Used 2011 Nissan LEAF Hatchback Consumer Reviews
Why is this a history making car? Because the Nissan Leaf was one of the first practical and affordable all-electric sedans. I purchased this car new in 2011. Back then, the Leaf was made in Japan. Now they are made in Tennessee, but I don't think there should be a difference in quality. My Leaf has almost 50,000 miles on it, and it has been reliable and almost completely trouble free. It is deceptively roomy inside because there is no fuel tank or exhaust system. Maintenance costs are low. The original tires lasted 45,000 miles. To recapture the kinetic energy of the car, most of the braking is done by the drive train. This is called "regenerative braking", and allows the drive train to act as a generator to charge the battery. All electric vehicles and hybrids utilize regenerative braking. Not only is regenerative braking energy efficient, it allows the brakes to last a long time. For example, I also own a Toyota Prius with over 100,000 miles on it, and the brakes have never been serviced. Driving an electric car is fun. The electric motor provides all of its torque instantly, which allows excellent acceleration from a stop as well as on the road. It is quite, and there are no vibrations. There are no exhaust fumes or oil leaks, and the drive train of the car tends to stay clean. The down side of any electric car is the battery. Batteries are heavy and expensive. They become less efficient in very cold weather, and they lose charge capacity as they age. Both of these translate into reduced range. And you need access to a 220 volt charging station to recharge the car in a few hours. The Leaf is sold with either a 24 kWh battery or a 30 kWh battery. I recommend the 30 kWh battery as it provides a range (when new) of about 100 miles, rather than the 75 miles provided by the 24 kWh battery. That 75 mile range provided by the 24 kWh battery when new drops down to about 55 miles after 5 years. So, the larger battery will allow you a more generous range even after the car is several years old. Despite the battery issue, I really enjoy the Leaf ownership experience. Nissan service and support has been very good. Based on my Leaf ownership, I have become a fan of electric drivetrains, so much so that I am now on my second Leaf, one with the 30 kWh battery (which was not available in 2011). I do not think that I will ever go back to owning a car that is not either all-electric or a hybrid. Nissan should be commended for taking a big risk in developing and marketing the Leaf. I think that the commitment to manufacturing an all-electric car will pay off for Nissan in the future.
Just picked up my Leaf a few days ago and I've put several 100 miles on it already. I'm hooked. It's a remarkable car in many ways. Quiet, smooth, surprisingly powerful and nimble, and cool as all heck. It is not a toy or part-time car by any stretch of the imagination. So long as you understand its limitations, you will use it all the time. I rarely drive more than 80 to 100 miles in a day so it is perfect for me and my family's needs. It's excellent for commuting to work. It is great for running errands and schleping kids around. If you are someone who regularly drives more than 80 to 100 miles per day, do not get a Leaf. If not, check it out now.
We are in TN, so only Nissan dealers are supplying the charging stations making "range anxiety" a very real concern for me after hours driving. It will just take more planning until I adjust to it. When DC quick charging stations are more available, range anxiety will be much reduced. Handles very well.
The Leaf is a fun car and it's always great passing buy the gas stations and not having to pay the ridiculous prices.
The gauge is wrong, though I am missing only 4 bars my battery is under 50% of original capacity, a maximum charge from one bar to full is less than 10Kwh, my driving experience is 40 mi or less on a charge at this point in time. At 60,000 miles the dealer checked and told me that 3 bars down (which was my state at the time) was to be expected even though I experienced under 50 miles. My brakes pulse wildly at high speeds and I am on my third set of tires. Based on the revised battery warranty, a buyer should be well aware that their car will be worthless after 5 years and no one in their right mind should buy one used. All along the way my dealer (and the designated technician) demonstrated a total lack of knowledge and expertise on this car, and to this day has no idea about replacing a battery. As recently as this year (5 yrs after introduction) Nissan still does not have any description of what is covered ON A LEAF under their own extended warranty which demonstrates that they have not figured out yet how to deal with this technology.