electric vehicle, nissan leaf, safety technology

2020 Nissan Leaf comes with more safety and infotainment technology

The Nissan Leaf electric hatchback gets updates for 2020 that include more safety features and infotainment technology, along with a $1,640 price increase for the base Leaf S model.

Nissan Safety Shield 360 technology goes standard across the lineup, bringing pedestrian-detecting automatic emergency braking, lane departure and blind-spot warnings and rear automatic braking. It also gets forward collision warning, intelligent lane intervention and blind spot intervention. The 8-inch touchscreen from the longer-range Leaf Plus is now standard in all trim levels, up from 5 and 7 inches in the previous Leaf S and SV, respectively. Also going standard across the lineup, finally, is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

There are a few other changes, too, including new air bags added to the driver and front passenger knee areas and mounted in the rear seats for side impacts. The Leaf’s “Canto” pedestrian safety sound for warning pedestrians of its presence has also been updated in tone and volume, Nissan says. And finally, there will be a new exterior color on offer, called Sunset Drive ChromaFlair.

There are now just two trim levels for the base 40 kWh, 149-mile range Leaf, S and SV, down from three, while the 226-mile range Leaf Plus comes in S, SV and SL trims. Pricing for the Leaf S starts at $32,525, including the $925 destination fee, which is $1,640 more than the 2019 model. Leaf Plus models start at $39,125, up $1,680 from last year.

Nissan last redesigned the basic Leaf in 2018 to boost its driving range to 150 miles, and in addition it introduced the longer-range Leaf Plus last year, with a 62 kWh battery pack, upgrades to the electric motor and a range of 226 miles. Both models are now on sale at dealerships.

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China, crossover, electric vehicle, suv

Chevy teases three-row Chinese Blazer ahead of Friday reveal


Chevrolet has released a teaser image of the seven-seat, three-row Blazer it plans to sell in China ahead of its official reveal Friday at the Chevrolet Gala Night in the city of Hefei. That’s also where the brand plans to debut its first electric vehicle for the Chinese market, the called the Menlo.

First the Blazer XL, as it will reportedly be named. The darkened image gives us our best look yet at the three-row SUV after a series of spy shots of the vehicle wearing camouflage. It gives a good sense of the added length and the up-sweeping shoulder and belt line in the rear. What’s less clear from this teaser and previous spy shots is how the door creasing compares with the five-seat U.S. version.

Chevy previewed the three-row Blazer with the FNR-CarryAll concept shown at an auto show in China last year.

The Menlo, meanwhile, is based on the Chevy FNR-X concept that was shown in Shanghai in 2017. Like that “all-purpose sports concept,” and despite its description as a sedan, the Menlo appears to be more of a plug-in electric crossover, as evidenced by a teaser image of what is clearly a rear hatch and images that leaked this summer on CarNewChina’s Facebook page. It reflects design influences from the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid — which preceded it in China in 2011 — the Blazer and the Chevy Bolt EV.

CNET reports that the Menlo is built on the China-only Buick Velite 6 platform and makes 176 horsepower. Chevy’s China PR unit describes the Menlo as a “sporty-looking sedan that leverages GM’s highly efficient and reliable electric propulsion and intelligent connectivity technology,” so we’ll look forward to learning more later this week.

Chevy of course already sells a three-row SUV in the U.S. in the Traverse. But as we’ve previously pointed out, that’s technically bigger than the Blazer XL, and the latter is undoubtedly a more stylish vehicle that might appeal to U.S. buyers. Not to mention, it’s a sport utility vehicle. Do automakers really care anymore whether they have too many of them?

In China, anyway, the Blazer XL will be available in two trim levels, RS or Redline. It joins the compact Trailblazer, midsize Equinox and Tracker small SUV as the flagship in the brand’s lineup of utility vehicles in its second-largest market.

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