2012 Nissan Leaf

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$35,200

starting MSRP

2012 Nissan Leaf
2012 Nissan Leaf

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

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

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • SV

    $35,200

  • SL

    $37,250

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2012 Nissan Leaf trim comparison will help you decide.

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 review: Our expert's take

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

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.6
  • Interior design 4.5
  • Performance 4.2
  • Value for the money 4.0
  • Exterior styling 4.3
  • Reliability 4.2

Most recent consumer reviews

4.7

Battery Degrading

It's a great car. The only problem is that the battery is dying. The range for driving the used Leaf was 50 miles. Now, it's between 26 to 32 miles. But, it's such a great car, I'll drive it until the battery dies. I've saved thousands of dollars by not buying gasoline,. Unfortunately, a new battery costs $5,000 and a used one costs $3,000. And I can't afford that. And Nissan doesn't care. But I love this little car. I've had no mechanical problems at all. But, I wouldn't recommend an electric car if you drive all over the state. A hybrid would be better if you travel a lot. But new electric cars can go further now. But they cost a fortune. My used car cost $6900. And it's paid off after two years. And I'm happy with it even if the battery is dying.

2.7

Horrible experience with no response from Anthony

We purchased a 2012 Nissan Leaf, was unable to drive from FtWorth to Arlington without having to charge it twice and then have it towed home, we paid $6700 cash. Called immediately was asked to take it to A certified Nissan dealer see what was wrong with it. We paid $100 for a diagnostic only to find out that the battery was completely bad and would cost $6000 to replace including parts and labor, was told to check with a third-party website to see what they would offer us and if it was not close enough they would work with us on getting another vehicle. The website they asked us to check was offering $3500. We have tried to reach out multiple times to get this situated, we have sent text and left vm with no response. The car has not been driven since we got it about 3 months ago as we can only go maybe 15 miles before it dies. We really had high hopes after speaking with the owner that this could be rectified, We offered to get a cheaper vehicle from the lot and not receive any money Back, was told That they would not do it that way as they did not want to keep additional money if a cheaper car was taken. We just want a running vehicle. Unfortunately we don’t see that, unfortunately we would not recommend this place.

5.0

2012 Nissan Leaf 8-1/2 years old

I just purchased my first EV. I already knew about battery degradation and limited range in an older Leaf. I paid $4200 for mine with 82.000 miles on it. It is really a cool little ride for around town. I am learning a lot about electric cars. My commute is 6 miles each way and I only drive to stores close by. If you are realistic about your expectations with the older models it can be a really pleasant driving experience. I strongly recommend one if you don’t have to drive far or often. So far it is much nicer than a gas powered car and I feel that I didn’t poison the air when I drove to work.

See all 57 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Nissan
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
60 months/60,000 miles
Hybrid electric
96 months/100,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6 years/less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
N/A
Powertrain
84 months/100,000 miles (includes LEAF electric vehicle system and powertrain)
Dealer certification required
167-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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