Toyota’s Prius may be the world’s most notable hybrid and Tesla’s Model 3 currently hottest on the news cycle, but with nearly 300,000 units delivered, Nissan’s Leaf is easily the world’s bestselling…

All new 2018 Nissan Leaf balances more EV range with affordable pricing

2018 Nissan Leaf
The stylish new 2018 Leaf will arrive in Canada early next year. (Photo: Nissan)

Toyota’s Prius may be the world’s most notable hybrid and Tesla’s Model 3 currently hottest on the news cycle, but with nearly 300,000 units delivered, Nissan’s Leaf is easily the world’s bestselling electric car.

This is especially important considering most global jurisdictions are now eschewing internal combustion engines, especially diesels, and embracing electric vehicles. To be clear, EV adoption remains miniscule at far less than a single percent of global production, and the Leaf hasn’t been able to hold onto the top EV sales position in North American markets, but it can honestly claim first mass production status as part of its legacy, and enjoys a multitude of Leaf loyalists to draw upon when the completely redesigned model launches worldwide next year.

2018 Nissan Leaf
The new Leaf is about the same size as the old one, with similar interior room. (Photo: Nissan)

The 2018 Nissan Leaf says goodbye to the original car’s funky styling and instead adopts a more mainstream approach that should appeal to a larger portion of the market. This tact only makes sense being that EVs appear to be entering a new phase of acceptability, even if their upcoming popularity is being forced upon many consumers through government mandate. China and some other markets aside, we the people vote such governments into power, so depending on ones point of view we can either take credit or accept blame for the new green agenda, and there are certainly worse ways to spend taxpayer money than on electric car rebates, a comprehensive supercharging infrastructure, massive hydroelectric dams, fields of solar panels, new wind and tidal farms, etcetera to create the required power.

2018 Nissan Leaf
The new Leaf offers a dramatically styled rear end design. (Photo: Nissan)

Most should like the 2018 Leaf’s sporty hatchback lines, with highlights being a frontal design incorporating Nissan’s now trademark V-motion grille, a floating rear D-pillar inspired by the brand’s Maxima flagship and Murano mid-size SUV (which bears a resemblance to a similar design used for BMW’s i3), and unique taillights that look like they could’ve been pulled from a slightly softened next-generation Juke (which will never be). Where the outgoing Leaf was upright, roundish and somewhat unusual in shape, the new model appears long, low, lean and much more in keeping with Nissan’s overall brand identity. The new car’s profile is not only aesthetically appealing, but no doubt its 0.28-coefficient of drag gave Nissan’s aerodynamicists reason to smile too.

2018 Nissan Leaf
The Leaf continues to provide a refuelling door up front where it’s easily accessible. (Photo: Nissan)

The original Leaf made news for its 160-kilometre range when introduced in 2010, and while the outgoing 2017 model is now capable of 172 kilometres from a single charge, even that improved number has been overshadowed by newer entries like Chevy’s Bolt that can achieve 383 kilometres between charges, and the Tesla Model 3, which, depending on trim, will reportedly allow for 350 to 540 kilometres of ultimate range when it arrives here sometime next year.

What about the new 2018 Leaf? The U.S. EPA is estimating the equivalent of 241 kilometers of range, which isn’t as headline grabbing as the original for its time or its most formidable peers now, but with an MSRP of $35,998 plus freight and fees the Leaf makes up for that with much lower pricing than both the $43,195 Bolt and $45k-plus Tesla 3.

2018 Nissan Leaf
Nissan promises greater interior refinement thanks to higher-grade materials. (Photo: Nissan)

The Leaf also provides more useable passenger and cargo space than either, the former remaining “essentially unchanged” and therefore comfortable for “five people”, stated Nissan in a press release, and the latter measuring 668 litres (23.6 cubic feet).

The Leaf’s toughest competitor may be Volkswagen’s new $35,995 e-Golf, although its 201-kilometre range is less appealing unless compared to BMW’s $50,965 i3 that can only manage 183 kilometres per charge, or for that matter Ford’s $31,498 Focus Electric with just 172 kilometres of total range at its disposal, or Kia’s $35,395 Soul EV that can only muster 150 kilometres. At least the blue oval badged hatchback delivers good pragmatic value and the red and white oval crossover (or in the case black) offers fun-loving styling and even more practicality, but sales of the blue and white roundel badged i Series cars have driven off the proverbial cliff in recent years. Speaking of living life on the edge, there’s always the $27,998 Mitsubishi i-MiEV with a range of 160 kilometres.

2018 Nissan Leaf
A standard 7.0-inch colour TFT display replaces traditional analogue gauges. (Photo: Nissan)

At least we need to give Mitsubishi credit for having the courage to publish its i-MiEV sales numbers, these resulting in 61 down Canadian roads as of August 31, 2017 and 86 last year, whereas Ford, Kia and Volkswagen hide their EV deliveries behind total Focus, Soul and Golf nameplate volume respectively. I’m sure if their electrics were outselling the Bolt or Leaf we’d hear about it, so for now we will report the Bolt as first amongst pure electrics with 1,065 deliveries during the same eight months of 2017, and the Leaf a very close second with 909. Contemplate for a moment, the Bolt is a brand new car introduced for the 2017 model year, and in comparison today’s Leaf has only been mildly updated over its seven-year lifecycle. It’s easy to guess which car may soon assume the lead.

2018 Nissan Leaf
A 7.0-inch touchscreen display fills the centre stack of all trims. (Photo: Nissan)

In the 2018 Leaf’s corner is a new 40-kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery, which is a gain of 10 kWh over the outgoing version, but thanks to 67-percent greater density it occupies the same physical space within a vehicle that’s about the same size as the outgoing model. Also notable, despite benefiting from 25 percent more capacity the battery only takes 10 minutes longer to replenish from “alert” mode to 80-percent when hooked up to a quick charger, the total process now requiring 40 minutes. Those charging from home or another conventional 120-volt socket will need 16 hours to replenish from totally empty to completely full, whereas a 240-volt Level2 charger requires eight hours. Of note, Nissan Canada will provide a Level 1/Level 2 (120v/240v) charging cable as standard equipment.

2018 Nissan Leaf
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is part of the package when upgraded with navigation. (Photo: Nissan)

Motive power comes from a new 110-kW AC synchronous motor making 147 horsepower from 3,283 to 9,795 rpm and 236 lb-ft of torque from zero to 3,283 rpm. That’s a gain of 107 horsepower and 187 lb-ft of torque over the old motor, by the way, so the new Leaf, which at 1,557 to 1,591 kilograms (3,433 to 3,508 lbs) depending on trim is actually lighter than the 1,624-kg (3,580-lb) Bolt and 1,610- to 1,723-kg (3,550- to 3,800-lb) Model 3, should scoot along quickly.

As good as all this sounds, Nissan has already announced a more potent 60-kWh Leaf for next year, but hasn’t estimated its range and also isn’t saying whether it will be an option, a la Tesla, or the new standard power unit.

2018 Nissan Leaf
The toggle switch at centre is for engaging the new e-Pedal. (Photo: Nissan)

Right from day one the new Leaf will include a standard “e-Pedal” that provides both traditional acceleration and automatic braking. In other words, you’ll be able to ease into the pedal (or put your foot to the floor) to get going and then simply let go to slow down and eventually come to a stop, the system said to be good for 90-percent of driving requirements, with the traditional brakes only needed for the other 10 percent. That won’t only reduce driver effort, but it should minimize brake wear as well. If you’d rather apply more personal control you can defeat the e-Pedal by pressing a button.

2018 Nissan Leaf
Top-tier SL trim will provide a luxurious interior. (Photo: Nissan)

Nissan’s ProPilot Assist single-lane driving assistance technology will make its North American debut in the new Leaf too, the system offering a higher level of semi-autonomous driving than previously available. Along with dynamic cruise control at speeds ranging from 29 and 100 km/h, ProPilot Assist will automatically steer and even centre the car within its lane, while it will also automatically brake all the way down to a full stop when prompted by forward traffic. Additionally, it holds the car in place without requiring the driver to press the brake pedal when stopped, and then restarts with the flow of traffic, as long as first prompted by the driver via a switch or lightly pressing the throttle. Nissan has purposely incorporated such driver involvement for safety’s sake, but the technology for full autonomous driving is embedded within.

2018 Nissan Leaf
Blue is the Leaf’s recurring interior theme, this SL model featuring solid and perforated leather upholstery with rich microsuede detailing. (Photo: Nissan)

Additional advanced safety systems available with the new Leaf will include Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention, and an Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection.

Like most other Nissan products, the 2018 Leaf will be available in three trim levels including S, SV and SL, all of which are said to feature higher-grade cabins with better materials quality than the outgoing model. In the same aforementioned press release the brand promised its “signature vibrant blue stitching” for the seats, door trim, armrests and steering wheel, the latter wrapped in “genuine leather”, plus more blue used for the illuminated ignition button and shift knob finisher, while matte chrome along with matte and glossy black surfacing treatments will be added elsewhere.

2018 Nissan Leaf
The new Leaf will continue to provide spacious seating for five and a lot of cargo capacity. (Photo: Nissan)

Instead of tradition analogue gauges the 2018 Leaf will get a 7.0-inch colour TFT primary cluster overtop the steering wheel, while Nissan will replace the outgoing model’s 5.0-inch infotainment display and dated graphics with a bright, colourful, contrast-rich centre dash-mounted 7.0-inch touchscreen across the line. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity will be on the menu, albeit only when the system is upgraded to also include navigation.

2018 Nissan Leaf
Available in three trim levels, there will be a 2018 Leaf for most peoples’ budgets. (Photo: Nissan)

Nissan has not announced the availability of the unique Leaf-to-Home power system available in other markets, however, which reportedly lets you use the car’s stored energy to power your home, cabin, trailer, or most anything else. Leaf-to-Home would be an ideal backup battery for an emergency outage, but nonetheless it likely isn’t part of the Leaf’s Canadian specification.

The new 2018 Nissan Leaf went on sale in Japan on October 2, and is forecast to arrive in Europe and North American markets in early 2018. It will be sold into more than 60 global markets when fully available, which should bode well for maintaining its leading EV sales status for the foreseeable future.

This is no ordinary subcompact SUV. In fact, we’re feeling ultra bullish about the aggressively priced, value-packed Nissan Qashqai. Will it soon be a bestseller? Check out our review and decide for…

2017 Nissan Qashqai SL AWD Platinum Road Test

Let me stick my neck out and make a prediction. Nissan's new Qashqai will consistently be the best-selling subcompact SUV per month before this year comes to an end, and when next year wraps up it'll be number one in the class. I know that's a bold forecast and my credibility is at risk, but at nearly 20 years in this business I'm getting better at choosing winners.

Here's why I think so. First, Nissan's SUV lineup is on a roll. From the Armada, Murano and Pathfinder all the way down to the Rogue, sales are strong and in most cases gaining on competitors. Next and most importantly, the Qashqai targets the core crossover SUV market where most people shop. What do I mean? It looks good, not weird. It's sized perfectly, not too big and not too small. And it's priced right.

At just $19,998 the new Qashqai is one of Canada's lowest priced SUVs. Just four competitors start below $20k, although the $19,998 Mitsubishi RVR, $19,995 Chevrolet Trax, and $19,995 Mazda CX-3 are getting Read Full Story
Nissan’s pint-sized Micra has long been one of our favourite entry-level cars, especially when loaded up in SR trim. That’s how we tested today’s review model, complete with aero styling upgrades…

2017 Nissan Micra SR Road Test

Just in case you're not already aware, there's no better new car for your money than the Nissan Micra. For just $9,988 plus freight and fees, which makes it the least expensive new car in Canada, the 2017 Micra represents the best value in the entire auto industry.

What's more, it's so much fun to drive that Nissan Canada developed a spec racing series dubbed Nissan Micra Cup to tout its performance prowess, a smart way to change common perceptions about life with an entry-level sub-subcompact economy car.

In case you're wondering, the Micra Cup racing-spec car is no more formidable off the line than the just noted stock machine, its DOHC, 16-valve, 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine providing an identical 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels, which is sports car territory when factoring in the model's scant 1,044-kilo (2,302-lb) curb weight.

To put that last claim into perspective, the pre-owned 1985 Toyota MR2 mid-engine sports car that I Read Full Story
Heartbreaking news of children and animals left to suffer in the back seats of cars during sweltering summer heat might eventually become history if Nissan has its way, much thanks to an innovative new…

2018 Pathfinder receives potentially life-saving Rear Door Alert

2018 Nissan Pathfinder Rear Door Alert
Did you leave something or someone in the back seat of your car when you went into the house or grocery store? (Photo: Nissan)
Heartbreaking news of children and animals left to suffer in the back seats of cars during sweltering summer heat might eventually become history if Nissan has its way, much thanks to an innovative new technology that gently reminds drivers of someone or something that may have been left in the back seat, or if they’re still not paying attention, multiple honks from the horn once out of the car with the door closed. Nissan’s “Rear Door Alert” (RDA), which will be exclusive to all 2018 Pathfinder trims when it debuts this fall, starts monitoring the rear door switches as soon as the SUV is unlocked, and if a back door has been opened and then closed again it banks the “memory” for later when the driver arrives at a destination and shuts off the engine.
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Rear Door Alert
Nissan’s new Rear Door Alert reminds when you might have left a little something or someone in back, potentially saving a life. (Photo: Nissan)
When parking the 2018 Pathfinder, a reminder will pop up on the primary instrument cluster telling the driver not to forget whatever was previously placed in the back seat. If these subtle prompts are ignored, by the SUV’s rear doors not being reopened after the driver’s door has been closed, the Pathfinder’s horn will deliver a series of short, distinctive chirps to get the driver’s attention. “The idea is if you open a rear door, whether to put a child or a package in the rear seat, the vehicle will help alert you when you get to your destination that you may want to check the rear seat,” said Marlene Mendoza, who together with fellow Nissan engineer Elsa Foley came up with the idea. “We’ve built in enough time that you don’t have to rush, but if you don’t open the rear door again when you get out of the vehicle, we want to think for a moment about what you may have put in the back seat.”
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Rear Door Alert
The difference between other systems and new Rear Door Alert, is it both reminds when inside the car and honks if you leave without checking behind. (Photo: Nissan)
In the event you don’t have children, aging parents/grandparents, pets, or anyone/anything else that shouldn’t be left behind, it’s possible to override the RDA completely or merely limit the reminders to the instrument cluster alone. After all, it’s best to keep a low profile if you just went shopping and don’t want to alert any would-be burglars that something valuable is in the back of your vehicle, or simply would rather leave your groceries, briefcase, gym bag or what-have-you in back while doing something else. Then again, even if you’re childless you still might appreciate having the system’s built-in memory ready and waiting as a backup. “We pushed each other along and knew we were on the right track one morning when Marlene discovered she had left a pan of lasagna in the back seat of her car one night after coming home after a long day at the office,” said Foley. “The worst thing was the car smelled for days, but it made me ask myself, “what if that had been something else back there?’”
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Rear Door Alert
For those without small children or grandkids, Nissan provides a way to turn it off. (Photo: Nissan)
The concept of automaker employees turning real-life experiences into potentially lifesaving innovation is certainly refreshing, and something that Nissan is said to foster in its global corporate culture. “There’s a culture of innovation along with the Nissan Intelligent Mobility mission that really encourages employees around the world to seek out new ideas every day,” added Mendoza, who is also a mother of three. “We’re thankful that we were able to use our perspective as moms, and our backgrounds as engineers, to bring forward an idea that is now going into production — providing drivers with a reminder to check their back seats.” While the Rear Door Alert is new to Nissan, General Motors introduced something similar called “Rear Seat Reminder” with the 2017 GMC Acadia last year, and is already rolling out the system on other models this year. This said Nissan’s RDA should be even more effective than GM’s, because the Acadia gives no warning once its driver has left the vehicle.
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Rear Door Alert
Rear Door Alert will be standard in all 2018 Pathfinder trims. (Photo: Nissan)
Concerned citizens can only hope Nissan and GM either license their technologies or other automakers follow suit shortly, because the problem of children and animals dying from heat stroke in the back of hot cars doesn’t seem to be abating, despite the continued news stories surrounding the subject. Back in August of this year, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hosted a public awareness event on the dangers of heat stroke for children left in hot vehicles, stating the number of child heat stroke deaths in the U.S. increased by 63 percent from 2015 to 2016—no similar data was available for Canada. As of July 31, 2017, both NoHeatStroke.org and KidsAndCars.org claimed that 29 children had died from the same problem year-to-date in the U.S., while the average number of children suffering a similar fate has been 37 since specifically recording heat stroke deaths in vehicles began in 1998. What’s more, 54 percent of those children were left behind by caregivers who completely forgot they were there, which makes both General Motors’ and Nissan’s rear seat alert systems all the more critical.
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Rear Door Alert
Rear Door Alert could reduce child heat stroke deaths and injuries significantly. (Photo: Nissan)
“The Rear Door Alert uses a similar honking cue that has been proven successful with Nissan’s Easy Fill Tire Alert,” added Foley, who is also a mother of two children. “By drawing your attention back to the vehicle once you’ve walked away, you are more likely to recheck the back seat than with a visual alert alone.” While the Rear Door Alert will be standard equipment on the 2018 Pathfinder, Nissan plans to add it to other models across its lineup as quickly as possible.
Nissan has given its popular Versa Note a refresh for 2017, changing up its styling and improving its feature set. Today we test it in top-line SL trim, complete with fog lamps, 16-inch alloys, heated…

2017 Nissan Versa Note SL Road Test

Living with an entry-level economy car doesn't have to be a boring or uncomfortable experience, and Nissan's Versa Note is especially good at dealing with the latter issue.

The Japanese brand's second smallest hatchback gets a mid-cycle update for 2017, highlighted by a particularly attractive new "V-Motion" chromed grille design sourced from previously restyled models within Nissan's ever-growing lineup of cars, SUVs and trucks.

Along with the tiny Micra city car, plus the Juke and new Qashqai SUVs, the Versa Note is in charge of attracting newcomers and fixed income earners to the automaker, its very approachable $14,498 base price one of its more agreeable attributes. For that you get a nifty looking little runabout that's better made than many in the subcompact class.

It's motivated by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine producing a rambunctious 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque, yet its claimed fuel economy is even more smile-inducing at 7.5 L/100km in Read Full Story