Nissan Leaf Review
The 2014 Nissan Leaf ranks 9 out of 14 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.
Reviewers like that the all-electric 2014 Nissan Leaf has agile handling and intuitive tech features, but they note that it takes a long time to charge.
The Leaf is powered by an electric motor that test drivers say provides strong initial acceleration and adequate power at highway 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, though plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt have gas engines that extend the driving range. Reviewers report that the Leaf has an agile ride and communicative steering and say it feels stable while cornering. Critics add that the Leaf’s firm brake pedal provides excellent feedback.
Auto writers appreciate the 2014 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 comfortable, 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 2014 Nissan Leaf include Bluetooth, automatic climate control, a four-speaker audio system, satellite radio, a USB port and a rearview camera. Optional features include navigation, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, Pandora Internet radio capability and Nissan’s Around View Monitor, which uses multiple cameras to give a 360-degree view around the vehicle when parking.
- "The 2014 Nissan Leaf has all the ingredients to satisfy environmentalists, technophiles and any forward-thinking consumer looking to cut back on high fuel bills." -- AutoTrader
- "Though there are more choices than ever for an electric vehicle, the pioneering Nissan Leaf continues to be a top pick for an EV." -- Edmunds
- "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
- "Just as we don't recommend pickup trucks to everyone, we can't recommend an electric vehicle to everyone. But if you can charge up at home or work and drive fewer than 50 miles per day, on average, the Leaf remains a great, clean and affordable way to get to and from work." -- Autoblog (2013)
Other Cars to Consider
The Ford Focus Electric is another all-electric hatchback with a decent amount of passenger and cargo space for a small EV. Critics say the Focus Electric has accurate steering, strong brakes and nimble handling. The Ford Focus Electric has 36 more horsepower than the Leaf, and reviewers agree that it has strong acceleration off the line. The Focus Electric has a shorter range and a lower mpg-e rating than the Leaf.
The Chevrolet Spark EV has a lower starting price than the Leaf and many of the same standard features including Bluetooth, a USB port and satellite radio. The Spark EV has a similar range as the Leaf, gets a higher mpg-e rating and has more horsepower.
Details: 2014 Nissan Leaf
The 2014 Nissan Leaf is a five-seat, front-wheel-drive hatchback that is powered by an electric motor. The Leaf comes in three trims: S, SV and SL. The Leaf’s driving range increased by 9 miles for 2014 because of a change in the way the EPA calculates it. 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 2014 model years.