Consumer Reviews Summary
14 of 16 (87%) customers said they would recommend this vehicle to a friend.
2012 Nissan LEAF Overview
The all-electric 2012 Nissan Leaf sits at the forefront of the electric car movement, offering emissions-free driving and saving money at the pump.
Electric cars have slowly been creeping up for several years now and the Leaf is the first mass-production all-electric car to come to market. It gets a few upgrades over the 2011 version, adding heated side mirrors, heated steering wheel, and heated front and rear seats. Continuing this theme, a battery heater is also standard, which brings the battery up to temperature more quickly in cold temperatures which increases the Leaf’s range.
Range, or range anxiety, is really where the rubber meets the road with electric cars since it’s not really possible to just fill up an electric car at a gas station when it’s running low on juice. Those are legitimate concerns – you do have to be careful in planning longer trips and it’s harder to be spontaneous. But for a car to drive on the commute or run around town (especially in urban areas which are denser), not spending money on gas every day is a huge draw.
The Leaf is outfitted with a 340-volt battery pack that powers its electric drive motor. 107-horsepower and 207 pounds-feet of torque are driven through the front wheels. One of the benefits of electric motors: instant torque, i.e. all of the power is delivered instantaneously. The Leaf is recharged through its charging port found in the nose of the car and it can be programmed to be charged off of peak hours which saves money on the electric bill. A fully depleted battery takes 20 hours to recharge with a 120 volt outlet, or in eight hours with 240 volts.
Instead of mpg ratings, the Leafs gets mpge ratings which are used to measure electric car range. Keep in mind that driving aggressively and using more of the Leaf’s systems (climate, audio, etc.) will deplete the range. The Leaf is rated at 106 mpge in the city and 92 mpge on the highway. If you want to squeeze every last mile of range out of the Leaf, engage the Eco Mode which can improve range up to 10% (per Nissan).
Inside, the Leaf seats five passengers in a futuristic looking interior that is eco-friendly (the seat fabrics were developed from recycled materials). There is also a long list of standard features, including a USB/iPod port, navigation system with 7-inch display, push button start, Bluetooth connectivity, and automatic temperature control. The upscale SL trim adds a Homelink Transceiver and a backup camera.
When it comes to safety, the Leaf was the first all-electric vehicle to earn a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS and a full five-star rating from the NHTSA. The battery is designed to disconnect when the airbags deploy or when it detects water around it. An eight-year/100,000 mile warranty is also offered with the lithium-ion battery.