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The 2021 Nissan Leaf is a four-door hatchback that runs on 100% electric power. It comes with the choice of two different batteries for either 147 or 214 horsepower. The all-electric motor means powerful torque for great acceleration from a dead stop. The Leaf also offers excellent steering and handling. This electric car will have a range of up to 226 miles on a single charge.
The Leaf is innovative, efficient and downright fun to drive. There's a lot of cargo room in the back, making this a practical hatchback to own. It's also a stylish car with an attractive exterior design. Nissan has packed the Leaf with plenty of comfort and convenience features. It also offers a good amount of safety features and some modern driver-assist technology.
The 2021 Nissan Leaf will be available in five different trim levels. Most trims offer the same benefits of the previous trim level, but with some additional features or upgrades. We will take a close look at each trim level to see how they compare with one another.
Compare the 2021 Nissan Leaf S vs SV - What is the Difference?
The S and SV trim levels both come equipped with a 40 kWh lithium-ion battery. They both also share the same 110 kW AC electric motor. This setup produces 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The drivetrain is an automatic with a single-speed reduction gear. There are a couple of different driving modes including an Eco Mode for efficiency.
Both of these trim levels use a regenerative braking system with ABS anti-locking brakes. Both have an independent-strut front suspension and a torsion-beam rear suspension. All versions of the Leaf offer electronic power steering that adjusts according to the speed of the vehicle. Both vehicles have front-wheel drive and an EPA estimated range of 149 miles from a single charge.
On the outside, the S trim level has 16-inch steel wheels and a set of all-season tires. The SV comes equipped with a set of 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Both trims get an aerodynamic rear spoiler and rear diffuser. Both trims have halogen headlights, but the SV gets the option for LED lights. The SV also comes with fog lamps.
All models of the Leaf have solar glass. The outside mirrors offer power adjustments. The SV trim also has a heating feature for the exterior mirrors. On the inside of the Leaf, there's room for up to five people. There's also around 30 cubic-feet of storage space with the rear seats folded down.
The infotainment systems are basically the same for both trim levels. There's a 7-inch display in the gauge cluster and an 8-inch touchscreen for the main infotainment area. The SV trim gets an extra navigation system. Both get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Voice Recognition Technology lets the driver control functions and make hands-free phone calls.
Both models get an AM/FM stereo. The S trim has four speakers while the SV gets six. There are three USB ports for charging smartphones and other mobile devices. Controls are also mounted on the steering wheel for easy and safe access. Nissan provides a 3-month trial to SiriusXM Radio for every new buyer of a 2021 Leaf.
The seats are the same for both of these trim levels. They both offer cloth upholstery. The driver's seat has 6-way manual adjustments while the front passenger gets 4-way adjustments. The rear seats have a 60/40-split configuration and can be folded down for extra cargo space.
The S and SV both have Automatic Temperature Control. The SV has a Hybrid Heater System. Power locks and windows are standard for all models. The Leaf features two cup holders and four bottle holders. The SV trim has some extra options for the interior such as an auto-dimming mirror and a HomeLink Universal Transceiver.
All five trim levels get Nissan's Advanced Airbag System. There are front and side airbags for the occupants up front. There are knee airbags for both the driver and front passenger. Curtain airbags come mounted to the roof for some added protection for all occupants. Zone Body Construction and crumple zones help keep everyone safer in the event of a collision.
All trim levels get Nissan's Tire-Pressure Monitoring System. There's also a security system with an engine immobilizer that shuts down the vehicle if it does happen to get stolen. The SV has Intelligent Cruise Control while the S trim gets standard cruise control. All models get a rear-view camera. The S and SV have a Blind-Spot Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
The Vehicle Dynamic Control and Traction Control Systems keep the Leaf stable and make sure that power gets to the wheels that need it the most. The Leaf is a safer vehicle to drive in extreme weather thanks to these features. The SV also has optional ProPILOT Assist and Intelligent Driver Alertness to make sure the driver is awake, alert and paying attention to the road.
Compare the 2021 Nissan Leaf SV vs S Plus Trim. What Is the Difference?
The biggest difference between the SV and S Plus trims is the upgrade to the battery and motor for the S Plus. It gets a 62 kWh lithium-ion battery and a 160 kW AC electric motor. This raises the horsepower up to 214 and the torque up to 250 pound-feet. Nissan also throws in a portable charging cable and a 100 kw quick-charge port for the S Plus. The cable can be plugged in to any 240-V wall outlet.
The drivetrain, suspension system and brakes are all the same as before on the S Plus. This trim gets a new set of 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Both trims have all-season tires. The S Plus gets a new chin spoiler for the front bumper. The remaining exterior features are largely the same.
The interior features aren't too different between these two trim levels. The S Plus is basically the same as the S trim with the exception of the new motor and battery. This means some features get downgraded from what the SV trim offers. For example, the S Plus goes back to the four-speaker audio system while the SV has six speakers. the safety and security features are identical between the two models.
The S Plus loses Intelligent Cruise Control. The seats revert back to the manually-adjusted seats from the S trim. The SV gets a heated steering wheel that comes wrapped in leather. The driver-assist features are largely the same between these two trims. In addition to the previously mentioned features, there's also Active Ride Control, Rear Sonar and Rear Automatic Braking.
Compare the 2021 Nissan Leaf S Plus vs SV Plus - What is the Difference?
There's not a lot to discuss about the SV Plus trim. It's the same as the SV trim but with the upgraded battery and motor. The S Plus was also just the S trim with the performance upgrades. Its the same thing here. Both models now produce 214 horsepower with 250 pound-feet of torque.
The exterior and interior features of the SV Plus are identical to those of the SV trim. The same goes for the safety features, security system and driver-assist technology. If you're looking for the convenience features of the SV with the best performance available from the Leaf, this is your trim level.
Compare the 2021 Nissan Leaf SV Plus vs SL Plus. What Is the Difference?
The SL Plus trim level provides the best performance and feature selection that Nissan has to offer. Like the SV Plus before it, the SL Plus comes equipped with the 110 kW AC electric motor and 62 kWh lithium-ion battery. This means the most horsepower, the most torque and the best acceleration that the Leaf can accomplish. The same drivetrain, suspension system and braking systems make a return for this trim level. The SL Plus adds on an electric parking brake.
The SL Plus automatically comes with Nissan's ProPILOT Assist. This was only available as an option for lower trim levels. This sophisticated technology helps the driver to stay safely in their own lane. It also helps them to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of them. The SL Plus also gets an Intelligent Around-View Monitor for superior visibility and better awareness of the surrounding area for the driver.
Active Ride Control makes for a consistently smooth ride. It also improves the overall handling of the vehicle by mitigating any body roll when the Leaf takes on sharp curves. Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection gives the driver a heads up and applies brakes to help prevent accidents. The pedestrian-detection system uses high-tech sensors to detect people while both they and the vehicle are in motion.
On the outside, the SL Plus gets 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with a machined finish. As always, there's a set of all-season tires. Nissan also throws in a tire-repair kit for this trim. The SL Plus gets LED headlights and taillights. There are also signature LED daytime running lights for this trim.
Every top convenience feature we've mentioned makes a return for the SL Plus trim. It also adds on a removable cargo cover for the rear cargo hold. The previously optional HomeLink Universal Transceiver is automatically installed here. Owners will also get an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. The SL Plus gets an 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat with 2-way lumbar supports.
Both seats up front are bucket seats. This trim level gets heated seats up front and leather-appointed upholstery. Both trims have a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel. The SL Plus has an upgraded audio system. Moving up to this trim level gets you a Premium Audio System by Bose with seven speakers. All of the previous safety features and the security system make a return here.
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Which Trim to Choose?
The 2021 Nissan Leaf is a fantastic hatchback with an all-electric powertrain and an impressive driving range. It represents a large step forward towards a day when the majority of vehicles will be electric powered. It has everything you could want from a car in this class; stylish looks, a cozy interior and plenty of cargo room. Most owners would be happy with any one of the five different trim levels.
The base-level powertrain is no slouch, but the upgrade to a more potent battery and motor is well worth the extra cost. Those extra horses under the hood make a world of difference. They turn a solid hatchback into something more extraordinary and downright exhilarating to drive. At the very least, most buyers should aim for the S Plus model. This is the cheapest way to get those performance upgrades.
The best overall choice for most buyers will be the SV Plus model. It not only comes with the upgraded motor and battery, but it has some of the best convenience features available. The top-level trim has some nice additions as well, particularly with the upgraded sound system. Most drivers will get along just fine without these however, and the SV Plus comes out as the best bargain of the bunch.