July 17, 2019 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus SL

The Social Butterfly with a sting

Just as our region is catching up to the rest of the world with automotive electrification further supported with the confirmed announcement by Nissan Philippines that our market will definitely be receiving both the standard Leaf and this more powerful extended range Leaf Plus, we took the initiative to test it ahead of schedule. The standard full optioned Leaf SL is already a strong product on its own merits but for car enthusiasts who are making the big transition from higher performance vehicles to fully electric mobility and/or require more range, the Plus model hopes to answer that call.

I would have been already pleased with the big bump in power from 147 hp / 236 lb-ft to 214 hp /250 lb-ft, and range from 240 kilometers (150 miles) to 362 kilometers (226 miles) which translates to an almost 2-second improvement in acceleration from rest to 100 km/h and a general feeling of better power usage throughout with less range anxiety. Yet Nissan did include a bit more additional standard equipment.

Our 2-Tone Pearl White TriCoat test unit was packaged with the more appropriately upscale Light Gray Leather, a higher capacity Quick Charge Port of 100 kW up from 50 kW to accommodate faster commercial charging of 45 minutes from empty to full, the NissanConnect 8″ touch-screen is an inch larger with real-time traffic updates that is still supported by the trick Bose® 7-speaker audio system, the ProPILOT assist for semi-autonomous driving is standard, electric parking brake, adaptive cruise control, and Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection and Intelligent Lane Intervention are also included on top of an already generous list of standard kit.

The only visual differences that the Plus model has over the standard Leaf are a small badge on the rear hatch and the subtle but tasteful blue accents on the lower edges of the bumpers. The e-Pedal was also returned to handle the new found power and weight but because of this the system works much better now, it is much smoother and more potent when required.

Now for a little bad news, the larger battery, added equipment, suspension adjustments and more potent recalibrated electric motors all combined added to a whopping 345 pounds of additional weight. Thankfully Nissan made sure that the upgrades did not alter the interior capacities or weight distribution, in fact the additional thrust did off-set the weight enough that you wouldn’t feel the gain at all. The ride height did increase to accommodate the larger battery by 0.6-inches which actually improves visibility and ride comfort. The only real penalty would be that the standard low-roll resistance 215/50R17 Michelin Energy Saver A/S tires will wear out sooner.

Charge times are still quite lengthy however despite the improvements. Keep in mind that in California where our test unit was reviewed, a full charge of electricity using the standard Level 1 120V charger on a US regular home socket will cost a total of about US$5.75 which is considerably cheaper and less harmful to the environment than covering the same range using fossil fuels. BUT a Level 1 charger will take approximately 45 hours of continuous charging (the equivalent of 8 kilometers or 5 miles per hour)! That time drops to 11.5 hours (up from 8 hours on the standard Leaf) using a Level 2 240V outlet which is our domestic Philippine voltage, with a Level 3 480V public charger the time is 60 minutes instead of 40 minutes in the standard Leaf.

The new Nissan Leaf Plus drives so much like a standard hot hatchback albeit in silence. It is definitely the best of the model range but that extra range also means longer charging times. Which means in time you will adapt accordingly and eventually find that personal sweet spot between charging times and usage much like you would with a smartphone or laptop but with the advantage of lower costs per kilometer and being environmentally responsible.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Permanent-magnet synchronous AC, 62-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 214 hp @ 3282-9795 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 250 lb-ft @ 0-3283 rpm
Transmission 1-Speed Direct Drive

Performance

Top Speed 157 km/h (98 mph) Governed
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 6.6 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) MPGe 114 City & 94 Highway

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) US$ 43,445.00
What's Great The versatile commuter solution that truly drives like a regular full-featured car, strong equipment levels, significantly better 362-kilometer EV range and more oomph across the powerband.
What's Not So Wish it had fully independent rear suspension and available earlier in our market.
C! Editors Rating 10/10
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