The new Leaf Nismo is finally here

Published: 20 July 2018

► Replacing hugely popular original Leaf
► New Nismo edition
► Japan only right now

A new Leaf Nismo edition is finally happening, but Nissan will only be selling it in Japan. With that out the way, let’s get on to the details of Nissan’s new hot EV.  The new Nismo starts with the current Leaf as a base, and adds the usual Nismo design features inside and out, but there’s also some interesting mechanical alterations under the surface, too.

Nissan says the Nismo Leaf features a custom ECU for better acceleration and grippy Continental ContiSportContact tyres to make use of that extra shove. The new car also gets a tweaked, stiffened suspension with custom shock absorbers and Nissan has reworked the power steering, ABS and TC for a sportier feel.

Outside you’ll find Nismo-style wings to increase downforce – and new aluminium wheels that promise to reduce drag.

Inside the Leaf has been fully Nismo’d, so it’s now a mixture of Alcantara, black, red and carbon-fibre effect finishes. And you’ll be able to steer the Leaf with a custom Alcantara wrapped three-spoke wheel, complete with red stitching and a gun metal chrome trim.

And crucially, how fast is it compared to the standard Leaf? Nissan haven’t released performance figures for the hot Leaf yet, but we’ll update this article when we know more.

The Leaf Nismo will be on sale in Japan from the end of the month, and the price is TBC.

New 2018 Nissan Leaf: Everything you need to know

Nissan’s new-generation Leaf electric car looks decidedly un-weird, promises a massive range boost compared to before and is packed to the rafters with autonomous and semi-autonomous tech.

Nissan is promising that the new Leaf is at the cutting edge of electric car technology. The second-gen car has a huge weight on its shoulders after the huge success of its predecessor. Leaf 1.0 quickly became the world’s best-selling electric car, with more than 283,000 punters buying one and enjoying some whizzy, emission-free motoring.

More than 20,000 Leafs have found UK homes, and Nissan has built up valuable experience in battery reliability and customer usage, and created a community of EVangelists, it claims. Nissan also says 10,000 pre-orders for the new Leaf have already come from across Europe, so it looks like the next EV will be just as successful. 

New Nissan Leaf: price

The new Leaf starts at a reasonable £21,990 – when you take into account the £4500 government grant.

The entry-level Visia kicks off the range at just under £22,000, but you’ll need to stump up £24,290 for Acenta trim, £25,990 for the N-Connecta specced EV, and from £27,490 for the range-topping Tekna Leaf.

Nissan is also offering a new Zero trim which, at £26,940, sits between the N-Connecta and Tekna trim levels. Limited to just 1500 models, Nissan says the Zero comes with a heated steering wheel, 7-inch infotainment touchscreen and parking assistance systems. It’ll also run on stylish 17-inch alloy wheels.

Nissan Leaf 2018 rear qyarter

New Nissan Leaf: design

Doesn’t it just. Nissan says the new shape was heavily inspired by the autonomous IDS concept. We’re inclined to agree, but think that it looks like the IDS has been left in a sauna to melt. Nissan’s ubiquitous ‘V-motion’ grill is slapped on the front, there’s a floating roof and boomerang rear lights. Note the touches of blue in the grille and bumper detailing, too.

The aerodynamic overhaul helps keep the Leaf’s EV range up at cruising speeds, as drag has been reduced by 4% compared with its predecessor and the centre of gravity is lower, too.

To help bring a bit of visual zest, there are white, yellow, red and blue exterior colours that can be paired with two-tone roof options and a new Spring Light Green colour exclusive to the Leaf.

So what’s the new Leaf’s range like?

One of the biggest headlines is the new Leaf’s possible 235 mile range. Even with the base Leaf’s EV range hitting a claimed 155 miles when the 30kWh model went on sale early in 2016, this new version has smashed that (admittedly still claimed) figure out of the park.

Leaf 2.0 uses a 40kWh lithium ion battery cells that occupy the same space in the floorpan, connected to a motor with a 110kw maximum output. That’s equivalent to around 148bhp and 236lb ft of torque, with the EV hatch running out of puff at 90mph.

New Nissan Leaf: autonomous features

The new Leaf has become a hub for a lot of Nissan’s latest ProPilot autonomous tech, which means you can set the car’s cruising speed and it will follow the car in front, steer to keep you in lane or even brake to a complete stop of its own accord.

ProPilot Park uses four HD cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors to guide itself into parallel, perpendicular or slanted bays, driving forwards or reversing.

Nissan Leaf 2018 drive select

Semi-autonomous stuff isn’t the only tech on board. Nissan makes a lot of noise about the new Leaf’s e-pedal, which aims to bring new capabilities to an EV’s one-pedal driving style. Nissan says that the accelerator is more responsive than the electric car norm, precisely moderating speed according to driver pressure and bringing the car to a halt if you lift off entirely.

It will automatically activate a hold function on hills. Nissan claims the e-Pedal will be able to cover 90% of a driver’s needs – although the friction brakes back-up is present and correct.

NissanConnect pairs your car’s info to your phone so you can check its status, let you know of nearby charging stations and pre-heat or cool the car before you hop in.

New Nissan Leaf: interior

Like the exterior, the short answer is no. Save for the dinky drive selector on the centre console, the cockpit could be mistaken for the latest Micra’s or the recently facelifted Qashqai’s. It’s a marked shift towards sensibility and normality, which we assume is part of Nissan’s plan to make its electric car feel more accessible to more people.

Nissan Leaf 2018 interior

Along with all of the autonomous kit, there’s the usual selection of safety gear, a seven-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay. Boot space has increased to 435 litres – 105 litres more than its predecessor.

A GT Leaf on the way?

Today’s pricing information follows another announcement about a new GT version of the Nissan Leaf. Over the festive period, Nissan unveiled a picture of a more aggressive-looking version of its electric car, and said it’d be shown at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January 2018. The GT model would be the second derivative of the new Leaf, after a Nismo version – though it remains to be seen if it’ll actually go into production.

New Nissan Leaf: when can I buy it?

From January this year. The “Zero” launch edition will be available for a limited time, while the more powerful model will arrive by the end of 2018.

Check out all of our Nissan reviews here