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2013 Nissan Leaf Review

A long list of standard interior features and an excellent reliability score help the used 2013 Nissan Leaf perform well in our rankings. However, its relatively low safety scores keep it from moving higher.

Pros & Cons

  • Smooth braking
  • Good handling
  • Battery range is just 75 miles

New for 2013

  • Base S trim introduced
  • Shorter charge time with available 6.6kW onboard charger
  • Improved mpg-e and range ratings
  • More cargo room than previous model




Critics' Rating: 7.7
Performance: 7.1
Interior: 6.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.9
Safety: 8.1
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Nissan Leaf Overview

Is the 2013 Nissan Leaf a Good Used Car?

The used 2013 Nissan Leaf is a good choice. This all-electric vehicle has a comfortable interior and costs very little to own. In addition, its regenerative braking system is uncharacteristically smooth. The Leaf has decent range for an electric car: 75 miles.

Used 2013 Nissan Leaf Performance and Interior

A 107-horsepower electric motor and a lithium-ion battery propel the front-wheel-drive Leaf. It uses a single-speed transmission and can travel up to 75 miles on a full charge, according to the EPA. That distance is comparable to the 2013 Ford Focus Electric’s 76-mile range estimate. Like other hybrid and electric vehicles, the Leaf uses a regenerative braking system. Unlike many competitors whose systems are often grabby, the Leaf’s brakes are smooth and linear. The car’s ride and handling are good, and it is insulated against outside noise.

The Leaf can be charged to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes at a DC fast charger when equipped with a quick charge port. Charging at home via a 220-volt outlet takes about four hours with the 6.6-kW onboard charger and about seven hours with the standard 3.6-kW charger.

Read more about Leaf performance »

The five-door Leaf seats five occupants across two rows on standard cloth upholstery. Heated front and rear seats, as well as a heated steering wheel, are standard. Leather seats are available in some models. The Leaf provides ample head- and legroom. It has complete sets of LATCH child-seat connectors in the rear outboard seats, as well as a middle-seat tether anchor.

The Leaf has 24 cubic feet of cargo space with its rear seats up and 30 cubic feet with the seats folded. That’s on par with other electric competitors, which often store battery packs in the trunk. However, it's less space than you will find in gas-engine hatchback competitors.

A four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a USB port come standard. A navigation system, a seven-speaker stereo, and Pandora internet radio are available. The infotainment system is well-regarded for its ease of use, and the available navigation system can help you locate nearby charging stations.

Read more about Leaf interior »

Used 2013 Nissan Leaf Prices

The price of a used all-electric 2013 Nissan Leaf ranges from about $12,500 for the Nissan Leaf S base trim to around $15,100 for the top Nissan Leaf SL trim. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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We Did the Research for You: 53 Reviews Analyzed

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 53 professional evaluations for this 2013 Nissan Leaf review to help you make an informed buying decision.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our experienced team of writers, editors, and analysts has been ranking and reviewing the best cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs since 2007. We remain unbiased by refusing pricey gifts and trips from auto manufacturers and employing an independent agency to manage the advertising on our site.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Nissan Leaf?

The 2013 Nissan Leaf has a reliability score of four out of five from J.D. Power. That’s above average for the auto industry.

See Leaf reliability scores »

How Safe Is the Leaf?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Leaf a Top Safety Pick. It received a Poor rating – the lowest possible – in the small overlap front crash test on the driver’s side. Otherwise, the Leaf earned the top rating of Good in the moderate overlap front, side, roof, and rear crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the 2013 Leaf four out of five stars overall. The car received four stars in the frontal, side, and rollover crash tests.

The Leaf has no standard active safety features. A rearview camera and a 360-degree-view monitor are available.

See Leaf safety scores »

Is the 2013 Leaf the Best Model Year to Buy?

The 2013 Nissan Leaf is part of the model’s first generation, which launched in 2011 and saw a redesign for 2018. You could save money with a 2012 or 2011 Leaf, but there are trade-offs. The 2012 and 2011 models have a longer charge time, and overall range is shorter by an estimated 2 miles. The 2011 Leaf also lacks a standard heated wheel, as well as heated front and rear seats.

Compare the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Leaf »

Which Used Nissan Leaf Is Right for Me?

The Nissan Leaf comes in three trims: S, SV, and SL. The base S model offers features like a portable trickle-charge cable, push-button start, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and automatic temperature control. The SV adds a navigation system with a 7-inch touch-screen monitor, a 6.6-kW onboard charger, a hybrid heater system, and steering wheel-mounted cruise control. The SL adds leather seats, automatic LED headlights, a quick charge port, and a solar-panel rear spoiler.

The SV makes the most sense. Its 6.6-kW onboard charger cuts charging time almost in half compared to the base model’s charging time.

Even with the Leaf’s above-average reliability, you might want to consider a certified pre-owned model for added peace of mind. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Nissan extends the original new-car warranty to seven years or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each vehicle must pass a 167-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Nissan warranty page carefully. The model's original sale date determines whether or not it is eligible for the CPO program.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Nissan certified pre-owned program »

2013 Nissan Leaf and Other Cars to Consider

The 2013 Nissan Leaf is an electric vehicle. Unlike a hybrid, it has no gas engine to kick in when the electric motor depletes its charge.

Which Is Better: 2013 Nissan Leaf or 2013 Chevrolet Volt?

The 2013 Chevrolet Volt is a hybrid vehicle, meaning it has both an electric motor and a gas engine. Its electric-only range is just 38 miles, but its gas range is about 340 miles. The Volt also offers a much better safety rating. The Leaf has a nicer interior with more standard features. If you’re an urban dweller who doesn’t regularly drive long distances, the Leaf is the better choice. However, if your commute is long or you often take road trips, go with the Volt. It allows you to live the electric vehicle lifestyle without worrying about being stranded on the side of the road.

Which Is Better: 2013 Nissan Leaf or 2013 Ford Focus Electric?

The plug-in 2013 Ford Focus Electric and the Nissan Leaf share similar ranges. The Focus Electric offers more front legroom and standard features than the Leaf, like dual-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker Sony stereo, and navigation. However, the Focus Electric’s low reliability rating is a significant concern. For this reason, the Nissan is the better choice.

Compare the Leaf, Volt, and Focus Electric »

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