Nissan LEAF Lease: Everything You Need to Know

by Nick Versaw Updated December 16th, 2021

Nissan LEAF lease

When it’s time for a new car, and you’re considering a battery electric vehicle (BEV), a new Nissan LEAF may be one of the first models to come to mind. It was one of the first mainstream BEVs on the market and has remained a staple since 2011.

When you’re on a limited monthly budget for a car payment, the low lease payments you see on the LEAF may be tempting. Below, we’ll look into the leasing options on this plug-in hatchback, how tax credits work, what to expect while leasing, and more. 

Best Lease Deals on the Nissan LEAF

If you live in or near New York City, you can get a great lease deal on a 2022 Nissan LEAF. Thanks to a $2,600 incentive, the LEAF S’s 36-month lease deal in NYC costs just $149 per month with $4,029 due at signing at the dealership. That’s a combined effective monthly cost of just $260.92.

If you want a better-equipped LEAF model with a longer all-electric range, there’s the SL Plus, which has the same $4,029 initial payment but a $366 monthly payment. 

There are other good lease deals on the Nissan LEAF nationwide, such as the S trim level’s $269-per-month offer for 36 months with $1,949 due at signing in the Bradenton, Florida area. That combined effective monthly payment rings in at just $323.14.

Be aware, these lost-cost leases also include low mileage allowances of just 10,000 miles per year. The average American drives about 13,500 miles per year, and you will have to pay 25 cents per mile over the 10,000 per year. 

So, the total mileage allowance over the 36 months is 30,000 miles. If you drove the average 13,500 miles per year most Americans do, you’d have 40,500 miles on this electric hatchback, an excess of 10,500 miles. At 25 cents per mile, that’s a $2,625 surcharge at lease-end. 

Some manufacturers will waive these overages if you lease another new car. However, if you decide not to lease again, you will have to pay this fee when turning the LEAF in at lease-end. 

Tax Credits and Your Nissan LEAF Lease 

Qualified Electric Vehicle Credit form and a pen

Unfortunately, when you lease a battery electric vehicle (BEV), like the Nissan LEAF, you will not qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit. You may, however, still qualify for any state or local BEV tax credit, so check your local laws. 

Keep in mind that Nissan may sometimes run specials on the LEAF that reduce the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) by $7,500. This mimics the impact of the credit that LEAF buyers will receive, sweetening the pot for electric car shoppers who prefer a lease.

Maintenance on a Nissan LEAF Lease

While leasing a new Nissan LEAF, you must complete all its scheduled maintenance. Fortunately, BEVs have a fraction of the maintenance requirements of vehicles with internal combustion engines. Plus, you’ll only have it for three years. 

At the most, you should encounter only six maintenance intervals. 

7,500 Miles or Six Months

At the 7,500-mile mark or six months, whichever comes first, the only essential maintenance Nissan recommends is a tire rotation. This service should cost you no more than $20 to $25.

15,000 Miles or 12 Months

At 15,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first, the essential maintenance Nissan recommends is a tire rotation and replacing the in-cabin air filter. The tire rotation, again, should be $20 to $25. 

The cabin air filter will set you back $20 to $25 for the part if you install it yourself. If you choose to have a repair shop do the work, it’ll cost about $50. 

All in, you’re looking at a total cost of $40 to $75. 

22,500 Miles or 18 Months

At the 22,500-mile mark or 18 months, whichever comes first, you’ll need another $20 to $25 tire rotation.

30,000 Miles or 24 Months

At 30,000 miles or 24 months, you’ll run into your first relatively in-depth maintenance milestone. Your Nissan LEAF will need a tire rotation and the in-cabin air filter replaced, but it will also need the brake fluid exchanged. 

Depending on the shop performing the work, the brake fluid exchange will cost $80 to $120.

Yor total cost at this interval would be between $120 and $195.

37,500 Miles or 30 Months

At the 37,500-mile or 30-month mark, whichever comes first, you’re back to a simple $20 to $25 tire rotation.

45,000 Miles or 36 Months

The 36-month maintenance is right when you’re scheduled to turn in your lease, so you only need to perform it if you exceed 45,000 miles during the 36-month lease. 

This maintenance interval calls on you to replace the keyfob battery, change the in-cabin filter, and rotate the tires. As we know the cabin air filter will cost $20 to $25 if you do it yourself or $50 if a shop handles it, and the tire rotation will cost $20 to $25. 

The key fob takes a CR 2025 battery, which costs about $2. Installing the battery in the key fob is a simple process anyone can do at home. 

Your total cost for this interval will be $42 to $77. 

Lease Expectations

Nissan LEAF lease: person carrying a car tire

During the lease, there are certain expectations the manufacturer has of you, including: 

  • Making no removable modifications to the vehicle
  • Immediately repairing any physical or mechanical damage to the vehicle
  • Following the manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance

Failure to follow these rules could result in additional fees incurred at lease-end. 

At the end of your Nissan LEAF lease, you must pay a disposition fee of up to $395 if you turn it in at a Nissan dealer. However, if you enter a new lease with Nissan, the manufacturer may waive this fee. 

You also have the option to purchase the vehicle for its agreed-upon residual value, which you will get at the initial lease signing. However, you will incur up to a $300 purchase option fee. 

Insurance Expectations

Nissan-Infiniti LT — Nissan’s financing arm that handles leasing — requires you to maintain specific insurance coverage on all leased vehicles. The three minimum requirements include

  • Comprehensive insurance with a maximum $1,000 deductible
  • Collision insurance with a maximum $1,000 deductible
  • Property damage liability coverage of at least $50,000 per occurrence
  • Bodily injury liability coverage of at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence

To make it easy, you can shop for car insurance online with Compare.com, get multiple rates at once, and choose the best rate for you. 

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Save by Buying a Used Nissan LEAF Instead of Leasing

Vehicles in a parking lot

While a lease’s low payment seems enticing, it’s not always a great deal because you have nothing to show for it after 36 months of making payments. 

Instead, you can use Compare.com’s powerful used car tool to find a pre-owned Nissan LEAF that fits your budget. Keep in mind, you won’t get the $7,500 federal tax credit when you buy a used LEAF, as that’s only valid on new cars. However, leases aren’t eligible for the credit either. 

By buying a pre-owned LEAF, you’re not only getting a lower price, but you’re also bypassing the first-year depreciation hit new cars take. This new-car depreciation is normally about 20% of the vehicle’s MSRP and levels off in year number two, making a used LEAF a more frugal option while helping protect the environment.

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