The Leaf has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
To help make backing safer, the Leaf (except S)’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
The Leaf SL’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Leaf and the Model 3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.
The Leaf’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Model 3’s (5/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).
There are over 17 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.
In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The Leaf has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.
For better maneuverability, the Leaf S’ turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the Model 3’s (34.8 feet vs. 38.1 feet). The Leaf SV/SL’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Model 3’s (36.1 feet vs. 38.1 feet).
The Nissan Leaf may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 400 pounds less than the Tesla Model 3.
The Leaf is 8.4 inches shorter than the Model 3, making the Leaf easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Leaf is 5.6 inches narrower than the Model 3, making the Leaf easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.
The Leaf has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Model 3 (23.6 vs. 15 cubic feet).
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Leaf has a standard rear wiper. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a rear wiper.
Both the Leaf and the Model 3 offer optional heated front seats. The Leaf SL also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Model 3.
On extremely cold Winter days, the Leaf’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.