‘The OG EV’ Nissan Leaf Just Can’t Compete Anymore

Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular. That’s because traveling without stopping for gas is too good for many drivers to pass up. But some EVs are beginning to fall behind the pack, and the Nissan Leaf is one of them. In fact, Car and Driver delivered the brutal truth about this “relic.”

The Ford Mustang Mach-E won Car and Driver’s 2021 EV of the Year award

Car and Driver recently released the winner for its 2021 EV of the Year award, and it’s the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Many observers were skeptical when Ford began hinting it would release the Mustang Mach-E, but it wiped away all doubts as soon as it hit showroom floors. 

It’s got enough good looks to remind consumers of the Mustang it’s based on, but this EV is clearly more than just a redesign. The Mach-E provides crossover SUV features that make this segment so popular, and the 270-mile range is enough to sway consumers worried about a lack of charging stations.

Car and Driver gushed over the Mach, stating, “It moves us past the argument that we should drive EVs because they’re better for the environment and proposes a simpler, more fundamental truth: EVs can be as rewarding to drive as their gas counterparts.”

That’s high praise. But not all contenders were that impressive. 

The Nissan Leaf couldn’t beat the competition

A white 2021 Nissan Nissan Leaf EV parked on a hilly suburban street with trees and a rock wall behind it
2021 Nissan Nissan Leaf SV Plus | Nissan Motor Corporation

The Nissan Leaf Plus stands out from the EV crowd for one reason: its relatively low MSRP. That’s because electric vehicles are notorious for their high sticker prices. Sure, you save money in fuel costs, but having to refinance your house to buy an EV isn’t in many consumers’ budgets. And the Leaf changed that.

But now there’s more competition than ever, and Car and Driver delivered the brutal truth about the Nissan Leaf: “Intense competition has since rendered it more of a relic than a trailblazer. Even a major 2017 redesign that brought more horsepower and range with larger battery packs didn’t help.”

Though the Leaf is a decent EV, there are better choices out there. They include the Kia Niro EV, Chevrolet Volt, and even the Tesla Model 3, which sit in a similar price range and offer more for the money. 

Other contenders in Car and Driver’s contest

Car and Driver tested 11 EVs before choosing the 2021 Mustang Mach-E as the winner. Many names were familiar, and it’s no surprise that Tesla has the most vehicles on the list. 

The other EVs that C/D tested are the Tesla Model 3 Performance, Volkswagen ID.4, Polestar 2, Tesla Model Y Performance, Kia Niro EV, Audi e-tron, Porsche Taycan 4S, Volvo XC40 Recharge, and Tesla Model S Long Range Plus.

The Model 3 especially impressed Car and Driver. Its speed and maneuverability are enough to sway anyone to ditch gas and go electric. But there was one major reason why C/D didn’t pick the Tesla Model 3 as the winner, though, and that was the range. 

The EPA gives it an estimated range of 310 miles, which is impressive. But Car and Driver’s testers got only 220 miles out of it. Though the testers were driving the Model 3 a consistent 75 mph, a 90-mile difference is nothing to laugh at, especially if you’re on a road trip and have carefully planned out your course.  

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