2024 Nissan Leaf SV Plus Review – Likeably Behind the Times


2024 nissan leaf sv plus review likeably behind the times

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.

2024 nissan leaf sv plus review likeably behind the times

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 Nissan utilizes the Leaf’s space well, but the materials look and feel a bit outdated – and the weird shifter is a bit annoying.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.

2024 nissan leaf sv plus review likeably behind the times

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.

2024 nissan leaf sv plus review likeably behind the times

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.

2024 nissan leaf sv plus review likeably behind the times

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.

2024 nissan leaf sv plus review likeably behind the times

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.

2024 nissan leaf sv plus review likeably behind the times

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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