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2014 Nissan Leaf Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Nissan Leaf was new.


Performance: 7.7

According to most reviewers, the electric 2014 Nissan Leaf is peppy from a stop and has adequate power in the city and on the highway. They think the Leaf has an agile ride and poised handling.

  • "Whether in stop-and-go traffic, on windy roads or at higher speeds on the freeway, the Leaf is a capable yet mostly unremarkable partner - and we mean that in a good way." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "In the absence of an internal combustion engine, the all-electric 2014 Nissan Leaf is eerily quiet during acceleration and generally very agreeable." -- Edmunds
  • "In practice, the Leaf, which can still initially leap ahead of most gas-powered cars at stoplights and remains as easy as ever to get to 35-40 miles per hour, feels neutered in a way the car didn't before. There's just something missing. Perhaps it's the new motor. Perhaps it's just that we're getting more and more used to the way EVs drive that it takes more to impress us now." -- Autoblog (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Nissan Leaf is powered by an electric motor that produces 107 horsepower. According to the EPA, the Leaf gets 126/101 mpg-equivalent city/highway and has a range of 84 miles per charge. The Nissan Leaf’s mpg-e rating and electric range are good for an EV, and better than those of competitors like the Ford Focus Electric. However, plug-in hybrid competitors like the Chevrolet Volt and Ford C-Max Energi have gasoline engines that can kick in when the battery is depleted.

Test drivers agree that the Nissan Leaf is faster off the line than gas-powered small cars because of the torque provided by its electric motor. They say that highway merging and passing power is adequate, though some note that the Leaf feels slower on the highway than other electric vehicles. Reviewers are also very impressed by how quiet the Nissan Leaf is compared to gas-powered vehicles.

  • "Unlike traditional gasoline engines, electric motors can deliver their maximum power output from a standstill. As a result, the Leaf's initial acceleration is brisk, though getting up to highway speeds can feel a little belabored, and most other EVs are quicker." -- Edmunds
  • "While it can be a little slow, highway merging is acceptable, as is passing." -- AutoTrader
  • "The first thing you'll notice about the 2014 Nissan Leaf is its smooth, quiet operation. Since there's no gasoline engine, there's none of the associated noise or vibration." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Instantaneous torque from a stop means Leaf accelerates about as well as its gas-powered competition, with better low-end throttle response than most. Merging and passing response are on par with most 4-cylinder compact cars." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

Alternative Fuels/Charging

Nissan says that charging a fully depleted battery on a standard household outlet with the basic charger will take about 21 hours. If you install the optional 220-volt charging station in your home, that time is reduced to eight hours. Charging time with the 220-volt charging station is further reduced to five hours if you swap out the standard 3.6-kW onboard charger for the available 6.6-kW unit. Critics think the 220-volt charging station is a worthwhile investment.

  • "For most owners, a 220-volt home charging station is almost a necessity. At around $2,200, it's a practical investment that can fully charge the Leaf in four hours if your car has the 6.6-kW charger." -- Edmunds (2013)

Handling and Braking

The automotive press reports that the Leaf has an agile ride and feels composed when cornering. They say the Leaf has communicative steering, and add that the Leaf’s regenerative braking system has a firm pedal feel and is more responsive than the braking systems in other hybrids and electric vehicles.

  • "The ride is supple, and while steering is light, it provides adequate feedback to the driver." -- AutoTrader
  • "More positively, the brake pedal is reassuringly firm and there's none of the vagueness associated with some other EVs or hybrids. The Leaf is also stable around turns, thanks to a low center of gravity made possible by the car's floor-mounted battery pack." -- Edmunds

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