2012 Nissan Leaf vs. Its Competition

2012 Nissan Leaf, Electric Avenue, 2010 Detroit Auto Show
John Voelcker John Voelcker Senior Editor

The 2012 Nissan Leaf now faces a pair of competing battery-electric vehicles, the Ford Focus Electric and the Mitsubishi i, with more on the way in future years.

The Focus Electric hatchback is likely to be sold in much smaller numbers than the Leaf, leading some to question Ford's commitment, and the Mitsubishi 'i' four-seat minicar is significantly smaller inside.

As for the Chevy Volt, its range-extending engine removes concerns over range anxiety but adds complexity, not to mention price--it's almost $5K more expensive than the Leaf.

The largest volume competitor to the Leaf may be the plug-in version of the iconic Toyota Prius hybrid that will go on sale early in 2012.

It offers an electric range of just 9 to 13 miles, after which it becomes a standard hybrid, but it may be the "safest" way to start plugging in for part of your driving, and it has the Prius name as a guarantee of security.

Among conventional hybrids, not only the standard Prius but also the Lexus CT 200h compact hybrid hatchback are roughly comparable to the Leaf range in size and price.

2012 Nissan Leaf, Electric Avenue, 2010 Detroit Auto Show2012 Nissan LeafBrowse Used Listings2012 Chevrolet Volt 5dr HB Angular Front Exterior View2012 Chevrolet VoltBrowse Used Listings2012 Lexus CT 200h2012 Lexus CT 200hBrowse Used Listings2012 Mitsubishi i2012 Mitsubishi iBrowse Used ListingsThe 2012 Toyota Prius. Image: Toyota2012 Toyota PriusBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
The 2012 Nissan Leaf is, quite simply, the first battery electric vehicle built in volume by any major carmaker; if you can get comfortable with its range of 70 to 100 miles, it's the greenest car you can buy.
The 2012 Chevrolet Volt is the plug-in electric car you drive as far as you want--if you can find one to buy.
The 2012 Lexus CT 200h is a surprisingly stylish, fun, and unexpected car, blending Lexus levels of refinement with superb hybrid gas mileage. It's the sole compact luxury hybrid hatch, but it offers good value and a new way of driving green.
Want a practical electric car for commuting, or as a second car? The 2012 Mitsubishi i is the simply the most affordable and efficient pick.
The 2012 Toyota Prius remains the highest-mileage car offered in the U.S., and it's a practical and capacious mid-size hatchback with room for five
MSRP From    
Gas Mileage    
35 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy43 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy51 MPG City / 48 MPG Hwy
ElectricElectric/Gas I4Gas/Electric I4N/AGas/Electric I4
EPA Class    
MidsizeCompact CarsCompactN/AMidsize Cars
Style Name    
4-Door HB SV5-Door HBFWD 4-Door HybridN/A5-Door HB One (SE)
Front Wheel DriveFront wheel driveFront Wheel DriveN/AFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
Passenger Doors    
Body Style    
4 Door HatchbackHatchback4 Door HatchbackN/AHatchback
AutomaticAutomaticContinuously Variable RatioN/AContinuously Variable Ratio
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Nissan Leaf vs. 2012 Chevrolet Volt2012 Nissan Leaf vs. 2012 Lexus CT 200h2012 Nissan Leaf vs. 2012 Mitsubishi i2012 Nissan Leaf vs. 2012 Toyota Prius