The Leaf is simpler in purpose than the 2011 Chevrolet Volt—and more than $10k cheaper.
As an all-electric vehicle, the Leaf has no fuel tank, no tailpipe, and no conventional gasoline engine, so it's a greener solution if your daily driving is in the 40-90-mile range.
The Tesla Roadster is also an all-electric vehicle, but this little two-seater is a cartoonish exaggeration of what an EV can be—an EV exotic of sorts—capable of zero to 60 in less than four seconds.
No question, the top rival for the 2011 Nissan Leaf is the 2011 Toyota Prius, though.
Nissan is setting its sights on the exact same people who have bought more than one million of the iconic Toyota hybrids.
Just as Toyota has plans to build the Prius in the U.S., Nissan plans to build all U.S.
Leafs—as well as the battery packs—here in the U.S.
(although the first ones will come from Japan).
The 2011 Nissan Leaf, by the way, is already sold out for the entire first year of production, so if you want a new car this year you just might have to go for one of those other options.
Other than the Prius, there's the Honda Insight; while the Insight is priced even lower, it's a mild hybrid and doesn't return fuel-efficiency numbers that are quite as high as those of the Prius.
The Lexus CT 200h is another new alternative; it's a stylish five-door hatchback that borrows elements from both the Prius and the HS 250h sedan, has a slightly sportier feel, and gets more than 40 mpg combined.
Also, beginning in 2012, there will be a number of other all-electric models introduced.
|2011 Nissan Leaf||2011 Toyota Prius||2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5|
|$32,780Browse Used Listings||$22,120Browse Used Listings||$109,000Browse Used Listings|
|51 MPG City / 48 MPG Hwy|
|Electric||Gas/Electric I4||Electric Pwr|
|Midsize||Mid-size||Two-Seater Passenger Car|
|4-Door HB SV||5-Door HB I (SE)||2-Door Convertible|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive|
|4 Door Hatchback||5 Door Liftback||2 Door Convertible|