2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Toyota Prius Prime

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Leaf SL has a standard Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Prius Prime only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Leaf and the Prius Prime have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear cross-path warning and driver alert monitors.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

Engine

The Leaf’s standard electric motor produces 26 more horsepower (147 vs. 121) and 130 lbs.-ft. more torque (236 vs. 106) than the Prius Prime’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The Leaf PLUS’ standard electric motor produces 94 more horsepower (215 vs. 121) and 144 lbs.-ft. more torque (250 vs. 106) than the Prius Prime’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Car and Driver the Nissan Leaf (base engine) is faster than the Toyota Prius Prime:

Leaf

Prius Prime

Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

3.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

10.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.3 sec

10.2 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.8 sec

4.7 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.5 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.8 sec

17.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

88 MPH

79 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Leaf’s standard maximum EPA estimated driving range is 151 miles on a full charge. The Leaf PLUS’ maximum EPA estimated driving range is 226 miles on a full charge. The Prius Prime can only travel about 25 miles before it has to start its internal combustion engine.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Leaf’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Prius Prime:

Leaf

Prius

Front Rotors

11.1 inches

10 inches

Rear Rotors

11.5 inches

10.2 inches

The Leaf’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Prius Prime are solid, not vented.

The Leaf stops shorter than the Prius Prime:

Leaf

Prius

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

145 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Leaf has larger standard tires than the Prius Prime (205/55R16 vs. 195/65R15). The Leaf SV/SL’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Prius Prime (215/50R17 vs. 195/65R15).

The Leaf S’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Prius Prime’s standard 65 series tires. The Leaf SV/SL’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Prius Prime’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Leaf S has standard 16-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Prius Prime. The Leaf SV/SL has standard 17-inch wheels.

The Leaf has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Leaf SV handles at .79 G’s, while the Prius Prime Advanced pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Leaf SL executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Prius Prime Premium (27.9 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .56 average G’s).

Chassis

The Leaf is 6.5 inches shorter than the Prius Prime, making the Leaf easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Leaf SV is quieter than the Prius Prime Advanced:

Leaf

Prius

At idle

25 dB

27 dB

Full-Throttle

67 dB

71 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

67 dB

Passenger Space

The Leaf has standard seating for 5 passengers; the Prius Prime can only carry 4.

The Leaf has 1.8 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom and .1 inches more rear legroom than the Prius Prime.

Cargo Capacity

The Leaf has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Prius Prime (23.6 vs. 19.8 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Leaf has a standard rear wiper. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The Leaf has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Prius Prime has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Advanced.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Leaf has standard extendable sun visors. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the Leaf and the Prius Prime offer available heated front seats. The Leaf SL also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Prius Prime.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Leaf is less expensive to operate than the Prius Prime because typical repairs cost less on the Leaf than the Prius Prime, including $35 less for a water pump and $119 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Nissan Leaf and the Toyota Prius Prime, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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