1000 Miles in a Nissan Leaf

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I don’t normally do posts that aren’t strictly about Magento or some kind of web technology but I love cars and wanted to review the 2013 Nissan Leaf and that’s cool and technical, right?

I’ve owned my Leaf for about 1000 miles now so I’ve had time to get a good sample of the car but can’t claim long term ownership yet. So, on with the review.

Comfort – 5/5

The Leaf looks very small from the outside so I was surprised to feel like I was sitting in the roomy front seat of a much larger car. I find the seats to be quite comfy with the arm rests, cup holders, and other accommodations quite easily within reach without feeling like you’re being crowded by extra bits of the car. Between the comfortable interior and the near noiselessness, trips around town never fail to be relaxing.

Style – 4/5

The Leaf is undoubtedly an ugly car. There’s no getting around the fact that Nissan built something that’s just not pretty. There is a certain level of elegance, though, to  cruising along with no tail pipe and no motor noise that makes me want to give it a 4 out of 5 for style.

Performance – 3/5

Despite the Leaf’s heavy battery and, supposedly, low center of gravity, it still gives off the impression of being a very easy car to tip over. Soft suspension in the base model coupled with high seats make sharp turns feel quite perilous.

The Leaf ‘s tiny 107 HP motor delivers a higher than expected level of torque to the wheels giving this small car a very quick takeoff with acceleration slowing as the vehicle speeds up. Were you to drag race with a Corolla or a Civic, I would expect to get to 40 mph much faster before quickly falling behind.

Cost – 5/5

I have to start with the disclaimer that I got lucky and managed to buy one of the only used models of this car available so my cost out the door was lower than expected. If you happen to find one of these cars gently used, their value drops very quickly so you’re likely to get a bargain.

After taking the car home, I’ve been able to average roughly 4.3 MpKwh making my travel costs roughly $0.02/Mile.  Drastically cheaper than a gas driven vehicle.

Range – 3/5

The Nissan Leaf advertises an impressive 84 miles of range which is plenty to get most people too and from where they need to go. I’ve heard of people getting both much more and much less than the advertised range but I’ve found, for my mix of highways and back roads, that 84 is actually pretty close to accurate.

The only caveat here is that it takes about 29 hours to charge the battery from a normal outlet so, if you have to use the entire charge every day, you’ll probably end up investing in an expensive Level 2 charger and an electrician to help you get an outlet where ever you happen to park your car.

On days when the range won’t quite do it, I’ve found the folks at Nissan to be quite happy letting me sit for twenty minutes with a book while I use the quick charge.


I love my Leaf. All in all I’ve found it to be a comfortable, relaxing, and affordable ride. These cars haven’t been around for very long so it’ll be interesting to see how it holds up over the next few years of use. For now I’m excited, hopeful, and looking forward to seeing what the electric market comes up with next!


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