Nissan unveiled its all-electric new Leaf on Wednesday, and the specs are pretty great: The car offers a 150-mile range and near-autonomous driving capabilities for a starting price of $29,990.
The battery in the new Leaf has been upgraded from 30kWh to 40kWh compared with the previous version of the car, which still isn’t enough to catch up with Tesla’s Model 3 or the Chevy Bolt, which have bigger batteries and offer better range (220 and 238 miles, respectively).
Note that in some markets, Nissan is advertising the Leaf as a 235-mile range car, but that’s not EPA-tested and is likely not indicative of real-world performance.
The Leaf’s new powertrain has 147 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque; more than enough for a hatchback that measures 176.4 inches in length and weighs roughly 3,500 pounds, but again, that’s a lot less power than its chief competitors.
Inside and outside, the Leaf is a compact family car, though the design is a bit sleeker and sportier than that of its predecessor. Nissan points out the car’s V-motion grille (seen on other Nissan cars like the Qashqai, but blueish on the Leaf), the floating roof and the “boomerang” lights, as well as the projector-beam headlights. On the inside, you’ll find a 7-inch touchscreen and a nice digital/analog driver instrument cluster. The design is less futuristic than that of Tesla Model 3 or even the Chevy Bolt, which can be positive or negative, depending on your preferences.
One area in which Leaf seemingly measures up to the Bolt and Model 3 is autonomy. The car comes with Nissan’s ProPilot driver assistance system, which is used in single-lane driving and can keep the same distance from the car in front, keep the car centered in the lane, as well as automatically stop if the car in front stops.
The Leaf also features Nissan’s e-Pedal tech, which lets you accelerate, decelerate, and stop the car by using just the accelerator pedal.
Finally, the ProPilot Park can automatically park the car, taking all control of steering, acceleration, braking and gear selection.
Arguably, Nissan Leaf’s biggest strength is the price. Yes, it’s not as fast and not as rangey as the Model 3 and Chevy Bolt, but it’s significantly cheaper than both (and even $700 cheaper than the previous version of the Leaf).
The Leaf will go on sale in October in Japan and in January 2018 in the U.S. and Europe. The company also plans to launch a more powerful version of the car, with more horsepower and better range, in 2018.