The 2022 Nissan Leaf just became the new EV bargain

Nissan has revealed the 2022 Leaf, and what's always been a more affordable electric car is now even cheaper thanks to a lower starting price. With the US federal tax credit for EVs, in fact, the 2022 Leaf could come down to under $20k before destination.

Pricing for the 2022 Leaf S begins at $27,400, plus $975 destination. That's before the US tax incentive of $7,500, which could trim the EV to $19,900 plus destination; taking advantage of more local incentives might drop that even further. It leaves the hatchback one of the cheapest ways to get behind the wheel of a new electric vehicle in the US at the moment.

Admittedly, you're not getting class-leading range for your money. The Leaf S is rated at up to 140 miles on the EPA's testing, from a 40 kWh battery pack; a single 110 kW electric motor delivers 147 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. That's all shared with the 2022 Leaf SV, which has more equipment as standard, and starts at $28,800 plus destination, but before any incentives.

Stepping up to the Leaf S Plus gets a bigger, 62 kWh battery. That's rated for up to 226 miles of range, and comes in at $32,400 plus destination. The 2022 Leaf SV Plus and Leaf SL Plus – at $35,400 and $37,400 respectively – promise 215 miles of range from the same battery pack.

Plus trims get a more powerful, 160 kW motor. That's good for 214 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. SV Plus trim options like ProPILOT Assist and a 360-degree camera are now standard, too.

The other big change is around charging. Nissan is bundling a Level 2 240V capable portable charger with each trim now, and is also making a CHAdeMO Quick Charge Port standard. That supports up to 100 kW charging on DC fast chargers.

All 2022 Leaf models get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 7-inch cluster display. Ports include three USB and one USB-C, and higher trims add SiriusXM and navigation.

As for safety tech, there's intelligent forward collision warnings, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assistance, blind spot warnings and intervention, rear cross traffic alerts, and rear parking sensors.

Clearly, compared to some other recent EV launches, the 2022 Leaf isn't going to set any speed or range records. Nonetheless, amid reasonable concerns that the transition to electric cars is overlooking those without premium budgets, Nissan's eagerness to push down the list price of the Leaf below the $20k mark is notable. Orders are being taken now.