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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

8.7 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 59 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

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."

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."

3 people out of 8 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."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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