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2015 Nissan Leaf

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/25/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Nissan Leaf gains some minor updates including a new exterior color, standard 17-inch wheels on the SV trim, and the Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant and Voice Destination Entry for SV and SL models. S models gain a "B-mode" that engages regenerative braking more aggressively during deceleration. All variants receive three modes: Normal, Eco-Mode, and B-Mode.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Nissan Leaf is an electric vehicle (EV) with a range of up to 84 miles, It is sold in three grade and is powered by a 80 kw electric motor with lithium-ion batteries producing a combined output of 107 hp and 187 lb-ft of torque.


Although the 2015 Nissan Leaf doesn't excel in driving dynamics, the car's low center of gravity allows it to corner in a manner that is "reasonably flat." The low-rolling resistance tires used on the car keeps its limits low and gives up at even when not taking turns in an extremely aggressive manner. Driving fast also depletes the car's battery quickly, limiting its range below the EPA-estimated 84 miles.

Interior space in the 2015 Leaf is good for five adults and but despite the hatchback body style, cargo capacity maxes out at a disappointing 30 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. Cabin refinement is good with low noise levels even at highway speeds. The gauges in the 2015 Leaf are designed to help drivers maximize the car's range with graphics that indicate whether one is driving economically or not. Additionally, the navigation system shows how far the Leaf can go round trip or one way via two circles around the car.

The 2015 Nissan Leaf has a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars).

What We Think

The 2015 Nissan Leaf is a good choice for urban dwellers looking for an EV that can get them around short distances efficiently. In a 2011 First Drive, we said that the driving experience is "quite normal" due to the car's good ergonomics, spacious cabin, and noise levels that equal gas-powered cars even at higher speeds. The interior, however, is a weak point due to the small cargo area even with the rear seats folded down, reducing its practicality. Range is also another issue, since it limits how far drivers can go on one charge. During a winter 2011 Comparison Test against the Chevrolet Volt, we said that the Leaf is an excellent city car even "for citizens of a far-flung metroplex like Detroit that experiences extremes of weather."

You'll Like

  • Quiet cabin
  • Useful navigation system with range circles
  • Operates like a regular, gas-powered car

You Won't Like

  • Uninspiring driving dynamics
  • Limited range
  • Small cargo capacity even with the rear seats folded

Key Competitors

  • Fiat 500e
  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Ford Focus Electric
  • Chevrolet Spark EV
  • BMW i3


3 star


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