BMW i3 or Nissan Leaf? Head to head comparison
BMW i3s have been making their way to buyers and reviews have been pretty positive for the most part. What we need is a comparison to really get things going. I know we posted about a Tesla driver comparing the i3 to the Tesla, you can check it out here if you haven't read it, but I'm thinking a more fair comparison. Enter the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is Nissan's five door, five passenger all electric offering. The top Leaf Model, the SL runs around $35k to start, with some techy stuff added it's around $37,500, so it's pretty close to the i3, which will run you around $41k.
AutoExpress in the UK recently put the i3 up against the Nissan Leaf in a battery powered comparison. Check out some the details from the head to head.
The BMW has the upper hand when it comes to interior room. Its neat pillarless door opening makes for easy access to the back seat – although the wide, carbon fibre door sill will be a hurdle for some. Light materials and large windows also help make the i3's cabin feel brighter and more airy than its rival's more traditional interior.
Head down a twisting back road and the i3 quickly gets out of its depth. The steering is quick and well weighted, allowing you to place the car with confidence, and there's more grip than you'd expect from the thin tyres. But hit a mid-corner bump and the tall i3 quickly loses its composure, as the suspension struggles to contain any wayward body movements.
The Leaf's styling and cabin aren't up to the same standard, plus it's not as quick. It's roomy and well equipped, while refinement and comfort are on a par with the BMW. More importantly, the novel i3 makes the Nissan feel a little dated.
It won't come as a surprise to discover that the Nissan Leaf isn't a serious driver's car and the handling is pretty inert. However, if you just relax and enjoy the smooth ride, it's a great commuter car and decent for nipping about town in.
In the end the i3 ended up on top with its cleverly designed cabin, comfort and range for most short commutes. It was also a bit faster than the Leaf with a 0-60 of 7.2 seconds, the Leaf clocks in at around 11.5 seconds. The one negative was with the i3s disappointing handling.
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