Consumer Reports Drops Recommended Rating For Nissan LEAF


LEAF Results

LEAF Results

“Only one among a dozen small cars earned a Good score in the latest crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS): the Mini Cooper Countryman. Four others—Fiat 500L, Mazda5, Nissan Juke, and Nissan Leaf— earned the lowest score of Poor.”

“As a result, Consumer Reports will withdraw its recommendation of the Mazda5 and Nissan Leaf. (The 500L and Juke did not score high enough in our tests to be recommended.) Our long-standing criteria for recommending vehicles stipulates that a model score well in our testing, have average or better reliability, and perform adequately if included in crash tests performed by the government and/or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.”

So, on those grounds, the Nissan LEAF is no longer recommended by Consumer Reports.

As we’ve stated on several occasions, safety is paramount. No doubt Nissan will take action to correct the LEAF’s poor result in the latest crash tests, but when will those corrective measure be put in place?

Check out our previous coverage, pictures and crash video here.

Consumer Reports concludes with the following:

“With this test, IIHS has now evaluated 32 small cars in like fashion, and it found that 19 earned a Good or Acceptable rating. The other 13 recorded a Marginal or Poor rating, underscoring the need to check safety assessments before buying.”

Source: Consumer Reports

Categories: Crashed EVs, Nissan

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47 Comments on "Consumer Reports Drops Recommended Rating For Nissan LEAF"

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The small overlap scenario is the most common in real life. It’s a surprise that we are just testing for such crashes and the fact many vehicles fail just makes it that much worse.

Conversely, as manufacturers adapt their vehicles to get good scores in this, we can expect large improvements in injuries and fatalities.
This has been a continuous process for decades, when the lovely old cars were in fact death traps.
Volvo aim for no fatalities within a few years.
How realistic that is we will have to wait to see, but one can hope.

I think with computer-assisted driving, it will be possible to reach zero avoidable fatalities. Some driving fatalities may not be avoidable – in the case of mechanical failure (no brakes).

Or a computer malfunction that will cause major highway carnage.

Well, even though no car (or driver or driverless system) is perfect they have a great chance to get close to that goal.

Volvo has been building safe cars for a long long time. And their concern for actual real world safety and not just geting a good grade is obvious when you look at the small overlap crash test of their 12 year old (!) model which got top safety pic.

And things like autonomous breaking and city safety is standard on all models and has been standard on most models for years.

I’ve seen hundreds of accident cars on scrap yards, but never a car, that looked like this small overlap test. Impact 10 cm more to the middle, or impact angle 5° rotated and the good results can be nonsense. This crash scenario is way too much artificial idealized.

Well look at it this way, when some one slightly leaves their lane and hits an oncoming object or vehicle you have an overlap crash, to have full frontal impact the driver must have veered so much that the center of the car is aligned with the center of the oncoming object. Which of the two scenarios is more likely?

“The small overlap scenario is the most common in real life.”

I disagree. The getting rear ended scenario is the most common in real life.

“The small overlap scenario is the most common in real life.”

I disagree. The getting rear ended scenario is the most common in real life.

Hmmmm … there is a story here …

Does anybody know what happened, for the Leaf to be recommended in the past and not now due to safety

What happened? Is it

1) 2014 Leaf is worse in quality than before OR
2) There is a new safety test that did not exist in the past OR
3) Consumer Reports missed this vital detail in the pats OR
4) something else?

Its a new safety test.

The small overlap test is new to the IIHS testing. NTSA as far as I know does not have it yet. As with all new tests there will be alot of catching up by the cars that were not designed for the new test.

I vote for something else.

It is a new test. However, in a comment to the original IIHS article posted at Jalopnik, a real live survivor of a crash in a Mazda5 (also rated “Poor” by this test) stated and showed photos of a 50 mph small offset crash that he walked away from.

As it is with most anything in life, God, luck and the nail from a horseshoe makes all the difference.

You can’t quantify or measure blind fate.

My bare foot stepped on a tack today (literally) so I’m not a big fan of “luck”

Ouch, sorry to hear! Tetanus up to date, right? If not, also ouch.

There has been survivors of people jumping out of planes without parachutes (or functioning parachutes), that doesn’t mean we should stop using parachutes or stop improving their safety and reliability.

And relying on something that doesn’t exist, like gods, doesn’t seem pretty intelligent.

I like being unintelligent.

Much more to learn that way.

Just because you don’t believe in God or luck, doesn’t mean they don’t believe in you.

I recommend you to still use a seat belt and other safety features in cars and not jump out of planes without an approved parachute.

Will do, sir.

Being unintelligent as I noted earlier, next week I’m going to attempt to see if I can drive my “Poor” rated, 100 mile range EV from Central CA to a friend’s house in WA.

I’d ask you to pray for me, but…

I could always slaughter a lamb and sacrifice it to the norse gods in your honor, to keep you safe. 😉

But… Since you’re in a car that is safer than probably 90% of the cars on the road I don’t really think I need to.

Note: the Volt faired about the same as the LEAF in the actual crash test results, but has a collision object sensor so was give a Good vs. Poor rating for the frontal offset test.

With many vehicles adding automous driving features in 2016 and beyond, I’d hope some differentiation would be made between structural safety features and active (automation) safety features. Both types of safety provide difference benefits, so tests may need to evolve to provide better insight.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

No, Volt scored ‘Acceptable’ in that test. The optional collision alert gives Volt a “Top Safety Pick +” instead of just “Top Safety Pick”, which is what the Mini got even though it scored ‘Good’ in the test.

No, the Volt did significantly better than the Leaf on the Small overlap crash. The Leaf had almost two feet of protrusion in the driver leg area, where the Volt had nearly ZERO intrusion. Also, note that the protrusion in Leaf PUSHED the dashboard and steering wheel to the right significantly altering the location of the airbag as it relates to the drivers head. The Leaf front suspension came apart and some of the structural members pushed into the cabin space.

“the Volt faired about the same as the LEAF in the actual crash test results, but has a collision object sensor so was give a Good vs. Poor rating for the frontal offset test.”

For someone who is actively involved with EVsa and contributed greatly in the past, making stupid statement as such would severely reduce one’s credibility in my opinion…

“Note: the Volt faired about the same as the LEAF in the actual crash test results, but has a collision object sensor so was give a Good vs. Poor rating for the frontal offset test.”

Biggest BS note ever.

The difference between TSP and TSP+ is due to the sensor. But LEAF NEVER GOT THE TSP.

Don’t you dare to water it down.

LEAF failed the small overlap frontal crash.

In fact, in NHTSA’s rating, LEAF only got a 4-star overall where Volt is 5-star rated..

Stop making excuses for the LEAF.

It failed in the safety department and have some improvement to do for the next generation.

Here is the Euro NCAP LEAF report that was done on the 2011 LEAF and carried over for 2012. That is before the redesign of the electronics and moving them to the front.

With three years of actual crash statistics, I think Consumer Reports, and I speak as a subscriber, should weigh actual experience over synthetic testing.

The Leaf has done very well in real offset crashes, like this one I linked to before where all four passengers survived with minor injuries, and the guy in the other car died.

The problem with basing your belief on one data point is any curve can be fit to it. The small offset test is designed to mimic real world accidents that have cause fatalities. Not every offset crash will be fatal but the theory is that a car that performs poorly on this test will have a higher fatality rate.

How many Leafs did the IIHS crash? Each crash test is one data point.


Plus it’s not one data point. How many millions of miles have Leafs been driven? I’ve searched for Leaf fatalities and it is quite hard to find any. I found only one, and that guy wasn’t wearing his seat belt (he was ejected).

Yes but the iihs test is under controlled circumstances. Anecdotal real world crashes have lots of variables. Just because one real world crash doesn’t kill the occupants doesn’t mean a thing but the iihs test shows the vulnerabilities. I seriously doubt you guys are arguing that the crash tests are meaningless.

Wait a minute.

So, if I remove most of the variables and then put the thing out in a big pool of them, that makes it a valid test?

Not meaningless certainly. Extraordinarily meaningful, probably not. Not with all those variables out there flopping around loose.

The overlap crash test also has lots of variables, most of which the IIHS does not (apparently) investigate.

For example:

How fast is the Leaf going?
How much target overlap is there?
What shape is the target object?
How hard is the target object?
Is the target object locked in place?

It would require crashing 100’s of Leafs to properly understand the affect of all these input variables.
Simple changes to these variables could change the results in drastic ways that depend on the car.
Yet (apparently) the IIHS only crashes one of each car using only one set of overlap input variables.
Then they extrapolate that to the entire spectrum of possible overlap crash scenarios. Not good science.

The Leaf could be very safe (as illustrated by Alonso) for some (even most) of the possible crash scenarios.
We simply do not know. The crash test results are not meaningless, nor are they complete.

Very true.

One thing I can almost say for certain, in the form of a question to our friends at IIHS (who, as we speak are advising their members to jack up the B/I policy premiums of the subject autos), “Where’s the force vectoring?”

Having actually been in a wreck, I know that hitting something perfectly flat at degrees 90 is pretty unusual, even if the device striking the barrier is “offset.” Somebody yanked the wheel at the last moment, there were bug carcasses on my headlight that caused a lower coefficient of friction on my device than the udder one, which may be offset by the number of angels he/she has on his/her shoulders…

I am absolutely not arguing that the tests are meaningless. I am arguing that they are synthetic and lose value as actual accident statistics for a model accumulate.
The Leaf has been out in quantity for over three years.

(excerpt Reuters)
“Chevrolet Volt was the only one of a dozen small cars tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to earn a “Top Safety Pick+” award, the IIHS said in a statement on Wednesday…

While the Countryman outperformed the Volt in the small overlap crash test, it was not named a Top Safety Pick+ because it does not have a front crash prevention system…

As a result of the test, automakers have started to adjust the design and engineering of their cars to get a better score…

Of the 32 small cars, 19 earned “good” or “acceptable” ratings and 13 earned “marginal” or “poor” ratings.”

I would think improvements would come from a new generation – improved frame design and crush zones. Hopefully Nissan is designing the new Leaf as we speak.

My thoughts exactly.. 2015 will likely be the last year model for this body style. So they’ll probably be looking to improve crash testing for the new Leaf due out in 2016 or 2017.

every car has a crash prevention system, its called the driver.

Except that 50% of the time it is caused by the “other driver.”

actually, it’s more 75% of the time it was the “other guy”.

That’s one lousy crash prevention system that fails way too often.

Especially when that system has a Y-chromosome.

If this test is relevant for the Consumer Report rating, how can they rate other cars, that have never done this test yet?

The other car makers remembered to pay the CR crash test exemption fee. 😉

Perhaps adding a fourth weld up front, might help? 😉

My car has the alloy rims and front camera so should fair better.

Easy solution: Just be sure and hit things head on, not just a glancing blow! 🙂