For 2015, mid-range Leaf SV models get standard 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, while both SV and SL models gain a so-called Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant and Voice Destination Entry.
The 2015 Nissan Leaf is available in S, SV, and SL models. As before, key differences between the model are mainly a matter of standard appearance, comfort, and convenience features. Base S models start at $29,860 before any credits or incentives and include smaller steel wheels, halogen headlamps, cloth upholstery, and a four-speaker sound system with 4.3-inch display, as well as a USB port, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a rearview monitor.
SV adds worthwhile equipment
At the SV level, starting at $32,850, you get a hybrid (heat pump) heater, those new alloy wheels, upgraded recycled fabric, a navigation system with NavTraffic and voice destination entry, and a six-speaker sound system with Pandora compatibility and a seven-inch display. You also get the Carwings telematics system that enables many remote functions and status displays.
In the top-of-the-line 2015 Nissan Leaf SL, at $35,970, you'll get standard quick-charge capability, as well as LED low-beam headlamps, fog lamps, a solar-panel spoiler, leather seats, a cargo cover, and a garage-door opener.
For 2015, there's also a new exterior color: MorningSky Blue, which should prove a nice alternative to the popular Blue Ocean shade that's been offered in current and past model years.
Options remain simple, with three option packages. On the Leaf S you can add a Charge Package, including a 6-kW charger and quick charge port; on the Leaf SV you can add a package combining LED headlamps and the quick charge port (as well as foglamps); and on the SV or SL there's a Premium Package adding an Around View Monitor (definitely of use for its expanded visibility) and a seven-speaker Bose sound system.
Fully loaded, just over $30k—with that big asterisk
In all, a top-of-the-line SL, optioned with the Premium Package, costs a grand total of $37,540—or an effective $30,040 after the federal $7,500 tax credit (or potentially lower in some states).
Official driving range remains 84 miles for the 2015 Leaf. Base Leaf S models include a 3.3-kW (output) onboard charger, while SV and SL models step up to that 6.0-kW (output) unit that will make a big difference in 220-volt (wall and charging station) times, speeding them from eight hours to five. In either case, fast charging can bring the Leaf to an 80-percent charge in less than 30 minutes.
And there's one performance-related feature that we do hope to test soon; the 2015 Leaf includes a new 'B-Mode' that engages more aggressive regenerative braking when decelerating—and should allow easier 'one-pedal' driving under some conditions.