2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchback

2017 Nissan LEAF
2017 Nissan LEAF

Pros

  • Cabin is quiet and comfortable
  • Greater range than most other similar EVs
  • Spacious cargo volume

Cons

  • Interior controls are fussy to use
  • Acceleration is slow, even for an EV
  • Dated design compared to competitors


Which LEAF does Edmunds recommend?

Now that the same 30-kWh battery is standard in all three trim levels of Leaf, our recommendation is to get the Leaf S. With the optional, and highly recommended, Charge package (includes a 6.6-kW charger for quicker Level 2 charging and an extra port for ultra-fast Level 3 DC charging) added to the base price, the S is still priced less than an un-optioned Leaf SV. Plus, we think you still get all the features you'll really need with the S.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

3.5 / 5

The first of the real battery electric vehicles on the market, the Nissan Leaf stands as the default electric car for the everyday buyer. And as the market for electric cars increases (the new Chevrolet Bolt and the forthcoming Tesla Model 3, for example), the Leaf's days, as it sits, are numbered. In order to keep Leaf sales moving, the 2017 Leaf S receives the same 30-kWh lithium-ion battery as the SV and SL variants. This increases its range from 84 to 107 miles, a welcomed boost. Otherwise the chassis, suspension, interior and exterior remain the same. But we're not complaining since the five-seater hatchback is roomy and functional and, most importantly, easy to use.

If you can wait, an all-new Leaf is destined to drop from the Nissan tree and address many of the concerns we've had about the Leaf, such as a modern interior layout, a new look, better performance and, most importantly, even more range. But if all you need is easy-to-use, affordable and gasoline-free transportation, the 2017 Leaf is still worth a look.

Trim levels & features

As the lowest trim level, the 2017 Nissan Leaf S is a bit bare-bones, at least as electric mobility goes. But you can add the the optional Charge package for quicker recharging. Otherwise, it's still a very functional car. The SV adds the Charge package and navigation as standard, but it still doesn't beat the S in the value proposition. The top-level SL adds leather seats, LED headlights and a host of comfort features that might edge out the S if you'd like a pampered electrified ride.

Nevertheless, all three feature the same suspension and powertrain, and mainly differ in infotainment, interior materials and wheel choices. Our choice, the S, comes with steel wheels, an 80-kW AC synchronous motor (produces 107 horsepower and 187 lb-ft of torque), front heated seats and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. You also get a rearview camera, a 5-inch central display, Bluetooth connectivity, and a USB port for streaming audio and charging your smartphone.

The optional Charge package includes the quicker 6.6-kW onboard charger and extra DC fast-charger port.

The SV comes with alloy wheels, the Charge package, a 7-inch touchscreen, navigation and NissanConnect, Nissan's web-connectivity system. The seats are still fabric, but rather than cloth, they're made out of a sustainably sourced, suede-like polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

As the top model, the SL adds LED headlights, foglights, heated rear seats (heated front seats are standard for all trims) and leather upholstery.

The SV and SL can be had with a Premium package, which includes a Bose audio system and a 360-degree camera system.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Nissan Leaf SL (electric | direct drive).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Leaf has received some revisions, including the addition of the 30-kWh lithium-ion battery. But our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Leaf.

Driving

3.5
One could argue the Nissan Leaf is the best-selling EV because it was first to market, a head start that generated a publicity wave it's still riding. But now there are several EVs that offer more range, a more inviting interior, better utility and more style than the Leaf for a little less money.

Acceleration

2.5
Like most electric cars, the Leaf can be fairly responsive off the line. But that sensation doesn't last; it runs out of enthusiasm at highway speeds. Most newer EVs eclipse the Leaf's lackluster zero-to-60-mph time of 10.2 seconds.

Braking

2
The Leaf's ultimate panic-stop distance from 60 mph of 122 feet is reassuring, and the pedal does feel firm. But response is still somewhat nonlinear and can be hard to judge during routine stops.

Steering

3
The Leaf goes where you point it, and it gives the impression that it likes changing direction. You'll have to rely solely on your eyes to judge how much to turn the wheel, though, because little road feedback comes back up to your hands.

Handling

3.5
There's a sense of balance and coordination, and it persists to the point where the tires start to squeal. The limits are too low and the body roll becomes too pronounced for it to be considered sporty, but that's not its mission.

Drivability

5
Most EVs get this right because their no-shift direct-drive architecture and bountiful drive-away torque make them feel effortless and refined when the light turns green. The Leaf is no exception.

Comfort

4
Few will complain about the Nissan Leaf's smooth ride and nicely shaped leather (SL only) seats. But the thing that stands out is what's nearly absent: noise. The electric motor goes about its business in silence, and there isn't much road rumble or wind noise either.

Seat comfort

3.5
The seats have a good basic shape, and they manage to be fairly supportive while still offering a nice amount of give. We couldn't test them on an extended drive because of the Leaf's limited range. All-day comfort is a moot point.

Ride comfort

3.5
The Leaf has a generally smooth ride that is neither overly stiff nor excessively buoyant. It absorbs most large bumps with little jostling, but only if the bumps come one at a time. It can start to feel busy on uneven, cracked surfaces.

Noise & vibration

5
Electric propulsion is utterly silent and lacks the commotion associated with gear changes. Wind and road noise are all that's left, and neither is especially bothersome. The regenerative brake system does not draw attention to itself.

Interior

3
Easy to enter and spacious once seated, but the driving position isn't great for folks taller than average height. Clumsy shifter, navigation and climate system controls, and the cargo compartment's ultimate utility is compromised by an intrusive chassis component and a poor seat-folding design.

Ease of use

1
The driver seat is too high, and the tilt-only steering wheel is far away. The shifter is so confusing it comes with its own diagram. Too many look-alike buttons, no knobs and a small touchscreen for navigation, audio and climate control systems pretty much sink the Leaf in this category.

Getting in/getting out

4
The doors open wide, the sill isn't too high and the door opening is tall enough to prevent excessive ducking. This is true even in the backseat because the roofline lingers near horizontal. Foot-entry space is tight if you wear big shoes.

Roominess

3.5
The Leaf gets high marks for front and rear legroom. There's decent headroom, too, but the driver's perch doesn't adjust far down enough to prevent taller pilots from being eye level with the mirror and gazing out through the windshield tint band.

Visibility

3.5
Loads of glass and the hood is low. The weird headlight bulges actually make it easy to imagine the front corners when parking. The peek-a-boo windows ahead of the side mirrors are a plus. The rear over-the-shoulder blind spot is a bit big, though.

Quality

3.5
The interior materials and trim don't quite live up to the expectations of the purchase price, which is heavily influenced by the expense of the EV componentry. But the panel gaps are even, and most of the trim pieces line up nicely.

Utility

3
There's not much space in the door pockets and center console box. Under the rear hatch there's a decent amount of standard cargo space with the seats in use, but a cargo area bulkhead interferes with ultimate utility when the bulky rear seatbacks are folded.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2017 Nissan LEAF.

space ship 14 months of ownership/ gettin better.
mike,08/09/2017
The worst thing about this vehicle is resale value. You can purchase these vehicles for 1/3 the cost of new, but beware if you get the "s" model , you will not get the bigger battery unless it is a 2017 or newer. This larger battery will give you more range. My vehicle, which i have had just short of 3 months, has a range of 112+ miles with a full charge. The charge time is around 14 hours, depending on how much range was left on the vehicle at plug in time, and that is with the normal 110 volt household outlet. This vehicle, in my opinion is not great in any way, such as comfort, dependability, etc., but that it is not why I purchased this car. My goal was saving money on gasoline, oil, maintainence and in that regard it is a GREAT vehicle. It is the perfect car for the way I drive. This vehicle does not like freeways. The range drops whenever you engage the cruise control. The range shrinks much quicker as you increase your speed. However, if you drive the city streets, it is the complete opposite. For example, I drove 18 miles for a doughnut craving. I had a full charge (115 miles on that day) and when I hit the store I only had 88 left. I drove the return trip on the city streets and when I got back to my driveway, I had 91 miles of range. Yes, that is not an error. I actually gained 3 miles. This was with my vehicle in B mode. That mode is 1 of 2 forward modes the transmission allows. The D mode is the default mode when you shift into forward gear. To get into B mode you double shift. This gives your braking system more regenative power. So, as you drive you charge the battery whenever you release the accelerator or apply the brakes. The range increase is real. I can charge to full and not need a recharge for many days, in spite of making multiple 20 plus mile trips. In this regard the vehicle is fantastic. In most other area, it is just adequate. It has sufficient comfort in the cabin, enough to allow my wife to be comfortable in it, despite a bad back. The airconditioner is above average, blowing extremely cold after just a minute or two. The back seat is adequate for my 16 year old average size grandson. The rear hatch cargo area is, however, small. Still, to this point, I have not had a problem bringing home the groceries. The cars styling is a bummer. I have plastered a alien sticker on the roof area behind the rear door and have proclaimed the car my "space ship". I did not purchase the vehicle for looks. My youngest daughter thinks it is "cute". My oldest daughter enjoyed driving it and I think they both are interested in buying one. They have asked me how much it has increased my electric bill and I can honestly say after getting two electric bills since I took possesion, it was less than a couple of dollars more. Maybe I just haven't had the vehicle long enough to evaluate that because even I feel the increase should have been larger, but at this point, it is what it is. The ride of the vehicle is smooth and rattlefree. I have heard the brakes do not feel normal on these electrics. I find them no different then the Cruze that I drove before. I perfer this vehicle over the Cruze in most catagories. I have not used the higher watt chargers that are available to the public so i can't comment on that. Likewise on the heated seats, haven't used them. The sound system is average. I have heard the range drops in the colder months of winter. I will update as my experience broadens. As of now, I am thrilled with the car. It fits into my lifestyle perfectly and using it allows me to put less mileage on my vw van which I take on vacations and for hauling larger items. The addition of a second vehicle makes owning this vehicle a no brainer. Also, the $7500 tax credit makes this car a good value. I was able to get $12K off the sticker at the dealership. Extremely happy with my purchase. UPDATE, I have now driven the car for 7 plus months. My mileage is now at 3789. The cost of driving the car averages $20 per month in AEP electric bill increase. The winter weather does degrade the battery, but only by 10 or so less driving distance. The heated seats are not as warm as the ones in my vw van, but do allow some comfort. Using the heater is a big drag on the driving distance. In a conventional car, once your car warms up you have constant heat on demand. The Leaf gives heat differently. It requires a warm up time each time you push the heater button. Also, increasing the temp does not increase your battery drain, so crank it up. When you turn off the heater, close the vents or you will get cooler air coming into the cabin. I have noticed that the initial drop in range does not continue to deteriorate IF DRIVING ON CITY STREETS. However, the combination of using the heater AND freeway driving zaps the battery very severely. Expect to get less than half of displayed mileage. Another negative is because of the design of the back of the vehicle, this area seems to collect dirt. I clean the back window often.
More that I thought, Peppier that believed.
A Silva,12/02/2017
Our 2017 Leaf SL excels in many ways including peppy performance, amazingly low operating costs and a quiet, dignified ride. The range of the vehicle has been around 135 miles, which is greater than advertised. With federal and state tax incentives, a big discount offered by our local utility and our dealer, we paid about 50% of the sticker price. With our trade in of of 2010 CRV, our out of pocket expense was less that $10K. The Bose sound system is excellent, the seating comfort is better than expected and the handling is solid. But the energy savings are off the charts. In one month we drove 581 miles and it cost us just $14.00 in electricity counting a few free "fill ups" from nearby stations. We are extremely pleased with the Leaf knowing we are not spewing exhaust into the environment.
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Features & Specs

MSRP
$36,790
MPG
124 city / 101 hwy
Seats 5
1-speed direct drive
Electric
N/A
MSRP
$30,680
MPG
124 city / 101 hwy
Seats 5
1-speed direct drive
Electric
N/A
MSRP
$34,200
MPG
124 city / 101 hwy
Seats 5
1-speed direct drive
Electric
N/A
See all 2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchback features & specs

Safety

Our experts’ favorite LEAF safety features:

RearView and Around View Monitors
Provides a camera view of what's behind you. An optional Premium package for SV and SL trims provides a 360-degree view around the car.
Advanced Air Bag System
The front airbags adjust inflation rate based on crash severity, while side bags adjust based on seat position, helping to minimize injury.
NissanConnect EV
Using an app on your smartphone, it lets you know when your battery is charged and can set the interior temperature for maximum comfort.

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat3 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover10.9%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Poor
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchback for Sale

Nissan LEAF 2017 S 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
12,846 miles
Used 2017
Nissan LEAF
S
(1)
Norris Honda
55.4 mi away
ListNot Listed
View Details

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More about the 2017 Nissan LEAF
2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchback Overview

What do people think of the 2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchback?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchback and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 LEAF Hatchback 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 LEAF Hatchback.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchback and all model years in our database. Our rich analysis includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 LEAF Hatchback featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Read our full review of the 2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchback here.
Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

What's a good price for a New 2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchback?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on new cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which 2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchbacks are available in my area?

2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchback Listings and Inventory

Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchback.

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Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including all models of the 2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchback and all available trim types. Rich, trim-level features & specs and options data tracked for the 2017 Nissan LEAF Hatchback include (but are not limited to): MSRP, available incentives and deals, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (interior and exterior color, upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, cruise control, parking assistance, lane sensing, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy and MPG (city, highway, and combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (interior cabin space, vehicle length and width, seating capacity, cargo space). Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds expert review, safety rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2017 Nissan LEAF?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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