Consumer Reports Not Impressed By 2018 Nissan LEAF

AUG 5 2018 BY MARK KANE 98

Consumer Reports found the Nissan LEAF an enticing electric vehicle but only at first glance

A longer look at car revealed shortcoming, according to Consumer Reports.

The 2018 model with a 40 kWh battery, range of 151 miles (EPA) and an affordable price from $23,375 (after federal-tax credit and destination charge) sounds ok. However, the more expensive Chevrolet Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3 offer way higher range – 238 and 310 miles respectively.

According to Consumer Reports, the new LEAF offers little beyond an attractive price to distinguish it from its EV competitors so waiting for 60 kWh battery version (200+ miles) is advised.

There are several drawbacks to the current LEAF, mostly minor though:

“Our Leaf delivered power smoothly when accelerating from a standstill, but it ran out of oomph at highway speeds.

The mushy handling doesn’t inspire driver confidence, and the soft suspension can bottom out, sending a nasty thump to the cabin.

We found the SL’s powered driver’s seat to be comfortable, helped by the adjustable lumbar support. The Leaf is missing a telescoping steering column to accommodate drivers of all sizes, and the center console rubs against the driver’s knee, which can be annoying.

HIGHS: Low running costs, quietness, power delivery, access, standard automatic emergency braking
LOWS: Charging times, driving position, agility, ride”

Source: Consumer Reports

Categories: Nissan

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98 Comments on "Consumer Reports Not Impressed By 2018 Nissan LEAF"

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Clive

Yeah the Center Console is a deal breaker !

Dave86

Doesn’t ‘read’ like the Leaf was engineered for North America. Good for CR to call it like they see it.

The good news: EV prices continue to fall.

Clive

Might not be a deal breaker if you are not a larger person, but if you’re larger it’s Awful.

eject

The word you are looking for is fat. It is a easily treatable medical condition. Just learn some self control.

Clive

Time to Eject yourself ‼️

I like to relax my right leg, just as I relax the left.

And I am not fat, so your assumption is ridiculously wrong.

Troy

nah, he meant tall, as in long-legged, as the console’s side where my knee hits is really hard plastic and is uncomfortable if your kneebone area touches it.

Fat people have the advantage of more padding there.

Clive

Bingo !

Threader

Center console is not the drawback for bigfatbehinds. The Leaf seat is because of the plastic plates at each side where the seat back meets the seat bottom digs into each fat arse cheek. Average sized and skinny butts don’t notice this.

SJC

We need a cure for your FAT head.

Guy Bedau

Center console “issue” is no issue at all. I am 6 foot 250lbs and have never found the center console to be irritating. The 2018 is a vast improvement on the previous generation for no additional cost, its that simple…

Clive

You must be mostly upper body.

I am all legs and it’s an issue.

Troy

rap your knuckles on it and tell me how it feels.

I agree the Gen II is a great value over the O.G., I paid $5000 over my 2015 lease buyout to get one.

Probably wouldn’t have paid $10,000 over my buyout tho.

Dan F.

Serious or sarcastic? I have found that to be a very annoying defect of some cars I have driven.

philip d

I wonder if the bottoming out issue is simply because they added the larger, heavier pack without making any changes to the suspension from the gen 1. Surely the 200+ mile gen 2 will have an updated suspension to accommodate the even heavier pack.

bro1999

Very possible, since Nissan cheaped out on the ’18 Leaf.

William

2018 Leaf is a “Lease Only” vehicle.

EV buyers take note of the Non-Active TMS on the 2018 Leaf 40 kWh battery, your Leaf depreciation will be significant. Best to get ready for your own personal “hold the bag” EVent upon resale.

The cheapness remains, long after the quality is forgotten. (and you are “luckily” able to hand it back over to Nissan, at the end of the three year Lease).

Clive

Correct, except now their Leases totally suck.

Guy Bedau

Not so, leases are right there with the Bolt and if you don’t actually need that extra range then the Leaf is more comfortable and more useful room inside…

Clive

Bolt Leases must suck as well.

Guy Bedau

2018 LEAFs will have the least depreciation of its history due to now having mainstream styling, significant range, quicker acceleration, additional standard safety features. Bolt has _plastic_ hinges, horrible seats, if any BEV is cheaply made its not the Leaf.

Clive

The styling is not that great and you cannot predict value you’re not Kelley blue books crystal ball

Mint

Most reviews have noted the better suspension of the 2018 Leaf, so of course it isn’t unchanged.

There are some oddities due Nissan trying to make it handle better while still having a comfortable ride. While not sporty, it handles better than the previous generation while being notably more comfortable and quiet than the Bolt or Model 3 (Motor Trend made some good measurements).

I’m happy with it, and my Model-X-driving brother had good things to say too.

John Doe

Kind of made me smile. . . It had little but the lower price to make it better than the more expensive EVs. . That is usually a given, when it comes to cars and other products. You get what you pay for.
Expensive materials and solutions usually makes the best product. Not always, but most often.
Then people have the option to choose how much they like to pay for a given products, and if it covers their need.
There are of course exceptions of over priced brands, products and importers who just love money to much.

Mint

Seriously! No EV at this price point comes close on several key metrics.

1. Acceleration is the best by a notable margin. You need to spend over 20% more to beat it with the Bolt. 50-70 is even a bit better than the Volt, and much better than eGolf, Ioniq, etc.

2. Driving assist is the best you can get at $35k (SV model) by far. You need Tesla for anything better. A loaded Bolt has lane-bouncing only at a much higher price. How CR doesn’t list ProPilot under HIGHS is baffling.

3. 150-mile EPA range. You can only beat it by spending more on the Bolt, or on the coldest days in an Ioniq.

Yes, you’ll get a much better interior with an eGolf, much better battery & DC charging in an Ioniq, but the Leaf has major advantages in everyday functionality as a commuter car.

Nix

2019 just around the corner

Clive

After 5 years driving two 🍃 Leaf’s it’s hard to get excited about this car.

What a huge disappointment.

Clive

Sorry but some clown 🤡 decided the centre console was expectable, and it’s not

And the current Leaf Lease deals are absolutely horrible ‼️

Mint

This car is vastly improved over the previous Leaf. I thought the previous generation was garbage, and yet I’m more than satisfied having leased the 2018.

I wouldn’t take a new 2017 model at even half the price. The new one is that much better.

Calling the 2018 Leaf a “huge disappointment” is a joke. What EV is a better commuter car at $30k? What EV comes close in autonomous technology at $35k?

tester

Sounds like you agree with CR that the only thing the Leaf has going for it is price, and even that is not going to last much longer.

Clive

It’s a disappointment to me mainly because of the lack of leg room, strange styling, and no thermo management for the pack.

Vexar

At least they are equal opportunity fussy about the EVs. In other news, I think they still review encyclopedia sets, too.

Bunny

So they are saying to keep driving your ICE til you can get a 35k Tesla with no tax credit in only God knows when?
I mean you’d be end of the line USA 35k waiting list..

I think they took real cheap shot at Nissan, the price disparity is huge!

ffbj

Or get the 2019 Leaf, which is at the end of the article.

BoltEV (was SparkEV)

Or get the 2018 BoltEV now. Local dealer is still showing $32K for 2018 BoltEV. 90 extra miles range plus actual working TMS for $2.5K over base Leaf is a bargain.

William

Buy the 2018 Bolt,
Lease the 2018 Leaf,
Model Y wait, if it’s a real, NO-compromise EV hatch back, that you MUSK have!

BoltEV (was SparkEV)

Current lease terms are not all that good with Leaf. Similar money can get you Bolt lease. Only thing about Leaf now is if one is so lonely that he has time to kill at DCFC waiting behind free charging Maven Bolts.

menorman

I’ve driven both and the Bolt isn’t quite as plush as the Leaf, so I could see why someone would still get the Leaf. Also it has ACC…

BoltEV (was SparkEV)

We’re comparing discounted Bolt at $32K vs base Leaf without ACC at $29.5K. With ACC (SV/SL), Leaf becomes more expensive than Bolt on sale.

Tesla charges $9K extra for 90 miles more range which Bolt is only $2.5K more than Leaf. $9K-$2.5K=$6.5K. You can buy almost any comfortable seats you want for $6.5K and have plenty left over for big macs.

As a bonus, you also get TMS with Bolt and associated benefits (no DCFC slowing down), something that should cost $30K more.

Another bonus is quicker to 60 MPH at 6.5 sec for Bolt vs almost 8 sec (slower than SparkEV) for Leaf.

Mint

You’re comparing a discounted Bolt to a MSRP Leaf.

People get discounts on Leafs too, you know. You’re in California, right? The Leaf gets a $3k discount off the negotiated dealer price from their deal with PG&E.

$2.5k more for a Bolt? An outright lie.

William

2018 Leafs can be quite easily found for $4-5K off of MSRP, it just depends on what dealer is actually trying to move Leaf inventory, and get some Volume Cash Back incentives from Nissan at the end of 2018..

Sergey
I’m always entertained by the statements that 150mi is a way too short range. I had KIA Soul EV lease for 3 years and then bought Leaf 2018. In my EV experience: If you have more than one car in the household, new LEAF range will cover 99.9% of your needs. With our lifestyle, we need to have SUV as a second car. And there is nothing work better for the long trips than ICE SUV. With all the incentives, you can get VERY good sale price(what you pay at the dealership) for the LEAF 2018 in my case it was ~30500$ for the fully packed SL model (37k+ MSRP) Adding into equation tax credits, CA rebate and PG&E rebate will make your actual cost $20K. Even if it has huge depreciation – it is still a great deal. So if you are practical and have a long commute – this is one of the best options for you. Regarding LEAF itself – it drives nice, steering is fine, quiet, comfortable. Interior design – mehhh. Materials are on the cheap side but look ok. ProPilot is great – I use it very often, the way how it behaves feels very… Read more »
James P Heartney

How come they can’t come up with a decent media player? How hard is it? Apple put a perfectly serviceable one into the old iPods, which were tiny and cheap. It’s unforgivable that the player doesn’t allow nested files three deep. What were they thinking?

Oh yeah, this is the same company that thought they could get away with not having an active TMS if they just throttled the charge rate.

Guy Bedau

Most drivers never need an active TMS design, some parts of the country absolutely yes. So get a Bolt if you live in Texas, otherwise 2018 SV Leaf has both Carplay and Android Auto, intelligent Cruise, automatic braking, has a better cockpit for the driver and is roomier for real life needs.

Clive

The biggest problem with buying a Leaf is in 3 years it will be worth about half the price you bought it for.

Bill Howland

So in other words this 2018 LEAF will be a USED car bargain in 3 years.

ffbj

For someone else it will be, but not for the person that’s selling it.

menorman

Depends on what they originally paid for it.

Clive

Not really it will still have crappy value in no time at all

BenG

You can say that about every new car 3 years later. You’re going to lose 1/3-1/2 of the original post-incentive price.

William

A Terrific “used bargain” will be more like it!

In 2021, a Pre-Owned 2018 Leaf, with approximately 30-36 k mi., should be available for a Value Price between $12-14 k, here in the US.

YMMV.

BoltEV (was SparkEV)

$12K for 3 year used Leaf is way too high. I see them around $8K. Surprisingly, used SparkEV is listing higher than same year Leafs.

Clive

A base S but not the SV or SL/SLP.

Threader

TMS makes the added $$$ difference.

jim stack

The SPARK EV is much better with liquid cooled batteries for a 20+ year life. I have 2.

Clive

Absolutely

But 20 years is a long time

And God help you IF you’re ever hit in one of them

Guy Bedau

$8k for a used Leaf must be from a private owner who wants out, in metro Boston area a 2015 S Quick Charger gets $12-13k easy.

BoltEV (was SparkEV)

I don’t think 3 year used Leaf will be a bargain at any price. Questions about the battery, rapidly decreasing charge rate, slower than 2014 SparkEV while all the new cars including the new 2019+ Leaf comes with TMS.

Mint

That’s true for all non-Tesla EVs. The i3 is even worse (who wants to pay $20k for an 2015 EV with only 80-miles of range?)

In 3 years, even $15k cars will have autopilot-like tech. Will you want to be selling an eGolf or Ioniq without it? I got a Leaf, but would’ve paid $10k more for a Bolt with Supercruise. GM didn’t offer it. Would’ve paid $15k more for a Model 3 with AutoPilot. Not available till next year.

It’s going to be a major factor in used car sales. The 2018 Leaf is in better shape for resale than you think.

Troy

$6000 off MSRP is a great deal! I suck at negotiating . . . I decided the improved center console stuff wasn’t worth anything so I got the S (with charge package) . . . ProPilot might be OK but AFAIK Nissan isn’t going to issue software updates for it so I decided not to pay extra for that, either (plus on my short commute with little to no traffic issues it’s not really helpful).

My 2018’s job is to get me the 20 miles to/from work and run any inter-city errands I have, and it works great for that.

Anything else will require a 2nd car — I might put the $15,000 I’m getting in EV rebates towards a 2019 Supra, LOL.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tum-k_uvYk

Wish THAT was BEV!

Dan F.

Did your $30.5 sale price include the cash back from Nissan USA. I guess yes. How much did the dealer discount it not counting the cash back, etc.? I ask because I’m looking at one (SV w/o tech package in pearl white, msrp including delivery and floor mats about $34k) for the same reasons that you bought one. My spouse has a Prius for 50 mpg road trips.

Sergey

The discounts were the following:
– I work for one of the big software companies, and they have a corporate discount with Nissan. After my negotiations that brought the original price to ~33.5K.
– I bought it in April. April to July 4 our local energy company PG&E was running a deal for extra 3000K off the price. That you will get immediately at the dealership. On top of this PG&E gave 500 mail-in rebate that I mentioned in the original post

PG&E 3K was a local program but I saw several such local programs, so you need to look for one in your area.

menorman

Unfortunately, I believe all the local programs ended with July. Also, Nissan never brought it down to SCE territory…

Guy Bedau

In New England check out MassEnergy.org’s Drive Green discounts. You will find $6k off msrp _before_ the $10k of MA and Fed money.

Pushmi-Pullyu

“I’m always entertained by the statements that 150mi is a way too short range.”

Indeed! Just a few years ago, most of the EV industry watchers were saying that a 100+ mile battery pack would be the tipping point at which BEV sales (other than Teslae) would really take off.

But as soon as LG Chem began to advertise a “200 mile battery” ( I always wondered just how far an individual battery cell would get if you put wheels on it 😉 ), suddenly everyone and his brother was saying that 200 miles is the minimum.

150 miles is probably ample for those who only use the car to commute, especially if they live in a mild climate like coastal California.

William

Coastal Cali. Commuters, in mild climates, will definitely win the non – TMS battery degradation, and capacity loss battle, with the 2018 Leaf.

EVerybody else in 90*F + hotter climates, with the 2018 Leaf, not so much.

Mint

You do realize that your “everybody else” is a minority for people buying $30k cars, right? Out of the western world, maybe 1/3rd of the US and hotter Europe (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, etc) has regular 90F temperatures.

TwoVolts

150 miles is pretty useful if it is in fact 150 miles. In the midst of winter in northern climates, the 40% loss brings it down to about 90 miles. Unless you like to gamble, that translates into a vehicle that is good for operating within a roughly 40 mile radius from your home. Not so great.

Mint

90 mile worst case range is ‘great’ for the vast majority of commutes. If you drive that much, you do at least 22k miles per year, not including any weekend driving. Add that in and you’re almost double the average.

Your argument definitely applies to the previous Leaf, but not so much for the 2018 model.

Worst case range is one of the things that set the Leaf apart from almost all sub-$35k EVs. It makes no sense for you that that as a negative.

menorman

Or a ~80 mile radius with charging available on both ends. Which is still a decent trip.

Ken_3

Very true. I have a 16 Leaf 30 kwh pack and cold winter pushing snow on the roads will chop the advertised range in half. Very scary when the charging network is still not reliable. One time I hit 3 different locations to find one that worked.

menorman

> With all the incentives, you can get VERY good sale price(what you pay at the dealership) for the LEAF 2018 in my case it was ~30500$ for the fully packed SL model (37k+ MSRP) Adding into equation tax credits, CA rebate and PG&E rebate will make your actual cost $20K. Even if it has huge depreciation – it is still a great deal.

People like to complain about how much the Leaf depreciates, but they neglect to factor in stuff like this that lead to the original owner effectively getting it for nearly half off in the first place. So in a couple years, when it’s valued at “only” $16k, it looks like it plummeted $21k instead of the actual net depreciation after incentives of $4k.

BenG

Exactly. When I shopped for a used plug-in I ended up buying in Georgia, a few hundred miles away, because they used to have such awesome EV incentives that the used market was great: lots of choice and good prices. I ended up buying a 2012 Volt, but was tempted by some nice Leafs down there too.

Jim Whitehead

Yet the new Leaf manages to be an EV best seller in Europe. Is that because they won’t get the Model 3 until maybe late 2019?

Robert Weekley

Quite possibly, since most people rush purchase decisions. Or, can’t wait!

menorman

Most definitely. The Leaf was once the best-seller here in America too, but hasn’t been for awhile as other more capable options are entering the market.

Troy

Here’s what I wrote on the other Leaf review thread:

Speaking as a Leaf driver 2015-2018 and a Leaf II owner now, the Leaf II is like the Apple IIe vs Apple II, PC XT vs 5150, Macintosh Plus vs 128k Mac, Windows 98 vs. 95, iPhone 3GS vs original iPhone . . . a light revamping, showing what the somewhat limited original offering *could* have been if everything had fallen together correctly initially.

Better things are coming no doubt, but it’s good enough and cheap enough (after $20,000 in mfr rebates, dealer discounts, and gov’t incentives) to get me to those better days.

Troy
Another comment from the other thread discussing my decision to get a 2018 this summer: Nissan is the only game in town selling and servicing BEVs where I’m at. Have to drive hours to the nearest Kia, VW and their odd lot of 2017 eGolfs disappeared off the face of the earth recently, Chevy dealer has just 1 low-trim Bolt on their lot, BMW dealer might have i3s but who cares, and if I buy a Tesla they’ll deliver it via parachute out of the back of a cargo plane or something. If I had any expectation Hyundai or Kia would be selling more than a handful of their new LG cars later this year in the state I’d have certainly waited for them, but again their dealer network support for EV is spotty. I could have waited for Nissan’s LG version coming early next year but my experience with the 2015 “Lizard” chemistry was fine, degradation was a little over norm but at 88% SOH after 32 months acceptable. Main problem was that the capacity loss was fast enough to become an issue in 6 years but too slow to hit to 65% warranty replacement. With the 40kWh battery… Read more »
Bill Howland

I essentially have a ‘low trim Bolt’, I finally got the car back from the collision shop, and I love it. Drove the thing from totally full to 5 miles from empty and the big battery is essentially in perfect shape.

RC368

We’re on our fouth plug in, 2 volts, sparkev and 6 months ago a model 3. None of them go to the shop much. Spark not until 90k. Tesla never so far. So dealer location is less impotant really.

antrik

According to certain statistics, you do not seem to be alone: most of the 24 kWh Leafs see significant degradation, but just make it past six years with SOH above the guaranteed level…

William

Nissan Leaf (2011-16) 24 kWh battery warranty, is actually ONLY 5 years (60 Months), or 60k miles, which EVer comes first. Thats when the # 9th capacity bar drops down to #8.

Robb Stark

CR “LEAF is too softly sprung”
CR” Model 3 overly harsh ride”
WTF?

William

It’s the CR Nissan “Princess and the pea” critical analysis.

Ditto CR Tesla Model 3 “Prince that Pees” critter rover EV review!
https://youtu.be/N8fwtkC5UJU

sveno

Both are correct statements – CR caters the average consumer and takes mostly regular US commute route comfort as its measure. The LEAF is bouncy, always has been. All M3s are on the sportier side, much like BMWs tend to be.

Kenneth Bokor

I think Leaf is a good all around BEV with good value. Yes the ergonomics may not work for taller persons so test driving any car ahead of time is always recommended.

For a vast number of use cases the Leaf is a perfectly capable vehicle. It’s doing very well in Asia and Europe and ok in NA. Seems our NA culture just does not see sensibility at times. The Leaf is not for everyone and good thing we have choice. It’s range is adequate for many daily drive situations.

I’m disappointed in CR’s recommendation as this may sway many first-time interested BEV buyers away from an all-electric, since cost can be a major factor.

I also strongly disagree with the ride quality statements from CR as it is very good for a car in the compact-class and I’ve had my Leaf fully loaded with people and stuff with no “bottoming out” experiences even on uneven roads which we have a good amount of here in Toronto Canada area.

jim stack

In a cool area like Canada the battery on the LEAF will hold up well and it will be a best buy. As long as the range is what you need you should be all set.

DP

Not so cool at the moment.

Don Zenga

Nissan sold 2,040 Leafs in Japan last month, slight improvement over the prior month. Hope the launch of Nismo this month will give it a much needed shot in the arm.

Samwise

“the new LEAF offers little beyond an attractive price to distinguish it from its EV competitors”
Which is exactly what it is supposed to be doing…
Article should have been titled, “Nissan LEAF does exactly what is says on the box!”

iletric

Thank you CR. Finally someone said it. I had the same issues with the car and instead of Leaf 2 I leased another Bolt!

sveno

The Leaf is just a cheap Nissan with a lot of gizmos (that are fairly cheap to make) and a BEV drivetrain. Thats not a bad thing and Nissan is working on expanding its EV lineup. However for me the decision not to have upgrade packs for older Leafs is a deal breaker.

Vegan001

Being a city car, meant to take you to work and on short distances, these “problems” should not matter.
When you pay so little, you should not expect that much.
People should take it for what it is, not for what they want it to be.

Dudamus

Great car. They will save thousands of dollars and Several tons of CO2 emissions every year. I have saved close to 150 tons of CO2 emissions now at about 7 years. 7 years and the only cost of ownership is tires, wiper fluid and a $312 windshield replacement. I rotated the tires the other day on our first LEAF with 75K miles and the brakes looked like new. it can still easily go 75 miles on a 80% charge. Now when I drive my Titan crew cab I wonder why I ever thought it was a good vehicle. Anyone want a 2004 Titan crew cab with only 103K miles, limited edition, tow package, 4×4? I had 92, 94, and 96 300ZXs and a 98 Miata and a 88 323 GTX Mazda rally racing car. In hindsight none of them were worth the repairs and maintenance. They all needed repairs and the Mazdas literally fell apart. The LEAF was the first car I have ever owned that was actually worth keeping. Just make sure the limited range and quick acceleration and lack of maintenance suites your needs.

Dudamus

Whoops it was a 98 Miata, it didn’t hold up well. Very slow too.

Dudamus

I was impressed this morning. I saw a Infiniti X50 model. QX or FX or Ex or something like that. It would be a really nice car if it had a 50kWh battery instead of am inexpensive unreliable gas guzzlin motor.

Dudamus

I’m not impressed with all the supposed muscle cars I see in my rear view mirror. They will not even pull up next to me at a light. Just because I have really cool looking rims and Yoks on my 2012SL leaf they think I sum how tricked it out with a Tesla motor or something. Best sports car ever made. Funny the problem is that none of them know of to drive, and for them to learn how to drive they would ruin their cars. My Leaf will pin you to the seat 20 times a day, 400 days a year without any damage whatsoever.

Dudamus

Just make sure the limited range suits your needs.

Brian D
OK as a second car, but I can’t see many people picking this up for their only vehicle, especially in the north. 151 miles of EPA range puts it around 100 miles of range in worst case scenarios (75mph highway trips, very low winter temps). That’s not enough range to drive 1 hour somewhere, spend a few hours, and come home. Grandma’s house, maybe an outlet mall, maybe a day trip with kids to the next city to visit a museum, all become somewhat of a hassle as you have to find a charge station or you won’t make it. Want to eat at that hip new restaurant you found on Yelp? Sorry, you’re stuck eating Joe’s Diner because it’s an easy walk from the charging station. I suppose the silver lining in all this is the price. $23,xxx isn’t a lot of money for a second car. Many upper-middle class families can buy this for their commuter vehicle. Though $23,xxx puts it in competition with the Volt as well. And most commutes fit into a 53 mile range. And the Volt can do long trips with ease. Some people with long commutes would rather have the Leaf understandably. Some… Read more »