- Affordable price
- Perky powertrain
- Intuitive touchscreens
- Clean, sporty look
- Spartan base model
- Not at ease on the highway
- Front-wheel drive only
features & specs
The 2022 Nissan Leaf is an affordable and refreshingly straightforward electric car, and it’s become a good value.
What kind of car is the 2022 Nissan Leaf? What does it compare to?
The 2022 Nissan Leaf is one of the most affordable fully electric new cars you can get—especially if you focus on the 149-mile Leaf versus the 215- to 226-mile Leaf Plus. The five-seat hatchback is a rival for the Chevy Bolt EV, Hyundai Kona EV, and Mazda MX-30.
Is the 2022 Nissan Leaf a good car?
The Leaf has a strong feature set and a perfect green score, and the combination helps earn it an impressive 7.3 TCC Rating. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
What’s new for the 2022 Nissan Leaf?
A huge price drop. Base Leaf prices fall more than $4,000 on the base Leaf S, with much of the lineup getting even more of a discount. The level most benefitting from the recalibration is the SV Plus, which gets more than a $5,000 price drop plus the contents of a previous Technology Package now included—including active lane assist, a power driver’s seat, the portable charge cable, and a surround-view camera system. All Leafs once again include the DC fast charging you’ll need for road-trip stops, after Nissan dropped it from base models for some years.
Although the Leaf looked distinctly different than the rest of the Nissan lineup in its original form, the more conventional hatchback look it adopted in its second generation fits right in with other Nissans, especially the brand’s crossovers like the Rogue and Kicks. The cabin is dressed up with materials that are a solid step above economy-car standards, and a set of digital displays and the “Zero Emissions” badge are likely to be the biggest signals that this is Nissan’s electric car.
The Leaf’s CHAdeMO DC fast-charging capability allows it to charge at a wider range of road-trip waypoints, and whether it’s the Leaf with a 149-mile range or a Leaf Plus with up to 226 miles, it can charge to 80% in 40 to 45 minutes.
The Leaf is pretty charming to drive—especially in Leaf Plus form, where it more than makes up for a little extra weight with a motor that makes 214 hp versus the base Leaf’s 147 hp. The combination of strong acceleration and light steering make it fun in the city, but on the highway it’s neither as quick nor as endearing.
The Leaf can technically fit five, but like so many other small hatchbacks, four will be much happier, with plenty of head and leg room. Seat comfort is just acceptable for the occasional longer trip. It’s cargo space that stands out as especially impressive; the Leaf offers 23.6 cubic feet of space with the split rear seat up and 30.0 cubic feet with it folded forward.
Automatic emergency braking is included across the lineup, and the Leaf has earned good crash-test scores in the past, although this year’s are incomplete. SV and SL versions of the Leaf get a ProPilot driver-assistance system that can steer, stop, and start the car in a wide range of driving situations for short periods of time.
How much does the 2022 Nissan Leaf cost?
The base $28,375 Leaf S includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as DC fast-charging. We recommend the $36,375 Leaf SV Plus, which includes navigation, a heated steering wheel, heated mirrors, and many more convenience features—in addition to the much longer range.
Where is the Nissan Leaf made?
2022 Nissan Leaf
What electric car? The Leaf is a sharp-looking hatchback that fits right in with Nissan’s crossovers and sedans.
Is the Nissan Leaf a good-looking car?
We think so, with a few reservations. Clean, simple, and a little bit sporty in some of the details, the current Leaf pairs a conventional hatchback profile with a straightforward cabin layout. After a first look you might not even realize it’s an electric car. With a bonus point for the exterior we give it a 6 here.
The original Leaf’s bigger headlights, more bulbous surfacing, and more prominent charging port signaled more overtly that it was something different. You can still see the original Leaf in the doors, hood contours, and window lines, but oh what a difference detailing can make. With the same deep V-shaped grille as Nissan’s other vehicles, plus the use of blacked-out trim at the front, rear, and roof, the Leaf now appears a conformist at first glance.
The most noteworthy exception is inside, where a mushroom-like shifter sprouts from the center console. With rather plain (and dark) interior materials for most versions of the Leaf, its interior hits all the marks for what it needs to be but not much more—although it’s all well-featured.
2022 Nissan Leaf
The Leaf isn’t nimble, but it’s quick in a way that affordable gasoline cars its size typically aren’t.
In terms of performance, there are two different versions: Leaf, and Leaf Plus. The Plus has the longer range and the better performance. But in any of its forms, the Leaf feels perky in a way affordable small cars rarely are, and for that we give the Leaf an extra point for acceleration and a 6 here.
Is the Nissan Leaf 4WD?
No, all Leafs are front-wheel drive.
How fast is the Nissan Leaf?
There are Leaf and Leaf Plus models, and it’s more than a much larger 62-kwh battery pack (versus 40 kwh) that distinguishes the Plus. The base Leaf has an electric motor that develops 147 hp and 187 lb-ft of torque, while the Leaf Plus gains an upgraded setup with 214 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque—and by 0-60 mph times it’s about a second quicker, at less than 7 seconds. Both versions feel quiet and quick at lower city speeds, with enough power to break the front wheels loose even from a rolling start—and a one-pedal drive mode that finesses braking from the motor and brake pads for a consistent feel in stop-and-go—but they feel only adequate by the time they get near American freeway speeds.
Cornering is where the Leaf just doesn’t feel as nimble as the typical small car—because the battery pack makes it hundreds of pounds heavier than if it were gasoline-powered. That said, it feels stable and balanced as it carries its weight low. Leaf Plus models ride slightly higher, and their suspension tuning seems to amplify pavement blemishes, but the driving experience between the two is similar.
2022 Nissan Leaf
Comfort & Quality
The Leaf is quiet inside, with enough space for four adults.
The Leaf has a more spacious interior than you might expect for the exterior, with back-seat space adequate for adults. Cargo space is its forte, and it earns it an extra point, for a 6 here.
This is no luxury car, but the Leaf has a quiet cabin not only at city speeds but also at highway speeds, where road noise in electric vehicles can sometimes become unbearable. Interior materials are better than what you’ll find in Nissan’s other small cars this size, but the surfaces tend to be rather dark.
With the Leaf’s last redesign it got new front seats with better bolstering and padding, although they still lack shoulder-level support. Taller drivers might also note that the Leaf’s steering wheel doesn’t adjust telescopically.
By the numbers, the Leaf offers 33.5 inches of rear leg room, which is unremarkable. Yet with plenty of head room, the back perches feel far more usable for adults than in other small cars. For getting across town, 6-footers can sit behind 6-footers. Just don’t try to fit a third adult in the middle.
Behind the rear seat the Leaf has 23.6 cubic feet of cargo space. It’s a large, flat space, and enough for fitting a folded stroller or walker, or several suitcases. Fold that bench forward and it’s good for 30 cubic feet.
2022 Nissan Leaf
Crash tests aren’t complete, but the Nissan Leaf’s already a winner.
How safe is the Nissan Leaf?
The 2022 Leaf is missing some pieces for a complete safety story. But with a five-star overall rating from the federal government—blemished only by a four-star frontal rating—combined with standard automatic emergency braking and a comprehensive set of driver-assist features, it adds up to an 8.
Other standard safety gear includes blind-spot monitors and active lane control. Leaf SV and SL cars get adaptive cruise control and Nissan ProPilot Assist, which helps stop, start, and steer the Leaf in stop-and-go traffic and on long drives. It’s a helpful system but it beeps incessantly when it detects lane changes and cars ahead in the lane.
The IIHS hasn’t reported a full set of crash-test scores for the Leaf since it was last refreshed, for 2018, and it hasn’t tested the Leaf’s automatic emergency braking system. While it didn’t crash-test the latest Leaf, it cited Nissan’s own frontal and side tests as “Good.” The IIHS has also notes that after adjustment for age and gender the Leaf has one of the lowest fatality rates among small cars.
2022 Nissan Leaf
Want an EV on a budget? With lowered prices, the base Leaf is a great value.
Sharp touchscreens, all the expected connectivity pieces, and all the active-safety basics are covered here; and the base features list is impressive especially for a sub-$30,000 vehicle, let alone a fully electric one. With those positives—and a bonus point for all-out value—but with a warranty that’s just average, we give it an 8 here.
Which Nissan Leaf should I buy?
The base $28,375 Leaf S has 16-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Nissan also offers a smartphone-based navigation feature that syncs up with charging stops, and DC fast-charging is now included. It’s covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty and an 8-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.
The 2022 Leaf lineup is offered in S and SV versions, while the Leaf Plus is offered in S, SV, and SL versions.
The Leaf Plus starts at $33,375 for the S version, making the price premium for stepping up to the larger 62-kwh pack and 226-mile range $5,000.
We recommend going one of two ways with the Leaf. Either get the base S model, which is just over $20,000 if you consider the $7,500 EV tax credit, or go for the well equipped $36,375 Leaf SV Plus, which includes navigation, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel, heated mirrors, fog lamps, and now Nissan’s Pro Pilot, a lane-assist system for highway cruising that may help with moments of distraction. The options list has been cut down to premium paint, a cargo cover, and SV Tech Package extras with the smaller battery pack.
How much is a fully loaded Nissan Leaf?
That’s the $38,375 Leaf Plus SL, which gets leather upholstery and Bose premium audio, in addition to all the rest. We won’t call you out if you want leather, but in this case we do like the cloth upholstery better. And at that price, there are other rivals to consider.
2022 Nissan Leaf
The Leaf is a model for simplicity—and energy efficiency.
The Leaf is one of the greenest new-vehicle choices. Since it’s an electric car topping 200 miles of range in its popular Plus version, we give it a 10 here.
The base Leaf is rated at 149 miles of range. In Plus spec, it’s good for 215 or 226 miles of all-electric driving, depending on wheel size and added equipment that saps range.
You’ll do better in a number of other models like the Tesla Model 3, Ford Mustang Mach-E, or Kia Niro EV. But all of those models have a significantly higher price.
Keep in mind that very cold weather is anathema to the Leaf’s range and can cut those EPA ratings by another 10% or more. So plan ahead for your winter commute.
The Leaf Plus can charge in under 12 hours on a Level 2 240-volt home charger, with the base Leaf in less than that. The Leaf can accommodate occasional highway trips, but since its battery is air-cooled it isn’t quite as flexible about frequent fast-charging; both models can get to 80% on a CHAdeMO fast charger within 45 minutes.