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2017 Nissan Leaf Review

The 2017 Nissan Leaf is an electric vehicle with an efficient powertrain, lots of interior space, and a comfortable ride. A below-average safety score and lackluster highway power put the Leaf in the middle of our compact car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious interior
  • Comfortable, composed ride
  • Outstanding MPGe rating for a small car

                                                            

  • Mediocre power at highway speeds
  • Low-rent cabin materials
  • Fewer safety features and lower safety scores than rivals

New for 2017

  • 30-kWh battery became standard
  • Last model year of the first generation

Rankings & Research

The 2017 Nissan Leaf ranking is based on its score within the 2017 Compact Cars category. Currently the Nissan Leaf has a score of 8.1 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 65 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.1

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.9
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 7.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.2
Safety: 8.4
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Nissan Leaf Overview

Is the 2017 Nissan Leaf a Good Used Car?

The Nissan Leaf is a good choice among compact cars. It makes for a great daily driver, especially if your route consists mostly of city streets. Commuters will appreciate its comfortable seats, smooth ride, admirable predicted reliability rating, and easy-to-use sound system. Its nimble steering makes parking in tight quarters less of a hassle (especially with the optional 360-degree camera). Plus, this electric car will reward you with significant savings on fuel costs while providing a convenient and reassuring 107-mile range. The Leaf also tends to be less expensive than rival electric cars. On the downside, this Nissan has a lower safety score than most competitors, and its cabin has lower-quality materials throughout.

Why You Can Trust

Our Nissan Leaf review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from more than 60 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Is the 2017 Nissan Leaf?

A used Leaf typically costs less than all-electric rivals like the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt. The average price of a used 2017 Leaf is $19,500, based on 90 listings on our site. Because factors such as a vehicle’s trim level, condition, and mileage affect its price, you'll see listing prices for 2017 Leafs range from $16,000 to $23,000.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2017 Nissan Leaf Cost to Own?

Five-year cost estimates for insurance, fuel, repairs, and maintenance add up to about $15,700 for a 2017 Leaf. In comparison, you'll spend an extra $2,400 to $2,500 on these costs if you're driving a 2017 Hyundai Ioniq or 2017 Chevy Bolt.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Leaf?

The 2018 Nissan Leaf outdoes the 2017 model in many ways, making it worth a serious look. After a full redesigned for 2018, the Leaf feels more composed, accelerates with more oomph, and adds 43 miles to its range. These changes significantly improve the way the Leaf performs, whether you are comparing the Leaf to its previous generation or against its rivals.

Nissan added more technology to the 2018 Leaf, such as optional ProPilot Assist. This self-driving system can temporarily take control of the car's steering (keeping it centered in the lane), throttle, and brake, even in stop-and-go traffic. The standard e-Pedal also permits one-pedal driving, a useful setting for urban driving. With this feature, the car can slow itself while recapturing a little energy for the batteries. If the 2018 Leaf's enhancements aren't crucial, consider saving money by purchasing a used Leaf instead.

There is a considerable price difference to take into account, but that gap slims considerably if you are eligible for the available $7,500 federal tax credit on a new model. With this credit, the starting price of a 2018 Nissan ($29,990) is only $3,000 above the average price of a 2017 Leaf. When comparing prices of a used EV to a new EV, keep in mind that only new cars are eligible for any applicable tax credits. To learn more, check out How Does the Electric Car Tax Credit Work?

Read about the new Nissan Leaf »

You won't find any new electric cars in the same price range as the average 2017 Leaf (even with the federal tax credit), but there are a few other fuel-efficient cars worth considering. The 2018 Toyota Prius c is one of the most affordable, with a starting price around $20,600. This small hybrid has lots of standard safety and tech features, and it returns an EPA-rated 48 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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Which Model Year of the Nissan Leaf Is Best? 

Nissan launched the Leaf for the 2011 model year, and brought its first generation to a close with the 2017 model. Noteworthy updates in recent years include a standard rearview camera added for 2014 and an increased range for the 2016 mid-level SV and top-level SL trims. This increase in the Leaf's all-electric range was the result of an upgraded 30 kWh battery, which became standard for 2017. If none of these changes speak to you, then you may want to consider saving money by purchasing an older model year.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Leaf »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Nissan Leaf?

The 2017 Leaf has an above-average predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.  

Read more about Leaf reliability »

2017 Nissan Leaf Recalls

There is one recall to date on the 2017 Leaf as of this writing. It replaces the front passenger air bag inflator, which may be defective. Before buying a used Leaf, ensure a Nissan dealer has properly addressed any applicable recalls.

See more information on Nissan Leaf safety recalls »

Which Used Nissan Leaf Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Leaf comes in three trim levels: S, SL, and SV. In addition to basic essentials such as Bluetooth and cruise control, the entry-level Nissan Leaf S model comes with heated front seats and automatic climate control.

Mid-tier Nissan Leaf SL models present the best blend of features and price for most buyers. Its upgraded infotainment system contains a larger display, the NissanConnect EV telematics system (which lets you connect to many of the EV settings using your smartphone), and a navigation system. Standout features of the top Nissan Leaf SV trim include leather upholstery and heated rear seats.

See 2017 Nissan Leaf trims and specs »

What Does Nissan's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Nissan offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Nissan extends the original new-car warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each Nissan CPO vehicle must pass a 167-point inspection. Additional benefits like rental car reimbursement, a three-month SiriusXM satellite radio trial subscription, a Security+Plus Extended protection plan, towing, and 24-hour roadside assistance may be available, so read the Nissan warranty page carefully.

Nissan’s CPO program is about average for an affordable auto manufacturer, according to our research. Mazda, Honda, and Chevrolet all have more robust programs.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the Nissan certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the Leaf?

The Leaf has one of the lower safety ratings in our compact car ranking and has mixed crash test results. While it earned top scores in four Insurance Institute for Highway Safety simulations, the Leaf received a Poor grade for its performance in the driver’s side small overlap front category. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration graded the 2017 Leaf in only two categories (frontal crash and rollover), giving it four out of five stars in each.

The Leaf is also light on advanced safety features. A rearview camera is standard, and some models may have a 360-degree parking camera. However, the 2017 Leaf does not offer high-tech systems such as forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control.

See Leaf safety scores »

2017 Nissan Leaf Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Nissan Leaf or 2017 Chevrolet Bolt?

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt outranks the Nissan Leaf, and it's one of the best used compact cars you can buy. Its 238-mile range is more than double that of the Leaf's, and the Bolt feels more energetic when accelerating down the onramp to merge with highway traffic. There's a significant difference in listing price and select ownership costs, though. If you can't afford the Bolt's higher price, the Leaf is a good second choice.

Which Is Better: 2017 Nissan Leaf or 2017 Hyundai Ioniq?

You can save money by purchasing a Nissan Leaf instead of a 2017 Hyundai Ioniq. Either choice is ultimately a decent pick, but there are some differences to be aware of. The 2017 Ioniq comes in two iterations, as a less expensive hybrid and as an uber-efficient electric car. All-electric models were originally sold only in California, and the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid wasn't available until the 2018 model year. Families are likely to gravitate toward the Ioniq's roomier back seat and higher crash test scores.

Compare the Leaf, Bolt, and Ioniq »

2017 Leaf Performance

How Does the 2017 Nissan Leaf Drive?

The Leaf's EV components include a 107-horsepower electric motor and a 30 kWh lithium-ion battery pack (the only battery size available in 2017). Though its 107-horsepower rating seems paltry, the Leaf's electric motors grant instant torque, which translates into zippy acceleration from a stop. It isn't quite as accomplished at overtaking other vehicles on the highway, though.

The ride is generally smooth in the front-wheel-drive Leaf, and a low center of gravity adds to its agile, composed demeanor. In Normal mode, the regenerative brakes feel like those in a traditional gasoline-powered car. There’s rarely a need to hit the brakes with B-mode. Turn it on, and the Leaf slows down more aggressively when you let off the throttle.

Does the 2017 Nissan Leaf Get Good Mileage?

The Leaf's 30 kWh battery grants around 107 miles of range. You can recharge it in about seven hours with the standard 3.6 kW onboard charger and a 220-volt connection. Uplevel trims feature a 6.6 kW onboard charger that trims about an hour off this time. These models also have a quick-charge capability that adds 80 percent range in half an hour.

The Nissan Leaf is remarkably thrifty for a compact car. Narrow your search to only EVs, though, and its 112 MPGe rating is not as lofty as some. For more information, check out What is MPGe?

Read more about Leaf performance »

2017 Leaf Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 Leaf Seat?

The five-person Leaf is roomy and airy inside. Its front seats are comfortable, and the standard heated front seats are a pleasant touch on frosty mornings. Though its rear-seat space isn’t as welcoming as some competitors, this zone can still reasonably accommodate long legs.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Nissan Leaf?

You shouldn't have any issue finding and recognizing the Leaf's three top tether anchors. Located on the outboard seats, its two sets of lower anchors are more cumbersome to use, as the hardware is mounted too deep in the seat cushions and can be hard to move around. For these reasons, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Leaf’s LATCH system the second-lowest rating of Marginal.

2017 Nissan Leaf Features

If you have an aversion to complicated infotainment systems, you'll breathe easy in a Nissan Leaf. Both its base system and the upgraded NissanConnect interface take little effort to learn and use. Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio, and hands-free text messaging are standard in every model.

See 2017 Nissan Leaf specs »

Read more about Leaf interior »

2017 Nissan Leaf Dimensions

Nissan Leaf Cargo Space

The Leaf's hatchback body style gives it a generously sized cargo hold. There is 23.6 cubic feet of space behind the back seat, and up to 30 cubic feet when you lay these seats down.

Nissan Leaf Length and Weight

The Leaf extends 14.6 feet from bumper to bumper. It has a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,431 pounds.

Where Was the 2017 Nissan Leaf Built?

Nissan built the 2017 Leaf in Tennessee.

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