2017 Nissan Leaf Confirmed to Look Less Like a Frog

Although the Nissan Leaf is currently the best selling electric vehicle in the world, the automaker realized the car is not quite satisfying for every potential buyer in the segment, especially when we’re talking design.
Nissan Leaf toad 1 photo
Photo: Nissan edited by autoevolution
If you ask us, electric vehicles really need to stand apart from their prehistoric-juice-powered cousins to compensate for their lack of driving engagement. But you’ll have to be wise about what you create not to step into the weird zone, ending up with a frog-faced car for example.

See Nissan for an example, which really made the Leaf stand out for people who want to showoff with their green lifestyle by making it look like an amphibian. And this doesn’t come from us, but the company’s very design chief and senior vice president Shiro Nakamura, who talked with Green Car Reports at the Paris Motor Show.

Banning all frogs

Those of you who really wanted a Leaf but had to turn away because of its unappealing looks, should know that Nissan will change this with the next generation model. The groundwork has been laid now and the car must grow up a bit and expand its reach.

“Now we are aiming for a bigger number of customers, and they are not looking for as much 'EVness,'” Nakamura explained. “Some people say [of the current car], oh, this is too unique...we are covering a much broader range of people now.”

This means the Leaf will go a bit more mainstream for 2017. Don’t worry, it will remain a hatch of roughly the same size, but expect some sharper lines, proper-looking headlights, maybe even an upper grille. All the geeky stuff that makes it look more like an electric vehicle could be still offered as an optional pack, though.

Same story applies for the interior, where a basic plain-looking trim level will serve good for those only looking to go from point A to B, while several other packs will turn it into a more comfortable and appealing place to be.

New underpinnings are on the list

If the next Leaf is set to attract even more buyers, it may do so using a higher output battery which will offer a longer range than the current 84-miles one. There’s even the possibility to choose from a list of different capacity batteries.

Handling will also be enhanced through an improved platform, which should mean at least a retuned suspension and steering. Sound proofing will also be part of the recipe, since Nakamura-san said the car needs to be comfortable for longer drives.

Sounds like Nissan is going to “grow” its Leaf the right way now. Let’s hope it will also work with aerodynamics and weight to improve the recipe even more. We’re pretty sure the VW XL1 and the Tesla Model S offer some valuable lessons when it comes to efficient yet good looking vehicles.
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