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Dave's Garage: 2021 Nissan Leaf

Eric Peters on

How much are you willing to spend on a car to spend nothing on gas?

This question arises -- or ought to arise -- whenever electric cars are discussed. Especially an electric car such as the Nissan Leaf, which, unlike a Tesla 3 or Model Y, isn't ludicrously fast or particularly sexy.

What it has going for it, chiefly, is that it's a lot less expensive than a Tesla Model Y -- and a lot more practical than a Tesla Model 3, which is an electric sedan with a small trunk rather than the hatchbacked Leaf's much larger cargo area.

What It Is

The Leaf is Nissan's entry into the electric car arena.

It's available in standard range (150 miles) and extended range (225 miles) versions, with prices beginning at $31,600 for the base S trim with the less powerful 150-mile range battery and topping out at $43,900 for the SL Plus trim with the 226-mile higher-performance battery.


You can also buy the less expensive S trim with the higher-performance battery (S Plus) for $38,200.

The Leaf's most direct rival is the Chevy Bolt, which, though more expensive ($36,200 to start), is also a hatchback with cargo space rather than a trunk, which emphasizes practicality over sex appeal and speed.

Another possible cross-shop is the Kia Niro EV, which is also a practically laid-out hatchback that's about the same size as the Leaf. But its base price of just under $40,000 is much higher than the Leaf's.

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