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Mustang Mach-E vs. Nissan Leaf: Which One Wins?

The Electric Vehicle Revolution: Mustang Mach-E vs Nissan Leaf

The automotive industry is undergoing a seismic shift as electric vehicles rapidly gain popularity and market share. Leading the charge are compelling new EVs like the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which puts an all-electric spin on the iconic pony car, and the pioneering Nissan Leaf, one of the first mass-market EVs. Both offer an eco-friendly, fun-to-drive experience – but which one comes out ahead? As an EV expert and enthusiast, I‘ll break down everything you need to know in this head-to-head comparison.

While the Leaf has been around for over a decade now, the Mach-E is an exciting new entrant that‘s shaking up the EV scene. Ford‘s first long-range electric vehicle aims to win over both Mustang fans and tech-savvy early adopters with its unique combination of performance, style, and cutting-edge features. Meanwhile, the Leaf continues to evolve and imFprove as Nissan doubles down on electrification.

So, when cross-shopping these two EVs, what are the key differences to be aware of? Let‘s dive in and take a closer look, starting with a side-by-side comparison of the specs and features you care about most.

Mustang Mach-E vs Nissan Leaf: Spec Showdown

Mach E Metric Leaf Range Select RWD: 247 mi Premium RWD: 303 mi Premium AWD: 277 mi Calif. Route 1: 314 mi GT: 270 mi 149-226 mi Battery 68-88 kWh 40-62 kWh Horsepower 266-480 hp 147-214 hp Torque 317-634 lb-ft 236-250 lb-ft 0-60 mph 3.5-6.1 sec 7.4-8.2 sec Top Speed 111-124 mph 89-98 mph Charging 10.9-15.5 hours (Level 2) 38-57 min (DC fast) 8-11 hrs (Level 2) 40-60 min (DC fast) Passenger Space 101 cu ft 92-93 cu ft Cargo Space 30-60 cu ft 24-30 cu ft

As you can see, the Mach-E has a clear advantage in most key metrics, especially performance. It‘s bigger, faster, and can go farther on a charge. The top-spec Mach-E GT Performance boasts a whopping 480 hp and 634 lb-ft of torque, rocketing to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. Even the base Select trim packs a stout 266 hp. The Leaf simply can‘t compete here, topping out at 214 hp in the Plus trims.

However, the Leaf does have an efficiency advantage thanks to its smaller size and lighter weight. It gets 112 MPGe combined vs the Mach-E‘s 100 MPGe. So while the Mach-E can travel further on a charge, the Leaf will cost you a bit less in electricity.

The Mach-E also offers significantly more passenger and cargo room, with a frunk adding useful storage space. The Nissan‘s cabin is still plenty spacious and practical for a compact hatch, just not quite as cavernous as the Mach-E‘s.

Both EVs provide a variety of trims and configurations to suit different range and budget needs. Here‘s a quick breakdown of the Mustang Mach-E lineup:

Mach-E Trim Levels:
• Select (RWD or AWD) – From $43,895
• Premium (RWD or AWD) – From $48,775
• California Route 1 (RWD) – From $52,450
• GT (AWD) – From $61,095

The base Select is well-equipped and can be had with RWD or AWD. Stepping up to the Premium gets you a larger battery pack, more range, extra features and AWD for not much more money. The Route 1 focuses on maximum range, while the GT is all about blistering acceleration.

In the Leaf‘s case, there‘s the standard Leaf and the Leaf Plus:

Nissan Leaf Trim Levels:
• Leaf S – From $27,800
• Leaf SV – From $29,800
• Leaf S Plus – From $32,700
• Leaf SV Plus – From $37,400
• Leaf SL Plus – From $43,300

The Leaf undercuts the Mach-E‘s base price significantly. For under $30k, you can get into a Leaf S with a 40 kWh battery good for 149 miles of range. The Plus trims offer more power and a larger 62 kWh battery with up to 226 miles of range.

Overall, the Mach-E delivers more of what EV buyers are looking for in terms of performance and range, while the Leaf remains the value leader and more efficient option. But there‘s a lot more to consider beyond just the specs.

Driving Experience

Behind the wheel, the Mach-E and Leaf provide two distinct flavors of EV driving. The Ford very much lives up to its Mustang genes with responsive handling, instant acceleration, and sporty demeanor. The GT Performance model in particular is an absolute thrill ride with supercar-rivaling acceleration. Even the base trims are plenty potent.

The Leaf, by comparison, is a more relaxed and economical runabout. While it won‘t snap your neck with face-melting speed, the Leaf still delivers the smooth, quiet, and zippy driving experience EVs are known for. The Plus trims provide a nice boost in pep. Handling is confident if not overtly sporty.

Both EVs provide one-pedal driving capability, allowing you to accelerate and decelerate using just the accelerator pedal. They also offer a variety of drive modes and regen-braking settings to customize the experience.

Cabin tech is a win for the Mach-E. Its 15.5" vertically-oriented touchscreen and slick SYNC 4 infotainment system feel a generation ahead of the Leaf‘s dated interfaces. Wireless charging, Wi-Fi hotspot, and phone-as-key are further Mach-E advantages. But the Leaf does offer a few unique features like ProPilot Assist and premium Bose audio.

Charging & Range

When it comes time to plug in, both EVs support Level 2 charging at up to 11 kW and DC fast charging. Access to compatible public stations is provided via the FordPass and Nissan Connect EV apps.

The Leaf‘s CHAdeMO fast charging maxes out around 70-100 kW, allowing it to charge from 5-80% in about 40-60 minutes. The Mach-E can charge at a peak rate of 150 kW, adding up to 61 miles in just 10 minutes. However, real-world charging speeds will vary based on the state of charge, station output, weather, and other factors.

With the Mach-E‘s larger batteries, it does take longer to charge from empty – up to 15 hours or so on a 240V Level 2 home or public charger. The smaller Leaf batteries can be topped up in 8-11 hours. For most owners charging overnight at home, this won‘t be an issue.

Of course, the Mach-E‘s 270-314 miles of max driving range (Select/Premium) is a huge advantage over the Leaf‘s 149-226 mile spread. This makes the Mach-E viable for road trips and a true gas car replacement. The Leaf is best suited for shorter commutes and around-town use.

Tax Credits & Incentives

Thanks to changes in the EV tax credit for 2023, the Leaf is once again eligible for a $7500 credit as it‘s now made in the USA. Combining that with state and local incentives, dealer discounts, and Nissan‘s own rebates can bring the cost of a base Leaf S below $20,000.

The Mach-E currently qualifies for a reduced federal tax credit of $3750 as Ford has reached the 200,000 unit cap. But it‘s still eligible for state and utility incentives. Even with incentives, though, the Mach-E carries a notably higher price tag than the Leaf.

Warranty coverage is similar between the two, with 8 years/100k miles for the batteries and 3 years/36k miles basic limited warranty. Neither includes free maintenance.

Which EV Comes Out Ahead?

So, which one of these electric vehicles should you choose? The answer comes down to your specific needs, budget, and priorities.

The Mustang Mach-E is hands-down the better performer and more premium vehicle. If you‘re looking for an EV that‘s fun to drive, has ample space for people and cargo, and packs cutting-edge tech, the Mach-E is hard to beat. For road warriors, its 300+ mile range seals the deal over the Leaf. Mustang fans looking to go electric will find a lot to like here.

On the flip side, the Leaf remains one of the most affordable and accessible EVs on the market. Budget-minded shoppers who just need a reliable electric runabout for city commuting and errands can save a bundle with the Leaf, especially after incentives. The Leaf Plus narrows the range and performance gap with the Mach-E, but the Ford still comes out ahead in those areas.

Interesting Facts & Figures:
• The Leaf is the world‘s all-time best selling EV with over 500,000 sold since 2010
• Mach-E‘s 29 cubic foot frunk is the largest in the industry
• In a AAA study, the Leaf had the lowest maintenance and repair costs among EVs
• Mach-E can gain 61 miles of range in just 10 minutes using a 150 kW fast charger
• At under $20,000 after credits, a base Leaf is one of the cheapest new EVs you can buy

The electric vehicle landscape is evolving and expanding rapidly as new models like the Mach-E hit the scene. More choice is a win for consumers as healthy competition breeds innovation. And that‘s great news for the environment as more drivers are able to make the switch from gas to electric.

While the Mustang Mach-E is the clear winner in this head-to-head comparison, credit has to be given to Nissan for kickstarting the modern EV movement with the Leaf over a decade ago. It remains a solid, affordable option. But the Mach-E is the more compelling EV in 2023 for the majority of buyers. Its combination of long range, thrilling performance, spacious and high-tech cabin, and unique style put it at the head of an increasingly crowded pack.

As battery and charging technology continues to evolve, we can expect future EV matchups to get even more competitive. And that‘s an exciting proposition for consumers and the planet alike. I can‘t wait to see what Ford, Nissan, and other automakers have in store as they charge forward into an electric future.

What are your thoughts on the Mach-E vs the Leaf? Do you agree with my assessment? Let me know in the comments below! And be sure to check out my other EV comparisons and reviews for more electrifying content.