Nissan Leaf Mk1 (2011-2018) used car buying guide

Nissan Leaf Mk1 overview

Range overview: electric; single-speed automatic; front-wheel drive; five-door hatchback
Reliability: above average for class
Cost to repair: more expensive than average
Most common: Nissan Leaf 24kWh
Best for economy and long-distance driving: Nissan Leaf 30kWh
Best for urban driving: Nissan Leaf 24kWh

Nissan was by no means the first to produce an electric vehicle (EV) for mass-market consumption, but with the launch of the original Leaf in 2011, it could be argued that the Japanese democratised EVs - as the Leaf was an affordable hatchback available to the majority of the public, rather than a hyper-expensive performance vehicle reserved for a well-heeled few.

Understanding the Leaf Mk1 is very simple, as it has been a front-wheel-drive, automatic, electric, five-door hatchback for the duration of its lifecycle. The only detail that has changed over the years has been the energy capacity of the battery pack - and hence the range between charges.

On driving the Leaf Mk1 in full production format for the first time, said: "We didn't go to what amounts to our third or fourth experience of the Nissan Leaf expecting a surprise, but the finished product is just that. Obviously its range limitations will not suit all drivers, but stats suggest that it would cover average needs. Our main criticisms of the car (namely its exterior styling and overly light steering) could just have easily been applied to a regular vehicle. Has the day of the electric car arrived? We think so."

Next section: Engine and range options for the Nissan Leaf Mk1

Engine and range options for the Nissan Leaf Mk1
How reliable is the Nissan Leaf Mk1?
When should I service my Nissan Leaf Mk1?
Can I fit child seats and a buggy in the Nissan Leaf Mk1?
Alternatives to the Nissan Leaf Mk1