Used 2011 Nissan Leaf Hatchback Review & Ratings | Edmunds

Used 2011 Nissan Leaf Hatchback Review

2011 Nissan Leaf Hatchback

We didn't find any results. You can try changing your zip code, or check another model year.

We found matches for you!

Reviews from owners of the 2011 Nissan Leaf Hatchback

Average Consumer Rating (See all 18 reviews) Write a Review

Hard to work with nissan support.

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Nissan Leaf SL 4dr Hatchback (3-phase, 4-pole electric DD)

Nissan keeps a lot of information closed to the public. Replies to questions get "canned answers". After a battery replacement the vehicle needed many other repairs. Even when I purchased a 5 year 100000 mile extended warranty the in service date caused me to lose 6 months on the warranty I paid for. We love using our EV but Nissan has been a pain.

<50% battery capacity at 90,000 mi & more issues

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Nissan Leaf SL 4dr Hatchback (3-phase, 4-pole electric DD)

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

A history making car!

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Nissan Leaf SL 4dr Hatchback (3-phase, 4-pole electric DD)

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Love my cayenne red leaf

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Nissan Leaf SV 4dr Hatchback (3-phase, 4-pole electric DD)

Wish it had the Tesla range, but great for 105 mile range

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Turning over a new leaf!

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Nissan Leaf SV 4dr Hatchback (3-phase, 4-pole electric DD)

We've only had our 2011 Leaf for two weeks but already we are in love with this car. Gas has gone up $.20 since my last fill up in my old car, so I'm already saving more money. The car has great "get up and go", it isn't anything like the hybrids you hear about not having any power to them. I can leave everyone at the stop light if I want to. The first few days I found myself speeding frequently. The interior is very comfortable, even for adults in the back seat. It sits up a little higher than the sedan I traded in, which is nice. This car is all electric so it's not for someone looking to drive it a long way. I only use it to commute to work and run errands so it's perfect.

11 of 20 people found this review helpful

No battery capacity warranty leaves owners with worthless cars

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Nissan Leaf SL 4dr Hatchback (3-phase, 4-pole electric DD)

The lack of a battery capacity warranty has left dozens of warm-climate owners with cars that are no longer useful, and that are unsellable. There are no dealers in Phoenix, AZ that will take these cars as trade-ins because of the issues with the battery. After getting positive battery care reports, we can travel no more than 50 miles in our car that should go 80-100 miles. Nissan is changing it's story at every turn, and refuses to acknowledge a problem. Google: Real World Battery Capacity Loss, and you'll see the real deal with how Nissan treats it's customers. They do not stand behind this product. They got their 1.4 billion dollar loan, they don't need the LEAF anymore.

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2011 Nissan Leaf Hatchback

  • With the 2011 Nissan Leaf, a real (and realistically priced) electric car is finally here.

  • Pros

    No more gas stations; spacious, quiet cabin; snappy acceleration; intelligent navigation system.

  • Cons

    Limited cruising range; limited recharging points; home charger is a necessity.

  • What's New for 2011

    The 2011 Nissan Leaf is an all-new model.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2011 Nissan Leaf Hatchback

What's New for 2011

The 2011 Nissan Leaf is an all-new model.


Forget about answering the question "Who killed the electric car?" That's because Nissan is bringing the electric car back from the dead. Sure, the Tesla Roadster has made the electric car cool again, but the 2011 Nissan Leaf is the first, full-electric mainstream vehicle to be put on sale for the American consumer. Unlike past electric cars (including the GM EV1), the Leaf can be purchased outright instead of leased, so there's no being forced to give it back to the manufacturer after two years to be studied and then destroyed.

The Leaf stores its power in a lithium-ion battery pack, making it one of the first vehicles to use this advanced battery technology. Lithium-ion batteries promise better acceleration and range than comparably sized nickel-metal hydride ones. Nissan says recharging at home with a special 220-volt charger will take 4-8 hours. A commercial quick-charge station can do it in about 30 minutes. Fully charged, the Leaf is estimated to have an effective range of about 100 miles.

Of course, 100 miles is about a third of the cruising range available in a conventional car, so the Leaf's primary drawback is readily apparent. Unlike a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt, there's no backup gasoline engine to keep you moving once the Leaf's batteries are depleted. Instead, you'll be stuck with a rather lengthy recharging engagement, and that's if you manage to reach an available electricity source in time. Our take is that the Leaf is best suited for drivers doing a lot of routine commuting or making shorter trips, as well as owners with a two-car household and a garage.

For all that, the 2011 Nissan Leaf promises to be a very useful vehicle. A Leaf will hit the register with a price tag of about $25,000 after a $7,500 federal tax credit (residents of certain states are eligible for additional credits as well). Buyers are advised to purchase the $2,200 home-charging station, but even this piece of hardware has its own tax rebate of 50 percent. The Leaf's running costs should also be appealing, since the cost of recharging should be a fraction of what you'd pay for a tank of gasoline.

An electric car is definitely not for everyone. Long-distance commuters, one-car households and apartment dwellers interested in a fuel-efficient or green-oriented car should instead consider a 2011 Chevrolet Volt, 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid, 2011 Toyota Prius (be it the regular version or new plug-in hybrid), or even a 2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI diesel. But for those who have been waiting to buy a real electric car, the arrival of the 2011 Nissan Leaf is a revolutionary event.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Nissan Leaf is an all-electric four-door hatchback available in SV and SL trim levels.

Standard equipment on the SV includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlamps, keyless ignition/entry, full power accessories, cruise control, automatic climate control, height-adjustable driver seat, tilt-only steering wheel and 60/40-split-folding rear seats. Also included are cloth upholstery made from recycled materials, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth, an advanced trip computer, a navigation system and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The Leaf SL adds a spoiler-mounted solar panel, automatic headlamps, foglamps, a rearview camera and a cargo cover.

Additionally, every Leaf comes standard with Nissan Connection, a remote vehicle access system that reports battery recharging data and can activate the climate control via a cell phone. Optional are a home charging station and a quick-charge port, which allows for charging to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes at a public charging station.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Nissan Leaf is powered by an 80-kilowatt synchronous electric motor fed by a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Output is 107 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. At the same time, the power delivery of an electric vehicle is vastly different from that of gasoline, diesel or even hybrid vehicles, so take the Leaf's power ratings with a grain of salt.

Nissan estimates a range of 100 miles, but this depends on driving style, traffic conditions, cruising speed and battery age. In fact, even ambient temperature plays a role in determining cruising range, because extreme temperatures are detrimental for battery performance. The EPA has given the Leaf an energy efficiency equivalent rating (MPG-e) of 106 mpg city/92 mpg highway and 99 mpg combined and an estimated driving range of 73 miles.


The 2011 Nissan Leaf comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is optional on the SL.

Interior Design and Special Features

Because the Leaf's battery pack resides under the floor beneath the seats, the rear seat is quite comfortable for adults. The front seat provides no shortage of space for even tall drivers and the seats themselves are quite supportive and comfortable, though the vehicle's short range makes sure they'll never be enjoyed during a long-haul road trip. The cargo area is on the small side for a hatchback, however, and even when you fold the rear seats, the cargo floor is not flat.

The Leaf's cabin is dominated by a split-level instrument cluster similar to that of the Honda Civic. The center control panel features a touchscreen, which controls the standard navigation system as well as special features like cruising range. You can even program the start time for the recharging system to take advantage of lower rates for electricity. Interior quality is about the same as other economy hatchbacks, but overall fit and finish is noticeably a cut above.

Driving Impressions

Anyone who has driven or at least stood next to a hybrid will know how quiet it is when operating in electric-only mode. It can be eerie or cool, depending on your point of view. With the 2011 Nissan Leaf, its serenity never ceases, and you can detect only a high-pitched whine under heavy throttle. This quiet creates the adverse side effect of making wind and road noise more noticeable at highway speeds, but overall the Leaf is impressively quiet.

As an electric car, the Leaf benefits from an abundance of torque available from the first touch of the accelerator pedal. The Leaf feels sprightly and gets up to speed with no drama -- as an urban runabout, it certainly excels. Press on the brakes and the pedal is firm and sure, without the sort of strange, vague feel indicative of most regenerative braking systems.

With its battery pack mounted low in the body and a well-tuned electric power steering system, we've been pleasantly surprised by how well the Leaf takes turns. Its responsiveness is typical of that seen in other well-engineered compact family cars, and in most ways the Leaf feels pretty normal to drive.

Read our Nissan Leaf Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test


Talk About The 2011 Leaf

Read more about the 2011 Nissan Leaf

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 Nissan Leaf Hatchback in VA is:

$60.67 per month*

Other Vehicles to Consider

Gas Mileage


  • 106
  • cty
  • 92
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs