$12,139 - $12,836

2012 Nissan Leaf Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Nissan Leaf was new.


Interior: 7.7

Green cars have some of the most futuristic interiors on the market, and the 2012 Nissan Leaf is no different. As Nissan’s first electric vehicle, the automaker decided to give it a host of tech features that aren’t standard on many upscale small cars. While eco-friendly cars are known for being high-tech, they’re also known for having tight rear seats. In the Leaf, reviewers complain that the back seat is too tight for adults because the battery raises the floor height.

  • "The 2012 Nissan LEAF's super-quiet, feature-laden cabin is the equal to the car's contemporary exterior, with a high level of user friendliness." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Interior quality is about the same as that of other compact cars, but overall fit and finish is noticeably a cut above." -- Edmunds
  • "Where the location of the battery pack hurts Leaf is in overall rear-seat comfort. Passengers back there sit slightly higher than those in front, however the position of the battery pack forces rides to sit in a slightly knees-up position. This is fine for short trips, but it will likely be uncomfortable for adults for longer trips." -- Consumer Guide


The 2012 Nissan Leaf seats five, but some reviewers say the back seat is one of the Leaf’s biggest drawbacks because there isn’t enough headroom, legroom or knee room for adults. The front seats receive few complaints, and many reviewers think they’re well-suited for adults. The driver, however, may have problems with rear visibility.

Heated front and rear seats are standard.

  • "The Leaf's battery pack is located under the floor beneath the seats. This space-efficient placement is partially responsible for the car's roomy rear seats, which provide comfortable accommodation for adults." -- Edmunds
  • "A tall build and no available sunroof means Leaf has ample headroom. Legroom is good as well. The seats are quite comfortable. Thick rear roof pillars and tall rear-seat headrests compromise rear visibility." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Were I a Leaf owner, I’d likely use the car as a voluminous 2-seater. There’s scads of head room, shoulder room, leg room and sprawl room in the front. However, those of long torso, long legs or both may find rear seat accommodation less satisfying. I had neither enough head room nor, sitting behind myself, enough knee room. Fine for kids, of course, and less height-unchallenged sorts." -- Road and Track

Interior Features

The 2012 Nissan Leaf comes standard with a lot of features, including push-button start, steering wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, satellite radio, auxiliary and USB ports, a navigation system and XM NavTraffic. Carwings, which connects the Leaf to smartphones, helps drivers monitor battery status, regulate vehicle charging and turn heating and air conditioning systems on and off. It is also standard.

Overall, reviewers are divided over how easy the technology is to use. One says that the climate controls and navigation system are easy to master, while another says consulting the owner’s manual is a must.

  • "Leaf's two-tier gauge layout is reminiscent of the Honda Civic. It works well here. While a few displays in the binnacle below the speedometer are unconventional, they're easy to understand and read at a glance. The climate controls are self-evident, and the navigation system is fairly easy to program. It can help locate charging stations and includes a helpful energy-usage meter." -- Consumer Guide
  • "While basic controls, such as the air conditioner and the radio, operate just like in any other car, the megaload of vehicle and systems information that can be called up at any time does require spending a bit of time with the rather thick owner's manual." -- Kelley Blue Book


Most hatchbacks have a lot more cargo space than the Leaf’s 14.5 cubic feet, but that’s because the Leaf’s battery pack takes up a lot of room. For 24 cubic feet of cargo space, you can fold the rear seats, but they don’t fold flat, which limits what the Leaf can hold. When you compare this cargo figure to sedans, however, reviewers say the space available is what shoppers should expect in this class. Inside, the Leaf has good interior storage.

  • "Though Leaf is a hatchback, its cargo capacity is not as flexible as rival conventional compacts. There is a bar between the back of the cargo floor and the rear seat backs. The seat backs fold but rest above the floor, which complicates loading bulky items. Cabin storage is fine for the class and includes moderately sized door pockets, center console, and glovebox." -- Consumer Guide
  • "And though the Leaf's cargo capacity is on the small side, this Nissan has hatchback utility in its favor." -- Edmunds
  • "Though it's a hatchback, the cargo volume behind the seats is closer to that of a sedan's trunk." -- Cars.com

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