A Used Nissan Leaf Shockingly Costs Almost Nothing to Maintain, Consumer Reports Reveals

by Gabrielle DeSantis

One of the most important factors of vehicle ownership is the cost to maintain and repair it. According to several reports, Nissan produces cars with fairly decent ownership costs. And one model — the Nissan Leaf electric car — is shockingly cheap to keep on the road, Consumer Reports reveals.

The 2011 Nissan Leaf: Least expensive to maintain and repair

Consumer Reports recently asked owners how much they spent on maintenance and repairs to keep their cars on the road. Based on CR’s research of 2011 models, the Nissan Leaf “cost owners almost nothing to keep running.” It also “earned top reliability scores.”

But CR added that the first-generation Nissan Leaf “didn’t get pulses racing with driving excitement.” So other cars offer a better mix of lower cost of ownership, high reliability, and “smile-inducing owner satisfaction.”

The CR report also stated, “In addition to new-car warranties, some automakers offer free maintenance for the first few years of ownership, but costs can sometimes skyrocket if problems appear once that coverage ends. That’s why some brands, such as BMW, are among those with the lowest maintenance and repair costs at the five-year mark and the highest costs for 10-year-old cars.”

However, the Leaf costs virtually zero dollars to maintain and repair.

But the 2011 Nissan Leaf isn’t for drivers with range anxiety

RELATED: The 2021 Nissan Leaf Is a Low-Budget, High-Safety Option

The 2011 Nissan Leaf EV is distinguished among other EVs as the first affordable all-electric vehicle obtainable to the average car buyer. Besides boasting a relatively low running cost, the 2011 Leaf offers a comfortable ride and is easy to enter and exit despite its small size.

However, the primary drawbacks that turned some buyers off are its limited range per charge (75 miles) and 12-hour low-voltage recharge time. Though this didn’t make it a great car for highway trips, the 2011 Nissan Leaf makes a perfect urban runabout and daily driver.

According to Car and Driver, some test drivers refused to or couldn’t participate in the automotive review site’s long-term 2011 Nissan Leaf road test. “You think a lot more about your energy consumption when the range limitations are this great and there’s no quick refill option,” the reviewer wrote. “And if you let it, the experience can be nerve-racking,” They also pointed out it averaged only 82 MPGe “when moving,” well below the EPA’s ratings of 106 miles in the city and 92 miles on the highway.

If you’re brave enough to deal with the low MPGe and long recharge time, a 2011 Nissan Leaf could be yours for the low resale price of $3,050 to $3,325, Consumer Reports shows.

The 2021 model has turned over a new leaf

According to Nissan, the 2021 Leaf starts at $31,670. The automaker claims the new model gets an estimated 123 MPGe in the city and 99 MPGe on the highway for a combined 111 MPGe. Higher trims, such as the SV Plus (starting at $40,520) and SL Plus ($43,970), get lower MPGe of 114 in the city, 94 on the highway, and 104 combined.

Key features include a 110-kW AC synchronous electric motor, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

But higher trims include a 50-kW (SV) to 100 kW (S Plus) quick-charge port; 16- or 17-inch machine-finished aluminum-alloy wheels; a 62-kWh lithium-ion battery paired with a 160-kW AC synchronous electric motor (S Plus); a Bose energy-efficient series premium audio system with seven speakers (SL Plus); and much more.

The final purchase price of a 2021 Nissan Leaf SL Plus could end up being only $36,420 after potential federal tax credits. If you’re looking for a sub-$30,000 model, the S trim costs $24,120 after federal tax credits. That’s a $7,550 savings.

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