Nissan’s long-serving Leaf electric car has been updated, with first Australian arrivals due this year – but for better or worse, the updates are only skin deep.
An updated 2022 Nissan Leaf electric hatchback has been revealed for Europe, ahead of first Australian showroom arrivals in the second half of 2022.
Four and a half years after its global unveiling – and nearly three years since arriving in Australia – Nissan has treated its second-generation Leaf electric car to what is likely to serve as its mid-life facelift, with a series of exterior changes.
However, the updates do not stretch beyond revised colour and trim options, new wheel designs and a ‘black pack’ – with no alterations made to the Leaf’s bumpers or sheetmetal, as seen in facelifts for most other vehicles.
The Leaf’s front ‘grille’ panel is now available in black – seemingly as part of a ‘black pack’ covering the mirror caps and lower air intakes – joining new 16-inch and 17-inch alloy wheel designs, and the new Nissan emblem affixed on the wheels, front fascia and tailgate.
Six one-tone and five two-tone exterior colours are joined by Universal Blue and Magnetic Blue, borrowed from the Qashqai small SUV and Ariya electric mid-size SUV.
No changes have been made inside the Leaf, where it retains a 7.0-inch instrument display, as well as an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – though the latter appears to gain support for the Amazon Alexa voice assistant.
In Europe, the current model’s ProPilot semi-autonomous driving system carries over, capable of accelerating, braking and centring the vehicle within its lane – though it remains to be seen if this system reaches Australia, as it has been available since the Leaf’s mid-2019 launch.
Locally-delivered vehicles have instead featured a less advanced lane-keep assist system, which uses the brakes to prevent the car from departing its lane, rather than the steering – plus adaptive cruise control (without stop and go functionality), autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Under the skin, the Leaf retains the choice of a 40kWh lithium-ion battery and 110kW/320Nm electric motor in entry-level variants, upgraded to a 62kWh battery and 160kW/340Nm electric motor in the e+ variant – both batteries using passive (air) cooling, rather than the liquid cooling seen in most other electric cars.
Nissan claims driving range figures according to European WLTP testing of 270km for the 40kWh variant, increasing to 385km for the latter – with 0-100km/h times of 7.9 and 6.9 seconds respectively.
The e+ variant is capable of 100kW DC fast charging – good for a claimed 20 to 80 per cent recharge in 40 minutes – while the 40kWh model’s 50kW DC capability completes the same feat in one hour. It’s worth noting the Leaf uses a CHAdeMO fast charging plug, rather than a more common CCS socket.
The 2022 Nissan Leaf update is due on sale in Europe in April, ahead of first Australian deliveries in the second half of 2022. Local pricing and specifications will be announced closer to launch.