Dacia has entered the electric vehicle market to make a strong impression with a very low price for the spring. In contrast, we line up the Nissan Leaf 2 to help you compare these two references and determine which one is more suitable for your needs.
Nissan Leaf 2 vs. Dacia Spring
Electric cars are all the rage in 2022, and choosing the one that suits you best is not necessarily an easy task, as the offers have been growing for some time. Today we take a look at two references that may seem far apart, but are still worth comparing: the Dacia Spring and the Nissan Leaf 2.
Nissan’s pioneer of electric mobility has evolved over time to remain consistent with the times. Our recent test of the top-of-the-line version showed some intrinsic qualities, although it’s not without its flaws. On the other hand, we’ll focus on what remains one of the cheapest new electric cars on the automotive landscape, the Dacia Spring.
Which of these two references is right for you? Answer right away.
|Model||Nissan Leaf 2 e+||Dacia Spring|
|Power (horses)||217 horsepower||44 horsepower|
|0 to 100 km/h||6.9 seconds||–|
|Level of autonomy||5||0|
|Max speed||157 km/h||125 km/h|
|Main screen size||7 inches||–|
|Car side sockets||CHAdeMO||Type 2 Combo (CCS)|
|Entry-level price||35,725 USD||12,732 USD|
The Nissan Leaf is not a city car, but rather a wagon, with rather generous dimensions: 4.49 meters long, 1.79 meters wide and 1.55 meters high. It will look quite massive next to the little Dacia Spring, which is 3.73 meters long, 1.58 meters wide and 1.52 meters high.
In concrete terms, maneuvering and parking a Dacia Spring in an urban environment is disconcertingly simple, whereas you’ll have to keep in mind the Nissan Leaf’s extra 76 centimeters to fit into a tight parking space.
The design of the Nissan Leaf, although less characteristic than the first version, remains identifiable at first glance with its angular front end and the aggressive light signature that accompanies it. The smaller Dacia Spring, on the other hand, has the look of an adventurer that seems to be high up.
Its slimmer appearance (21 centimeters less in width) makes it easier to pass through the narrow streets of our cities, but as we’ll see below, its tiny size means a tiny trunk. To finish with the technical specifications, let’s note the colossal difference in weight between the two vehicles: 970 kilograms for the Dacia Spring versus between 1,580 and 1,731 kilograms for the Nissan Leaf.
The Nissan Leaf is meant to be a family car, and offers a generous amount of space on board, both in the front and in the back. The driving position allows you to dominate the road, when the two rear seats are usable, even by adults. However, the middle seat is not very useful, due to the fact that the central tunnel is too high and spoils the available legroom.
As for the 420-liter trunk, it can hold enough luggage to take the family on a road trip, which is a very good point, making the Leaf much more than a backup vehicle. Unfortunately, the layout of the dashboard is not really up to date (it has not changed much since the first version released in 2010), with many buttons under the central screen and an armrest that is difficult to use.
On its side, the Dacia Spring goes to the essential, probably even a little too much. The seat is relatively firm: it is difficult to feel comfortable on board, even for short trips. The level of finish is barely passable, with materials that are very hard and assemblies that deserve a second pass to reach a decent level.
The rear seats are still decent, even for adults, and the 290-liter trunk is also very basic: you can’t go on a family vacation with the Spring, as it’s difficult to carry more than two small suitcases in the trunk.
There’s a classic layout on the Nissan Leaf, with a screen behind the steering wheel and another in the center of the dashboard, about 10 inches diagonally, controlling the infotainment. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available on a wired basis through USB ports (one USB-C and one USB-A) located at the bottom of the center console. A 360-degree view is offered on the center screen for easy parking maneuvers.
Depending on the options chosen, a driver assistance system is offered by Nissan. It combines adaptive cruise control with active lane keeping to steer the car in fast lanes. It works quite well and is useful in many cases. Also noteworthy is the inclusion of a screen in place of the rearview mirror, allowing you to see what’s going on in the back of the car under all circumstances, which is quite rare.
The entry-level version of the Dacia Spring is equipped with the bare minimum for a car of 2022 in terms of on-board technology: no screen in the center of the dashboard, no cruise control (only a speed limiter). You have to go upmarket to enjoy a seven-inch center screen, compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and get a rearview camera.
Finally, we should note that the two vehicles in this comparison allow, thanks to a companion application, to consult the status remotely (remaining battery level, charging in progress, temperature) as is now quite common in the world of electric cars.
The Nissan Leaf shines on the road when it’s in town, thanks in part to Nissan’s e-Pedal, which allows you to come to a complete stop without touching the brake pedal. This is a strong point that is not systematic today in the world of electric vehicles. It’s always nice to have a car that doesn’t need to brake to stop in town.
The 160 kW engine at the front of the Leaf provides respectable performance, with a 0 to 100 km/h time of 7.3 seconds for the most powerful versions, but the handling when you put your foot down is no longer guaranteed, unfortunately.
In good driving conditions, the Leaf is quite economical, with a consumption around 15 kWh per 100 kilometers, which is close to the 13 kWh per 100 kilometers of the Dacia Spring in mixed driving conditions that we found during our test drive (and which weighs 700 kilos less).
For the Dacia Spring, don’t expect to be glued to the seat when you put your foot to the floor, as it will take you 19 seconds at best to reach the 100 km/h barrier. Although it’s more of a city car, you’ll get up to speed quickly enough up to 50 km/h, but not much beyond that. After all, there’s only a tiny 33 kW motor to propel the vehicle.
In terms of driving comfort, it’s pretty austere for the little Spring. Unfortunately, the chassis is so stiff that the feeling is not very confident. The default tires offer a poor grip, which contributes to an overall feeling of anxiety as soon as you exceed a certain speed.
Finally, we should note that air noise is very quickly present in the cabin, showing once again that Dacia did not go out of its way to minimize costs on its Spring.
The Nissan Leaf is offered in two different engine options:
- Leaf with 40 kWh battery: 110 kW front engine, 0-100 km/h in 7.9 seconds, top speed 144 km/h.
- Leaf e+ with 62 kWh battery: 160 kW front engine, 0 to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds, top speed of 157 km/h.
The Dacia Spring is available with a single engine:
- Spring Electric 45 with 26.8 kWh battery: 33 kW front motor, 0 to 100 km/h in 19.1 seconds, top speed 125 km/h.
Battery and Charging
The Nissan Leaf is offered in two different battery sizes: 40 or 62 kWh. The autonomy in WLTP cycle varies between 284 and 396 kilometers. In real conditions, we even manage to exceed these values, which is a good sign, in urban or suburban use.
As for recharging, Nissan has kept the CHAdeMO plug for fast charging (which is becoming a handicap, as compatible charging stations are not frequent), where it will take between 60 and 90 minutes to fill the battery. For slow charging, the 7 kW on-board charger allows the vehicle to go from 0 to 100% in about 7 hours for the model equipped with the 40 kWh battery, and 10 hours for the 62 kWh battery. On a domestic plug, count around 20 to 30 hours to fill up completely.
The Dacia Spring is claimed to have a WLTP range of 230 kilometers, which is difficult to achieve in real-life conditions. You’ll have to reckon with a range of just under 200 kilometers to get close to the real thing, which will still allow you to make a number of daily trips without any problems.
Fast charging is not available without option on the entry-level model. On the more equipped version, it is in any case limited to 30 kW, which greatly moderates its interest. Count on a little less than 5 hours to fill the 26.8 kWh battery on an adapted Wallbox, or around 13 hours on a domestic socket.
If you haven’t yet realized that the two vehicles today have little in common, the prices will remind you once again. The Nissan Leaf on the one hand is offered from 35,323 USD, excluding the ecological bonus, and the most expensive versions reach more than 46154.25 USD, depriving them of the maximum ecological bonus. Concretely and counting the bonus, a Leaf at list price does not start under 29169.49 USD.
As the Nissan Leaf is at the end of its life cycle, it is possible to find an offer in a dealership with a significant discount, but nothing is guaranteed on this point. For its part, Dacia hits very, very hard with the price of its Spring, which starts at 19784.79 USD, excluding the ecological bonus. So, for 14359.10 USD, including government aid, it is possible to take possession of a new Dacia Spring, when Nissan asks for twice that amount to drive a Leaf.
By checking off all the options on Dacia’s online configurator, it is possible to increase the price by 2564 USD at most, which means that the most expensive Dacia Spring will cost less than 17436 dollars.
Which Electric Car To Choose
When it comes to the verdict, it’s important to remember that the Nissan Leaf and the Dacia Spring are clearly not in the same league. The former is a wagon with a fairly comfortable range and room for four people, while the latter is clearly a secondary vehicle.
However, for urban dwellers who only need a vehicle for trips of a few dozen kilometers a day at most and who have a home charging system, the Dacia Spring can meet their needs. Of course, you’ll have to accept the concessions that go with the price: performance, comfort and equipment are reduced to the bare minimum.
For those who are looking for a properly equipped vehicle that is more fun to drive, the Nissan Leaf, although expensive today, will be a more coherent choice. But it’s worth noting that for the price of the least expensive Nissan Leaf, you can afford two Dacia Springs. And above all, the CHAdeMO plug seems completely obsolete nowadays.