The Nissan Leaf was the first mass-produced electric car in the world, and it will forever hold that title. But times change, and being first in the electric-car race no longer seems to matter. Like personal electronics, electric cars evolve rapidly and render their predecessors outdated with a quickness.
The 2018 Nissan Leaf is billed as new, but its concept is little changed from before. In some ways, it's the heavy-handed refresh that the car needed about two years ago as competitors such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3 hit the street with more range and a classier feel.
With a 7.0 out of 10 rating on our scale, the 2018 Nissan Leaf bests its direct competitors except for the Chevrolet Bolt EV. But that score doesn't include a safety rating as it hasn't been crash-tested yet, and only takes into account the battery pack that's currently available. Once a few have been smacked into walls and a battery that offers more range arrives, that could swing the score high enough to top the Bolt EV.
MORE: Read our 2018 Nissan Leaf review
I spent a week living with the 2018 Nissan Leaf SL, putting it to work doing everything from taking the kids to summer camp to grocery store runs and everything in between. Here's where it hit, and where it missed:
2018 Nissan Leaf SL
Hit: It looks, dare I say, normal. Hey, the Leaf no longer looks totally weird. The first Leaf's design might as well have come from another planet, but that made it stand out as the world's first mass-market electric car. It made that first impression and, thank heavens, it can now blend. It might as well be a Nissan Sentra hatchback with an electric powertrain and a hint more flourish.
2018 Nissan Leaf SL
Hit: Fantastic one-pedal driving. The 2018 Leaf features what Nissan has dubbed e-pedal, which works like really strong battery regeneration that allows for true one-pedal driving. Let off the pedal and the Leaf will eventually come to a stop on its own. It took me some time to acclimate to it, but it works well.