthy Safety Technology
Nissan has long been known for making some of the safest and most reliable vehicles on the road, and the 2023 LEAF is certainly no exception. With standard Safety Shield 360 on every trim, you get advanced technology designed to protect you and your loved ones. For starters, you’ll find Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection on every LEAF, along with Rear Automatic Braking, a Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and High Beam Assist. You also get Blind Spot Intervention and Lane Departure Warning to help you stay safe on the road.
Standard ProPILOT Assist on every LEAF trim combines these technologies to help you stay centred in your lane, maintain a safe distance and a set speed on the highway, and stop and start moving again based on surrounding traffic. You even get an Intelligent Around View Monitor standard on the 2023 LEAF, which provides a virtual composite bird’s eye view around your vehicle, helping with low-speed manoeuvring in tight spaces. No matter where you tend to drive most, Nissan has designed this car to make sure you get home safely.
Bringing It All Together in a Hatchback
Considering everything it has going for it, it’s pretty easy to see why so many people are fans of the Nissan LEAF—plus it’s better than ever with the 2023 update. Starting at $40,086 CAD and qualifying for up to $5,000 CAD in federal incentives, the LEAF is also a fantastic entry point if you’re interested in getting a zero-emission vehicle but have never owned one before. I can understand having range anxiety or uncertainty about EVs, but with models like the refreshed LEAF hitting the road, these concerns are simply unnecessary. If you’re interested in an EV and looking for a model with a lot to offer but without a luxury price tag, then this is one that should absolutely be on your radar. Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it: just take the LEAF for a spin and feel how fun it is to drive; the rest will take care of itself.