For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Leaf are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Tesla Model S doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
The Leaf SV/SL offers an optional Around View ® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Model S only offers a rear monitor.
Both the Leaf and the Model S have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.
For its top level performance in frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Leaf as a “Top Pick,” a rating only granted to 158 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Model S has not been tested, yet.
The Leaf’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Model S’ (5/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).
There are over 134 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Leaf’s warranty.
On the EPA test cycle the Leaf gets better fuel mileage than the Model S with the 65 kWh battery (130 city/102 hwy vs. 94 city/97 hwy). The Leaf gets better fuel mileage than the Model S with the 85 kWh battery (130 city/102 hwy vs. 88 city/90 hwy).
For better maneuverability, the Leaf’s turning circle is 2.8 feet tighter than the Model S’ (34.2 feet vs. 37 feet).
The Nissan Leaf may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1450 to 1500 pounds less than the Tesla Model S.
The Leaf is 1 foot, 9 inches shorter than the Model S, making the Leaf easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Leaf is 7.6 inches narrower than the Model S, making the Leaf easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.
The Leaf has 1.4 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom and .7 inches more rear headroom than the Model S.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Leaf has a standard rear wiper. The Model S doesn’t offer a rear wiper.
The Leaf has standard heated front and rear seats, which keep the driver and passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Model S.
For greater rear passenger comfort, the Leaf has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Model S doesn’t offer rear vents.