Product Reviews

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Nissan's LEAF holds the distinction of being the first widely available and affordable all-electric car. Overall, it's a civilized vehicle with very low running costs. It's very quiet, rides comfortably and is easy to enter and exit. The main drawbacks are its limited driving range of only about 75 miles per charge and long recharge times. This makes it best used as a commuter car or an urban runabout.
Alerts
There are 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and ESC standard. Side and head protection air bags standard.
Road Test

Nissan's LEAF holds the distinction of being the first widely available and affordable all-electric car. Overall, it's a civilized vehicle with very low running costs. It's very quiet, rides comfortably and is easy to enter and exit. The main drawbacks are its limited driving range of only about 75 miles per charge and long recharge times. This makes it best used as a commuter car or an urban runabout.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door hatchback
Transmissions Available
  • 1-speed Direct
Engines Available
  • electric (107 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2013 Nissan Leaf owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Heater system

“Heater system is electric and some component failed. Repaired under warranty. My nearest dealer had no technician certified to work on this system so I had to go to the nearest big city dealer - fortunately within driving range on full charge. Of course fully charge by dealer at no cost to me for trip home”

Peter G., AL (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“Heater system stopped working. Recalled. Replaced without charge. BUT had to reschedule the time for repair multiple times because of Nissan's difficulties getting the part(s)”

R B., MO (2013 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

“Stopped working”

Anonymous, TX (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“Heater first worked poorly and then stopped blowing hot air”

Barry W., NJ (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“Heater unit stopped working; replaced under warranty”

John T., IL (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“heater unit failed, replaced under warranty”

Anonymous, CO (2013 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

“Heater anemic and hot air stops before car gets very warm. Two attempts to fix it by dealer failed; we gave up”

Thomas N., CA (2013 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

“The heater element went out during the (literally) coldest week of the year. I was without heat for 2 days. Fortunately Nissan provided a gas powered loaner car which could provide copious heat!”

Han R., WA (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“Heater did not function. Only blew cold air. Dealership repaired at no charge but kept car for 2 and 1/2 days”

R B., MO (2013 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

“The heater coil failed.It took over 3 weeks to be repaired due to lack of parts”

Anonymous, MI (2013 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)
Refrigerant leaks

“Design of climate control system apparently was faulty. Refrigerant line connection would not accommodate normal movement of components and cracking occurred resulting in loss of refrigerant. Repaired under warranty”

Peter G., AL (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“Refrigerant leaks twice in first three years of lease”

Anonymous, HI (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“One day I noticed the air conditioner would not turn on the compressor. I took it to the dealer, they claim to have replaced a hose, which was last October. Has worked since, so they successfully repaired it”

B D., HI (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“One of the hoses has been replaced twice for the same problem”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“hose leak”

Anonymous, HI (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“Car was about 6 months old, a/c blew hot air. High pressure hose leaked, cracked at the condenser connection, a/c oil was empty”

Libby B., TX (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“A cracked pipe meant that refrigerant was leaking out, so the cooling system didn't work during warm summer weather, and the dehumidifying system didn't work to clear windows during a wet fall and winter”

Anonymous, WA (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“A/C quit blowing cold air. Nissan replace some lines under warranty. Seems OK now”

Michael S., TX (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“AC stopped working, dealer repaired under warranty, believed they said a hose or hoses were leaking, replaced freon, works fine now”

H M., VA (2013 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

“All of the AC refrigerant leaked out due to a design flaw that I was told has been addressed on newer models. Was covered under warranty but took a day to get fixed with an update part to prevent it from happening again”

Anonymous, GA (2013 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

“Metal high pressure freon tubing has a weak connection that causes the refrigerant to leak out. Nissan is aware of the problem, has an after market conversion kit to fix the problem, and does the repair for free. The repair 3 months ago is working”

Robert T., TX (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)
A/C compressor

“A/C comperssor died”

Anonymous, TX (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“Broke 3 times in just over 2 years”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“No a/c”

Anonymous, MA (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“A/C weakened and then stopped working. Needed a part replaced by dealer. Covered by warranty”

Leslie H., OR (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)
Blower (fan) motor

“It quit working. Took it in to be serviced, completely covered by warranty, no problems since”

Anonymous, WA (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“Ironically, leaves got into the area between the windshield and hood, and they clogged up the fan blower causing it to need replacements”

Anonymous, VA (2013 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

“Stopped working and Nissan replaced it without charge and lent me a car while mine was in the shop”

Anonymous, TN (2013 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

“It un-pairs but I don't know whether it's he car or the phone”

Joe B., FL (2013 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

“Had system replaced under warranty. No problem since”

Anonymous, TX (2013 Nissan Leaf Unsure Electric)
Voice control commands

“Like my wife, the car just doesn't understand me. If I change to a falsetto voce, it catches more of my commands”

Joe B., FL (2013 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)
External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

“Blue tooth and wired links to Iphone are quirky. Phone voice commands in the car system are: poorly designed, too many steps, work poorly. The iphone voice commands are much better, but that sort of defeats the purpose of being "hands free."”

Robert T., TX (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

“Very clunky. So bad compared to android phone for selecting destination we didn't use it except to drive home since home was easy to select”

Daniel C., CA (2013 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)
Radio

“The SD card for the entire system did not work. The dealer bought a new card from Nissan and that still doesn't fix the problem. It is at the dealer today...hopefully it can be fixed”

Juli P., CA (2013 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)
Speakers

“Phase in and out”

W C., HI (2013 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Seals and/or weather-stripping

“The wind noise from the area of the driver's window is often annoying when on the highway. The dealer changed the weather strip for the door, which seemed to help for a while. Otherwise the car is great”

B D., HI (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)
Squeaks or rattles

“Caused by the front bearings in the wheels. Always made a squeal when making a turn. The dealership fixed the problem by repacking the bearings”

David F., CA (2013 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)
Wind noise

“Drivers window. Dealership can't figure out how to fix it”

Anonymous, NE (2013 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Hybrid/electric system and battery (excluding replacement)

“Same as other complaint”

Bill L., UT (2013 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

“warning light went on, did not charge, unknown cause (could have been a defective charger)”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

“12 volt battery died within first month. This kills the car. Techs unable to diagnose this the first time. Found the problem on Internet myself. Battery should have been charged by drive system batteries but wasn't”

Bill L., UT (2013 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

“Intermittent sudden loss of charge from full charge to empty. Required replacing several battery connections and several cells, which took several weeks to get the parts”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Antilock system (ABS)

“brake stopped working”

Anonymous, TX (2013 Nissan Leaf S Electric)

“Brakes are super grabby! Had them serviced and dealership acknowledged and fixed but issue returned. Our Leaf was one of the first 400 purchased in the US so the issue might not be evident in later models”

Carole G., CA (2013 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Tire wear is uneven

“Noticed driver's side tires wearing excessively on the outer edge when I rotated at 20k miles. Took to original dealer and was realigned. They were 3 degrees out. The dealership made me pay $59 due to being outside "adjustment parameters" of 12k”

Tim S., AL (2013 Nissan Leaf SL Electric)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

“Door Trim came off. Replaced by dealership”

Neil S., CA (2013 Nissan Leaf SV Electric)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

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