2017 Nissan LEAF Review

Pros & Cons

  • Cabin is quiet and comfortable
  • Greater range than most other similar EVs
  • Spacious cargo volume
  • Dated design compared to competitors
  • Acceleration is slow, even for an EV
  • Interior controls are fussy to use
List Price Range
$10,488 - $14,920

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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.

Notably, we picked the 2017 Nissan Leaf as one of Edmunds' Best Used Cars, Trucks and SUVs.

2017 Nissan LEAF models

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

2.0
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

3.0
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

5.0
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

4.0
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

5.0
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

3.0
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

1.0
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

4.0
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

3.0
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.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall3.5 / 5
Driving3.5
Comfort4.0
Interior3.0
Utility3.0

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2017 Nissan LEAF.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

GONE
mike,08/09/2017
S 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
I have sold my Nissan Leaf. My decision to sell was for one main reason, a point I made in my initial review. RESALE VALUE! The second winter of ownership gave me a better handle on how the battery degrades with age. In weather that was only going to get colder, I saw my range drop below 90 miles per charge. So, on January 1, 2019, I sold the vehicle for $14000.00. I was fearful the range would continue to drop and thus so would my car value. My second concern was the fact that you must have a second car to get the full benefit of the car, otherwise planning your trips would be more stressful. I just decided it was not worth trying to juggle that as my vw van was starting to have problems and I didn't want to get stuck without a vehicle. I DO NOT REGRET PURCHASING THE VEHICLE. The rebate allowed me to pay no federal income tax for the 2017 year. I got to experience owning an electric car, and I truly believe I came out ahead financially. Would I buy another electric car? If the right deal came along, I would.
More that I thought, Peppier that believed.
A Silva,12/02/2017
SL 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
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 120 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 60% 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. The newer model has more range, safety features and better styling but we’ll stick with our older model. So far, no problems at all!
No worries
Pharris ,05/16/2020
S 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Great drive, quiet and great for the environment!!
Perfect....for me
J. Mac,09/25/2020
S 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
If all you need is a second car for a short commuting this can’t be beat. If you think you are going to be able to use it for more than that you will most likely have some anxious moments ahead. Owning an EV is like adding a new hobby that is centered on learning everything there is about lithium ion batteries. I may get over this phase soon and fall into a normal groove but that’s what it feels like right now.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2017 Nissan LEAF features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the LEAF models:

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
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2017 Nissan LEAF

Used 2017 Nissan LEAF Overview

The Used 2017 Nissan LEAF is offered in the following submodels: LEAF Hatchback. Available styles include SV 4dr Hatchback (electric DD), S 4dr Hatchback (electric DD), and SL 4dr Hatchback (electric DD).

What's a good price on a Used 2017 Nissan LEAF?

Price comparisons for Used 2017 Nissan LEAF trim styles:

  • The Used 2017 Nissan LEAF S is priced between $10,488 and$14,920 with odometer readings between 15906 and32590 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Nissan LEAF SL is priced between $12,990 and$12,990 with odometer readings between 40832 and40832 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Nissan LEAF SV is priced between $12,500 and$12,500 with odometer readings between 17520 and17520 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used 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 used 2017 Nissan LEAFS are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2017 Nissan LEAF for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2017 LEAFS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $10,488 and mileage as low as 15906 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2017 Nissan LEAF.

Can't find a used 2017 Nissan LEAFs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Nissan LEAF for sale - 6 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $21,651.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 1 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $15,915.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan LEAF for sale - 5 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $10,047.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan for sale - 3 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $12,806.

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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