2015 Nissan Leaf vs. Its Competition

2015 Nissan Leaf

If you compare the 2015 Nissan Leaf to its competitors with plugs, you'll find other cars may beat it in some specific respect--but the Leaf remains a smart, well-developed package for the first volume electric car sold by a global automaker in many decades.

Among battery-electric cars, the Ford Focus Electric is the most comparable product--it's a five-door all-electric compact hatchback too--but it sells only in tiny numbers.

The Tesla Model S sells considerably better, and its ranges (208 or 265 miles) are far higher than the Leaf's, but the price is commensurately higher as well.

Finally, the new BMW i3 is an oddly styled car one size smaller than the Leaf.

While it has the BMW badge, it's a departure for the Munich brand and potentially too small and quirky for its price.

As for vehicles that plug in but also have engines, the Chevy Volt has a range extender that makes range anxiety irrelevant: After its battery delivers 38 miles of range, it runs on gasoline like any other car--but the tradeoff is a higher price and four seats instead of five.

The Ford C-Max Energi offers a nominal electric range of 18 miles in a tall, compact hatchback bodies.

The C-Max is nicer inside than the Leaf (and the Volt), and it performs better, but it does have a gasoline engine--which many Leaf buyers are trying to eliminate.

2015 Nissan Leaf2015 Nissan Leaf
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2015 Chevrolet Volt2015 Chevrolet Volt
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2015 Ford C-Max Energi 5dr HB SEL Angular Front Exterior View2015 Ford C-Max Energi
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2014 BMW i3 (German-market version), Amsterdam, Oct 20132014 BMW i3
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2014 Ford Focus Electric 5dr HB Angular Front Exterior View2014 Ford Focus Electric
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2014 Tesla Model S2014 Tesla Model S
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Quick Specs
7.4
The 2015 Nissan Leaf is the best-selling electric car in the world, and while it's a little appliance-like, it's a real car that delivers a quiet, smooth ride for only pennies per mile.
7.6
The 2015 Chevrolet Volt remains the only range-extended electric car, and Chevy hasn't done a good job of explaining it, but if you can live with four seats, it's smooth, quiet, comfortable--and one way into the future of cars.
7.4
The 2014 BMW i3 is a truly radical attempt to reinvent the car--and the BMW--for the crowded cities of a new century.
8.6
Now in its third year, the 2014 Tesla Model S has no direct competitor. It remains the undisputed top choice in the growing world of plug-in electric cars, and there's a good case to be made that it's the most advanced car of any kind on the planet.
MSRP From     
$29,010$34,345$31,770$41,350$29,170$69,900
Gas Mileage     
35 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy40 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy
Engine     
ElectricGas/Electric I4Gas/Electric I-4ElectricElectricElectric
EPA Class     
Mid-Size CarsCompact CarsMid-Size CarsSubcompact CarsCompact CarsLarge Cars
Style Name     
4-Door HB S5-Door HBEnergi 5-Door HB SEL4-Door HB5-Door HB4-Door Sedan 60 kWh Battery
Drivetrain     
Front Wheel DriveFront wheel driveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
545455
Passenger Doors     
N/A4N/AN/AN/AN/A
Body Style     
HatchbackHatchbackHatchbackHatchbackHatchbackHatchback
Transmission     
AutomaticAutomaticCVT w/ODAutomaticAutomaticAutomatic
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2015 Nissan Leaf vs. 2015 Chevrolet Volt2015 Nissan Leaf vs. 2015 Ford C-Max Energi2015 Nissan Leaf vs. 2014 BMW i32015 Nissan Leaf vs. 2014 Ford Focus Electric2015 Nissan Leaf vs. 2014 Tesla Model S