Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2022 Nissan GT-R is shown driving down an open road.

Road Warrior or Eco-Warrior, Nissan’s Got You Covered!

Today’s car market is all about choice. Current auto buyers probably have a wider range of options available to them than ever before, and nowhere is this more true than at a nearby Nissan dealership. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find plenty of possibilities there. To demonstrate the degree of choice Nissan offers, we’ll look at just two vehicles: the fast, sporty 2022 GT-R and the power-sipping EV 2022 Leaf. These two cars inhabit different worlds and speak to different buyers, but both come from the same place: your Nissan dealer.

Heavy Metal Thunder

If your fantasy is racing down a lonesome highway at night as the road unspools behind you, the Nissan GT-R, affectionately known as “Godzilla,” was made for you. The 3.8-L V6 Twin-Turbo engine brings 565 hp+ worth of speed, maneuverability, and sheer driving fun to even the most humdrum errand. You’ll soon find yourself zooming into the next state just to pick up a gallon of milk.

The 2022 GT-R Premium, which starts at an MSRP around $113,00, arrives loaded with quintessential luxury sports car features. For instance, the GT-R has long been known for its Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain (ATTESA) AWD. This all-wheel-drive system splits and shifts traction between front and back axles—and between tires, immediately applying power and grip where you need it most. ATTESA AWD enables a very nimble road response, combining with the GT-R’s superior suspension and 20″ RAYS forged-alloy wheels to keep you pinned through every curve.

A white 2022 GT-R Nismo is shown parked in a garage after leaving a Nissan dealership.

“Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear…”

With the possible exception of the raptor, dinosaurs typically aren’t known for their speed. In this area, however, Godzilla shines—because this dino races like Secretariat, easily reaching 60 mph in under three seconds. (If you live, as I once did, in an urban area with retrofitted freeways, this kind of starting-gate takeoff is a survival necessity; I’m sure some of those merge lanes were shorter than my car.)

With world enough to unwind, the GT-R is capable of reaching 205 mph—not that I recommend you try it in town, as traffic cops are notoriously unsympathetic regarding your Need for Speed. You can also be confident knowing that, when it’s time to stop, the Nissan/Brembo brakes with their electronic brake force distribution will see that you do. Forged-alloy wheels equipped with run-flats will ensure you can still outrun the T-Rex, even if he gets his teeth into a tire. (Of COURSE, these tires can survive a T-Rex bite. Go ahead: prove me wrong.)

Inside the GT-R, there’s plenty to help you enjoy the ride. The GT-R Premium comes with an 11-speaker Bose system that includes two subwoofers, so you can enjoy your favorite driving tunes—and, when necessary, tease the neighbors with that delightful ice cream truck tune. A host of other features, such as three drive modes, wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a leather-wrapped wheel and gearshift, heated seats, an 8-in. touchscreen, LED headlamps and taillights, speed-sensitive power steering, and so much more combine to bring you pure driving bliss.

When You Seriously NEED to Get Moving…

If, however, you’ve ever imagined yourself roaring past the checkered flag at Daytona while all your opponents eat dust, step up to the 2022 GT-R NISMO. NISMO, a contraction of “Nissan Motorsport,” is, by all accounts, the sports car that feels like—and drives like—a track star. You’ll need to ransack the couch cushions in order to buy it, because it starts at $210,740. But if you’re in the market for a high-end sport vehicle, the GT-R NISMO is IT.

To start with, every NISMO engine is a 3.8-L V6 Twin-Turbo, now offering 600 hp with 481 lb-ft of torque. Each engine is hand-assembled by a highly-trained Takumi craftsman—whose name is actually mounted on the engine’s front. Every NISMO benefits from constant refinements developed during the model’s racing career, and 2022 is no exception. This year’s NISMO has been given some bulk reduction by the addition of a carbon-fiber roof, hood, front fenders, and trunk lid—as well as a few engine-lightening components, such as a reengineered turbine wheel with one less vane.

Mostly, though, the GT-R NISMO earns its additional cost with that obsessively detailed NISMO tuning—in the engine, the suspension, the aerodynamic body design, and more. In NISMO, the Brembo brakes are upgraded to a carbon-ceramic system, providing greater strength and durability while reducing weight. In the cabin, heated sports seats, an Alcantara-trimmed wheel (Alcantara is a microfiber designed for a comfortable grip and stain resistance), and the NISMO signature black-and-red leather trim emphasize quality and attention to detail. In short, everything the GT-R Premium has, the NISMO has—with an added dose of that NISMO-engineering fairy dust. Whether you’re racing the moon, a T-Rex, or the end of the world, the GT-R NISMO gives you your best chance of winning—and you’ll certainly enjoy the ride.

A white 2022 Nissan Leaf is shown charging in a home garage.

Meanwhile, in Reality…

Highly-engineered sports cars aren’t for everyone. In fact, a lot of today’s drivers are looking for a simple commuter vehicle that will get us to work, to the grocery store, and home again without requiring a bank loan for fuel. If we can get around town without adding to planetary pollution, we’re especially happy. For us, Nissan provides the 2022 Leaf: an EV that looks like the future of transport.

The new Leaf comes in a choice of five trims. Nissan has dropped the price considerably to make the Leaf S, at an MSRP around $28,000, the most affordable new electric car on the market today. Depending on where you live and when you buy, you may also be eligible for a federal rebate as high as $7,500, which peels even more off an already reasonable sticker price.

The base S trim is equipped with a 40-kWh battery, providing power to its 147 hp electric motor. Capable of about 149 miles of travel before requiring a recharge, the S manages 0-60 in a reasonably perky 7.4 seconds—not bad for a car that produces zero emissions. All trims are now equipped with a Quick Charge Port, which enables the use of DC Fast Chargers at properly equipped public charging stations.

All Leafs (Leaves?) contain an 8-in. touchscreen multimedia system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto; plus, each is equipped with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360, a suite of driver-assistive tech that includes aids such as Intelligent lane and blind spot intervention, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and more.

Making It Go

If you’ve never had an EV before, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of charging technology. Every Leaf has three charging options. Level One charging is possible at home with a simple AC outlet and the Portable Charge Cable that comes with your Leaf. You need a dedicated 15-amp circuit—meaning that while your Leaf is charging, you can’t plug in the toaster, microwave, or anything else to that circuit.

As it can take up to two-and-a-half days to fully charge your Leaf this way, it’s wise to consider your other options. Level Two charging, which only takes 8-12 hours, can also be done at home; however, this will require a dedicated 50-amp circuit and the installation of some extra equipment. You can also find this option at public charging stations. Level Three charging makes use of public DC Fast Chargers. As it typically takes only half an hour to an hour to get an 80-100% charge, this is the quickest option.

The 2022 Leaf also makes use of its e-Pedal, which uses a process called regenerative braking. With the e-Pedal, you can switch between two modes: one allows normal coasting when you take your foot off the accelerator, and the other actually slows the car as though you’re braking and uses the resulting energy to recharge your battery. Attentive use of the e-Pedal both saves wear and tear on your brakes and enables you to actually charge while you’re driving!

Moving On and Up

If you like a little more latitude in your travels, the S Plus trim, at an MSRP of about $32,400, upgrades you to a 62-kWh battery with a longer cruising range of 226 miles. The SV Plus adds ProPILOT Assist, which helps you set and maintain an appropriate following distance, and the Intelligent Around View Monitor, which gives you a bird’s eye view of your surroundings. The top-level trim SL Plus (MSRP around $37,400) comes with leather-appointed seats and a seven-speaker Bose sound system—which you can enjoy all the more with that quiet EV ride. The 2022 Leaf has an NHTSA rating of 4, so you can help reduce climate change in not only comfort, but elevated safety as well.

Nissan knows there are a lot of different drivers out there, and we’re all set in our various beliefs about what’s important—in life and in vehicles. So, whether you’re trying to outrun imaginary dinosaurs or the fossil fuel remains of real ones, Nissan has engineered a car for you!