2024 Nissan Leaf SV Plus Review – Likeably Behind the Times

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Fast Facts

2024 Nissan Leaf SV Plus Fast Facts

Powertrain
160-kW Electric motor (214 horsepower @ N/A RPM; 250 lb-ft of torque @ 800-1,000 RPM)
Transmission/Drive Wheels
Single-speed gear reduction automatic, front-wheel drive
Fuel Economy, MPGe
121 city / 98 highway / 109 combined (EPA Rating)
Fuel Economy, Le/100km
1.9 city / 2.4 highway / 2.1 combined (NRCan Rating)
Estimated Range (EPA / NRCan)
212 miles / 341 kilometers
Base Price
$36,190 (U.S.) / $47,498 (CAD)
As-Tested Price
$38,510 (U.S.) / $51,575 (CAD)
Prices include $1,095 destination charge in the United States and $2,195 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

The 2024 Nissan Leaf offers up an experience that leads to a bit of cognitive dissonance.

On the one hand, it’s a nice evolution over the first-generation car, especially following a refresh for 2023. On the other, it’s one of the few EVs that is CHAdeMO only on charging.


Its range is also not great, at least not compared to the competition. 

It’s a neat little package that nonetheless feels a bit behind the times.

Let’s start with the good. No one will ever confuse the Leaf for an even remotely sporty car, but it rides and handles relatively well for a commuter car. It even flirts with fun at times – and the electric motor provides solid acceleration. Not a burner, to be sure, but more than fine for around-town driving.

When equipped in SV Plus guise, the electric motor is a 160 kW unit making 214 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. As with many EVs, the Leaf offers one-pedal driving.

As with the car overall, the interior is a mix of good and bad. Nissan utilizes the Leaf’s space well, but the materials look and feel a bit outdated – and the weird shifter is a bit annoying. A little too much road noise intrudes. It’s not a penalty box – far from it – but it feels like the cabin needs a makeover.

Credit where it’s due, though – at least there are physical knobs, switches, and buttons for most controls.

When it comes to EVs, range and charging times, as well as charging availability, remain a huge part of the conversation. Sure, some EVs are now giving buyers 300 miles or more of range – which goes a long way to alleviating range anxiety. The Leaf, however, has just 212 miles of range available from the SV Plus.

It’s worse with the base S trim at only 149 miles. The battery, by the way, is 60 kWh in the SV Plus as opposed to 40 kWh in the S.

I didn’t get a chance to do a full range test, but I did have to plug in twice. I visited my parents and siphoned some juice very slowly from their garage. They just have a regular outlet, no EV charger, so the total time for someone charging in this manner would be 11.5 hours from empty to full.

With the SV Plus you can get up to 80 percent in 60 minutes.

As you probably know, the Leaf is one of only two cars still using the CHAdeMO charging standard, along with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. This can make finding a charger concerning – but when I left my parents’ house and still needed some juice, I was able to snag enough electrons to get home (about 40-50 miles from the charger) in 20 minutes for about $6. It took a few tries to get the charger to hook up but once it did it worked well enough.

Still, I’d recommend that any Leaf owner make sure to search out CHAdeMo locations along frequently used routes. There just aren’t as many of them as with the other charging standards.

Speaking of standards, car buyers have high standards sometimes, and if you spring for the SV Plus over the S you get navigation and an EV smartphone app with three years of a free trial. You also get advanced-drive assist systems like a driver-alert system, 360-degree camera, and Nissan’s ProPilot Assist, which basically combines smart cruise control and steering assist for some limited autonomous driving.

That may not seem like a lot of features beyond the base trim, but that’s because the Leaf is standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, four USB ports, and pre-heating/pre-cooling the cabin, as well as the ability to set a charging timer.

Standard ADAS systems include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, high-beam assist, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear automatic braking.

Other standard or available features include 17-inch wheels, hill-start assist, regenerative braking, and LED headlights. My test-unit had two-tone paint for $695.

All for a base price of $36,190 and an as-tested price (including destination) of $38,510.

This is where the packaging aspect falls apart a bit. I realize that 38 large doesn’t feel as expensive as it used to in a world where average transaction prices are about $10K higher, but it’s still not cheap. The Leaf would be a solid value proposition if the price was lower.

Not to mention the relatively short range and the use of a charging standard that’s not as plentiful as others.

The Leaf was fairly enjoyable to drive – but I suspect ownership has some challenges that other EVs have done a better job of mitigating.

Nissan’s Leaf is fairly likeable. If only it was up-to-date.

[Images: Nissan. 2023 model-year shown.]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • FreedMike FreedMike on Jun 12, 2024

    This would be a good commuter module for someone with at-home charging ability. But if you just couldn't live without going Nissan for an EV, a base Ariya would be a far better bet, doesn't cost much more, and has way better charging capability (and is not limited to CHAdeMo). And, yes, Nissan dealers will deal like crazy on one.

  • Picard234 Picard234 on Jun 12, 2024

    Nice review. This reminds me of the Fiat 500e...cute little city car, WAY too expensive for the range and other limitations. Fiat has a nicer looking more modern interior though. Both cars will have a very limited audience I would guess.

  • VoGhost Fantastic work by Honda design. When I first saw the pictures, I thought "Is that a second gen Acura NSX?"
  • V16 2025 VW GLI...or 2025 Honda Civic SI? Same target audience, similar price points. Both are rays of sun in the gray world of SUV'S.
  • FreedMike Said this before and I'll say it again: I'm not that exercised about this whole "pay for a subscription" thing, as long as the deal's reasonable. And here's how you make it reasonable: offer it a monthly charge. Let's say that adaptive headlights are a $500 option on this vehicle, and the subscription is $15 a month, or $540 over a three year lease. So you try the feature for a month, and if you like it, you keep it; if you don't, then you discontinue it, like a Netflix subscription. In any case, you didn't get charged $500 up front the feature. That's not a bad deal.In my case, let's say VW offers an over the air chip reflash that gives me another 25 hp. The total price of the upgrade is $1,000 (which is what a reflash would cost you in the aftermarket). If they offered me a one time monthly subscription for $50 to try it out, I'd take it. In other words, maybe the news isn't all bad.
  • 2ACL A good car, but - at least in this configuration -not one that should command a premium. Its qualities just aren't as enduring as those of Honda's contemporary sports cars. For better or worse, this is a formula they remain able to replicate.
  • Jalop1991 I just read that Tesla's profits are WAY down "as the electric vehicle company has faced both more EV competition from established automakers and a slowing of overall EV sales growth." This Cadillac wouldn't help Tesla at all, but the slowing market of EV sales overall means this should be a halo/boutique car. Regardless, yes, they should make it.
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