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Luckily the Leaf has changed with the times, and it’s still a bit ahead of its newer rivals in terms of range, that all-important measure of an EV’s real-world usability. For 2016, the Leaf’s uplevel SV and SL trim levels now come standard with a higher-capacity, 30.0-kWh battery pack that replaces the previous 24.0-kWh battery, which is still offered on the base Leaf S. The new, larger battery affords an EPA-rated range of 107 miles, a useful improvement over the 24-kWh Leaf’s 84 miles.
All-new or updated electric cars are imminent from Ford , General Motors , BMW , Hyundai , and Volkswagen , all of which promise to deliver 100 miles of range or better. But as of this writing, the Leaf is the only non-Tesla EV that tops the century mark. The Kia Soul EV is next-best, at 93 miles of rated range, while others such as the Volkswagen e-Golf and Ford Focus Electric —in their current forms, at least—are rated at only 83 miles and 76 miles, respectively, on a full charge.
The Leaf’s new battery lived up to its promise in our experience. In mixed driving, including some battery-sapping highway stints, we measured a maximum driving range of 100 miles. Introduce more variables, like a highway-intensive commute or more extreme temperatures, and that number would decrease, predictably. But if it’s to be driven exclusively around town at lower speeds, it doesn’t seem far-fetched to see the Leaf match, or even beat, the EPA-rated 107-mile figure.