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Federal Tax Credit Up To $7,500! The 2011 Nissan Leaf electric car qualifies for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, effectively reducing the net base price from $33,720 to $26,220. In addition, some states offer their own purchase incentives, which can be combined with the federal credit. Other electric vehicle-related perks that vary by city or state include single-occupant access to carpool lanes, free metered parking and significantly reduced vehicle registration fees. Home charging stations, which cut charging times in half compared to standard wall outlets, are also eligible for attractive incentives. Nissan offers a useful state-by-state guide to Leaf-specific incentives and perks at nissanusa.com.

2011 Nissan LEAF

Overview
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2011 Nissan LEAF Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.1

The first pure electric-powered vehicle introduced by a major automaker, the 2011 Nissan LEAF heralds the dawn of a new era of ultra-clean motoring. Although distribution will be geographically limited and its numbers will be supply-constrained to only 20,000 units during the initial year of sales, all of those units have already been spoken for by eco-minded buyers and Nissan is gearing up its Smyrna, Tennessee, assembly plant to produce 50,000 of these five-passenger mid-size hatchback sedans here annually starting in 2012. With a 100-mile nominal range, driving characteristics that effectively mirror conventionally-powered cars and a surprisingly affordable price tag made even more attractive by various incentives, the LEAF is a legitimate and very real alternative choice, particularly for those considering its primary rival, the Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV) 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

You'll Like This Car If...

No question that card-carrying Greenies who think EVs are the future and the future is now will love the new Nissan LEAF. Others will simply have to decide if a vehicle with its admirable cost-to-benefit ratio makes the most sense as a second or third commuter car or as a substitute for a conventional hybrid.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Drivers with unpredictable daily schedules, long commutes and/or budgets that will support only one car will be better off with a standard compact/mid-size vehicle, some type of hybrid – or the LEAF's high-profile but pricier rival for eco plaudits, the Chevrolet Volt.

What's Significant About This Car?

The electric-powered Nissan LEAF is nothing less than a revolutionary step in the advancement of modern ultra-clean automotive design. It combines user-friendly technology in a practical, affordable package that should appeal to anyone who can live within its per-charge range limitations.

Driving the LEAF

Driving Impressions Nissan has always contended that its ultra-clean character aside, the LEAF would deliver the same basic driving experience as any conventional competitor. Having put it through a variety of real-world...

paces, from urban stop-and-go to rolling two-lane backroads to formal freeway hauling, we can confirm that promise of functional transparency has been kept. Initial acceleration is brisk, ride compliance good and it's surprisingly capable when the going does get twisty. While calling it "sporty" would be an overstatement – especially in ECO mode – the LEAF does respond to all control inputs in a confidently predictably manner. Admittedly a tad numb on center, the LEAF's electric power steering is direct and decently weighted while its Versa-based suspension bits keep body roll fairly well in check. The effect of its regenerative braking, while noticeable, is hardly intrusive. Even the low-rolling resistance tires serve up more grip than expected, allowing, if not encouraging, at least a modicum of spirited motoring.

Green to the core
Nothing is absolutely emission-free, but with its pure electric powertrain the new Nissan LEAF comes as close as possible to zeroing out its carbon footprint. To complement that exemplary level of eco-friendliness, nearly 95 percent of all components in this groundbreaking vehicle are recyclable.

Enlightened touch-screen navigation system
In addition to guiding you to your destination and presenting various points of interest along the way, the navigation package in the LEAF graphically depicts the range limits of your out-and-back travel per charge as well as the location of all nearby commercial recharging locations.

2011 Nissan LEAF Details
2011 Nissan LEAF photo Interior

The 2011 Nissan LEAF's well-isolated, full-featured cabin matches understated contemporary flair with a high level of user friendliness. A technical mid-size offering, it seats five, teaming decently formed front buckets with a utility-enhancing 60/40 rear bench seat that will pamper a pair of full-size adults, accommodate a trio of kids or fold to upsize cargo space from 11.7 to 24.0 cubic feet. Like much of its interior trim, all of the people perches are covered in fully recycled/recyclable material. Basic control functions are all logically arrayed, although getting comfortable with the megaload of vehicle and systems information that can be called up at any time does require a bit of personal orientation.

Exterior
2011 Nissan LEAF photo

Distinctively – and some might contend controversially – styled, the LEAF's five-door hatch design was created to optimize total operating efficiency. Its aerodynamic lines coupled with various other streamlining elements yield a 0.29 coefficient of drag while helping to minimize wind noise that can become much more noticeable when you eliminate the sounds normally created by an internal combustion engine. Low-draw LED headlights and tail lamps bookend the package to further help extend the LEAF's potential operating range. Properly filling its nicely flared fender wells are 205/55 Bridgestone Ecopia low-rolling resistance tires wrapped around lightweight aluminum wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Beyond its advanced all-electric powertrain and on-board charger/charging cord, the LEAF's lengthy features roster includes a full array of power assists, driver-selectable/eco-encouraging digital readouts, real-time navigation/vehicle-information systems, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio package with iPod/USB connectivity, Bluetooth and available XM Satellite Radio, sophisticated trip computer, electric climate control system, Intelligent Key push-button starting, the ability to use web-enabled smartphones to monitor and control various on-board systems/functions. In addition to its vehicle dynamics/traction control systems, the LEAF also has front/front-side/side-curtain airbags. The $940 step up from SV to SL trim brings a RearView Monitor, rear-spoiler solar panel, fog lamps and automatic headlights.

Optional Equipment

2011 Nissan LEAF extras are minimal to say the least. A Cold Package for both the SV and SL adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated mirrors, extra rear-seat heater ducts and dedicated temperature management circuitry, while SL buyers also can opt for a supplemental Quick Charge Port capable of delivering an 80 percent recharge in 30 minutes at dedicated public charging stations. Also on offer is a 220V home charger. Projected to cost about $2,200 installed – half or less after various credits – this hard-wired unit cuts recharging time to roughly eight hours compared to the 20 needed on a basic 110V plug-in.

Under the Hood

Energized by a 24kWh Lithium-ion-manganese-graphite battery pack mounted beneath its floor and warranted for eight years/100,000 miles, the LEAF's 80kW/107-horsepower motor/generator develops 206.5 pound-feet of torque from zero rpm. Sent to the front wheels via a single-speed reduction gear, it makes this 3,370-pound Nissan surprisingly quick off the line, takes it to 60 mph in around 10 seconds and lets it reach 90 mph. While temperature extremes and driving conditions will impact real-world range, a selectable ECO mode that that rolls back throttle response and steps up the regenerative braking effect can help stretch its nominal 100-mile per-charge potential by roughly 10 percent. Nissan says recharging will run $3 or less and that unless gasoline dips below $1.10/gallon, the LEAF's "fuel" costs will be less than a conventional car that averages 25 mpg.

AC synchronous electric motor/generator
24kWh lithium-ion-manganese-graphite battery pack
80kW/107-horsepower @ 2,730-9,800 rpm
206.5 lb-ft of torque @ 0-2,730 rpmn
Projected per-charge range: 72 miles
EPA city/highway fuel economy equivalent: 106/92

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2011 Nissan LEAF Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 62 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

After watching for three years I took the plunge.

By on Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fun to drive, ultra reliable by all accounts."

Cons: "You need to owe the IRS $7500 for full tax break"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Actually it was the BMW i3 ads that got me moving. The family said that was my car (the Tesla was not an option). After seeing both the i3 and Leaf at the auto show it was clearly the Leaf. In my case a 2015 SL with surround cameras and the Bose sound system. The fit and finish appear flawless. My range is around 100 miles. The air conditioning is excellent as well as the sound system (I'm not convinced it is worth the money though). My home only had an 80 amp service so to take advantage of a 6 kw level 2 charger I needed to modernize up to 200 amp (with a 50% contribution by the State). My family is tall so the extra headroom inside front AND back gives you an appreciation the roofline design. I think the instruction manuals total over 700 pages, but if you are the husband or wife of a geek you just get in and drive. It is that simple. The Carwings navcom system? That could use some improvement. This car is a real tour de force of Nissan engineering. Everywhere I look I see thoughtful design and excellent execution. 2 cents per mile fuel cost (in my case nuclear!) and service requirements pretty much limited to tire rotation and annual battery checkup are of course worthy of mention. So I tell my friends...great car for urban/suburban driving if you have a second car for road trips and a place to hang a 220 volt charger. I couldn't be more pleased with my purchase."

10 people out of 14 found this review helpful

To Me The Best EV in the market for the Price

By on Thursday, June 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Economical driving, comfortable, fun to drive,"

Cons: "Tele-metrics;"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

My Leaf

"When I shopped for an electric vehicle I considered the Volt, C-MaxEnergi, and the BMW I3. I ended up choosing the Leaf because I wanted a vehicle that was truly all electric. I could not afford a Tesla.... The Leaf ended up on top because of the quality of the ride; it is all electric; interior space for 5; excellent truck space; and value. The Volt was a close second. However, the Volt had only a 38 mile all electric driving range. I typically drive 40 - 60 miles per day. So the Volt fell short unless I charged at work. Also I felt like I sat down in the Volt vs. up in the Leaf. The Leaf can accept an occasional 3rd person in the rear seat. I could not be more pleased with my decision after having driven the vehicle for a year. I am typically seeing currently a range of 103 - 105 miles. During the winter with -5 to 20 degree temperature days I was realizing an 85 mile range... Quite good. The fit and finish is excellent. The navigation and hands free features are good. My only complaint is that when I sync my iPhone to the tele-metrics in the Leaf names are always stored last name first. So the call command always has to begin with the last name... The handling around winding roads as I drive home into the country is quite good. Acceleration is surprisingly good when "eco" is turned off. Regenerative braking is excellent... My commuting distance is 16 miles each way... I typically recovering about 4 miles on my commute... IE my range left shows only 12 miles being consumes... And this is in both directions.... I should add that I do typically avoid the highway going home... At 65 mph you do pay a penalty on range... For me the back roads and the highway take about the same time so I take the back roads.... I might add that I own a second vehicle so extended range is not an issue for me. I strictly use the Leaf for daily driving to and from work plus weekend errands... IF I was limited to one vehicle I would have certainly picked the VOLT."

13 people out of 28 found this review helpful

My Leaf

best vehicle I've ever owned except for one thing

By on Monday, June 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great quality, safety, really smooth ride"

Cons: "Unbearable cabin pressure with rear windows open"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This car is the best vehicle I've ever owned with two exceptions. First, the obvious limited driving range which I knew about going in. The second is very disconcerting. You cannot drive over 35-40 mph with just the rear windows open. The noise and extreme cabin pressure is literally unbearable. It is like sitting under a fully rev'd helicopter. You cannot believe the pressure. If you open the front windows, it goes way. I think it may be coming from the wheels but I really don't know for sure. I tried to tell this to the local Nissan dealer, but they just didn't want to hear it or they knew about it already and didn't want to admit it. If you buy a Nissan Leaf, take it for a ride over 40mph with just rear windows open. Good luck with that..."

8 people out of 26 found this review helpful

My second LEAF and LOVE it!

By on Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Quiet, fun, Economical"

Cons: "range could be better"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought a 2015 SL after leasing a 2013 SV. In 2 years I put 30,000 miles on my last LEAF. I had absolutely NO maintenance issues with the car. It has more features than other cars its size. It is fun to drive. You have to come into it knowing what you are getting. I routinely go 80 miles in mixed driving without a problem. My daily commute is 64 miles round trip and I never have a concern. Sure the range is lower in the winter and is a bit less with the heat or AC on, but hasn't even ben an issue with my commute, Nissan has reworked the battery chemistry since the first model came out in 2011 and there is much less battery degradation. I saw none in 2 years. To address that someone said the battery costs $12000, not true. A replacement is $6000 installed, but it is warrantied for 8 years/100,000 miles from a bad cell and for 5 years/60,000 to hold a capacity of at least 70%. I have seen so loss in 2 years so I am confident it this cars battery quality. Of course I know that range will eventually decrease but the value is outstanding. I installed a 220 charging station in my garage and it charges quickly. If it was completely run down, it would charge in 4 hours, but I rarely ever run it down, so charge times are less. There are also free charging station ALL OVER the Dallas area. A charging station can be had for $500 but then it is yours forever. But you may need to install a 220 outlet if you don't have one. Sometimes Nissan gives these stations away with the car. So I pay 2.5 cents/mile for electricity vs 15 in my pickup. Also there are plenty of incentives. $7500 federal rebate is still available. It is actually a credit. So if you pay that much in Federal Taxes, you WILL get that amount back (or off) your tax bill when you file the next year. If you only pay say $6000 in taxes, that is all you will get back. I also received $2500 Texas rebate which runs until June 2015 unless renewed. Several other state offer rebates as well. Add that to offers from Nissan, you can get this car cheap. It is what it is, a commuter car. Its not a Tesla and wasn't meant to be. But it does its job extremely well."

27 people out of 34 found this review helpful

very high quality, cheap to operate and maintain

By on Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "$ 0.02 per mile and very low maintenance"

Cons: "45 mile range on 80% charge"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"after 3.5 years of operation its cost $0.02 per mile for home charging. the quality, smoothness and noise are excellent. easy and fun to drive."

11 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Extremely Advanced Car - So Quiet and Quick Enough

By on Monday, March 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Quick, Quiet in a luxurious way, edgy, spacious"

Cons: "You can't plan over 60 miles on hot/cold day"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"If you drive a car in the city and want to park in tight spots, quickly accelerate from 0 - 30mph, require lots of trunk and head space, plus does not pollute or damage the lungs of your cycling, walking and running fellow humans then this is your car. We buy wind power and charge our car overnight with a 110v and only use the charging stations when going to Whole Foods or the Science Center."

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

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