2012 Nissan Leaf with 50k miles for less than 7k.

fli

Granted, it was repossessed which isn’t the greatest thing to find on a car’s history. But it’s flippin’ cheap! I test drove one a while ago. I’ll post my review of it along with a link to the other cars I tested that day.

General Info- The one I drove was a 2016 model with 6k miles on the clock, on sale for slightly under 18k. It was a base model S too.

Convenience/Interior- I’ll admit. I didn’t test the leaf as thoroughly in this category as the other cars, because my decision to test drive it was rather spontaneous and I didn’t wanna waste to much of the kind salesman’s time. Since he was the same one who helped me with the Sentra.

Advertisement

Even though it was the base model it came with heated seats and steering wheel. As well as Bluetooth IIRC. Power windows, locks, and seats as well. One thing I was curious about was the A/C. From a quick glance under the hood it was a traditional compressor powered by an electric motor and on my test drive it kicked in just as fast and powerful as you’d expect in an ICE car so no complaints there. I’m sure I’m missing on some other features it has, but it’s 2016. Google it fool!

Practicality- First of there’s ample leg room in the back for adults. It might not be terribly pleasant on a road trip, but you won’t hear many complaints for most journeys. The storage space was rather impressive with the 60/40 rear folding seats. Plus the large hatch allows for plenty of storage space, because it’s actually a legit hatch like a minivan. Rather then the almost token hatchbacks on the Cruze or Civic.

Of course there’s all the benefits of an EV, but there’s not really anything I can tell you that you haven’t heard before.

Advertisement

Performance/Fun Factor- First I wanna talk about the regenerative braking. For those who don’t know. There’s two drive “gears” on the Leaf. A regular D and B for brake mode which uses the regenerative brake more aggressively. I did the entirety of my short test drive in B and truly loved it for city driving. I massively underestimated how much braking force it “applies”. It’s very similar to heavy engine braking in a manual transmission, however the neat thing about the leaf is you can actually modulate the the regen braking with the throttle. On the dash of the Leaf you’ll find an arc of bubbles with a leaf on the 4th or 5th one from the left. That one with the leaf is coasting. When the throttle is applied below that mark, so to speak, it’s regen braking. So you control deceleration very well without even having to put your foot on the brake pedal.

The promise of 100% torque from zero rpm was honestly a bit of a let down. It did have a slight edge on the other cars I drove, but it isn’t really fun by any stretch. You still have to keep an eye on the speedo though, because around town you’ll still easily get up to 40mph without realizing it. To be fair to the motor, I don’t think it’s the motor’s fault for not feeling very fast. I think it’s the higher driving position and overall it’s the insulated driving experience that numbs the sensations of the Leaf’s acceleration. I have the typical complaints for the electric power steering as nearly every automotive journalist. It’s direct and accurate, but with zero feedback coming through the wheel.

Despite poor performance in the fun category I’m more optimistic about the future of affordable EVs than before I drove the Leaf. With the electric steering tune of another vehicle I drove that day and a lower seating position and more sporty suspension this would be a very good car for it’s class performance wise.

Advertisement

link with the rest of the cars