Consumer Reports: Used Nissan Leafs Can Be A Good Value


2012 Nissan Leaf

2012 Nissan Leaf

Enlarge Photo

The Nissan Leaf went on sale in December 2010, meaning increasing numbers of the first cars delivered to customers are nearing the ends of their leases.

So the Leaf is probably about to become a more common sight on used-car lots.

Buying a used Leaf may be a good way to save money but--as anyone who's taken home a clunker knows--it's also a potential minefield of unreliable cars.

DON'T MISS: UPDATED: Should I Buy A Used Nissan Leaf (Or Another Electric Car)?

Those thinking about a pre-owned Leaf may be able to rest easy, though.

The Leaf is a good choice for a used car, says Consumer Reports, which suggests that now is a particularly good time to buy.

Nissan's electric car scored well when the magazine first tested it, impressing staffers with its quietness, smooth acceleration, and interior space.

2013 Nissan Leaf

2013 Nissan Leaf

Enlarge Photo

Its predicted-reliability rating for the Leaf is "better than average"--the second-highest ranking a car can attain.

Looking at individual model years, the 2011 Leaf gets a "much better than average rating," 2012 and 2014 models get "better than average," and 2013 models are rated just "average."

Nissan is currently offering current lessees an incentive of $5,000 to $7,000 to buy their cars when the leases end.

ALSO SEE: Four Years And 70,000 Miles Later, 2011 Nissan Leaf Going Strong

For a 2012 Leaf, that brings the buyout price down from a contractual $21,000 to as low as $14,000, Consumer Reports notes.

Yet the magazine claims that's still far above what many used Leafs are selling for.

Staffers claims to have seen "plenty" of online listings for Leafs priced around $10,000. These are mostly more recent models, with 15,000 to 35,000 miles on the odometer, they say.

2013 Nissan Leaf

2013 Nissan Leaf

Enlarge Photo

Used Leafs are reportedly selling for $8,000 to $9,000 at auction.

Yet the average transaction price of a used 2012 Leaf is around $17,000--way above a dealer's typical profit margin--indicating few customers are negotiating.

Patient buyers who are willing to wait for the right deal and negotiate aggressively may thus be able get an impressive deal.

MORE: Used Electric Cars: About To Get Big, What You Need To Know

Electric cars still being a new phenomenon to used-car dealers, you might take a used one off the hands of a dealer who doesn't know much about it.

This is a case, in fact, where the used-car buyer may well know far more about the car than the person selling it--which can lead to good deals for dealers anxious to "move the metal."

As is the case with sales of new electric cars, a few dealers may become specialists in used plug-in vehicles as well, but for now, the educated and patient buyer may have the edge.

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