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MSRP: $29,990 - 42,550

2019 Nissan Leaf Review

The 2019 Nissan Leaf is an appealing all-electric car that offers lots of cargo space and a good driving range. However, its bland, plastic-filled cabin pushes it toward the bottom of our hybrid and electric car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Good electric range
  • Lower price than other EVs
  • Some low-grade cabin materials

Is the Nissan Leaf a Good Car?

Though it offers commendable MPGe ratings and composed handling, the 2019 Leaf doesn't stand out among hybrid and electric cars. Its cabin is roomy, but it has some low-grade materials. Additionally, its base price is high for a compact car, but it's on the low end for an electric vehicle.

Should I Buy the Nissan Leaf?

If you're looking for a solid commuter car with a spacious cabin and a good all-electric driving range, consider purchasing the Leaf. This Nissan has a below-average price among its electric rivals, and there is an available tax credit of up to $7,500 that could significantly cut down your costs. Still, there are other vehicles worth your consideration.

Both the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 cost more than the Leaf, but they’re worth the investments. The Bolt has an even longer driving range, additional standard features, and more-athletic handling. The Model 3 has one of the highest all-electric ranges, a refined interior, and an engaging ride.

Compare the Leaf, Bolt, and Model 3 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Nissan Leaf?

The Leaf was redesigned for the 2018 model year, and there is one major change for 2019: The Nissan Leaf Plus model debuts. It features a larger battery pack and bumps the Leaf's range to 215 or 226 miles, depending on the trim.

You can save money by purchasing a used Leaf from the previous generation, but they are significantly different than models from the current generation. For example, the 2017 Leaf’s range is only 107 miles. It went up to 151 miles for 2018. The 2017 model is also less powerful, with just 107 horsepower compared to 147 for models from the current generation. Older models also lack driver assistance features like available rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring.

To gain further insight into the differences between the current and previous generation, read both our 2017 Leaf and 2018 Leaf reviews. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Leaf »

We Did the Research for You: 23 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 23 Nissan Leaf reviews, as well as fuel economy estimates, performance specs, interior quality information, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Leaf generation, which includes 2018 and 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain impartial, we do not accept extravagant gifts from automakers, and an outside source handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Nissan Leaf Cost?

The 2019 Leaf starts at $29,990, which is below average among electric cars. Opting for the SV trim will cost you $32,490, and choosing the top-of-the-line SL trim will cost you $36,200.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

Nissan Leaf Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Nissan Leaf or Chevy Bolt?

The Chevy Bolt is better than the Leaf in nearly every way. It has a longer electric range (238 miles compared to the standard Leaf’s 150 miles and the Leaf Plus' max 226 miles), quicker acceleration, more responsive steering, better handling, more comfortable and spacious seating, and nearly double the cargo capacity of the Leaf. Standard features are also more plentiful with the Bolt, including a larger touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. The one area where the Leaf comes out ahead is price, but if the Bolt is in your budget, it’s a better option.

Which Is Better: Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model 3?

The Tesla Model 3 costs about $15,000 more than the Leaf, but like the Bolt, it’s worth the extra money.  The Model 3 boasts a 260-mile range, and opting for a model with a long-range battery will give you a 310-mile range. That's more than double the Leaf's all-electric range. When you need to charge your battery on the go, you can stop at a Tesla supercharging station where you can charge 50 percent of the battery in half an hour. Beyond that, the Tesla has nimble handling and a more powerful electric motor that accelerates quicker than the Nissan's electric motor. The Model 3 also features a refined cabin with quality materials and additional standard features like a navigation system and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Compare the Leaf, Bolt, and Model 3 »

Leaf Interior

How Many People Does the Leaf Seat?

The Leaf seats up to five people in two rows. Its front seats are comfortable and supportive, and the back row has enough room for adults, though the middle seat has limited foot room because of the middle floor hump that houses the Leaf's battery pack. Cloth seats are standard and leather upholstery is optional. Other available features include a power-adjustable driver's seat and heated front seats.

Leaf and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether anchor on the rear middle seat. 

Leaf Interior Quality

The Leaf has mostly quality materials throughout its cabin, but reviewers note that some scattered hard plastics hinder the Leaf's appeal.

Leaf Cargo Space

The Leaf's hatchback body style contributes to its fantastic cargo capacity. It has 23.6 cubic feet of cargo space. That's more than most other compact cars, and its more than most hybrids offer as well. Folding the standard 60/40 split-folding seats increases cargo capacity to 30 cubic feet. On the downside, the seats don't fold completely flat, and small-item storage is limited.

Leaf Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include an infotainment system with a 5-inch display, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and four speakers. Available features include a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, six speakers, voice recognition, HD Radio, navigation, and a 7-speaker Bose premium audio system. The infotainment system has simple and easy-to-use menus and controls.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Leaf Performance

Leaf Engine: Plenty of Pep

The Leaf is powered by a 147-horsepower electric motor that delivers lively acceleration. While the Leaf doesn’t have a lot of horsepower, it can keep up with both city and highway traffic. The standard Leaf also has a 40-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and a single-speed transmission. A Leaf Plus model with a more powerful 214-horsepower electric motor and a 62 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack is available.

Leaf Gas Mileage: Good Efficiency

The Leaf has a 150-mile driving range and a combined 112 MPGe rating. These are good estimates for an all-electric compact car. The Leaf Plus has a driving range of up to 226 miles.

For more information, read What Is MPGe?

Leaf Ride and Handling: Very Smooth and Composed

With composed handling that exhibits limited body roll around corners, the Nissan Leaf is a great vehicle for your everyday commute. The regenerative brakes aren’t as grabby as those in many other electric vehicles. The Leaf also comes with an e-Pedal that works with the regenerative brakes to slow down the car when you take your foot off the accelerator. Many reviewers praise this feature for its smooth operation.

Read more about performance »

Leaf Reliability

Is the Nissan Leaf Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2019 Leaf a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average for the industry.

Nissan Leaf Warranty

The Leaf comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain and electric vehicle system warranty, and an eight-year/100,000-mile lithium-ion battery warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Leaf Safety

Leaf Crash Test Results

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has crash tested the 2019 Leaf as of this writing. The IIHS gave the nearly identical 2018 model Good scores (the highest possible) in all three tests that were conducted: moderate overlap front, side, and head restraints and seats.

Leaf Safety Features

Standard safety features include a rearview camera and automatic emergency braking. Available features include rear cross traffic alert, high-beam assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, and a 360-degree parking camera. ProPilot Assist semiautonomous technology is also available. This system helps you steer, accelerate, and brake your vehicle.

Read more about safety »

Which Nissan Leaf Model Is Right for Me?

The Leaf comes in six trim levels: S, SV, SL, S Plus, SV Plus, and SL Plus. The S trim should be adequate if you just want basic features like an infotainment system with Bluetooth and satellite radio. A few packages are available that add features like heated front seats and a quick-charge port. If you're looking for a better-equipped infotainment system, step up to the SV trim. Its added features include a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation. Shoppers interested in a longer all-electric range should consider purchasing one of the Leaf Plus models.

Nissan Leaf S

The base S trim costs $29,990 and comes with cloth upholstery, a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, a rearview camera, automatic emergency braking, push-button start, a proximity key, a 120-volt portable charging cable, and an infotainment system with a 5-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and four speakers. Two packages are available. The Charge package costs $1,690 and adds a quick-charge port and a 120-volt/240-volt portable charging cable. The All Weather package costs $450 and includes heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, and rear heater ducts.

Nissan Leaf SV

The SV trim is priced at $32,600. It adds a quick-charge port, adaptive cruise control, fog lights, and the NissanConnect infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, six speakers, HD Radio, navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and voice recognition. An All Weather package is available for $900. It comes with a hybrid heater system, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, and rear heater ducts. A Technology package is available for $2,200 and features ProPilot Assist, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, LED headlights, a 120-volt/240-volt charging cable, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, high-beam assist, lane keep assist, and rear cross traffic alert.

Nissan Leaf SL

The SL starts at $36,300 and adds heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, LED headlights, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery, a 7-speaker Bose premium audio system, a hybrid heater system, a 360-degree parking camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and driver drowsiness monitoring. A Technology package adds ProPilot Assist, pedestrian detection, high-beam assist, and lane keep assist.

Nissan Leaf S Plus

All Plus trims come with a 214-horsepower electric motor, a 62 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, and a quick-charge port. The S Plus has a starting price of $36,550. It has most of the base S trim's features, as well as forward collision warning, an 8-inch display, six speakers, and suede upholstery. The All Weather package is available.

Nissan Leaf SV Plus

The SV Plus trim costs $38,510. In addition to the S Plus' features, it adds adaptive cruise control, fog lights, HD Radio, navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, voice recognition, satellite radio, and an 8-inch touch screen. The All Weather package and the Technology package are available.

Nissan Leaf SL Plus

The SL Plus starts at $42,550 and adds LED headlights, heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, a 360-degree parking camera, ProPilot Assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, driver drowsiness monitoring, and a seven-speaker Bose premium audio system.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

See 2019 Nissan Leaf specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Nissan Leaf is a well-rounded electric vehicle. It has a good MPGe rating, a solid electric range, a spacious cargo area, and a comfortable ride. That said, some low-quality materials prevent it from standing out in its class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "First of all, 150 miles is still plenty of range and can meet the demands of most commutes and daily errands. Another big selling point is its price: The Leaf undercuts the Bolt and Model 3 by thousands of dollars. We also like its refined driver assistance features and quiet, upscale interior. The one thing for sure is that there are more choices than ever for an electric vehicle. If you're shopping for an EV, the Leaf is a strong contender." -- Edmunds
  • "For a large number of drivers – especially for EV veterans – the 2018 Nissan Leaf checks all the important boxes and ignores the unnecessary (and expensive) ones. Considering the success of its imperfect predecessor, and the improvements made in the new Leaf, this one is poised for success." -- Autoblog (2018)
  • If your main goal is to own a capable EV, and you're okay with 150 miles of range and a pretty comprehensive lack of character, the Leaf makes a lot of sense." -- Jalopnik (2018)
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