MPGe

Prius Prime

Electricity (MPGe)

Electric Motor

145 city/121 hwy

Leaf

Electricity (MPGe)

Electric Motor

124 city/99 hwy

PLUS S Electric Motor

118 city/97 hwy

Plus SV/SL Electric Motor

114 city/94 hwy

The Prius Prime’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel and a full charge is 652 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Leaf’s range is only 150 to 226 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 40 minutes for only an 80% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 35 hours.

Brakes and Stopping

The Prius Prime stops shorter than the Leaf:

Prius

Leaf

70 to 0 MPH

184 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Prius Prime has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Leaf has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Prius Prime LE handles at .79 G’s, while the Leaf SL pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Prius Prime’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Leaf S’ (33.4 feet vs. 34.8 feet). The Prius Prime’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the Leaf SV/SL’s (33.4 feet vs. 36.1 feet).

Chassis

The design of the Toyota Prius Prime amounts to more than styling. The Prius Prime has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .25 Cd. That is lower than the Leaf (.28) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Prius Prime get better fuel mileage.

The front grille of the Prius Prime uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Leaf doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Prius Prime has 1.1 inches more front legroom, 2 inches more front hip room, 1.6 inches more rear hip room and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Leaf.

Ergonomics

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Prius Prime has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Leaf doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The Prius Prime Limited has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Leaf doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Prius Prime’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Leaf’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

The Prius Prime Limited’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Leaf’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the Prius Prime’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Leaf’s headlights, which were rated “Poor.”

The Prius Prime’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan charges extra for heated mirrors on the Leaf.

The Prius Prime has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Leaf doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the Prius Prime’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The Leaf doesn’t offer a filtration system.

The Prius Prime Limited’s Intelligent Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Leaf doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Prius Prime owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Prius Prime with a number “5” insurance rate while the Leaf is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Prius Prime is less expensive to operate than the Leaf because it costs $109 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Prius Prime than the Leaf, including $3 less for front brake pads and $693 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports? recommends the Toyota Prius Prime, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Nissan Leaf isn't recommended.

The Toyota Prius outsold the Nissan Leaf by almost six to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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