2012 Nissan Leaf

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Key Specs
Our Take
Overview
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2012 Nissan Leaf. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Drives like a &quot
  • real car&quot
  • Sprightly acceleration
  • Zero tailpipe emissions
  • Low fuel cost
  • Many tax incentives
  • Remote charge control

The Bad

  • High floor in backseat
  • Range varies with temperature, terrain
  • Charger installation can be pricey
  • Slow rollout
  • Limited public charging infrastructure
  • Resale value a mystery

Notable Features of the 2012 Nissan Leaf

  • Pure battery-electric car
  • Five-seat compact hatchback
  • 100-mile range (estimated)
  • 95 mph top speed
  • Programmable charge time
  • Buy or lease

2012 Nissan Leaf Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview

The five-seat Nissan Leaf is a purely battery-electric mass-market car. With no onboard range-extending generator like the Chevrolet Volt's, the Leaf has a range of roughly 100 miles, period. A five-seat compact four-door hatchback, the Leaf is eligible for federal and state incentives.

Standard features include a 120-volt trickle charger, a navigation system, wireless connectivity and the ability to schedule charge times via web or smartphone. The uplevel SL trim level adds features like automatic headlights, fog lights, a solar panel, backup camera and a cargo cover.

New for 2012
The 2012 Leaf adds a standard battery heater, heated side mirrors, a heated steering wheel, and heated front and rear seats. A quick-charge port is now part of the SL trim level's features list.

Exterior
Among high-efficiency four-doors with aerodynamic shapes, the Leaf manages to look distinctive, mainly due to its curvy rear end and raised headlights, which are designed to deflect oncoming air around the side mirrors to reduce drag and noise. Exterior features include:

  • Standard 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Standard rear spoiler
  • Small solar panel atop the SL's liftgate spoiler trickle-charges the regular 12-volt battery


Interior
The five-seat Leaf has a 60/40-split folding backseat that extends the cargo area forward. Though it's a hatchback, the cargo volume behind the seats is closer to that of a sedan's trunk. Interior features include:

  • Standard cloth upholstery...
Vehicle Overview

The five-seat Nissan Leaf is a purely battery-electric mass-market car. With no onboard range-extending generator like the Chevrolet Volt's, the Leaf has a range of roughly 100 miles, period. A five-seat compact four-door hatchback, the Leaf is eligible for federal and state incentives.

Standard features include a 120-volt trickle charger, a navigation system, wireless connectivity and the ability to schedule charge times via web or smartphone. The uplevel SL trim level adds features like automatic headlights, fog lights, a solar panel, backup camera and a cargo cover.

New for 2012
The 2012 Leaf adds a standard battery heater, heated side mirrors, a heated steering wheel, and heated front and rear seats. A quick-charge port is now part of the SL trim level's features list.

Exterior
Among high-efficiency four-doors with aerodynamic shapes, the Leaf manages to look distinctive, mainly due to its curvy rear end and raised headlights, which are designed to deflect oncoming air around the side mirrors to reduce drag and noise. Exterior features include:

  • Standard 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Standard rear spoiler
  • Small solar panel atop the SL's liftgate spoiler trickle-charges the regular 12-volt battery


Interior
The five-seat Leaf has a 60/40-split folding backseat that extends the cargo area forward. Though it's a hatchback, the cargo volume behind the seats is closer to that of a sedan's trunk. Interior features include:

  • Standard cloth upholstery
  • Standard navigation system, satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity 
  • Dash screen can show a graphical range indicator on the map and provide multiple energy-readout screens to help gauge energy use and remaining range
  • Available backup camera


Under the Hood
The Leaf uses a 340-volt battery pack to power an electric drive motor, which drives the front wheels with 107 horsepower and 207 pounds-feet of torque. The charging port is in the car's nose under a door. Mechanical features include:

  • Depleted battery can recharge in eight hours at 240 volts or in 20 hours at 120 volts
  • A public quick-charge station (where available) can charge a depleted battery to 80 percent in about 30 minutes, but it requires the available quick-charge port


Safety
The Leaf's high-voltage battery pack is designed to disconnect in the event of an airbag deployment or water intrusion. At the behest of rescue workers, Nissan incorporated an access panel into the floor that has a kill switch for first responders. Standard safety features include:

  • Side-impact airbags for the front seats
  • Side curtain airbags
  • Antilock brakes
  • Electronic stability system
  • Traction control

Latest 2012 Leaf Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.2)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.2)
Value For The Money
(4.0)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

First dealer car

by CharlesChess from Buckley, WA on May 20, 2018

So far really enjoying my car. It drives smoothly sounds great. Low mileage is also a plus. Everything is pretty sound. Im glad I bought it Read full review

(5.0)

Save the environment and your money

by Leafgirl from Santa Rosa Ca on April 24, 2018

This is a great to and from work car. Unfortunately the range is too short to use like a normal car for longer trips. I do love having an electric car because there’s almost no maintenance and I never ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2012 Nissan Leaf currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 Nissan Leaf SV

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / unlimited distance

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Nissan

Program Benefits

24 Hour Emergency Roadside Assistance, Towing Assistance, Trip Interruption Benefits, 3-month free subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio on properly equipped vehicles, Complimentary CARFAX® Vehicle History Report™ and 3-Year CARFAX® Buy Back Guarantee

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty from original in-service date; $50 deductible
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 80,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 167 point inspection and reconditioning.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Leaf received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker