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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.

2015 Nissan LEAF Review

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2015 Nissan LEAF Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

The 2015 Nissan Leaf's rounded hatchback shape is on its way to becoming just as iconic for electric cars as the Toyota Prius is for hybrids. And why not? The Leaf made the electric vehicle (EV) mainstream thanks to its affordable price, easy driving manners and user-friendliness. Roomy and comfortable, it could be any other 5-passenger hatchback, except it doesn't require gasoline, and it's nearly silent on the road. Popular among commuters and the eco-conscious, the Leaf still isn't for everyone. Long charge times mean you have to wait for a while to get going again, and if you're getting 100 miles out of a charge, you're darn lucky. Nevertheless, the Leaf trumps others such as the Chevrolet Spark EV and Fiat 500e in both size and nationwide availability.

You'll Like This Car If...

Do you stand in line to get the latest iDevice? Do you not just separate your recyclables, but sort them into glass, paper, and plastic, too? The 2015 Nissan Leaf appeals to eco-friendly early adopters who can live with its limitations, not a huge group, but a sought-after one.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If your daily drive often takes you past 100 miles, or if you don't have 220-volt power in your house, a pure electric car like the Leaf may not be the best pick. Check out a plug-in hybrid instead, like the Chevrolet Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in or Ford C-Max Energi.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 7.8
  • 6.7
  • 6.9
  • 7.3
  • 6.3
  • 9.7
How It Ranks

#1

out of 7

Fuel Economy

#7

out of 7

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.8 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2015 Nissan LEAF Low/wide front photo What's New for 2015

The base model Leaf S now gets the same "B-Mode" as the rest of the lineup, which engages an aggressive regenerative braking mode. Leaf SV models also get new standard 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and Leaf SV and SL models get hands-free text messaging and voice-activated destination entry.

Driving the LEAF
2015 Nissan LEAF Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions If you've never driven an EV before, starting up the 2015 Nissan Leaf is an experience. Rather than the rev of an engine, it simply informs you that it's ready...

... to go. When you pull away, all you hear is the rumble of the tires, the slight whine from the electric motor, and eventually, the rush of wind passing by. Then the novelty wears off, and you realize that whether you're in traffic, on windy roads, or at freeway speeds, the Leaf is mostly unremarkable, but in the best way possible. Like other electric cars, the Leaf has quick initial acceleration thanks to its torque-rich electric motor. A mileage-sensitive driver should avoid hard acceleration, and instead engage the Eco mode, which increases regenerative braking and reduces output of the motor and climate system. The B-Mode increases the aggressiveness of the EV's regenerative-braking system even further, handy for long downhill grades.

CARWINGS TELEMATICS
The 2015 Nissan Leaf comes with a smartphone app for iPhone, Android and Blackberry which allows Leaf owners to do things like check their Leaf's state of charge, begin or end a charging session, and adjust climate controls from almost anywhere. The service is free to owners for three years.

WHISPER-QUIET OPERATION
All electric cars are quiet, thanks to the lack of a noisy engine, but the Nissan Leaf is even more so thanks to sound-suppressing technologies such as vortex-shedding body pieces, an acoustic front windshield, and an aerodynamic antenna.

2015 Nissan LEAF Details
2015 Nissan LEAF Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

The Leaf EV boasts big windows and a high roof, meaning it's easy to see out and airy inside. Four can fit comfortably, five in a pinch, and behind the rear seats is an admirable 24 cubic feet of cargo space, with 60/40 folding rear seats for larger items. We'd like more side support from the otherwise comfortable front seats, though. The Nissan Leaf doesn't use a traditional shift lever. Instead, there's a small orb that toggles up for Reverse, down for Drive, and to the side for Neutral; engage Park by pressing a center button.

Exterior
2015 Nissan LEAF photo

The Nissan Leaf's squat 5-door hatchback design is close to becoming iconic for electric cars. While not particularly exciting, it stands out thanks to its lighting treatments. The headlights sweep way into the body, almost as long as the hood, and the taillights form part of the entire rear design of the car, standing tall against the hatch. Above the grille opening in front is the Leaf's charging port and, thanks to the lack of a gasoline engine, there's no tailpipe.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base model Nissan Leaf S comes nicely equipped. There's a rearview camera, Bluetooth wireless communication, and heated front and rear seats so you won't drain the battery with the main heater system. The 4-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system includes USB and auxiliary inputs, and a 4.3-inch display. The mid-range SV model adds a 7-inch display, six speakers, navigation, cruise control, and the CARWINGS app integration. Top-line Leaf SL models add leather, LED headlights, a solar panel on the rear spoiler to support the 12-volt system, and HomeLink remote transceiver.

Optional Equipment

There aren't a lot of standalone options for the 2015 Leaf, since most of the upgrades are bundled into the S, SV and SL models themselves. On the S you can add a 6.6 kW onboard charger for faster recharging. SV trims can be had with LED headlights, fog lights and a quick-charge port for specialized high-speed chargers. Top-line SL models can be outfitted with Nissan's snazzy Around View Monitor backup camera system and a 7-speaker Bose premium audio system.

Under the Hood
2015 Nissan LEAF Engine photo

An 80 kW lithium-ion battery and 107-horsepower motor powers the Leaf's front wheels through a single-speed transmission. That motor churns out a stout 187 lb-ft of torque from zero rpm, resulting in a 0-to-60-mph sprint of about 10 seconds, and topping out at 90 mph. How long it takes to charge depends on the system you have. The base Leaf's 3.6 kW onboard charger takes about 8 hours on a 220-volt line, while the 6.6 kW version, optional on the S and standard on the SV and SL, reduces that to about 5 hours. A Fast Charge receptacle on SL models gets the Leaf to an 80 percent charge in 30 minutes. Recharging on a 110-volt outlet will take more than 20 hours.

AC synchronous electric motor
24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack
107 horsepower
187 lb-ft of torque
EPA-estimated range per full charge: 84 miles
EPA city/highway fuel economy equivalent: 126/101 mpge

The base 2015 Nissan Leaf S starts at about $30,000. That steps up to about $33,000 for the mid-level SV, and about $36,000 for the top-line SL. That sounds like a lot, but when you factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit, plus any state incentives for electric cars, the price drops rapidly. Then there's the potential access to carpool lanes with a single occupant. If you're in a hurry to recharge, the SL and its Fast Charge port is a good idea, otherwise, the SV offers most of the SL's features in a less expensive package. The Leaf starts several thousand dollars less than the Chevrolet Volt, Ford Focus Electric and the tiny Fiat 500e. However, it's not the price leader, undercut by the tiny-but-fun Chevy Spark EV. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying, and expect a below-average resale value.

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2015 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."

8 people out of 12 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 27 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..."

7 people out of 24 found this review helpful

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