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2018 Nissan Leaf Review

The redesigned 2018 Nissan Leaf has good range for an electric vehicle, but it falls short of many class competitors when it comes to cabin materials and interior comfort. It places in the bottom third of our compact car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Very low select ownership costs
  • Above-average estimated range and MPGe
  • Lots of cargo space
  • Semiautonomous driving system available
  • Some so-so interior materials

Rankings & Research

The 2018 Nissan Leaf's #15 ranking is based on its score within the 2018 Compact Cars category. Currently the Nissan Leaf has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 13 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.6
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 7.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Nissan Leaf Overview

Is the 2018 Nissan Leaf a Good Used Car?

Yes, the Nissan Leaf is a good compact car. As part of its full redesign for 2018, the Leaf gained more horsepower and added range. In fact, this electric vehicle can drive farther on a single charge than rivals like the 2018 Volkswagen e-Golf and 2018 Hyundai Ioniq. All-around, it's a solid car.

The 2018 Leaf stands out in some appealing ways:

  • Estimates for charging, insurance, and maintenance are well below average
  • Longer range than most all-electric cars
  • E-Pedal provides adept one-pedal driving around town
  • Large cargo hold
  • Convenient tech available for entertainment and remote vehicle management
  • Impressive semiautonomous driving system available

It has a few drawbacks:

  • Some mediocre cabin materials
  • Only one USB port
Why You Can Trust Us

Our Nissan Leaf review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from more than 17 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2018 Nissan Leaf?

Used 2018 models are beginning to appear on dealer lots. Based on listings for the 2018 Nissan Leaf on our site, the average price is $27,100. Prices range from $23,000 to $32,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location. Though this is above the average price of most used compact cars, it's $6,200 less than the average price of the 2018 Chevy Bolt EV and $23,500 less than the average price of a 2018 Tesla Model 3.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Nissan Leaf Cost to Own?

The 2018 Leaf’s five-year costs for charging, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be $14,700, or $2,940 per year. This is one of the lowest estimates in our compact car rankings.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Leaf?

The starting price of a new 2019 Nissan Leaf is around $2,900 more than the 2018 model's average price, but it's the better buy. For starters, you may be able to lower your cost significantly if you can take advantage of the $7,500 federal tax credit (see How Does the Electric Car Tax Credit Work?). The 2019 Leaf is also available with a larger battery pack that extends its range from an EPA-estimated 151 miles to 226 miles. The starting price for the long-range Leaf Plus models jumps to more than $36,500 before any credits, but for many, the extra 75 miles of range will be worth the higher cost.

Read about the new Nissan Leaf »

For 2018, Nissan fully redesigned this electric vehicle. As a result, the 2018 Leaf is much improved over previous generation models. Performance enhancements include a more powerful electric motor – resulting in improved acceleration – and a larger battery that extends range from 107 to 151 miles. New standard features include automatic emergency braking and Nissan's e-Pedal, which allows the driver to control the speed of the car with just the accelerator. Additionally, advanced safety features such as pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, a driver drowsiness monitor, and the semiautonomous ProPilot Assist system were made available for the first time with the 2018 model. You may be able to save money with a 2017 or older model, but you'll be forgoing some important updates if you do.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Leaf »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Nissan Leaf?

The 2018 Nissan Leaf has an above-average predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Leaf reliability »

2018 Nissan Leaf Recalls

At the time of writing, there are no recalls for the 2018 Nissan Leaf.

See more information on Nissan Leaf safety recalls »

Which Used Nissan Leaf Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Nissan Leaf comes in three trims: S, SV, and SL. All have the same electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack and therefore have the same range. For an appealing set of features without stepping up to the range-topping SL, seek out the SV trim. It comes with an upgraded infotainment system that showcases many of your favorite smartphone apps on the 7-inch touch screen, thanks to standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other highlights include adaptive cruise control, voice-activated commands, and a navigation system.

  • Nissan Leaf S: The base Leaf S comes with a 5-inch infotainment display, four speakers, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a proximity key, push-button start, a rearview camera, and automatic emergency braking.
  • Nissan Leaf SV: Additional standard features in the Leaf SV include the NissanConnect infotainment interface, a 7-inch touch screen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, six speakers, HD Radio, voice-activated commands, and adaptive cruise control.
  • Nissan Leaf SL: Leather seats are included in the top-of-the-line Leaf SL, as are heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a seven-speaker Bose premium audio system, an Around View Monitor, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross traffic alert, and a driver drowsiness monitor.

See 2018 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 »

How Safe Is the Leaf?

The 2018 Nissan Leaf has undergone limited crash testing. It received the highest rating of Good in three evaluations by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

No crash test ratings are available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • automatic emergency braking

Available advanced safety features:

  • ProPilot Assist (a semiautonomous system that can steer, accelerate, and brake for you)
  • adaptive cruise control
  • Around View Monitor (360-degree parking camera)
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • driver drowsiness monitor
  • automatic high-beam headlights
  • lane keep assist
  • pedestrian detection

See Leaf safety scores »

2018 Nissan Leaf Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Leaf or 2018 Chevrolet Bolt?

The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV places among the best compact cars in part because its quick acceleration and responsive handling make it fun to drive. It has more standard features than the Leaf, including a larger touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. The Bolt also impresses with its 238-mile range. The Leaf tends to cost less than the Bolt EV – saving you around $6,200 – and it has more cargo space behind the seats. We recommend picking the EV that best fits your budget and range needs.

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Leaf or 2018 Hyundai Ioniq?

The 2018 Hyundai Ioniq is available as the Ioniq Electric, Ioniq Hybrid, and Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid. Like the Leaf, the Ioniq is a hatchback with a large cargo area. The Hyundai's cabin feels more upscale, and it comes with a few more standard features than the Nissan, including a larger touch screen and Apple CarPlay. The Ioniq can't go quite as far on a single charge, but its 124-mile range is respectable, and it’s the better car overall.

Compare the Leaf, Bolt EV, and Ioniq »

2018 Leaf Performance

How Does the 2018 Nissan Leaf Drive?

Every 2018 Leaf comes with the same setup: a 147-horspower electric motor, a single-speed transmission, and a 40 kilowatt-hours lithium-ion battery pack. With an EPA-estimated range of 151 miles, the Leaf can go farther on a single charge than most electric cars. On the road, it feels lively and responsive, and the ride quality is comfortable. The standard e-Pedal – a new feature for 2018 – uses the EV's regenerative brakes to slow the car after the driver lifts off the accelerator. The system lets the driver accelerate and slow the car using only the accelerator pedal and is handy for frequent stop-and-go scenarios.

  • Powertrain: 147-horsepower single electric motor
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: single-speed manual automatic
Does the 2018 Nissan Leaf Get Good Mileage?

The EPA gives EVs a miles per gallon equivalent rating so you can easily compare costs of driving an EV with those of a gasoline-powered vehicle. With the Leaf's EPA-rated 112 MPGe combined, the average driver will save $700 a year compared to the 2018 Honda Civic, which is one of the most fuel-efficient nonhybrids in our compact car rankings.

For more information, read What is MPGe?

  • 125/100 MPGe city/highway
2018 Nissan Leaf Charging

The Leaf’s range is 151 miles when fully charged, and charging times depend on the method used:

  • DC fast-charging: 40 minutes for 80% charge
  • 220-volt charging station (Level 2): 7 hours and 30 minutes
  • 110-volt household-style outlet (Level 1): 35 hours

Read more about Leaf performance »

2018 Leaf Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Leaf Seat?

The 2018 Leaf seats five people. Adults will be comfortable in both the front and back, though a hump takes up some floor space in front of the rear middle seat. Other compact cars offer more room to stretch your legs. The Leaf's cabin is airy, spacious, and incredibly quiet. The materials include lower-quality plastics, with some upscale touches in the top-of-the-line SL trim.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery
  • six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat

Available seating features:

  • leather upholstery
  • heated front seats
  • eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Nissan Leaf?

The 2018 Leaf has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. It can take extra muscle to install a child seat with the lower anchors, partly because the hardware is buried in the seat cushions. For ease of use, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the second-lowest rating of Marginal.

2018 Nissan Leaf Features

The Leaf comes standard with an agreeable number of tech features, and its upgraded options are even better. All models except the base have the NissanConnect infotainment system. Its niceties include a 7-inch touch screen, navigation, and smartphone integration. This system also gives you remote access to the car, so you can check the status of the battery and even begin charging it right from your smartphone. Tempers may flare if more than one traveler needs to charge a phone: All models come with only one USB port.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 5-inch display, four speakers, a USB port, Bluetooth, and satellite radio
  • Available infotainment features: the NissanConnect infotainment interface, a 7-inch touch screen, a navigation system, six speakers, a seven-speaker Bose premium audio system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio, and voice-activated commands
  • Additional standard features: proximity keyless access and push-button start

See 2018 Nissan Leaf specs »

Read more about Leaf interior »

2018 Nissan Leaf Dimensions

Nissan Leaf Cargo Space

The Leaf can carry more cargo than the typical compact car. It has 23.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats and up to 30 cubic feet if you fold the 60/40-split rear seats.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Nissan Leaf Length and Weight
  • Length: 14 feet, 8.4 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,433 to 3,508 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 4,453 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Nissan Leaf Built?

Nissan built the 2018 Leaf in Tennessee, Japan, and England.


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