Used 2013 Nissan LEAF Consumer Reviews

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$6,000 - $7,781

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An unexpected bargain

Steve H, 11/24/2015
SV 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
160 of 162 people found this review helpful

I have to tell you how happy I am with this Nissan Leaf. It's a quiet, comfortable, very affordable "mid-sized-category" little car. It feels spacious and the electric motor is plenty nimble. The super low rolling resistance tires are a limitation, so if you want a car that feels more "sporty" in cornering and handling you'd swap those out, at some cost to range. Which brings us to range. My experience for the way I drive, is that I average roughly around 4 miles/kwh and I can reliably count on being able to drive 70 miles between charges no matter what, even including any "range destroying" variables such as using climate control, lights, driving between 65mph and 70mph for the "freeway" portion of my commute; and all this is on a car that I bought used - a 2013 lease return that's about 2.5 years old with already about 27,000 miles on it. But if ever there was a car for which the saying is true "your mileage may vary" this has got to be the one. The instruments give you tons of feedback about how to drive efficiently. But it's a simple fact that wind resistance is proportional to velocity cubed and that it takes more energy to accelerate a heavy object quickly. So if you're an unrepentant leadfoot, this is probably not the car for you - look to the Tesla Model S. Now, many folks refill their cars with gasoline at or before the point when there are 70 miles left on the tank. 70 miles is only about a quarter tank's worth. But the electric car is different, you plug it in at your house every night. And that turns out to be far more convenient than stopping into the gas station once a week. Also the new 2016 SV and SL "high end" leaf models have a new 30kwh battery - 25% more electrical storage than the current model's 24kwh. But what'll probably surprise you is how *cheap* it is. I bought this one used for only about 11k. Pretty much no other 2013 used car on the market sells for $11k except a high-mileage econobox. And the leaf's a nicer car - larger, more electronics, heated seats, etc... And the cost to *operate* it once you've got it is a lot lower than any gasoline car. Electricity is 12cents/kwh (on the night time tiered rate - much higher during peak hours!) New ones are cheap too, though. With the end-of-year incentives available I've seen "one at this price" 3 year lease deals for a strip model "S" 2015 leaf for only $109 a month(!) Leasing tends to be the preferred option for new leafs, because the leasing company can claim the government incentives and roll that into the price, whereas if you buy outright, you have to wait until tax-filing time to claim the electric-vehicle-tax-credit. Gasoline's dirt cheap right now at about $2.75 a gallon. But even a fairly efficient car gets only say, 35 mpg. If like me you drive 225 miles a week, that's $18/week. The leaf uses 56 kwh to go the same distance - about $6.75 worth of electricity. To convert apples to apples, there are 33kwh of energy in one gallon of gasoline. So a car that gets 35mpg gets about 1mi/kwh. Or, an electric car that gets 4mi/kwh basically gets 132 mi/gallon energy equivalent. I didn't switch from a 35mpg car though. I switched from commuting in a 16mpg 4x4 truck. All that said, for most folks a leaf is still NOT practical as the ONLY car in a household. Sometimes you need or want to take longer trips. Anne and I drove up to see friends in Concord yesterday, a 130 mile round trip. Naturally we took the gas powered car. And you need to live in a house where you can install an electric vehicle charger. But if you've got a "two car" household where one car can do pure commute duty, especially if it's a pretty long commute, a Leaf could pay off well for you. If you buy used, you want to be aware of how to read the battery's residual capacity (different than state-of-charge) off the instrument panel, and discount the price for reduced capacity. Nissan improved the battery durability (ability to hold a charge) in 2013, and again in 2014. To my mind, the 2011 and 2012 models aren't discounted heavily enough yet to reflect this difference, so I'd probably focus on finding a 2013 model. Finally, if you live in a hot climate like Arizona, you should probably get a 2015 or newer - as that's when Nissan adopted their newer "Lizard" battery design that's more heat resistant. Conversely, if you live in a colder climate, you should probably get an SV or SL model, since those have a heat pump heater rather than a current drawing resistive heat unit.

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Getting used to Value!

john5501, 05/20/2014
37 of 37 people found this review helpful

I have owned my Leaf for about 3 yrs now and I still marvel at all the gas, oil, and maintenance dollars I have saved over the years. I also own a Highlander hybrid and it's amazing how much just routine maintenance costs each year. The LEAF still looks new and has not had the first problem. Of course, it would be nice if the range was over 70 miles, but as a 2nd car that is really all I need. From a value standpoint this is one of my best buys. My wife and granddaughters all fit fine in the front and back and it's a great car about town. I charge the Leaf about 95% in my garage and my electric bill is still in the same range as it always was - you would never know I charge a car daily.

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Falling for the Leaf

David G, 06/20/2016
SV 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
35 of 35 people found this review helpful

Before I purchased my used Leaf I spent months handwringing over range, battery life, and resale value. I should not have wasted any of that time worry and should have purchased this long ago. The Leaf rocks! Once you drive an electric car for a few days, it is hard to go back to the noise, pollution, and rumble of an internal combustion engine. The Leaf has required very little change from our normal driving habits in order to have a nearly pollution and carbon free vehicle (our electricity is wind- and solar-generated). We typically charge the Leaf at night every two or three days so charging issue is not the inconvenience that I was anticipating. We have used just a 110-120 volt outlet and real charge times are usually way less than forecasted because we seldom charge from empty to 100 percent (more typically we are going from something like 30 percent up to 80 percent). One great feature with the 2013 Leaf is the long-life setting for charging--it shuts down the charge at 80 percent to preserve battery life. Using that 80 percent cap, our real world range typically runs between 55 to 80 miles (again, that is at 80 percent battery). The reason for the range has to do with temperature and destination, for example. The coldest part of winter will reduce your range and battery power noticeably (just like your cell phone when it is really cold). During the height of summer, battery life also diminishes some, as a result of the heat and AC use (at least, that is my understanding). We drive ours in Salt Lake City to give you and idea of temperature fluctuations. Also, you can expect changes in range based on whether you are driving at highway speeds, up mountain canyons, or in the rain. With just a little bit of experience, it becomes fairly easy to anticipate these fluctuations on the Leaf. I highly recommend this vehicle for those that understand the range limitations. Nissan has used great materials and put together an excellent car.

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Best Second Car Ever

carlsbad2, 08/15/2013
23 of 23 people found this review helpful

We were tired of paying $ 80 per tank to run around town getting 16 MPG running errands etc. This Leaf is fun to drive and has lots of room I am 6.4 and do not fit with comfort in many cars but the headroom in this is great. After 2.5 months of ownership very happy get 90 mile range on a full charge. Able to charge for free at many Nissan dealers . Fast charger at dealers will get you a full charge in 40 minutes. Electric bill has gone up about $ 50 per month charging up almost every night. I did not purchase the level 2 charger as I can charge overnight in about 12 hours with the 6.6 KW on board charger. Our utility company gives better rates for EV owners if you use off peak power

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2013 LEAF

eaa, 06/26/2013
SV 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
18 of 18 people found this review helpful

NOTE 2018 - Even after 10 years Nissan batteries now made by LG does not have liquid cooling and fail a lot. They wilt and lose capacity 10 times faster than any other Electric. They are ok in cooler areas but NEVER buy one in the Southern USA. We had a 2013 LEAF. we used to have the 2011 for 2 years and many wants have been added to the 2013 like ECO mode stays on, braking mode. Also better estimate of range. The Air Cond is also more efficient. The only BIG problem is the battery degrades in the heat. The 2011 thru 2014 have the same fatal problem. We lose 5-10% capacity a summer. It's lost forever. The warranty is sticky you have to lose 4 bars about 40% with in 60K miles and 5 years. They changed the software so that doesn't work and you lose 3. Yet range is bad and you can't drive. We used to love our LEAF. We lease and every 2 years can't wait to see how they improve it and lower the cost. Our daily commute is 44 miles round trip. It's easy with 50 60 left each trip. I can go about 70 miles on city streets when needed. Just lease so you don't get stuck with a LEAF with a low capacity battery pack. New models get lower pricing so selling your old one would be hard. The new 2018 LEAF will have more range. Near the end of 2018 it may top 200 miles but they haven't added Thermal battery control so I would not buy one. We now have a 2015 KIA SOUL EV that has Air Battery cooling. It is also failing. Only vehicles with liquid cooling like the Chevy SPARK EV , Bolt, or FORD FOCUS EV and world Leader Tesla model S , X and 3 have long long battery life and no heat problems. We finally got a Tesla model 3 in March 2018. It is amazing with no battery loss in over a year. EVen in the Phoenix heat. The range is about 350 miles on a charge or more if we just do city driving instead of Highways most of the time. PS Nissan still hasn't fix the fatal flaw in their LEAF. Never buy one in the Southwest USA. or any HOT climate.

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