Nissan Leaf Review
The 2015 Nissan Leaf ranks 8 out of 13 Upscale Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Nissan Leaf, as well as reliability and safety data.
While some say it could use more highway passing power, the all-electric 2015 Nissan Leaf pleases critics with a spacious cabin and controlled handling.
The Nissan Leaf is powered by an electric motor that some test drivers say provides strong initial acceleration and adequate power on the highway. However, others mention that the 2015 Leaf could use more passing power at higher speeds. Critics appreciate that the Leaf is very smooth and virtually silent at speed. The EPA reports that the Leaf gets 126/101 mpg-equivalent city/highway, which is good for an electric car. The Leaf can travel 84 miles on a fully charged battery, and some critics note that the Leaf’s driving range may limit its appeal to some shoppers. Reviewers report that the Leaf has an agile ride, communicative steering and feels stable while cornering. Critics add that the Leaf’s firm brake pedal provides excellent feedback.
Auto writers like the 2015 Nissan Leaf’s modern interior design, though some say the Leaf’s interior materials include a fair amount of unimpressive plastics. The automotive press notes that the Leaf’s cabin feels open and offers excellent visibility. Test drivers think the front seats are roomy, and a few add that the rear seats are more spacious than those in many compact cars. The Leaf’s cargo space is good for an electric car. Standard features on the 2015 Nissan Leaf include Bluetooth, automatic climate control, satellite radio, a USB port and a rearview camera. Optional features include navigation, a seven-speaker Bose audio system and Nissan’s Around View Monitor, which uses multiple cameras to give a 360-degree view around the vehicle when parking.
- "The 2015 Nissan Leaf possesses everything necessary to placate environmentalists, technophiles and any forward-thinking consumers looking to cut back on high fuel bills." -- AutoTrader
- "Overall, we think the pioneering Leaf continues to be a great choice and a good value for an EV." -- Edmunds
- "While it has a limited driving range, in most other respects the Leaf is quite similar to a conventional gas-powered compact hatchback, offering a comfortable interior and surprisingly snappy acceleration (albeit with zero emissions)." -- Left Lane News
- "If you have an unpredictable driving schedule, travel more than 100 miles per day or live in a residence without 220-volt power support, better options are the Chevrolet Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in or Ford C-Max Energi. These plug-in hybrids can travel hundreds of miles thanks to their onboard gasoline engines." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
Other Cars to Consider
The Chevrolet Spark EV has a slightly lower base price than the Leaf, and it gets a marginally better mpg-e rating. Critics agree that the Spark EV feels powerful and responsive off the line, and many appreciate its nimble handling and excellent maneuverability.
The Toyota Prius Plug-in can’t travel as far on a charge, but its hybrid powertrain means that you don’t have to worry about running out of battery power. The Prius Plug-in also offers terrific fuel economy for a hybrid car, and reviewers like its spacious cargo hold.
Details: 2015 Nissan Leaf
The 2015 Nissan Leaf is a five-seat, front-wheel drive hatchback that is powered by an electric motor. It comes in S, SV and SL trims. The Leaf hasn’t been fully redesigned since its debut in the 2011 model year. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 through 2015 model years.