Does the Nissan Leaf Compare at All to Any of the Tesla Vehicles?

I answer a lot of questions on Quora. Many of those questions are about automotive things that may be of interest to CarNewsCafe readers. Like this one.

Does the Nissan Leaf compare at all to any of the Tesla vehicles?

My Answer: It can be marginally compared to the base model of the Model 3, but only marginally. There are some things to remember here: the LEAF is a low-end, low-cost car and everything Tesla makes qualifies as a luxury or premium-level vehicle. So there’s no apples-to-apples comparison possible. Which is why one can purchase two LEAFs for the price of a base model 3.

So it’s a question of want rather than need. If all you NEED is an electric car that can get you around without fuss and that will do the job efficiently, then the LEAF is perfect (and costs about $100 a month). The Model 3, however, is fancier and prettier and charges faster, albeit only from a Tesla plug. It’s also way more expensive.

My experience with the two cars, however, says that while the Model 3 is far more expensive, it’s also glitchier and less usable as a daily. The LEAF is easier to get in and out of, has a better user interface for standard driving, a lower learning curve for its infotainment and controls, and a better regenerative to physical braking transition. The Model 3 is faster-paced, prettier to look at, and more dynamic, but not nearly as daily-use ergonomic or as simple to get comfortable with driving.

It’s similar to moving from a Nissan Altima to a BMW 3-Series. The Altima is great for everyday and easy to operate. The 3-Series is more dynamic and fun, but not as low key in use.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at