The 2015 model year of Nissan’s popular all-electric LEAF hatchback will get a modest price increase over the outgoing 2014 model of between $30 and $100 depending on trim specification when it goes on sale in the U.S. later this month.
That’s according to official 2015 Nissan LEAF specification and pricing information released yesterday by Nissan North America. As with last year’s move from the 2013 model year to 2014 model year, the 2015 LEAF gets minor — rather than major — updates to its specification along with some important price changes for option packs.
Same basic car underneath
While the new 2015 Nissan LEAF gets some updated interior specifications and a new colour choice — ‘MorningSky Blue’ replacing the outgoing ‘Glacier Blue’– it’s essentially the same car as the 2014 model.
Powered by the same 24 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and 80 kilowatt electric motor, the 2015 Nissan LEAF matches the 84 mile EPA range of the 2014 LEAF. It also includes the same basic charging options, with 3.3 kW on-board charger as standard on S level trim, 6.6 kW on-board charger as standard on SV and SL trim levels, and DC quick charge capability standard on SL trim levels. 6.6 kW and DC upgrade options are available as applicable on lower-trim models.
It also features the same dashboard, hockey-puck shift lever and controls found in the outgoing model, meaning only hardened LEAF aficionados will be able to tell the two model years apart.
Priced from $29,010, plus $850 mandatory destination fee
Priced at $29,010 before incentives, the base-model 2015 LEAF S is $30 more expensive than last year’s model, representing a modest price well within industry norms. The mid-range SV, priced at $32,000, remains the same price as last year’s model, at least for early 2015 model year cars. After August, when the SV’s wheels change from a 16-inch alloy to a 17-inch alloy, the MSRP will rise to $32,100.
Finally, the high-end 2015 Nissan LEAF SL will retail for $35,120, a $100 increase on last year’s model. All prices quoted are before any U.S. Federal or state incentives, and do not include a mandatory $850 destination and handling charge.
B-mode standard across all grades
Worthy of note for the 2015 model year is the inclusion of B-Mode braking on the entry-level S-level trim LEAF, making it standard across all trim levels. Activated from the car’s gear selector, B-mode increases the amount of regenerative braking applied on accelerator liftoff. Particularly useful when descending long downhill stretches, B-mode makes it possible to control decent speed without using the brake pedal as fiercely.
Text messaging, hands free
Also new to the 2015 Nissan LEAF SL and SV trim levels is Nissan’s new hands free text messaging assistant, allowing drivers to send and receive text messages without taking their eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel. This feature is not available to 2015 Nissan LEAF S owners, although the base-model does retain its bluetooth hands free connectivity.
17-inch Alloys on SV trim (later)
While previous model year Nissan LEAFs offered 16 inch steel wheels for the base-model S trim, 16 inch alloy wheels for the mid-range SV trim and 17 inch alloys for the top level SL trim, LEAF SV models made after August 2014 will come with the same 17 inch alloys as the SL, simplifying Nissan’s wheel options for the LEAF.
However, while 2015 Nissan LEAF SV models made after august will come with 17-inch instead of 16-inch wheels, it’s worth noting that later-model 2015 LEAF SV cars will be $100 more expensive than earlier 2015 LEAF SV cars with 16-inch wheels.
Option price hike
While the base model prices represent a small percentage increase on last year’s prices, there are some hidden price hikes in optional extras that we should make you aware of.
Firstly, Nissan’s charger package for the 2015 LEAF S, which adds both 6.6 kW onboard capabilities and DC rapid charger connectivity, has been given a massive price hike for 2015. At $1,770, it is $520 more expensive than last year’s identical option, making upgrading to rapid charging more costly for entry-level LEAF owners.
Also worthy of note is the cost of Nissan’s ‘premium’ package, which adds Bose 7-speaker premium sound system and around-view monitor to LEAF SV and LEAF SL trim levels for $1,570. Last year, the same option was priced at $1,050.
If you’re in the market for a new Nissan LEAF and don’t mind buying the outgoing year, now’s the time to hot-foot it to your local dealer to nab a bargain on the outgoing model year. With 2015 LEAFs adding minimal functionality over the 2014 model year — noticeably text-messaging assistance on SV and SL trim level cars — we can’t justify the extra cost of picking a 2015 model year over a 2014, especially given the hike in premium and charger packages.
Unless you can’t live without your cell phone that is.
[Hat-tip: Brian Henderson]
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