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New Nissan Leaf is an SUV! 2025 model gets advanced tech and concept car looks

The next-generation Nissan Leaf will transform into an SUV inspired by the Chill-Out concept and our exclusive image previews how it could look

Nissan Leaf exclusive image

We’ve known for some time that the trailblazing Nissan Leaf EV will transform from a family hatchback into an SUV for its next outing. But thanks to a recent teaser video, hints from Nissan’s CEO, and insights shared by one of its European design bosses, we now have a clear picture of what the all-new Leaf will look like – as previewed by our exclusive image.

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Late last year, Nissan president and CEO Makoto Uchida confirmed that the brand’s Chill-Out concept, revealed way back in 2021, would become the next-generation Leaf. Speaking to Auto Express, Nissan’s VP of Design for Europe, Matthew Weaver, provided clarity on how close the designs are. He revealed to us: “Obviously linking concept to production, there's always a bit of a gap, but I can say that it's pretty true to form. That car is going to be a triumph of efficiency and engineering.

“It's been quite a journey with [the new Leaf]. The Chill-Out concept was very clean, very cool, and those elements are still coming through on the production-ready version,” Weaver told us. “We're nearing completion, and things like aerodynamics, packaging on a car like that, they're really at the forefront of the importance. There have been some changes, but you definitely see where the DNA has come from.”

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Our exclusive image features several key elements from the Chill-Out concept such as smooth, almost coupe-style roofline and near-vertical tailgate, plus the raised ride height you’d expect from a crossover SUV. 

However, the headlight signature differs slightly from the concept, and the production car will have a more pointed nose as well. We know this because shadowy images of the new Leaf were included in a video Nissan shared recently to promote its latest business plan, which involves launching three new electric cars in Europe by 2026.

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Signature Nissan design traits like the boomerang light shape and a black V-motion grille are sure to feature on the new Leaf, but otherwise it shouldn’t resemble any other model in the brand’s line-up. Weaver explained: “We don’t want to do clones. We try to make each car quite individual, even looking across the global range.”

Weaver also pointed to how the Nissan Juke and Qashqai, in effect, created their respective segments, and the “world of invention”, as he calls it, comes in a little bit to the new Leaf as well. He explained: “You'll see with the new Leaf that it kind of breaks into another little area, though I won't say any more than that. It’s part of the challenge, but the joy of it as well.”

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The new Nissan Leaf will sit on the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s AmpR Medium platform (formerly CMF-EV), which was designed to maximise the packaging benefits of a pure-electric powertrain. It also serves as the underpinnings for the Nissan Ariya, our 2022 Car of the Year, as well as the Renault Megane E-Tech and Scenic E-Tech

We expect the Leaf will have most in common with the Megane hatchback, which is powered by a 217bhp electric motor and a 60kWh battery that offers 280 miles of range. Although given the alluded-to aerodynamic mastery of the new Leaf, it could go even further on a charge. 

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Inside, the Leaf should offer interior space somewhere between that of the Megane and Scenic, and feature Nissan’s newest infotainment system that was introduced in the facelifted Qashqai. It’s based on Google’s Android Automotive OS – the same software architecture used by Renault – but with Nissan’s own graphics, so it’ll be more familiar to existing owners. 

Like the first and second-generation Nissan Leaf (see panel), the new Mk3 will be built in the UK at the company’s Sunderland plant. Up to £3 billion of investment is earmarked for the facility, which in time will consist of three gigafactories handling production of the new Leaf, and next-generation Juke and Qashqai. 

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Nissan’s European boss Guillaume Cartier told us in 2021 that the UK plant’s strong history was the key factor in its success in securing the deal to make the new model. “The heritage was why Sunderland was selected,” he said. 

“The demonstration of what this factory is able to do – having Leaf already, the e-NV200 [van] – this expertise, the capacity for innovation. That’s the reason why we’ve been able to build the future.”

Nissan hasn’t confirmed when exactly the next-generation Leaf will be revealed or arrive in showrooms, but it’s rumoured to go into production in early 2025, so the covers could be off before the year is up. We’ll have to wait and see.

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But as we mentioned, the Leaf is confirmed to be one of the trio of new electric cars Nissan will launch by 2026. The others are the next-generation Juke, which we previewed in issue 1,804, and the successor to the Micra supermini that will be based on the Renault 5 and serve as the brand’s entry-level model.

Nissan Leaf through the generations

Nissan Leaf Mk1

Nissan Leaf
  • Dates: 2011 to 2017

As the world’s first mass-market EV, the original Nissan Leaf was a true pioneer within the modern motoring world and paved the way for today’s diverse range of sensible, electric family cars. The first examples were built in Japan, each powered by a 24kWh battery that delivered a range of just 109 miles. Nissan’s Sunderland plant began producing the Leaf in 2013, and a few years later, a larger 30kWh battery became available that could do 155 miles on a charge. More than half a million Mk1 Leafs were sold by the time the Mk2 was ready to launch.

Nissan Leaf Mk2

Nissan Leaf
  • Dates: 2018 to 2024

Unlike its predecessor, the second-generation Leaf faced competition from the jump. By 2018, Volkswagen, Kia, Renault and other brands had jumped on the bandwagon and launched their own electric cars. In response, big advancements for the Mk2 included an official range of up to 239 miles for the ‘Leaf e+’, plus the introduction of an ‘e-Pedal’ function, otherwise known as one-pedal driving, which was a game-changing feature when driving the car in town.

Are you happy the Nissan Leaf is transforming into an SUV? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section...

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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