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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

Get Your Fair Purchase Price See actual transaction prices, explore total cost to own, projected resale value and more. See what you should pay

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 3

Fuel Economy

#3

out of 3

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.7 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
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 49 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Leaning into the future of automobiles

By on Friday, September 05, 2014

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great value, great handling, quiet, solid, fun"

Cons: "budget materials, range,"

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

"An interesting fact is that most early cars were electric. Until the 1920's, electric cars out sold gas cars. Things have come full circle with the Nissan Leaf, and electric cars are becoming popular once again. If you own one, it becomes immediately apparent that they are the future. The car is comfortable and relaxing to drive. The tranquility of commuting to work without engine noise or gear shifts is something that I didn't consider when I leased the car, but it's one of it's greatest strengths. It's also got lots of power. It's fast off the line and fun...although as others have said, this is mostly true under 45 mph. The car seems well made, although the materials feel like what you'd find in a $18K car and not a $30K car. That's ok though, the awesomeness of the electric drivetrain more than compensate. In the future though, as electric cars become more common, they will need to drop the price or step up the quality. Overall, I strongly recommend the car. It's a hoot."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

I love this car

By on Thursday, August 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"As long as you know exactly how to use an electric car you will love it. I drive 1000 miles a month for around $20 worth of electricity. and No maintenance... Take that Prius"

6 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Great commuting car and around town car

By on Thursday, August 21, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Totaled after accident

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Quiet, no trips to gas station"

Cons: "Can't only car, limits to range, need garage."

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

"If your driving fits well into the profile, see below, this can be a great commuting and around town car. It is quiet, responsive in city traffic, roomy, convenient. The profile of an owner that will really like this car is: Lives in a reasonable climate, drives 20 to 50 miles on most days, and you have another car for days when you need to drive longer distances, in other words, can trade with the spouse or other household member. Also, the owner will need a garage or carport or similar place to install a charging station. Yes, the 120V cable supplied with the car will work, but is somewhat of a hassle, and some 120V outlets are poorly made/installed/wired."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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