7 Reasons to Avoid a Nissan LEAF at All Costs


7 Reasons to Avoid a Nissan LEAF at All Costs

Key Points

  • The Nissan Leaf is a popular compact electric vehicle with a low cost and eco-friendliness.
  • The Leaf was one of the first mass-produced electric cars globally and has undergone updates to improve its range and features.
  • Battery degradation is a pressing issue with the Leaf, with owners experiencing fast deterioration.
  • The Leaf has long charging times compared to other EVs on the market.
  • With a range of only 149 miles, the Leaf falls short compared to other electric vehicles.

The Nissan Leaf is a hugely popular compact electric vehicle. They’re nearly as popular out on the road as your average Tesla model. The EV’s low cost and its eco-friendliness created a very high demand for the car. However, there are seven important factors to consider about the Leaf before deciding to buy one. Should you take advantage of this affordable EV, or are you better off holding out for something better? Understanding these downsides can help potential buyers like you make the most informed decision about the Nissan Leaf. Let’s discuss the reasons to avoid a Nissan Leaf.

5 Must-Know Facts About the Nissan LEAF

  • The “LEAF” in Nissan Leaf stands for “Leading Environmentally-friendly Affordable Family car.”
  • The Nissan Leaf comes with ProPILOT Assist. This feature delivers semi-autonomous driving capabilities such as cruise control, staying within the lane, and even assisting with parking.
  • Regenerative braking capabilities help the Nissan Leaf turn kinetic energy into electric power to charge the battery when slowing down or hitting the brakes.
  • The Nissan Leaf is far cheaper than many other rival EVs on the market. The 2023 model has an MSRP of just $28,040.
  • According to the rumor mill, the Nissan Leaf may be discontinued by the mid-2020s. If this proves to be true, then we might not get to see a third-generation Leaf.

Nissan LEAF Specs

Vehicle ClassCompact
Body Style5-door hatchback
LayoutFront-motor, front-wheel-drive
PlatformNissan EV platform
Battery40 kWh lithium-ion
Electric Range149 miles
MPGe123 MPGe (city)
99 MPGe (highway)
111 MPGe (combined)
Horsepower147 HP
Starting MSRP

The History of the Nissan LEAF

The Nissan LEAF — short for “Leading Environmentally-friendly Affordable Family car” — is an all-electric vehicle that first emerged in 2010. The Leaf holds a unique distinction. It was one of the very first mass-produced electric cars available globally.

Nissan began work on the Leaf in the early 2000s. They envisioned it as an affordable, practical electric car that could appeal to a wide range of customers. Plus, it could help Nissan’s larger mission to reduce fossil fuel dependency.

Nissan introduced the first-generation Leaf in 2010. It featured a 24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and a range of approximately 73 miles per charge. With specs like these, it was clear the compact and aerodynamic EV was more of a concept than a viable vehicle — at least for this first-generation model.

Nissan Leaf on showroom floor.

The Nissan Leaf might look affordable, but its low range and poor horsepower aren’t worth it.

©Steve Lagreca/Shutterstock.com

Over the next several years, Nissan continued to update the Leaf. Still, they couldn’t seem to boost that unimpressive range. This wasn’t a huge problem in these early years, as the competition was incredibly slim. However, once the Tesla emerged and showed just how much range an EV could be capable of, Nissan knew it was time for some major changes.

The second-generation Leaf was launched in 2017. This new version offered a much larger 40-kilowatt-hour battery with an extended range of 150 miles. This model also introduced ProPILOT Assist, an advanced driver-assistance system that offered semi-autonomous driving capabilities to compete with Tesla.

This new generation combined better mileage with its consistently low price point. It propelled the Leaf to new heights, helping it become one of the best-selling electric vehicles worldwide. However, there are still seven reasons to avoid a Nissan Leaf at all costs — even in spite of its sales figures.

Why Avoid a Nissan LEAF?

Before you decide to buy a Nissan Leaf, you should stop and think about something for a moment. Is this popular EV so successful because of its features, or is it simply a hit because of its attractive price? While the answer might not be what you want to hear, you nevertheless need to hear it. Before you head to the car dealership, here are seven valid reasons to avoid a Nissan Leaf.

Battery Degradation

One of the most pressing issues with the Nissan Leaf is battery degradation. Throughout every model year, Nissan Leaf owners have noticed their vehicle’s battery begins deteriorating remarkably fast. Some start seeing problems before the first year of ownership is even through.

While every car — electric or gas-powered alike — can experience degradation, it’s especially important for an EV to maintain a dependable battery. Nissan has tried to make improvements to the Leaf’s battery technology over the years, but the issue nevertheless persists.

Charge Times

Another reason to avoid a Nissan Leaf? The EV’s long charging times. You know by now that charging an EV takes much longer than refueling a traditional gasoline-powered car. However, the Leaf’s charge times are even longer than some of the more desirable EVs on the market today.

Depending on your outlet’s power at home, you could be looking at anywhere from seven to 11 hours of charging to reach 100%. Even with fast charging, the Leaf can take 40-45 minutes to reach 80%. Compared to other EVs (not to mention gas-powered cars), this is seriously unacceptable.

Low Range

If you’re looking for an electric vehicle with a considerable battery range, then you might want to avoid a Nissan Leaf. This EV offers just 149 miles on a single charge, and that’s with no battery degradation and a 100% charge.

If you purchase a Leaf, drive it for a few years, and only have time to fast charge to 80%, you could be looking at a significantly lower range than this. (That’s not even touching on weather conditions that might reduce range, as well.) With some of the best EV ranges topping 350 miles or more, 149 miles on a good day just won’t suffice.

A Nissan Leaf on the showroom floor.

While it might look spacious from the outside, the interior of the Nissan Leaf feels quite cramped.

©Grzegorz Czapski/Shutterstock.com

Cramped Interior

Take one look at the Nissan Leaf — it’s clear to see the car is compact. But even compared to some other compact cars, the Nissan Leaf has seriously limited interior space. The Leaf’s design prioritizes efficient packaging of the battery and electric drivetrain components, which results in a slightly smaller cabin and cargo area.

Driving by yourself, this lack of space might not be very noticeable. But, if you frequently travel with multiple passengers or require ample cargo space, you’re going to feel that cramped interior immediately. The same is true of the trunk, which will struggle to hold larger items.

Weak Horsepower

There’s no other way to put it: the Nissan Leaf’s 147 horsepower is unacceptable. Nissan argues the EV focuses on efficiency over raw power, but there are numerous EVs on the market that can deliver both efficiency and power. This excuse just doesn’t work.

The Nissan Leaf’s lack of horsepower can be felt most by highway drivers. Whether you’re merging onto the interstate, trying to pass a slower vehicle, or simply prefer a car with strong acceleration, the Nissan Leaf will fall short of your expectations in this regard.


The EV’s price tag is yet another reason to avoid a Nissan Leaf. While its MSRP is considerably lower than other EVs on the market, you have to consider what you’re getting for what you’re paying. The Leaf has a long charge time, a low battery range, and a weak amount of horsepower. Each of these detrimental factors makes the Leaf’s price tag look much too high.

This is especially true when comparing the Leaf to the cost of a gas-powered vehicle. The Leaf’s $28,040 price tag is more than $10,000 higher than the Nissan Versa’s MSRP. (This gas-powered Nissan starts at $16,925, for the record.) Sure, the Leaf is much more affordable than many other EVs. However, you must think about what you’re getting for that price before you buy.

Possible Discontinuation

There has been speculation that, given the long production life of the Nissan Leaf to date, the manufacturer may be discontinuing the popular EV in the next couple of years or less. While Nissan has not made any official announcements about this rumored discontinuation, the company has undoubtedly been focusing on newer, better EV models over the Leaf.

This possible discontinuation could have serious implications on Leaf owners, including less availability of spare parts, fewer future software updates, and reduced long-term support for the Leaf overall. You have to keep this (and all these points) in mind if you’re thinking of buying a Leaf.

In Review: Reasons to Avoid a Nissan LEAF Today

While the Nissan Leaf offers some attractive features such as its affordability, semi-autonomous driving capabilities, and regenerative braking, it also has some serious limitations to consider. From battery degradation to long charging times, limited range to weak horsepower, it’s far from the perfect EV — even with that low price point. It’s essential for you to weigh the negatives before deciding on a Nissan Leaf. Let’s review these seven reasons to avoid a Nissan Leaf below.

Reasons to Avoid a Nissan LEAF Today
Leaf owners may deal with battery degradation
The Leaf’s long charge times may prove to be a problem
Nissan Leafs have a much lower range than other EVs
The Leaf’s HP is seriously lacking
Cramped interior, even for a compact car
Lower price compared to other EVs is still too high for what Leaf owners get
The Leaf may be discontinued in the next couple of years or less

Similar Vehicles

Frequently Asked Questions

How far can the Nissan Leaf go on a single charge?

The Nissan Leaf typically offers a range of less than 150 miles on a full char. This is likely suitable for daily commuting and local driving, but insufficient for longer treks. Certain factors such as driving habits, weather conditions, and battery health can negatively affect the range, as well.

How long does it take to charge a Nissan Leaf?

Charging times for the Nissan Leaf can vary depending on the charging method and the generation of the vehicle. Using a standard home outlet, it can take around seven to 11 hours to fully charge the vehicle. However, with a dedicated Level 2 charging station, the charging time can be significantly reduced to approximately four to eight hours. Fast charging stations, commonly found along highways and in other populated areas, can provide an 80% charge in about 40-45 minutes.

Does the Nissan Leaf have regenerative braking?

The Nissan Leaf does employ regenerative braking. This allows the vehicle to convert kinetic energy into electric power to recharge the car battery. When you slow down or apply the brakes, the electric motor reverses its operation and acts as a generator. This converts the vehicle’s momentum into electrical energy, which is then fed back into the battery for later use.

Is it safe to drive a Nissan Leaf?

Yes, the Nissan Leaf has great safety features such as stability control, anti-lock brakes, traction control, and multiple airbags to protect occupants in the unfortunate event of a collision. Additionally, the Leaf incorporates various driver-assistance features, including ProPILOT Assist, which can help with steering, braking, and maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles on the road.

Is the Nissan Leaf getting discontinued?

Nissan has not said anything about the Leaf or if they plan to discontinue it in the near future. However, rumors suggest that Nissan may be shifting focus away from the Leaf toward other, newer vehicles in their catalog. Some insiders have claimed the Leaf could be discontinued as soon as the mid-2020s.

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