A year without gas: Introducing our long-term 2018 Nissan Leaf

We're spending a year with one of the more compelling EVs to enter the US market in 2018. What's the new Leaf like? Join us as we find out.

Tim Stevens Former editor at large for CNET Cars
Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to video game development to automotive technology.
Tim Stevens
2 min read

For the modern EV buyer, people considering cars like the new 2018 Nissan Leaf, life is fraught with risks and difficult decisions. On the risk side, buyers of any EV today are staring down the barrel of some of the most eye-watering depreciation rates ever seen. And then there's also the nature of buying into a technology that, while solid, many believe will never take off.

On the difficult decision side there's the uncomfortable task of factoring range against price. Few people really worry about how far their gas-powered cars can go because filling stations are so quick and near-ubiquitous. Electric charging opportunities share neither of those attributes.

I can't tell you exactly how much range you need, nor can I divine how much you should spend, but I can say that the new Leaf, with 150 miles of range, is a far more practical option than the first-generation Leaf, which still stands as the best-selling EV on the planet.

As far as cost, it's definitely a more appealing choice than many. Its $36,200 MSRP makes it far cheaper than the (currently) $49,000 and up Tesla Model 3. That the 220-mile range Chevrolet Bolt EV starts at just $400 more and offers 238 miles of range is harder to ignore, but the Leaf has a few notable advantages.

The biggest? Its ProPilot Assist, Nissan's comprehensive safety package that combines things like adaptive cruise and a lane-keep system that's on par with Tesla's infamous Autopilot. As an $650 option, it's far cheaper.

But how good is it in the real world? That's what we aim to find out. We're spending 12 months with the Deep Blue Pearl 2018 Nissan Leaf SL you see above. It has the $650 technology package, of course, plus $190 for splash guards and another $190 for floor mats, and an $885 destination charge, giving it a final price of $38,115. That is, of course, before any state or federal rebates, which here in New York would have sliced $9,500 off.

Not only are we looking forward to seeing how this car performs over the next year, and of course just how realistic that 150-mile range rating actually is, but we're excited to see just how a car like this holds up after 12 months on the market. Is this a rig you can buy with confidence, or will you be stuck with an epic case of EV FOMO a year from now?

Stay tuned as we find out, together.