Predicted 5-Year Cost to Own: $37,680
Compared to Segment Average: -$5,906
The 2021 Nissan Leaf vies for popularity in a growing pool of ever-more-excellent electric cars with increasing ranges and affordable prices. That makes the Leaf’s fourth win of our 5-Year Cost to Own Award for Best Electric Vehicle all the more impressive. There’s an appeal to the Leaf’s outer shape, and a double appeal and functionality to the interior as a place to spend your time in.
Starting at $31,670 plus destination charges, a pretty good price for an electric vehicle (EV), the 2021 Leaf S will take about eight hours to charge on a Level 2 (240-volt) charger and will deliver a range of up to 149 miles. Plenty of the latest EVs offer much better range than that, which is why the more powerful Leaf Plus was created. That model starts at $38,270, with up to a 226-mile range and 11.5 hours for a Level 2 charge. The Leaf is also eligible for federal tax credits, as well as state and local credits where applicable.
Driving the Leaf
Like all EVs, the Leaf delivers full power right off the line, and while the Leaf won’t be mistaken for a rocket, the Leaf Plus actually turns in impressive acceleration. For stopping, the Leaf’s e-Pedal feature lets you just take your foot off the accelerator pedal for efficient, regenerative battery-charging all the way to a complete stop.
Our Expert Review sums up the advantages of Leaf ownership quite clearly as well as making the case for its low 5-year cost to own: “Before the Tesla Model 3 arrived, the Leaf was the world’s best-selling electric vehicle. So with the weight of a well-established company like Nissan behind it, along with a comprehensive dealer network, the Leaf could be a good choice for buyers taking tentative steps to perhaps their first EV. The Leaf is also reliable, and maintenance costs are low because there aren’t many components that need replacing regularly.”
The basic Nissan Leaf S comes with a serviceable set of standard features including keyless entry, an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility (not a given, even today), and $250 of charge credit in certain areas.
Offering peace of mind as well as legit security, Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 comes standard on every Leaf. This impressive safety bundle includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring (hugely popular, but still too rare as a standard feature in new cars), and forward-collision warning.