The 2023 Nissan Leaf SV Plus ranked 9th in the Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient Vehicles in the 2023 edition of the AAA Car Guide.
PRICE AS TESTED
In a number of ways, the EV world has passed the Nissan Leaf by. One of the original EVs—its first generation debuted in 2011—the Leaf retains some of its virtues, but other qualities keep it from being a serious competitor.
The Leaf has a smooth, quiet drivetrain with decent acceleration and easy drivability and maneuverability. The drivetrain is efficient (109 MPGe combined), and all Leafs come with a complete set of ADAS features, including several sophisticated features such as blind-spot intervention. It also has standard one-pedal driving.
But that’s about where the good news ends. Yes, you can buy a Leaf with a base price under $30,000 before tax credits. But that Leaf has a 147-hp engine and a range of just 149 miles. The Leaf SV Plus, with its 214-hp motor and 212-mile range—still low by 2023 standards—starts around $36,000. Even worse news is the Leaf’s driving experience. The ride quality is poor, the rear seats are uncomfortable, the steering is too loose and light, the brake pedal feels spongy, and torque steer is evident. On top of that, the interior fit and finish feels cheap, and the infotainment system is outdated. Finally, the Leaf also uses a less available CHAdeMO charging protocol, and the large rear roof pillars create a blind spot that hampers rear visibility.
AAA’s Recommendation: Whether you own an electric vehicle or a gas-powered car is up to you – and you should consider lots of factors in making that choice. No matter what type of vehicle you’re choosing, we recommend visiting a dealership, test driving one, and asking as many questions as possible to make an informed decision.