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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

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2015 Nissan LEAF Expert Review

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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

#3

out of 13

Fuel Economy

#13

out of 13

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 71 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Awesome, Economical & Super Dependable!

By on Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Most Everything, No Oil Changes, No Transmission"

Cons: "Only 70 miles on a full charge"

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

"We bought a used, 2 year old Leaf SL and it's our favorite toy. Quick sub 50 MPH acceleration, comfortable, spacious, quiet and quirky. I'm addicted to not buying gas. But installing a 240 volt charger is a must, must have! The 240 volt charger will juice up the Leaf with 25 miles range in an hour/ or full charge in 3 hours. But that's provided your model has the quick charge option. The Leaf is one of three cars that we own, and it would be somewhat limiting if it were our only vehicle, due to the range constrictions of 70 miles. And 70 mile range means you're driving very conservatively, in ECO Mode and with the Brake Regenerative function, as well. I'm no stranger to high end vehicles. I currently own an older model Boxster and Infiniti Q45, and adore them both. I've also owned a Nissan 350Z, Mercedes E class, BMW 735IL, Saab Turbo convertible, Honda Prelude, Toyota Cellica GTS, and Audi. So, when I say the Leaf is overall, one of the most favorite cars I've ever owned, you can get an idea of what I've experienced. If 70 miles range meets your everyday needs, consider the Leaf. You can always use charging stations when necessary, but that can be a bit of an inconvenience. Don't forget, you must invest the $500 for the 240 volt charger, and another $150 or so for an electrician or qualified handyman to install the plug for it."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Excellent car.

By on Thursday, May 12, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Quiet, reliable, easy to drive, economical"

Cons: "None for my mission"

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

"It is a perfect car for my needs. I never have to stop at a gas station. I don't have to change/check oil. I only use the standard 110 VAC charger, no big deal. It has ample power and range. These electric cars are the future, a little sad but it the future. We enjoy the quietness and the ease in driving. I also have a pick up truck and sports car, but for our work commute, errands and grocery getting this thing is perfect. I have had two field campaigns for software and a warranty repair for the air conditioner."

5 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Great little electric car!

By on Friday, April 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, clean air, quiet"

Cons: "range"

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

"I absolutely love driving this car - it drives so much better than my Prius! Especially when making a turn, it feels solid. Has great acceleration and drives like a regular car. I also love the room inside despite looking small from the outside. Never ran out of juice but then again, I planned my trips ahead of time. I just really wish they had an option with extra range or engine!"

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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