Earlier this year, I spent some time in a 2019 Nissan Altima, checking out how CarPlay interfaces with the native NissanConnect infotainment system, and I came away fairly impressed with the flexibility and ease-of-use of NissanConnect and the carmaker's decision to make ‌CarPlay‌ standard across all trims.

Looking to show off more of its technology and how some of it integrates with iPhones, Nissan recently asked me to take a look at the 2019 Leaf, specifically the Leaf Plus, a new-for-2019 extended-range version of the popular electric vehicle that's been on the market for nearly a decade.

nissan leaf
The base Leaf starts at $30,000 before tax credits that can knock $7,500 off the price, and it comes with a 40 kWh battery that delivers up to 150 miles of range. There are three trims of the regular Leaf, with only the entry-level S model lacking ‌CarPlay‌ support. In fact, that base model comes with a basic 5-inch non-touchscreen display for the infotainment system, so most technology-heavy users will want to step up to at least the second-level SV trim on the regular Leaf.

The Leaf Plus begins at $36,550 before tax credits and upgrades to a 62 kWh battery that offers up to 226 miles of range. The extended-range Plus lineup also comes in three trims, all of which include ‌CarPlay‌ and Android Auto support.

nissan leaf cockpit
My test vehicle was the top-of-the-line Leaf SL Plus, which checks in at an MSRP of $42,550 before tax credits, with a couple of minor add-ons like floor mats and splash guards pushing my vehicle's sticker price to just under $44,000. For those looking to squeeze out every last mile of range, it's worth noting that only the lowest S trim of the Leaf Plus can reach the 226 miles of rated range, with the SV and SL trims dropping back a bit to 215 miles due to some of the additional technology in the car sapping some of the battery's energy.

All Leaf Plus models come with an 8-inch touchscreen very similar to that I experienced on the Altima, albeit with the hardware buttons located in clusters on either side of the display rather than in a strip below. The 8-inch display is plenty big for showing off NissanConnect and ‌CarPlay‌ making it easy to hit the desired icons on the screen, while the hardware knobs and buttons help you get a few common tasks done more by feel.

Behind the steering wheel, there's a combination analog speedometer and digital information display, with the display offering a number of different views to suit your preferences, including such features as digital speedometer, compass, and current audio information (including ‌CarPlay‌ track information).

nissan leaf driver display
Importantly, all views also include a digital readout of your current battery level and estimated range, as well as a digital power meter to help you understand real-time power consumption and regeneration. One of the customizable views also lets you see the battery temperature, as charging times can vary significantly depending on the temperature of the battery.

My top-level trim naturally came with all of the tech bells and whistles, including Nissan's Intelligent Around View Monitor for a bird's eye view of your vehicle, intelligent cruise control, and ProPILOT Assist, which not only helps maintain a safe following distance automatically but also keeps your car centered in the lane, even on curves.

nissan leaf birds eye

Intelligent Around View Monitor

NissanConnect

I covered NissanConnect and ‌CarPlay‌ in my review of the Altima earlier this year, and the experience on the Leaf is very similar. As on the Altima and most other vehicles, the Leaf's ‌CarPlay‌ implementation is a wired one, so you'll need to plug your phone into a USB port.

nissan leaf usb
There is a single USB-A port near the base of the center stack, right next to the start button, and there's a convenient phone cubby located right below the port. Unfortunately, this is the only USB port included on the Leaf, with nothing in the center console compartment or for rear passengers.

nissan leaf connect home

One of up to three customizable NissanConnect home screens

From there, it's a relatively traditional infotainment experience. The 8-inch touchscreen is bright, with enough color to help individual items on the screen stand out a bit. NissanConnect allows for multiple customizable home screens with shortcuts and informational widgets for functions like the clock, audio, and phone. Unlike the Altima that I tested earlier, my Leaf Plus tester came with built-in navigation that performed well as an alternative to mapping apps available through ‌CarPlay‌.

nissan leaf connect audio

NissanConnect audio app with ‌CarPlay‌ icon in dock for easy access

CarPlay

When you plug in your phone and activate ‌CarPlay‌, NissanConnect makes it fairly easy to hop back and forth between the two systems as needed, with a dedicated ‌CarPlay‌ icon in the dock at the bottom of the NissanConnect's screens. When you're in ‌CarPlay‌, you can use either the Nissan app icon on the ‌CarPlay‌ home screen or the convenient Home/Menu hardware button to jump back into Nissan Connect.

nissan leaf carplay home

‌CarPlay‌ home screen

When active, ‌CarPlay‌ takes over the entire display of the infotainment system, and while I do prefer systems that offer at least minimal dual-system function with an app strip or even a small supplemental information screen on a widescreen setup, Nissan's system certainly isn't bad. The hardware buttons, steering wheel controls, and driver's information display all help ease interactions with the systems, whether it be moving between ‌CarPlay‌ and NissanConnect or adjusting/viewing details for one while the other is active on the main screen.

nissan leaf carplay google maps

Google Maps in ‌CarPlay‌

EV Features

As an EV, the Leaf has a lot of technology built-in for managing the battery and its charge level. The Leaf has a pair of charging ports located under a cover on the front center of the car. On the right is a standard port that lets you connect a Level 2 charger (220-240V) for normal charging that can give you a full charge in 11-12 hours or a Level 1 charger for trickle charging from a standard 110-120V outlet, although that would take on the order of two and a half days to fully charge the car's battery.

nissan leaf charging ports

CHAdeMO quick charge port (left) and standard L1/L2 charging port (right)

On the left is a CHAdeMO quick charge port that lets you use higher-powered chargers often found at public charging stations to recharge to 80 percent in as little as 45 minutes under ideal temperature conditions and when connected to a 100kW quick charger.

One welcome feature of most EVs is the ability to schedule charging, letting users take advantage of cheaper energy rates during certain times of the day if their electric utility charges variable rates, and the schedule can be managed either right in the vehicle after you park it, or from your phone.

nissan leaf charge timer

App Control

With an EV, your phone can become a crucial tool since you can refuel your car from home or work without needing to stop by a gas station. Your phone gives you nearly instant access to information about your car's charge level without needing to go out to the vehicle, so you can judge when your car has been fully charged or manage charging right from your phone.

Nissan offers an iOS and Android app to manage much of this from your phone, not only for battery management but for other features like remote start, car finder, plug-in reminders, and climate control remote start/stop so you can be sure your car is comfortable when you hop in. There's even an Apple Watch app to let you perform most of those functions right from your wrist.

nissan leaf app
Unfortunately, the app has received many poor reviews from users, with numerous complaints about sluggish response times within the app, difficulty getting a connection to the car that sometimes results in commands failing to register, and other issues. Nissan regularly updates the app with bug fixes, but hopefully a more comprehensive overall is in the works to improve functionality.

NissanConnect EV also integrates with Alexa and Google Assistant to let you check on the car's status and activate functions with your voice.

A basic set of NissanConnect EV features including remote charge start, remote climate control, and more is complimentary for the first three years of ownership, but there are a couple of paid upgrade tiers that offer additional functionality on 2018 and 2019 Leaf models. A Select tier includes remote lock/unlock, maintenance alerts, and Alexa/Google Assistant support and is priced at $11.99/month after a three-year trial.

A Premium tier adds features like remote horn/lights, valet alert, curfew and speed alerts, automatic collision notification with emergency calling, roadside assistance calls, and stolen vehicle locator. After a free six-month trial, the Premium tier is priced at $8.00/month and requires the Select tier, so once the three-year Select trial ends you'd be paying a total of $19.99/month for the full suite of NissanConnect services.

Wrap-up

Overall, I remain a fan of the NissanConnect infotainment system and the useful combination of hardware and software controls that make it easy to interact with. It plays quite nicely with ‌CarPlay‌ on the large 8-inch screen, and touch response is good.

For an EV where technology is a major focus, though, the phone app integration seems like it really needs some improvement, including app performance and perhaps some additional features like managing the charging schedule rather than limiting remote charge controls to manually starting a charge cycle.

I'd also like to see a bit more connectivity in the car, such as more USB ports or even an option for wireless phone charging. I realize that every power-drawing feature has the potential to impact the range of an EV, and manufacturers are generally trying to eke out every last mile from their batteries, but more and more of these technology features are becoming expected equipment on cars that can hit $30,000 or more like the Leaf Plus.

The Leaf has proven to be a popular EV, and the fact that it is still supported by the full federal EV tax credit makes it a competitive vehicle. The Plus lineup costs a good bit more than the regular version, but pushing the range above 200 miles is a significant improvement to the EV experience and lets even longer distance commuters rely on it for a full day without needing to worry about running low on charge, and makes longer road trips more palatable with fewer charging stops required.

Tag: Nissan

Top Rated Comments

laurim Avatar
39 months ago

I feel sorry for you if you drive a Leaf.
Don’t. I have the top of the line non-Plus Leaf and I love it. It’s the most luxurious car I’ve ever owned. Heated leather seats and steering wheel I can remotely turn on in the winter. I keep accidentally speeding because it’s so peppy. Love the eco-pedal so I rarely have to use the brake. All the mile range I need and I just plug it in when it’s in the garage. CarPlay works great and the Bose sound system sounds great. No complaints whatsoever. And my solar panels supply the fuel. Don’t have to go to the gas station or care about the price going up and down. No oil changes anymore.

Attachment Image
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ActionableMango Avatar
39 months ago

I feel sorry for you if you drive a Leaf.
I feel sorry you need to insult people's cars and casually mention your BMW.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oneMadRssn Avatar
39 months ago

People overestimate how many miles they drive in a day. Even if you DO drive a lot, pretty sure there are times at home to plug in and top off. The 240v charger is pretty fast. I haven’t been to a fast charging station away from home yet.
Definitely. If people bought other appliances like they buy cars: They would have a dishwasher big enough to wash in one go dishishes from a 3 course meal consumed by 25 people, because once every other year they might host Thanksgiving dinner.

I drive 300+ miles in a single sitting once or twice per year, and sometimes never for years at a time. So why do I need an 3-row SUV that has a 25-gallon gas tank?

It makes much more sense to buy an EV that fits my needs 99% of the time, and rent a Chevy Suburban for that 1% of the time that I actually need it. Much much easier.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ghost31 Avatar
39 months ago
I’m glad electric cars are gaining traction, but if I was out there buying an electric car, I don’t know why I would choose a leaf over something like a tesla model 3. Tesla just nailed the electric car so well it really puts others to shame
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TacoChowder Avatar
39 months ago

Love the eco-pedal so I rarely have to use the brake.
All EV's have that, Nissan just tries to brand it like a feature. I love it in my Volt, people really won't understand what it's like to have an EV until they get one.


If you want a slow, pointless way to get around, there are many cheap cars for that.
Even cheap EVs are anything but slow, bub. Seriously, go test drive a leaf or a bolt, you'll be surprised!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Baymowe335 Avatar
39 months ago
I feel sorry for you if you drive a Leaf.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

applefifthavenue

Man Robbed After Buying 300 iPhones From Apple Fifth Avenue

Tuesday November 29, 2022 11:54 am PST by
An unnamed 27-year-old man who purchased 300 iPhones from Apple Fifth Avenue on Monday morning was robbed shortly after leaving the store, according to 1010Wins Radio in New York. He was carrying 300 iPhone 13s in three bags and walking to his car at 1:45 a.m. when another car pulled up next to him. Two men jumped out and demanded that he hand over the bags. Not wanting to hand over 300...
app store awards 2021

Apple Announces 2022 App Store Award Winners, Highlighting Best Apps of the Year

Tuesday November 29, 2022 3:10 am PST by
Apple today announced its 2022 App Store Award winners, highlighting the 16 best apps and games selected by Apple's global App Store editorial team. The top apps were chosen by Apple for their quality, innovative technology, creative design, positive cultural impact, and ability to deliver "exceptional experiences." Apple CEO Tim Cook said: This year's App Store Award winners reimagined...
Cyber Monday Deals Feature 2022

Best Cyber Monday Apple Deals Still Available for AirPods, Apple TV, iPad, and More

Monday November 28, 2022 5:24 am PST by
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping rush is drawing to a close, but there are still some good deals to be had out there. For Apple products, many of the deals you've seen since last week are still available, though some have expired. So for anyone who missed out on Black Friday deals, there's still an opportunity to get some of the year's best prices on many Apple devices. Note: ...
iPhone 14 Pro Rear Camera

iPhone 15 to Use 'State-of-the-Art' Image Sensor From Sony for Better Low-Light Performance

Monday November 28, 2022 11:00 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 15 models will be equipped with Sony's newest "state of the art" image sensors, according to a report from Nikkei. Compared to standard sensors, Sony's image sensor doubles the saturation signal in each pixel, allowing it to capture more light to cut down on underexposure and overexposure. Nikkei says that it is able to better photograph a person's face even with...
eufy camera

Anker's Eufy Cameras Caught Uploading Content to the Cloud Without User Consent [Updated]

Tuesday November 29, 2022 1:01 pm PST by
Anker's popular Eufy-branded security cameras appear to be sending some data to the cloud, even when cloud storage is disabled and local only storage settings are turned on. The information comes from security consultant Paul Moore, who last week published a video outlining the issue. According to Moore, he purchased a Eufy Doorbell Dual, which was meant to be a device that stored video...
rapid security response

Apple Releases Another Rapid Security Response Update for iOS 16.2 Beta Users

Monday November 28, 2022 10:16 am PST by
Apple today released a Rapid Security Response update that is available for those running the iOS 16.2 beta, marking the launch of the second RSR update since the feature was released in iOS 16. The Rapid Security Response Update is designed to provide iOS 16.2 beta users with bug fixes without the need to install a full update. The initial RSR release for iOS 16.2 beta users was a test with ...
Apple Watch Ultra Oceanic Plus App

Apple Announces Oceanic+ App Now Available for Apple Watch Ultra

Monday November 28, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today announced that the Oceanic+ app is available for the Apple Watch Ultra starting today. Designed by Huish Outdoors in collaboration with Apple, the app serves as a dive computer for recreational scuba diving at depths up to 40 meters/130 feet. Apple already offers a basic Depth app on the Apple Watch Ultra for viewing your current depth, maximum depth reached, water temperature,...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

'M2 Max' Geekbench Scores Leak Online, Revealing Rumored Specs and Performance

Wednesday November 30, 2022 2:39 am PST by
Geekbench scores allegedly for the upcoming "M2 Max" chip have surfaced online, offering a closer look at the performance levels and specific details of the forthcoming Apple silicon processor. The Geekbench results, first spotted on Twitter, are for a Mac configuration of with the M2 Max chip, a 12-core CPU, and 96GB of memory. The Mac listed has an identifier "Mac14,6," which could be...
iphone 11 tesla cybertruck close up

Elon Musk Pledges to Build iPhone Rival If Apple Ousts Twitter

Tuesday November 29, 2022 2:48 am PST by
Elon Musk has pledged to offer an "alternative phone" if Apple and Google remove Twitter from their app stores, adding to long-standing rumors about an iPhone rival from Tesla. Modified iPhone 11 Pro in the style of the Tesla Cybertruck, by Caviar. Musk's remark came after being asked about the potential scenario of Twitter being removed from app stores, which could conceivably happen if the...
iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.1.2 With Carrier Improvements and Crash Detection Optimizations

Wednesday November 30, 2022 10:09 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 16.1.2, another minor bug fix update that comes one week after the release of iOS 16.1.1 and three weeks after the launch of iOS 16.1, an update that added support for iCloud Shared Photo Library, Matter, Live Activities, and more. The iOS 16.1.2 update can be downloaded on eligible iPhones over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According...