2011 Nissan Leaf

  • 2011 Nissan Leaf SL Hatchback

    SL Hatchback

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  • 2011 Nissan Leaf SV Hatchback

    SV Hatchback

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2011 Nissan Leaf Review

A useful vehicle with an affordable price.

Reviewed by Automotive on


Fortunately for American consumers who enjoy the idea of the electric car, the 2011 Nissan Leaf is the first truly affordable fully electric vehicle. There is no lease option like other electric cars in the past, so it can be outright purchased and driven as long as desired. The Leaf uses a battery pack of lithium-ion to store its power.

The lithium-ion batteries provide better acceleration, along with range as compared to similarly-sized ones using nickel-metal hydride. The amount of time that Nissan suggests for recharging at home is about four to eight hours, and it will require a 220-volt charger. When the 2011 Leaf is fully charged, it should have about 100 miles of effective range. Some drivers may think that isn’t enough cruising range. Since this automobile has no standby gasoline engine, it may leave the consumer stranded until finding an electricity source before the batteries go dead.

Nissan made an incredibly useful vehicle with the Leaf. It has an affordable price tag, coupled with the low cost of recharging that's only a portion of a tank’s worth of gasoline. It isn't the perfect car for everyone, but for short trips or daily commutes within a few miles, it is an excellent choice.

The Range

Body styles: all-electric hatchback
Engines: electric engine
Transmissions: one-speed direct drive transmission
Models: Nissan Leaf SV, Nissan Leaf SL

What's New

The 2011 Nissan Leaf will be the first of its kind as it is an all-new 2011 model.


Being one of the first all-electric hatchbacks produced, the 2011 Nissan Leaf has four doors and a very unique body style. The colors available for the 2011 models are Blue Ocean, Cayenne Red, Brilliant Silver, Super Black, and Glacier Pearl. Standard equipment that comes with the Nissan Leaf SV model includes LED headlamps, keyless entry and keyless ignition, and 16-inch wheels of alloy.

The Leaf SL model adds automatic headlamps, a cargo cover, rearview camera, foglamps, and a solar panel mounted on the spoiler. All models come standard with the remote access system called the Nissan Connection. This innovative system allows cell phone activation of climate control and battery recharging data reporting. Optionally and recommended is the quick-charge port and home charging station to charge the battery pack.


The cabin of the Nissan Leaf is roomy and comfortable since the battery pack is kept beneath the seats and under the floor. No need to worry about the long-haul comfort because of the limited range, but the seating and legroom is very spacious and supportive. The cargo area suffers a bit for a hatchback that doesn’t flatten even with the rear seats folded. Light grey cloth is standard interior with several other features.

The SV model comes with full power accessories, automatic climate control, steering wheel with tilt, cruise control, driver seat height adjustability, folding rear seats of a 60/40 split, and rearview mirror with auto-dimming. Additional features that are included are Bluetooth, navigation system, satellite radio, USB/iPod audio interface, advanced trip computer, auxiliary audio jack, and six-speaker CD player sound system. Optional interior items are the cargo net and cargo cover for keeping storage organized.

Performance & Handling

Power for the 2011 Nissan Leaf comes from the electric synchronous motor of 80-kilowatts that is fed by lithium-ion battery packs of 24 kWh. Producing about 107 horsepower with 207 lb-ft of torque sounds decent, though the difference in electric vehicles and gasoline-powered vehicles must be considered when it comes to power delivery. The estimated range of available driving time will depend on traffic conditions, battery age, driving style, and cruising speed.

The 2011 Nissan Leaf is typical of other hybrids when it comes to the silence of the vehicle operation in electric-only mode. The serenity continues as the car is driven and only seems to make sounds when operating under heavy throttle. The Leaf can get up to speed easily, which is a benefit of the torque abundance. The brakes are firm and unlike the regenerative braking systems that can sometimes feel unsure.


The 2011 Nissan Leaf has incorporated safety features to be standard on all vehicles. The Leaf comes with stability control, front side airbags, traction control, side curtain airbags, and anti-lock disc brakes. Also standard are child safety locks on the rear doors, child seat anchors, and emergency braking assist. On the SL model, the rearview camera is optional.

EPA Fuel Economy

Nissan Leaf (equivalent rating of energy efficiency): 106/92 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • No more buying fuel at gas stations
  • Quiet, spacious cabin
  • Intelligent navigation system
  • Quick acceleration

You Won't Like

  • Limited recharging spots
  • Home charger purchase is a necessity
  • Limited cruising range

    Sum Up

    A useful vehicle with an affordable price.

    If You Like This Vehicle

    • Chevrolet Volt
    • Volkswagen Golf
    • Toyota Prius
    • Ford Fusion Hybrid
    • Mitsubishi i-MiEV

      See the New 2016 Leaf.

      Front & Driver Side View