The 2019 Nissan Leaf is one of the best used electric vehicles you can buy
Not so long ago, there wasn’t much of a market for electric vehicles, let alone used ones. Yet today you can offset or eliminate the higher upfront costs typically charged by electric vehicles by purchasing a used vehicle. The used electric vehicle market is already well established, so much so that you can now find used electric vehicle recommendations in many major automotive publications. So if you’re looking for an electric hatchback, Consumer Reports thinks the 2019 Nissan Leaf is one of the best-used electric vehicles.
Rating of the best 3-year-old electric vehicles
If you’re looking for relatively new vehicles, Consumer Reports has you covered. His recently published article, “Used Cars: Best 3-Year-Old Electric Vehicles,” gives a great overview of recent models you might be able to find on the market. If you’re familiar with Consumer Reports, the site uses a very complex rating system to sift through survey data, scrutinize each vehicle, and evaluate other data available from third parties to develop scores and recommendations.
The impetus for this article was the passage of the Cut Inflation Act of 2022 by the Biden-Harris administration. This bill includes a provision for a tax credit of $5,000 for the purchase of a used electric vehicle. So, with the rebate you usually get when buying a used vehicle, plus this new $4,000 tax credit, you may never find a better time to buy an EV. occasion than now.
Consumer Reports scoured its existing reviews and data to develop a list of the most reliable electric vehicles from 2019. It also narrowed its choices to electric vehicles with its exclusive Green Choice designation – a distinction given to zero-emission vehicles. From these criteria, CR chose three electric vehicles to consider. One of them is the oft-overshadowed Nissan Leaf.
Why the Nissan Leaf is one of the best used electric vehicles you can buy
While the Nissan Leaf isn’t as flashy or buzzworthy as Tesla, it has secured its place in the annals of EV history. It’s been around for a while and has consistently enjoyed respectable reliability scores and reviews from Consumer Reports and others. The Leaf is in its second generation and sports notable and commendable upgrades that make the 2019 model worth serious consideration.
Available between $23,575 and $30,625, the Leaf is certainly affordable. It also has a larger battery than the first-gen model, giving it a range of 215 miles (compared to 150 miles for the first-gen model). It won’t win any awards for handling or maneuvering, but those aren’t deficits either. The Leaf takes 8 hours to fully charge (or 10.5 hours for the Leaf Plus). However, it does come with a home charging kit, making it easier to ensure you have a full battery.
Consumer Reports reviewers are a bit critical of the Leaf for rear pillars that hamper rear visibility, an awkward driving position and unintuitive controls on the dash. Still, praise was reserved for seat comfort and access, the optional ProPilot Assist system (which offers some automated driving features), and low noise levels in the cabin. If you can find one, go for a Leaf Plus, which comes with an 8-inch touchscreen (rather than the 5-inch on the base model or the 7-inch on the SV and SL trims.). The SV, SL and Plus trims also have built-in navigation, satellite radio and traffic service.
What other used electric vehicles does Consumer Reports recommend?
Unsurprisingly, a Tesla also made Consumer Reports’ list. Specifically, the Tesla Model 3 is recommended, although given its popularity, it can be difficult to find one. You’ll also pay more for a Model 3 than a Nissan Leaf; Consumer Reports estimates that just one will set you back between $42,725 and $59,025. Still, if you can find one, you’ll get an impressive range – between 240 and 310 miles depending on the version. You’ll also get a quiet cabin, solid performance and handling, partially automated driving, on-board navigation and a 15-inch touchscreen.
The inconvenients ? Reviewers noted that almost all controls are handled via the touchscreen, which can be inconvenient. There are also Tesla’s well-known issues with its build quality, so you’ll want to inspect any used Tesla you might see before buying carefully. Plus, there are also Tesla’s quirks, such as its unconventional door handles and steering yoke, that take some getting used to. So, before buying one, it is also best to familiarize yourself with Teslas and how they differ from most other vehicles.
If neither a Model 3 nor a Leaf suits your tastes, Consumer Reports recommends the Kia Niro Electric (or Kia Niro EV). You’ll find that this sedan handles well and comes with a generous slew of amenities in all trims. It can take 239 miles on a single charge and get you to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. The interior earned praise for its premium look, as did the number of standard advanced security systems. Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Warning are found on all trims and helped hybrid versions of the Niro win the Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The tax credit sweetens the pot, but the used electric vehicle options available should be enticing enough for anyone to consider grabbing one. If you’re looking to upgrade from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle, looking for a newer vehicle, or buying a spare car, try trying out a 2019 Model 3, of an electric Niro or a Nissan Leaf when making your decision.
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