2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Toyota Prius

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 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 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’ 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’ 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

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

Leaf

Prius

Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

3.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

10.5 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

12.9 sec

18.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.3 sec

10.9 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.8 sec

5.1 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.5 sec

7.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.8 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

88 MPH

79 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Leaf gets better fuel mileage than the Prius:

MPGe

Leaf

FWD

147 HP electric motor

124 city/99 hwy

PLUS S electric motor

118 city/97 hwy

PLUS SV/SL electric motor

114 city/94 hwy

Prius

MPG

FWD

Eco 1.8 4 cyl. Hybrid

58 city/53 hwy

1.8 4 cyl. Hybrid

54 city/50 hwy

AWDe

1.8 4 cyl. Hybrid

52 city/48 hwy

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 can only travel about 1 mile before it has to start its internal combustion engine.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Nissan Leaf higher (10 out of 10) than the Toyota Prius (7). This means the Leaf produces up to 11.8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Prius every 15,000 miles.

The EPA certifies the Nissan Leaf as a “Zero Emissions Vehicle” (ZEV). The Toyota Prius is only certified to “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV) standards.

Brakes and Stopping

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

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 are solid, not vented.

The Leaf stops shorter than the Prius:

Leaf

Prius

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

145 feet

149 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Leaf has larger standard tires than the Prius (205/55R16 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’ standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Leaf S has standard 16-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Prius.

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 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Chassis

The Leaf is 3.6 inches shorter than the Prius, 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:

Leaf

Prius

At idle

25 dB

28 dB

Full-Throttle

67 dB

75 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

72 dB

Passenger Space

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

Ergonomics

The Leaf SV/SL has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Prius doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Leaf has a standard rear wiper. The Prius L Eco 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 has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the XLE/Limited.

Both the Leaf and the Prius 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.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Leaf is less expensive to operate than the Prius because typical repairs cost less on the Leaf than the Prius, including $19 less for front brake pads.

Recommendations

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

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

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