The 2013 Nissan Leaf is a 5-passenger, 5-door hatchback offered in S, SV and SL trim levels. This year, the Leaf receives numerous upgrades to remain competitive and take advantage of new technology.
For 2013, the Nissan Leaf S is a new entry-level model with a lower price tag. A set of 16-inch steel wheels and plastic wheel covers identify it as the base version of the vehicle. Otherwise, the Leaf S is equipped with the same new aerodynamic styling updates and locking and illuminated front charging port that Nissan builds into all 2013 Leaf models. To add convenience, the front charging port door can also now be operated using the Nissan Intelligent Key fob.
This year, Nissan relocates the Leaf's onboard vehicle charger from the rear of the vehicle to the front to increase cargo volume. With the rear seat in use, the Leaf can hold 24 cubic feet of cargo. Fold down the rear seat, and cargo capacity increases to 30 cubic feet. A new black interior color is standard for the Leaf S.
Nissan offers a Quick Charge package for the Leaf S, which adds a reversing camera system and equipment that allows the battery to recharge in as few as 4 hours using a 220-volt outlet.
The Leaf SV model includes this equipment, plus a new hybrid heater system for improved winter-weather driving and an enhanced regenerative braking system (see Technology section below for more details). Additional standard features for the Leaf SV include seat fabric made from partially recycled materials, a 7-inch touch-screen display with a navigation system, free CarWings telematics and roadside assistance service for 3 years, cruise control, Pandora Internet radio interface for iPhone, and extra stereo speakers. The Leaf SV is equipped with standard 16-inch aluminum wheels, and is the only model that offers a choice between black and light gray interior colors.
Options for the Leaf SV include LED headlights, fog lights, premium sound system, 360-degree AroundView monitoring system, and a quick-charge port that allows the battery to recharge to 80% of its maximum capacity in 30 minutes, according to Nissan.
The Leaf SL is upgraded for 2013, adding standard black leather seats and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Standard features include all of the options for the Leaf SV except the premium sound system and AroundView monitoring system, which are offered as part of an extra-cost Premium package. Exclusive features for the Leaf SL include a universal garage door opener, cargo cover, and photovoltaic rear solar panel spoiler that keeps the 12-volt battery that operates accessories charged.
Under the Hood
The 2013 Leaf's electric front-wheel-drive powertrain is comprised of a 24 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack and an 80 kW electric motor delivering 107 horsepower and 187 lb.-ft. of torque. Nissan claims the 2013 Leaf offers an extended driving range from last year's model, but hasn't revealed what it is.
To recharge a Leaf, owners can use a standard household outlet, or they can install a 220-volt outlet that fully recharges the Leaf SV or SL in 4 hours. Models with the quick-charge port (optional for S and SV models and standard for SL models) can reach 80% of their maximum battery capacity in as little as 30 minutes when using a municipal DC fast charger.
Notably, Nissan is offering an expanded New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty for the 2013 Leaf. The revised warranty guarantees that the battery will retain at least 75% of its original charge capacity for the first 5 years or 60,000 miles of driving.
Standard safety features include six air bags, 4-wheel-disc brakes with brake assist, and a traction and stability control system. A reversing camera is optional for the Leaf S and standard for the Leaf SV and SL models.
Every 2013 Leaf is equipped with an Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians system. At low speeds, a speaker mounted at the front of the vehicle emits a sound to alert pedestrians, bicyclists and the visually impaired that a car is approaching. Without the sound, the electric Leaf would be silent and difficult to detect.
Nissan offers a new driver-selected B-mode for the regenerative braking system installed in the Leaf SV and SL. Engaging the B-mode triggers more aggressive regenerative braking that captures greater amounts of kinetic energy to extend driving range.
The 2013 Nissan Leaf SV and SL are equipped with standard CarWings telematics service with 3 years of free service. Among other features, CarWings allows Leaf owners to find the nearest public charging station(s).