2018 5-Year Cost to Own Awards: Best Electric Vehicle
Best Electric Vehicle: 2018 Nissan LEAF
With an all-new version out this year, the Nissan Leaf EV is helping electric cars turn a crucial "acceptance" corner. What Tesla models have -- up to now -- been able to do with image-improvement for electric vehicles, the new Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt are working on doing for the mindset of mainstream car buyers.
The new Leaf's 5-year cost to own strengths are many. Leaf pricing now starts under $30,000 (and that's before you deduct the $7,500 federal EV tax credit) and you get an 8-year/100,000-mile battery warranty. Additional savings also appear in cost advantages shared by all electric cars: much lower maintenance costs and fuel costs that are a fraction of having to pay for gasoline. On the downside of that street, electric cars dramatically lose their resale value over time.
Thanks to a more-powerful 40-kWh battery pack, the Leaf's driving range is improved 40 percent to a peace-of-mind-inducing 150 miles. Bonus: The "instant-on" acceleration that distinguishes electric vehicles is also notably improved. While the new Leaf's exterior looks small-car mainstream, the 5-passenger interior boasts an upgrade in design and materials, highlighted by quality soft-touch surfaces and easy-to-read instrumentation.
On the standard high-tech front, every 2018 Nissan Leaf includes ePedal, a very intuitive system that allows you to lift off the throttle to automatically engage the brakes, helping charge the batteries and allowing you to drive with just the accelerator.
EPedal highlights the value-drive behind Nissan's EV thinking, as we said in our Expert Review: "By giving the car a more conventional look and boosting range to 150 miles, the Leaf is moving into the realm beyond automotive novelty to a practical, alternative-power vehicle."
5-Year Cost to Own:
2nd Place Finisher: 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV
With a full-charge range of 238 miles and class-leading resale value -- plus being nicely equipped and fun to drive -- the Chevrolet Bolt EV deserves your attention.
3rd Place Finisher: 2018 BMW i3
As if being a funky, style-conscious, petite luxury car wasn't enough, the BMW i3 also boasts low cost to own and surprisingly good (for an electric car) resale value.
Other Category Winners
- Best Subcompact Car
- Best Compact Car
- Best Mid-Size Car
- Best Full-Size Car
- Best Sporty Compact Car
- Best Sports Car
- Best High Performance Car
- Best Entry-Level Luxury Car
- Best Luxury Car
- Best High-End Luxury Car
- Best Hybrid/Alternative Energy Car
- Best Electric Vehicle
- Best Subcompact SUV/Crossover
- Best Compact SUV/Crossover
- Best Mid-Size SUV/Crossover
- Best Full-Size SUV/Crossover
- Best Luxury Compact SUV/Crossover
- Best Luxury Mid-Size SUV/Crossover
- Best Luxury Full-Size SUV/Crossover
- Best Mid-Size Pickup Truck
- Best Full-Size Pickup Truck
- Best Minivan