2019 NISSAN LEAF PLUS FIRST DRIVE: NISSAN’S EV HATCH NOW GOES 362 Kilometres
A 62-kWh battery means the Leaf keeps going and going and going …
Affordable electric vehicles in Australia are few and far between. The Hyundai Ioniq Electric starts off at $44,490 (plus on roads and dealer delivery) and then jumps to $68700 for the BMW i3. Certainly far from affordable, but Nissan intends to enter this space later in 2019 with the Leaf.
The major challenge for Hyundai and Nissan will be the launch of the Tesla 3 later in the year. A $35,000 price tag in the USA will arguably be $52,500 plus handling and registration costs, So expect around $60k for the base model drive away and a lot more for the higher spec, longer range models
My colleagues from Autoweek had the opportunity recently to drive the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus and seem to be impressed. Here’s the story.
The Nissan Leaf is the best-selling electric car model in the history of the world. With a bigger battery and extended range, the new 2019 Leaf PLUS makes the best-seller even better.
Since it came on the market in December 2010, Nissan has placed over 380,000 Leafs in garages and carports around the world. It’s true that Tesla has sold more total cars, but that’s across four model lines. Back in 2010, it was just the Leaf and the Lotus-based Tesla roadster. Now there are 18 electric car types in the U.S. market alone, with many more on their way. But the staunch Leaf has been plugging along steadfastly the whole time.
That very first Leaf had to make do with a 24-kWh battery and a range of 73 miles, though at the time there was “a range of ranges.” That figure was soon bumped up to 30 kWh and 100 miles. Then the second-gen Leaf debuted a year ago with a battery pack of 40 kWh and a range of 150 miles. That 150-mile range we here at Autoweek have verified over and over again during our tenure in a long-term 2018 Leaf. For us, 150 miles of range meets all our needs, including regular trips from LA to San Diego, LA to Palm Springs and LA to Santa Barbara (with overnight plug-ins in those cities to get back).
The first Leaf got less than 100 miles of range. The current Leaf gets 150. Today at CES, Nissan unveiled a 226-mile Leaf called the “e+.”
Now the latest Leaf, dubbed Leaf PLUS, eclipses those ranges with a whopping 62-kWh lithium-ion battery good for an EPA range of 226 miles. That’s not only a 51 percent increase in range but a 45 percent (relatively huge) increase in power output from 147 hp to 214 hp. Torque is rated at a stout 250 lb-ft. Give credit for the increases to a more efficient battery that takes up almost the same space as before. The added power drops a full second off the Leaf’s 0-60 time, hitting 60 in under seven seconds now. Nissan says passing from 50 to 70 mph will take place 13 percent quicker, too. There’s also a faster 70-kW DC charger (100-kW peak) that means the new, larger battery will charge in the same amount of time as the current pack. If you drained the whole thing, it’d be full again in 11.5 hours at a 240-volt Level 2 charger.
The battery pack is also the main culprit in raising the Leaf PLUS’ curb weight by an average of 290 pounds, depending on the model. The base S tips the scales at 3,780 pounds, and the more loaded SL weighs 3,853 pounds. But, Nissan says, the centre of gravity is then lowered by just over an inch. That makes it road-hugging weight!
Nissan’s in-house tuning group, Nismo, added some spice to the all-electric Leaf. Aptly called the Nissan Leaf Nismo, the latest addition to Nissan’s electric lineup receives …
Nissan let me spend a day in one of the new Leafs and I must say you can tell the differences in the new model. The acceleration off the line is quicker, but how often do Leaf owners drag race? The 215/50R17 Michelin Energy Saver tires sound quieter — indeed the whole rig seems quieter than our long-term 2018 model Leaf, though that might be because the 2019 is a new car. I didn’t go a full 226 miles on this day’s drive, but I did put in over 100 miles.
You also get all the cool tech from the regular Leaf. ProPILOT Assist will drive the car for you, as long as you’re on a highway and you’re holding onto the wheel. An improved ePedal will slow and stop your Leaf using perfectly parsed regenerative braking, one of my favorite features on the long-term 2018 Leaf. There’s a larger, thin-film transistor 8-inch display with updated navigation that features smart phone features like swiping, scrolling and tapping. And there’s the usual phalanx of safety features like intelligent lane intervention, lane departure warning, intelligent emergency braking, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and intelligent around view monitor with moving object detection.
Outside, the differences with a PLUS are minor and could easily be missed, in case you’re hoping for the prestige of a newer, more expensive car. There are some blue highlights around the outside and the rear end shows the model name: S PLUS, SV PLUS or SL PLUS. Take your pick. Long-term 2018 Nissan Leaf: Discovering the possibilities and limitations.
They say admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. So here goes: Despite today’s high-tech, energy-dense electric cars, I still have range anxiety. I blame a bad experience …
The biggest problem may be the increased competition out there. While the Leaf had the whole thing to itself in 2010, it now faces competitors that offer 200-plus miles of range like the Chevy Bolt, Hyundai Kona EV and even the Tesla Model 3. How well it will do depends largely on price, and Nissan isn’t releasing prices yet. The car goes on sale this month, so the MSRP should be out soon. We’d guesstimate they’d be straddling the $40,000 mark before any government rebates. But the Leaf is still one of the best buys out there and one of the most practical electric cars you can buy. More mileage just helps it maintain its market leadership.
I’ve spent the last forty-one years immersed in the automotive industry from salesman to the owner of a 7 brand multi-franchise dealership. I know cars.
If you’re hunting around for a great price on your next new car, you should call me, the auto expert, from Car Business.
My company, a Brisbane Car Broker, Car Buyers Agent or Car Buyers Advocate based on the north side of Brisbane, will return your inquiry within 24 hours and make the process of buying a new car easy and stress-free.
Are you tired of salesperson tricks? I protect you from the pressure exerted by car dealer’s salespeople. There isn’t any obligation – just a pretty significant saving.
You’re where? Seriously, my services are available for you in any Australian state and territory: from Darwin to Hobart, Cairns to Perth. Car Broker Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, and Darwin – I’m available when you need me to be.
Whether you’re a retail customer, a small company or a large national fleet, I’ll go to work and get that price down. Lower new car prices are my goal. So you’ll get the best prices from me rather than hoping you can do it by yourself.
If I can’t get you the best new car price, better than you can get yourself from a car dealer, I won’t charge you any fee. No Saving, No Fee. – that’s what you should expect from a car buying expert.
Car Business WILL save you money on your next new car purchase – guaranteed
Australian Road Safety FoundationThe Australian Road Safety Foundation is a not-for-profit organization whose charter is to reduce serious accidents on our roads through training and education.
Car Business donates to the ARSF for every car we sell. If you’d like to support this worthwhile foundation, donate to the cause, become a member today or just buy your next new car from Car Business.
People Also Ask
Car Buyers always seem to need answers on a vast number of topics about their cars. There are a few questions that I seem to be asked regularly, so to save you a phone call, make sure you check out our People Also Ask questions below. If your answer is not listed, I’m more than happy for you to call. My number is 0418 748 498 or you can email it to [email protected] Free advice – no obligation – how can you go wrong?
Q: Why Should I deal with a Car Broker rather than just going to a dealer?
A: It’s the goal and actually the job of a car salesperson to make as much money for his dealership as he possibly can. And that applies to the car, finance (finance and insurance), and aftermarket sales (tint, paint, interior, rust).
It’s the role of a car broker or car buyer’s agent to buy the same car at the lowest possible price. Your broker will get prices from at least 5 dealers or more, get independent finance and insurance quotes and then only recommend the car protection you actually need rather than the products the dealer wants to sell you. Dealers, on average, make around $3800 on a car sale. An astute broker will get that margin down to around $1800, saving you about $2000 on your vehicle purchase
Q: Should I take Finance and Insurance through a car dealer?
A: Generally no. An average car dealer relies on the car buyer to be exhausted after the trauma and stress of actually buying a car. They depend on their finance manager to make an average profit of $1100 for EVERY car buyer coming into their dealership. The income per finance contract rests around $3000 per contract. In recent times, the ACCC (Australian Consumer and Competition Commission) has looked closely at the way that finance companies and their dealers sell to consumers. Recently, on a voluntary basis, finance companies have reduced the flex rate (the maximum rate allowed to be charged over the base rate for particular consumers) to 4%, down from 8%.
There is still need to be wary of some of the non-standard lenders. For those in our community who have fallen on hard times, have bad credit or are on Centrelink benefits, some lenders are still allowed to charge exorbitant interest rates, upwards of 25%.
Q: It’s a fact that dealers, forced by their manufacturers charge very high prices for genuine spare parts. Recently I needed to purchase a set of head bolts for a 2008 Alfa Romeo Sedan. Price quoted by my local dealer was $294. I picked them up from the UK for $115 including freight to Australia. I expect to receive them in the same time as the local dealer would take to get them from Melbourne.
A: It’s not the dealer’s fault on this occasion. Typically a dealer makes around 20% profit on genuine spare parts sales. It’s the manufacturer/Importer who is charged prices higher than dealers in overseas markets can buy at. Shop around. To determine whether you can buy the part you need, you’ll first need the part number. Get your VIN, ring the local dealer and ask for the part number. They may oblige and if they do, just search on the net through Google. You’ll be amazed. There’ll even be local suppliers who are able to provide a genuine part for you at around overseas prices. For Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Isuzu Ute and Volkswagen, visit my site www.genuinespares.com.au
Q: If you have a larger vehicle, with a lot of glass area, the chances are that you’ll want or need window tinting. At the point of sale, dealers will want to charge you up to $795 to tint the windows of your car. Again, you’ll want to avoid the stress and pressure of negotiating anymore and just sign where you’re asked.
A: Window tinting can be obtained for around $400 through Car Business. My company has arrangements with local tint shops to do just that price – $400. Don’t be overcharged. $400 is the price to pay for the average vehicle
Q: How do I pick the right car for my needs?
A: Typically, car buyers will have a general idea of what sort of car they want to buy. However, in a market like ours with nearly 60 brands and thousands of models, historical ownership doesn’t have to be maintained. Find an honest buyer’s agent and have a chat to them about your requirements. My company, Car Business, offers this service to our customers without any obligation. You can fill out the lifestyle form, by clicking and a representative of Car Business will contact you to discuss your needs. We use the R J Pound Comparative new Vehicle Price Guide to assist buyers to understand the alternatives. It may not be the one you’re thinking about right now.
Q: I need some accessories for my new car, but I’m not sure that I’m getting the best price from the dealer
A: Accessories are another area that dealers make a lot of their profit. Apart from the window tinting, paint and interior protection and rust proofing, a typical salesperson will run through a long list of accessories. Even the manufacturer has copious amounts of accessories in their new car brochure.
Don’t feel obligated to buy any accessories you want through the dealer. I suggest to a lot of my customers to phone the spare parts department of the same dealer and ask for a quote on the accessories they want. You might be surprised at a price. The other way is to search on the internet. There are lots of retailers who buy the same parts you want from overseas suppliers (even ones that supply the manufacturer directly) and will offer them at a substantially better price. All you have to do it fit them up, but generally it’s a pretty easy thing to do for the home handyman
Q: If I sell my car privately will I get a better price?
A: It is sometimes possible to achieve a higher price with a private sale however this reduces significantly if your vehicle is not presented correctly and is no longer under warranty. The private buyer today is looking to receive the same benefits they would by purchasing from a Dealer and expect huge reductions in price if they believe they are disadvantaged. Add to this the cost of preparing your vehicle to the same standards as Motor Dealers. Look at such items as Safety Certificates, Service, Tyres, Windscreen, Chips and Scratches, Detailing, and Advertising along with the need to be accessible and available at all times including weekends when prospective buyers will want to inspect your vehicle. It may not be the wise choice to have people you do not know, coming to your home.
Once the costs and time involved are assessed, most people choose to trade their present vehicle or to use a professional Car Buying Service to ensure they get a good price without the expense or hassle.
Q: Do you allow and/or recommend RACQ Inspections on second-hand cars?
A: Yes, we welcome the RACQ Inspection Process in our business and recognize the need for such an independent examination. Once completed we will discuss the report with you and facilitate any repairs that are deemed necessary. You can arrange for the RACQ to visit our business. We can arrange for them to inspect your choice of vehicle and have them send the report directly to you if you prefer.
Q: Why are dealers so expensive for service in comparison to other service centres?
A: Dealers service and maintain vehicles as set out by the manufacturer’s recommendations to protect your new car warranty. They will generally be willing to match other service providers as long as they are comparing “like for like”.
Your individual circumstances can be taken into account regarding changing some filters and coolants etc. They also have factory trained technicians and have the support of specialized equipment and of course the proper factory support. There are many other reasons such as resale value, and when it comes to trade-in price, car retailers always look at maintained service books and especially if a dealer has serviced them.
On the other hand, if you’re carefully managing your money, we can arrange a log book service at one of our preferred providers.
Do I need to return my vehicle to the selling dealer for service?
The simple answer is NO!
Whilst dealers may suggest or insist that your new car is brought back to their service department, the reality is:
- You can take your car to any of the brand’s service centres for routine or warranty service. Brand X warranty is covered by the manufacturer, not by the dealer. So if there’s a more convenient location to have your car serviced, take it there.
- Dealers may suggest that you have to have your car serviced at the franchised dealer to maintain your warranty. Again that’s a falsehood. You can have your car serviced by any qualified mechanic or technician, provided that they follow the service guidelines for your vehicle as specified by the manufacturer
- They should use as a minimum the oil grade specified by the manufacturer and also parts that are of the same quality standard. You shouldn’t use inferior parts. Whilst I would suggest using the manufacturer’s parts, there are similarly high-quality non-genuine parts available on the market. Things like brake pads, brake rotors, air and oil filters, spark plugs and the like are often cheaper and as good quality as those supplied but the manufacturer
How often should I check my Tyre Pressures?
Personally, I check my tyre pressures monthly. I have a tyre gauge purchased from Repco that I rely on to check the pressures in my tyres. Arguably, it’s probably better to check your tyre pressures every second time that you fill your fuel tank. High volume petrol centres have good quality air pumps and it only takes a few minutes to do that after you’ve got your fill.
What should I do if my car breaks down at night?
Firstly, I’m suggesting that you be in a roadside assistance program such as provided by the RACQ.
If you’ve purchased a new car, you’ll have coverage under your new car warranty. Kia Motors Australia provides 7 years of roadside assistance in coordination with their warranty. Hyundai and Ford have a 5-year program.
Mitsubishi only provides roadside assistance after the first year provided you’re having your services done at one of their dealerships.
If you run out of roadside assistance, best sign up with RACQ or your state motoring body. (NRMA, RACV, etc.) It’s far from sensible to break down on a dark or unit road and then have to do repairs yourself. This is particularly for younger drivers.
A phone call from inside a locked car is preferable to having to find a phone booth or a ‘friendly neighbour’ to call for help
If you’d like to discuss anything to do with purchase, trade-in, private sale, service, warranty issues or just have a conversation about the motor industry in Australia, please give me a call on 0418 748 498 or email to [email protected]