Why Are Nissan Leafs So Cheap? A Guide to Its Reliability

Why are Nissan Leafs so cheap?’ is something that many car owners wonder, especially since the used models are usually way cheaper than the new ones. The Leaf is designed to be a budget all-electric car, but the low price makes drivers question its reliability.

Cheap Nissan Leafs ~ Ran When Parked

The Nissan Leaf has been around since 2010, but it is known for its steep depreciation and value drop. In this guide, we take a closer look at why Leafs are so cheap and what factors affect its reliability.

Why Are Used Nissan Leafs So Cheap?

Used Nissan Leafs are cheap because of their low battery range, outdated technology, government incentives, and unattractive design. Also, the Leafs experience steep depreciation after about two years, as the second-generation model is only about five years old.

The Leaf is cheaper than the other electric vehicles on the market because of its poor reputation and depreciation, even if the cars are relatively decent. If you buy one model now, it will be way cheaper in the next two years.

Poor Battery

The expected battery life of a Nissan Leaf made before 2017 is 8 to 10 years, while the battery range is 70 to 100 miles on a full charge. But, these batteries don’t last for long, especially since the EV does not come with a battery temperature management system.

When the temperature is extreme, it affects the battery and reduces its ability to work properly. For instance, the 2012 Leaf had a battery range of 82 miles, but after five years, it dropped by 20%. To replace your Leaf battery, you will spend between $5,000 and $8,500, but this is also the cost of some used models.

Quick Depreciation

Due to the poor battery and other factors, the Leaf depreciates quickly. This is what makes the used models cheaper than the new ones. Depending on the year and the maintenance of the car, it would lose up to 70% of its value after five years.

Poor Battery of Nissan ~ Ran When Parked

The same amount needed to buy a new Leaf battery can also be used to buy a used model. This is because the battery would have been less reliable, and the maintenance of the car is costly.

Old Technology

EV technology is constantly changing, so no one wants the older versions. That’s why the used Leafs on the market today don’t have high demand, as they are fitted with outdated technology.

Based on this, the used models cannot compete with new electric vehicles in the market. This is especially true since the used models might be as old as the 2012 or 2017 models, which would be too old for buyers. Aside from this, the Leaf does not have new technology or features, and so it hasn’t changed much since its first model.

Unattractive Design

One feature that discourages buyers from getting the Leaf is its unattractive exterior design. The model has an outdated and boring design, especially with the older models. This leads to its slow sales and causes the used models to depreciate faster.

Government Incentives

In some states, the government places subsidies and incentives on purchasing a Leaf. This is meant to increase the popularity of electric cars and reduce the impact of cars on the environment.

Incentives for Nissan Cars ~ Ran When Parked

The incentives would eventually reduce the cost of the car. You can check if your state does the same.

How Much Does a New Nissan Leaf Cost?

A new Nissan Leaf costs at least $27,400, depending on the make and year of the car. The Leaf S is the cheapest model with a 40kWh battery, and it has a starting price of $27,400. With the standard battery, it costs $31,670, while Leaf SV goes for $28,800.

The Leaf PLUS models come with a 62kWh battery, and they are more expensive. They include the Leaf S Plus, Leaf SV Plus, and Leaf SL Plus, which cost $32,400, $34,960, and $37,400, respectively. The most expensive option is the Leaf SL Plus, which comes with leather-appointed seats, ProPilot Assist, an Intelligent Around View monitor, and more.

Nissan offers government incentives and federal tax credit that makes the Nissan Leaf models cost less than normal. With government incentives, drivers can buy the Leaf S for $19,900 or, with the PLUS battery, $24,900.

How Much Does a Used Nissan Leaf Cost?

A used Nissan Leaf costs between $2,049 and $30,000, depending on the year of the car and if it was taken care of. The older Leafs would probably cost between $2,000 and $3,600, but if the previous owner has only had the car for a year, it would be costlier.

Cost of Used Nissan Leaf ~ Ran When Parked

The Leaf depreciates drastically after two years of being on the road. So, you should consider this when purchasing a used model. Another factor that affects the price is the mileage, as cars with over 30,000 miles would be way cheaper than those that have about 15,000 miles.

Does Nissan Leaf Depreciate Faster Than Other Models?

The Nissan Leaf depreciates faster than other models in its class. The Leaf records a depreciation rate of between 50% and 70% after five years, depending on the care and maintenance. This means that a 2017 model will cost close to nothing by 2022 in the used market.

Comparing the Leaf to other EVs, you would see that the depreciation rate is higher. The Cherry Bolt depreciates by 20% after five years, while the Toyota RAV4 Prime has a rate of 30%. The Tesla model is not in the same class but depreciates rapidly.

This is because of the limited range and lifetime of the battery packs and the uninspiring exterior design.

Is a Nissan Leaf Reliable?

A Nissan Leaf is reliable but it depends on the year that you buy. If it is a used Nissan Leaf, you need to consider if the previous owner maintained it properly. The models are reliable electric cars with affordable costs, so they would work well most of the time.

Some years of the Leaf model are more reliable than others, so it also depends on the one you purchase. The 2019 model is known to be the most reliable. Other options include the 2017, 2022 and 2023 models. One model you should avoid is the 2018, which has poor reliability. If you want to buy a used model, you should consider the 2019 Leaf.

Reliable Nissan Leaf ~ Ran When Parked

When considering the reliability of the Leaf, you need to look at the batteries. The car comes with three battery options, which are 24, 40, and 62 kWh. It takes about 30 hours to properly charge the 62 kWh battery, while the 24 and 40 kWh take 12 and 19 hours, respectively.

The batteries have a poor lifespan and range, and you might have to replace the battery after a couple of years. But it costs about $8,500 to replace the battery. In terms of the charging costs, one kWh costs between $0.10 and $0.20. If you’re using the intermediary battery, which is 40 kWh, you would spend between $4 and $8 for a full charge and 150 miles of range.

Does The Nissan Leaf Have High Maintenance Costs?

The Nissan Leaf has a low maintenance cost, and the only thing you would be spending a lot of money on is the replacement of the battery every five to eight years. Without battery issues and replacement, it costs between $750 and $1000 to maintain the EV annually.

The maintenance costs depend on the year, as some require more repairs than others. For instance, the 2018 Leaf had issues with the AC compressor, causing many buyers to replace them. It costs about $1,500 to carry out this replacement.

High Maintenance Costs ~ Ran When Parked

The average annual maintenance for the 2016 Leaf was about $1000, but for the 2019 model, it was only $750. The common repair for the 2019 model was the air conditioning refrigerant line, which cost about $950.

Other maintenance that you need to do for the Leaf is the tire rotation, tire set replacement, replacement of the brake pads, caliper, rotors, or master cylinder, a pair of shocks, and strut bearing. The maintenance costs are reasonable and similar to the cost of maintaining a standard hatchback.

Should You Buy a New or Used Nissan Leaf?

You should buy a new Nissan Leaf if you can afford the price, as all the components would be new, and you can depend on the car. There isn’t anything wrong with the Nissan Leaf EV aside from its poor battery.

As long as it is well maintained, there is little risk involved in buying a new Leaf. If you are on a very tight budget or you only want an EV for commuting and light driving, you can consider driving a used Leaf. There is also a low risk involved in buying a used model, as long as the previous owner kept it properly maintained.

Buying a New Nissan Car ~ Ran When Parked

If you want to buy a used Leaf, you should ensure you’re investing in the right year. Avoid buying 2011 and 2012 models, as they come with a slow charger and don’t have a heat pump. Also, their batteries would depreciate faster. But, the reliable options for used cars are the 2017 and 2019 Leafs.

Also, when buying a used Leaf, you should consider the upper trim models because they would come with better features like an L3 CHAdeMO charging port and a heat pump.


With our complete guide on ‘Why are Nissan Leafs so cheap?’ you now know what to expect from this EV and how to purchase a used model.

Here’s a summary of what we looked at:

  • Nissan Leaf is so cheap because of the depreciation rate, battery degradation, unattractive exterior design, outdated technology, and government incentives.
  • A new Nissan Leaf costs at least $27,400, although government incentives can make it cheaper.
  • A used Nissan Leaf costs between $2,049 and $30,000.
  • The Leaf EV models depreciate faster than others in their class, with 50% to 70% lost in the first five years.
  • The Leaf is reliable, but you need to consider the model year.

If you’re considering buying a used Leaf, expect it to have a really low price and ensure you are purchasing it from a reliable source.


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