NEW FOR 2016:

– SV, SL receive new 30 kWh battery pack, increasing overall vehicle range
– S receives standard quick charge port
– Upgraded infotainment systems: 5.0-inch for S, improved graphics for SV, SL
– SV receives standard 17-inch alloy wheels
– New colours: Coulis Red, Deep Blue

We never thought we’d say this about the Nissan LEAF, but like fine wine, the electric hatchback is getting better with age. Although the bottle has stayed the same over the past five years, what’s inside keeps improving.

For 2016, Nissan has fitted a new 30-kWh battery pack to mid- and top-grade LEAF models giving it an official range of 172 km – a 27 percent improvement over last year’s model. That gives it the longest range of any electric car bar the Tesla Model S by quite a large margin. Because of the larger battery, charge times are roughly an hour longer than before for SV and SL models – figure six hours instead of five for a full charge from empty on a 220-volt outlet.

The base LEAF S continues on with the 24 kWh unit, but gets the quick charging CHAdeMO port that was formerly limited to the SV and SL as standard. Using DC current, all models can be charged up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes.

Given that the LEAF’s cabin design is still futuristic-looking five years on, Nissan has left it alone. The infotainment systems, on the other hand, have been thoroughly revised with the LEAF S receiving a larger 5.0-inch display audio setup with Nissan Connect apps, Bluetooth Audio, and smartphone compatibility. The S and SV get updated to the new Nissan Connect interface with enhanced graphics, though their 7.0-inch displays remain the same.

The LEAF continues on in S, SV, and SL trim.

Features on the S trim include 24 kWh battery pack, quick charge port, portable tickle-charge cable (110-volt), normal charge port, charge port light and lock, proximity key with push-button start, chrome door handles, heated front and rear seats, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, tilt steering column, trip computer, cruise control, automatic temperature control, 60/40 split fold-down rear sears with rear seat heater ducts, six-way manual driver’s seat, four-way manual passenger seat, Bluetooth, 5.0-inch display audio system with AM/FM/CD/satellite radio, USB port, aux-in jack, mobile apps, text message assistant, reverse camera, four speakers, rear spoiler, splash guards.

SV trim adds larger 30 kWh battery pack, Nissan Navigation System with seven-inch touch-screen monitor, NavTraffic, mobile apps, CARWINGS telematics system, six-speaker audio, 17-inch alloy wheels, hybrid heater system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, partially recycled cloth upholstery, and passenger side map pocket.

SL trim adds leather seating, LED headlights, automatic on/off headlights, fog lights, 17-inch 5-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, garage door opener, spoiler with photovoltaic solar-pane, cargo cover, seven-speaker Bose audio system, and 360-degree parking camera.

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