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2020 Nissan Leaf

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$31,600 - 43,900 MSRP

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2020 Nissan Leaf Review

The 2020 Nissan Leaf has zippy handling, quick acceleration, and good all-electric range. However, some of its interior touches are unimpressive. We don't give the Leaf an overall score or ranking because of incomplete safety and predicted reliability data.

Pros & Cons

  • Long list of standard features
  • Swift acceleration
  • Roomy, comfortable seats
  • Dated-looking dashboard controls
  • Rear seats don't fold flat

New for 2020

  • Several standard driver assistance features
  • Standard 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay

Research & Ratings

The 2020 Nissan Leaf is unranked in Hybrid and Electric Cars due to missing safety data. Currently, the Nissan Leaf's overall score is not available, though its Critics' Rating, Performance score, and Interior score are based on our evaluation of 18 pieces of research and data.

N/A

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 6.9
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 6.8
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. As a result, it doesn't have an overall score and cannot be ranked against other hybrid and electric cars.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Nissan Leaf a Good Car?

Yes, the Nissan Leaf is a good vehicle in the hybrid and electric car class. This electric car accelerates quickly from a stop, drives gracefully, and can go up to 226 miles on a single charge. Its cabin features comfortable seating and user-friendly technology.

The Leaf does have a couple of notable downsides. It has a few low-rent and dated-looking interior pieces, and while it offers a roomy cargo hold, the rear seats don’t fold flat.

Should I Buy the Nissan Leaf?

The 2020 Leaf is one of the least expensive all-electric new cars you can buy. For that reason, it should be near the top of the list of budget and eco-conscious shoppers.

The Leaf isn't a sexy choice like the Jaguar I-Pace or Audi e-tron, luxury EVs that are relative newcomers to the market, but it is a good value proposition. It retails for under $32,000, it has a long list of standard features, and you’ll get around 150 miles of all-electric range.

To unlock the Leaf’s maximum 226 miles of driving range, you’ll have to spend more than $38,000. That price puts the Leaf more in line with the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt, both of which offer longer all-electric driving ranges. However, the Leaf remains eligible for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits, while those rivals can only claim a fraction of that or none at all.

Compare the Leaf, Model 3, and Bolt »

Should I Buy a New or Used Nissan Leaf?

If you’re considering a base trim Leaf, the 2020 model is an appealing choice. For 2020, the Leaf comes standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as the Safety Shield 360 bundle of driver assistance technology, which includes forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, and lane keep assist. All of those features were optional in older Leafs from the current generation, which launched for 2018. Also for 2020, Nissan adds an 8-inch touch screen to all trims. In previous models, the Leaf came standard with a 5-inch display, and a 7-inch touch screen was optional.

If the larger touch screen doesn’t interest you, or you’re interested in a higher trim, consider a 2019 or 2018 model, which likely cost less than a new Leaf. For 2019, Nissan debuted the Nissan Leaf Plus model, which extends the Leaf’s range up to 226 miles. If that boost doesn’t interest you, look for a used 2018 Leaf, which is otherwise identical to the 2019 model.

A model from the previous generation will likely cost even less, but there are some significant differences to be aware of. Models prior to 2018 have shorter ranges, less potent powertrains, and fewer driver assistance features.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 Leaf, 2018 Leaf and 2019 Leaf reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Leaf »

We Did the Research for You: 18 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 18 Nissan Leaf reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2020 Leaf is the right new car for you. This 2020 Leaf review incorporates research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2018.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Nissan Leaf Cost?

The 2020 Nissan Leaf S starts at $31,600, which is above average for the hybrid and electric car class. The Leaf SV starts at $34,190. Nissan offers the extended-range Leaf Plus in three trim levels for $38,200, $39,750, and $43,900.

The 2020 Leaf is eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. You may also be eligible for some state and local incentives that are offered on electric vehicles.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals 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 Tesla Model 3?

The Tesla Model 3 starts at just under $40,000. While this is substantially more than the Leaf's starting MSRP, its base models come with 250 miles of range, which is longer than the Leaf's maximum. A long-range Model 3 that can go 322 miles on a single charge starts at about $49,000, and it comes with all-wheel drive, which isn't available in the Leaf. The Model 3 drives and handles like a sports car, and many of its tech features are unlike anything on the market.

Stick with the Leaf if you want to keep your purchase price down and if you can live with around 150 miles of range. If you can spend $40,000 or more, the Tesla is the better buy. Additionally, the Leaf still qualifies for the maximum $7,500 tax credit. Tesla models are no longer eligible for federal tax incentives.

Which Is Better: Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Bolt?

The Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf are both solid EV choices but for different reasons. The Bolt's base price is around $5,000 more than the Leaf's, but all Bolt models boast a 259-mile range. You'll also get a lot more cargo space with the Bolt, as well as cool features such as a 10.2-inch touch screen and a Wi-Fi hot spot. The Leaf comes with a much longer list of standard safety technology, though. Go with the Nissan if you're on a budget and limited to one of its less expensive trims. If you can spend more money, you’ll get more bang for your buck with the Bolt.

Compare the Leaf, Model 3, and Bolt »

Leaf Interior

How Many People Does the Leaf Seat?

The Nissan Leaf has five seats, but you'll probably be most comfortable with four people inside. The placement of the battery pack under the floor limits legroom for the rear middle seat. Both rear outboard seats offer a good amount of headroom and an adequate amount of legroom.

The front seats are very comfortable despite having only a handful of manual adjustments. You can, however, equip the driver's seat with eight-way power adjustments.

Cloth upholstery is standard, and leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel are optional.

Leaf and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the Leaf's rear outboard seats, as well as an additional tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Leaf's LATCH system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use. The lower anchors are set deep in the seats, and it's difficult to maneuver your hands around them.

Leaf Interior Quality

Lower trims of the Leaf feature an abundance of hard plastics that some might consider disappointing for a $30,000-plus vehicle. However, they look good and don't feel overly cheap. Materials quality in upper trims is better.

Leaf Cargo Space

The Leaf’s cargo volume is among the highest in the hybrid and electric car class. This hatchback has 23.6 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 30 cubic feet when the back row is folded down. The rear seats don't fold down flat, so hauling larger or bulky items might be tough.

Leaf Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Nissan adds a standard 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system to the 2020 Leaf, and it has support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Satellite radio and three USB ports are also standard.

The display is within easy view and reach of the driver. The graphics look good, the system is easy to navigate, and it responds quickly to your touches.

There are physical buttons surrounding the screen for some infotainment controls and to access the surround-view parking camera system. While volume and tuning controls feature traditional rotary knobs, climate control and some other functions use hard switches that you have to press multiple times to adjust. Some reviewers say a few of these buttons look chintzy.

Read more about interior »

Leaf Performance

Leaf Engine: Zippy Electric Power

The Nissan Leaf features a single electric motor and a 40 kWh battery that combine to make 147 horsepower. That amount might make a conventional gas-powered car feel weak, but not the Leaf. All of its torque is available when you hit the throttle. The Leaf accelerates quickly from a stop and gets up to higher speeds with little issue.

Nissan offers the Leaf Plus with a 62 kWh battery rated at 214 horsepower. The main draw for the Leaf Plus isn't the additional horsepower, it’s the longer range, which we detail below.

Leaf Range and Charging: Good and Better

The standard 2020 Leaf has an EPA-estimated driving range of 149 miles on a single charge. The Leaf Plus bumps that to 226 miles.

In addition to operating range, electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles can be measured for overall efficiency in relation to gasoline cars using MPGe, or miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent. The 2020 Leaf EV gets 111 MPGe in combined city/highway driving, which is about average for all electric vehicles. The Leaf Plus returns up to 108 MPGe combined. To learn more, check out What Is MPGe?

You can charge the standard Leaf in 7.5 hours using a Level 2, 240-volt connection. The Leaf Plus charges fully in 11.5 hours. Both models have DC fast-charging capability, which gives you 80% battery power in around 40 minutes.

Leaf Ride and Handling: Crisp

The heavy battery pack gives the Leaf a low center of gravity that aids its surprisingly spry handling. It takes corners easily, and the car has well-controlled body lean. Larger bumps in the road upset the ride quality a little, but overall, the Leaf delivers a composed and quiet driving experience.

This Nissan also earns praise for its e-Pedal regenerative braking function – unique to hybrids, plug-ins, and EVs – which makes the braking system feel more like traditional brakes. The system also lets the driver accelerate and slow the car using only the accelerator pedal, which is handy for frequent stop-and-go situations.

Read more about performance »

Leaf Reliability

Is the Nissan Leaf Reliable?

At the time of writing, the 2020 Nissan Leaf doesn't have a predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power.

Nissan Leaf Warranty

Nissan covers the Leaf 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 »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Nissan Leaf?

The cost of insuring a Nissan Leaf will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

Leaf Safety

Leaf Crash Test Results

In the only test performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2020 Leaf earned the highest rating of Good in the head restraints and seats evaluation. At the time of writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash tested the 2020 Leaf. This lack of safety data prevents us from giving the Leaf an overall score or ranking.

Leaf Safety Features

The 2020 Leaf comes with a long list of driver assistance features, including the newly standard Nissan Safety Shield 360 bundle. This package includes automatic high-beam headlights, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane departure warning.

Lane keep assist, a rearview camera, and a rear door alert are also standard.

Optional features include adaptive cruise control, driver attention monitoring, a surround-view parking camera system, and ProPilot Assist. This feature combines adaptive cruise control with lane centering assist to keep you at a set speed, and it offers automatic steering for situations such as highway driving.

Read more about safety »

Leaf Dimensions and Weight

The Nissan Leaf is 14.7 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,538 to 3,946 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Nissan Leaf Built?

Nissan builds the 2020 Leaf in Tennessee.

Which Nissan Leaf Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Nissan Leaf is available in five trim levels: S, SV, S Plus, SV Plus, and SL Plus. Your choice will probably depend on how much driving range you want. Leaf S and SV trims can go up to 149 miles between charges, while the Leaf Plus in S, SV, and SL trims can go up to 226 miles. All Leaf models are very well-equipped and come with a user-friendly touch-screen infotainment system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a long list of active safety features.

Unless you need the extra range from the Leaf Plus, we recommend sticking with a base model. To get features such as leather seats or a Bose stereo, you'll have to move all the way up to the top-of-the-line Leaf SL Plus.

Nissan Leaf S

The 2020 Nissan Leaf S starts at $31,600. Standard features include cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, proximity keyless entry, automatic climate control, and an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, three USB ports, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a four-speaker stereo.

The Leaf also comes standard with forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, a rearview camera, and rear door alert.

The optional Charge package costs $1,690 and adds a quick charge port and a portable charging cable.

Nissan Leaf SV

The Leaf SV retails for $34,190, and it comes with adaptive cruise control, a quick charge port, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, alloy wheels, fog lights, a six-speaker stereo, navigation, and HD Radio.

For $900, the All-Weather package adds heated outside mirrors, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. The $2,000 Technology package includes an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a universal garage door opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, LED headlights, driver attention monitoring, a surround-view parking camera system, and the ProPilot Assist feature.

Nissan Leaf S Plus

The Nissan Leaf S Plus starts at $38,200. It has a nearly identical list of standard and available features as the regular S model.

Nissan Leaf SV Plus

The Leaf SV Plus matches the regular SV's list of equipment, and it has a starting price of $39,750.

Nissan Leaf SL Plus

The Nissan Leaf SL Plus costs $43,900. Included features are leather upholstery, heated front seats, a seven-speaker Bose premium stereo, a universal garage door opener, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The SL Plus also comes with driver attention monitoring, a surround-view parking camera system, ProPilot Assist, a heated steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, LED headlights, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat.

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 2020 Nissan Leaf specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Nissan Leaf offers a low starting price, long list of features, and decent driving range. However, if you want to be able to go farther on a single charge, it's worth shopping around the hybrid and electric car class.

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

  • "Bolstering the Leaf's desirability is its array of standard active safety features, a good infotainment system, a more conveniently located charge port, LED taillights, e-Pedal technology and available ProPILOT Assist. Altogether, it makes for quite the value package." -- Autotrader
  • "The 2020 Leaf is roomy, well-equipped, and relatively affordable. … If the Leaf's standard driving range were only a bit longer than it is, it'd be sure to find more love in the growing EV marketplace." -- Car and Driver
  • "The … Nissan Leaf is a comfortable, roomy and stylish electric car with an impressive content level and a price tag well within the average buyer’s reach." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
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2020 Nissan Leaf

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