2016 Nissan Leaf vs. Its Competition

2016 Nissan Leaf

The 2016 Nissan Leaf is by far the world's most popular electric car, though in its sixth year, competitors often best it in specific areas.

Still, it remains a smart, well-developed package, and by far the most widely distributed battery-electric car in the country.

Its strongest competition among battery-electric cars may be the smaller but much higher-tech BMW i3, with its optional range-extending engine—though at 82 or 73 miles of the range, the BMWs have fallen behind the Leaf.

The Ford Focus Electric is a much closer package, but its 76-mile range and 3.3-kw charger handicap it.

Then there's the amazing Tesla Model S, with higher ranges but a price that starts at more than twice that of a base Leaf S.

This year's new Chevy Volt has a much longer electric range of 53 miles, and a quieter, more powerful engine to eliminate recharging stops and range anxiety—we think it'll be strong competition, though it costs more than all but a top-level Leaf.

Finally, Ford C-Max Energi offers a nominal electric range of 18 miles in a tall, compact hatchback body and is nicer inside than the Leaf.

It also performs better, but its cargo capacity is compromised by its battery pack under the load bay.

2016 Nissan Leaf2016 Nissan Leaf
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2016 BMW i32016 BMW i3
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2016 Chevrolet Volt2016 Chevrolet Volt
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2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid2016 Ford C-Max
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2013 Ford Focus Electric2016 Ford Focus Electric
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2016 Tesla Model S2016 Tesla Model S
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Quick Specs
7.2
The 2016 Nissan Leaf remains a somewhat appliance-like drive, but its new range rating of 107 miles raises it to the top of its class—and it's still smooth, quiet, and calming to drive.
7.6
The 2016 BMW i3 is a futuristic and different kind of car, not just a new take on what a BMW represents.
8.0
The new 2016 Chevy Volt improves on its predecessor in every way that counts, and its 53-mile range is unsurpassed among plug-in hybrids—meaning its biggest weak spot is GM’s ability to explain and market it.
7.8
The 2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi offer a sportier alternative to the Toyota Prius range that feels premium inside and more capable on the road.
6.8
The 2016 Ford Focus Electric is fun to drive, though its range is lower than the Nissan Leaf and others; its "regular car" looks may appeal to some, but it's sold only in small numbers in a handful of markets.
8.8
There's still no direct competition for the 2016 Tesla Model S, which offers elegant design, 240 miles or more of all-electric range, and jaw-dropping acceleration in the higher-end models. It's one of a kind.
MSRP From     
$29,010$42,400$33,170$24,170$29,170$68,000
Gas Mileage     
43 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy40 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy
Engine     
ElectricElectricGas/Electric I4Gas/Electric I-4ElectricElectric
EPA Class     
Mid-Size CarsSubcompact CarsCompact CarsLarge CarsCompact CarsLarge Cars
Style Name     
4-Door HB S *Ltd Avail*4-Door HB5-Door HB LT5-Door HB SE5-Door HB2016.5 4-Door Sedan RWD 60
Drivetrain     
Front Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveFront wheel driveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
545555
Passenger Doors     
N/AN/A4N/AN/AN/A
Body Style     
HatchbackHatchbackHatchbackHatchbackHatchbackHatchback 2016.5
Transmission     
AutomaticAutomaticAutomaticCVT w/ODAutomaticAutomatic
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2016 Nissan Leaf vs. 2016 BMW i32016 Nissan Leaf vs. 2016 Chevrolet Volt2016 Nissan Leaf vs. 2016 Ford C-Max2016 Nissan Leaf vs. 2016 Ford Focus Electric2016 Nissan Leaf vs. 2016 Tesla Model S