Author Topic: Talk me out of buying a 2015 Leaf SV  (Read 586 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Location: Kansas City
Talk me out of buying a 2015 Leaf SV
« on: August 24, 2018, 03:27:31 PM »
Hey all,

Looking to replace my 2006 Honda Civic since the engine block cracked at 100k miles (of course the extended warranty from the recall expired last year). My wife and I both work and this is our 2nd car, so the main need is for commuting to daycare, work, and errands (30-40 miles at max, unfortunately daycare is out of the way). Our other car is a 2006 Jeep Liberty with 105k miles Ė no issues and we plan on driving it until the wheels fall off.

I found a 2015 Nissan Leaf SV Iím interested in at a decent price ($11k), low miles (18k) and all bars. No quick charge on this car. I feel like taking advantage of the depreciation of these cars could make sense financially, even after making an investment to install a charger at home. However, when I compare it to something like a 2016 Honda Fit, the true cost to own doesnít appear to be much different. Also, my main concern is that after 5 years of battery degradation during our hot summers, I will be in an electric car that may not be able to make a full commute without mandatory charging in between. This would be exaggerated further in the cold winter.
I have done plenty of research on the Leaf and have read many MMM followers and other forums swearing by the savings, however I am having a hard time reaching a definitive conclusion in favor of the Leaf.

Hereís my Leaf pros/cons list to summarize.

-   Great price for a relatively new car that gets us safely around town
-   $500/year savings on fuel compared to Honda Fit (14k miles per year)
-   Free charging at work and close to our home (at home charger would be a decision for later)

-   Battery capacity degradation due to no thermal management
-   Possible but not a given that the car may not have the range after 5 years to serve our needs on one charge (having a charger at home and work would solve but itís not a quick charge)
-       Knowingly buying a depreciating asset that will continue to depreciate rapidly with out of date technology just sounds like a bad decision...

My long-term thinking in this scenario is if we bought the Leaf, by the time the battery capacity is awful (5+ years) there will be amazing advancements in EV battery tech. I could then take advantage of another used/depreciated EV in the future that will have incredible range and battery thermal management (2019 Leaf will even have this). Iím hoping at that point we will be a one car family as our kids will be in school and I would bike to work (one of the many luxuries I overlooked before kids).

Am I thinking about this correctly? What would YOU do?


  • Stubble
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Re: Talk me out of buying a 2015 Leaf SV
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2018, 05:28:59 PM »
Sounds like your concerns are the same as mine. I would be concerned about buying a Leaf that isn't already fully depreciated, considering how fast they lose value. 11k is still well up the curve, as far as Leafs (Leaves?) go. I've seen them around here for as little as 5-6k.

I feel EVs are better suited for more moderate climates, where the summer heat won't rapidly age the battery and winter cold won't greatly reduce effective range.

Maybe that doesn't rule it out entirely, but that's a strong case against it.

What about a Volt, or one of the other PHEVs?


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Talk me out of buying a 2015 Leaf SV
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2018, 07:53:31 PM »
The PHEVs (you can get a CMax Energi for a similar price and it has air cooling for its battery) are a good option, and many BEVs that were less popular than the Leaf in the previous few years have similar used prices, dealer support, and range, but better battery cooling:
Ford Focus Electric
Chevy Spark EV
Fiat 500e (serviceable at most Fiat dealerships that also sell Chrysler Pacifica PHEVs)


  • Magnum Stache
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  • Location: Mississippi
Re: Talk me out of buying a 2015 Leaf SV
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2018, 09:24:55 PM »
There have been a couple in depth threads on this forum about the Leaf, probably worth a read:

My personal opinion is that the Leaf is so cheap that it's hard to go wrong even with its shortcomings. But definitely look at other EVs as well.