Nissan highlights 2018 Leaf electric vehicle and new Kicks crossover at Auto Show

CLEVELAND - Nissan is introducing a brand new subcompact crossover in 2018 and is rolling out big changes to its electric vehicle, the Leaf.

The 2018 Leaf, which is on display at the Cleveland Auto Show, arrived at Northeast Ohio Nissan dealerships last month and starts at just under $30,000.

"It's the least expensive EV car made in the United States, under $30,000 base price, and it's the highest volume EV car in that price range too," said Diehl Belza with I-90 Nissan in Sheffield Village.

The Leaf has a redesigned, aerodynamic exterior and averages 112 mpg, combined city and highway. Its 40KW battery is now standard on all models, enabling drivers to travel as far as from Cleveland to Columbus on one charge.

"It has a range of 150 miles from, previously, 107 miles," Belza said.

The Leaf can charge up to 80 percent in about 40 minutes at a quick charge station and in eight hours when plugged in to a wall outlet at home.

The vehicle offers pro-assist self-driving, which controls speed while the driver steers. It also has an optional e-Pedal, which allows the driver to use one pedal to control acceleration and braking, according to Belza.

"You depress, you go. You bring it back, it starts braking for you," Belza said.

Nissan is also rolling out a brand new subcompact crossover, Kicks. Production is expected to begin this spring, with the vehicle arriving to dealerships in June.

"This is more of an entry-level crossover," Belza said. "That market is going to explode."

Getting 33 mpg, the Kicks is expected to start at less than $20,000 and is geared toward drivers under 30 years-old. It has more than 25 cubic feet of space, including cargo room in its rear hatch.

More stories on the Cleveland Auto Show, right here.