Best Bet
  • (4.3) 36 reviews
  • MSRP: $6,662–$10,642
  • Body Style: Hatchback
  • Combined MPG: 100
  • Engine: 107-hp, (electric)
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission: 1-speed automatic
2012 Nissan Leaf

Our Take on the Latest Model 2012 Nissan Leaf

What We Don't Like

  • 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

  • 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 Reviews

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

Consumer Reviews

4.3

Average based on 36 reviews

Write a Review

better than lexus

by jerry from on October 21, 2017

great ride,110 mile charge at 80 fht service great,new battery at 45000 miles no cost to me.cost used is unbelieveable.

Read All Consumer Reviews

2 Trims Available

Photo of undefined
Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2012 Nissan Leaf trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Nissan Leaf Articles

2012 Nissan Leaf Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Nissan Leaf SL

Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G
Roof Strength
G
Side
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on Nissan Leaf SL

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

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

Moderate overlap front

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

Other

Roof Strength
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
G
Driver Head and Neck
G
Driver Pelvis/Leg
G
Driver Torso
G
Overall Side
G
Rear Passenger Head Protection
G
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
G
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Nissan Leaf SL

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Nissan Leaf SL

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Front Seat
Rear Seat
Side Barrier
Side Pole
Side Pole Barrier combined (Front)
Side Pole Barrier combined (Rear)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $3,000 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

36mo/36,000mi

Powertrain

60mo/60,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

36mo/unlimited

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

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.

Powertrain

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.

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).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

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.

Other Years