Car Wars: Nissan Leaf vs. Toyota Corolla

After looking at the myths on electric cars, we thought we would take some real-life examples and put them against each other. The Nissan Leaf is one of two fully electric cars being sold in the country, the other being the BMW I3. We put it against the Toyota Corolla, which is one of the top three most popular cars currently sold in South Africa. March 2017 alone saw 1511 units sold.  

The Leaf’s sales differ greatly however from the popular Corolla/Corolla models. In the two years from its launch, the car managed to sell only 80 units in SA. Since, it has battled to reach the 50 per year mark.


  Engine Peak Power


Torque NM Transmission 0-100kms/hrseconds Fuel Economy


Carbon Emission


Top Speed
Nissan Leaf QU-Kai 80kW/254Nm Common motor 80/3008-10000 254/0-3008 Single Speed Gear Reduction 11.5 0 0 145
Toyota Corolla 1.6 Prestige 1.6 Auto 90@6000 154@5200 6- Speed Manuel 11.1 6.3 150 180



Nissan Leaf

The Leaf has a unique body type and is almost comparable to the old body shape of the Nissan Micra.

Exterior features include:

  • Headlamp: LED with auto levelling and LED taillights
  • Follow-me-home and welcome lighting
  • Signature daytime running lights

Toyota Corolla

The Corolla has seemed to undergo a major facelift for 2017. Not primarily known as the best looking car on the market, the car now features sleeker lines and sharper headlights.

Exterior features include:

  • Alloy Wheels
  • LED Daytime Running Lights


Nissan Leaf

The interior has leather seats and plastic finishes.

  • Audio: CD in-dash front loader with AM / FM radio, MP3 / CD compatibility with Bluetooth audio streaming
  • iPod / Aux / USB and Bluetooth
  • 7″ WVGA colour and touch screen
  • Reverse and kerb cameras with predictive path technology
  • Steering wheel controls: Audio, Onboard Computer, Cruise Control, Handsfree Bluetooth
  • Heated seats: Front and rear

Toyota Corolla

With leather seats and a spacious cabin, this is a comfortable family car.

  • Audio with Aux, Bluetooth and USB capabilities
  • Infotainment system and on board computer
  • Multifunction steering wheel


Nissan Leaf

  • Vehicle Dynamic Control
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Electronic Brake-force Distribution
  • ABS with Brake Assist
  • Vehicle Sound for Pedestrian
  • Cruise control   
  • Intelligent keyless entry system   
  • Keyless engine start

Toyota Corolla

  • Touch screen audio system/DVD player
  • Reverse-view monitor
  • Cruise control
  • Leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel
  • 16-inch alloy wheels

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 Nissan Leaf R474 900
Toyota Corolla R299 900  


The price tag for the car seems much higher than the average fuel car. However, the manufacturers state that, over a six year period, you will be reaping the benefits. The manufacturer claims that, over six years, you will only be spending a total of R497 900 on the car. This is including day-to-day running costs. If you break it down, the numbers do seem to add up.

Fuel Costs Drop Out

Due to the fully electric nature of the car, you won’t need to ever fill up. The manufacturer states that this will save you around R18 000 a year. Over a period of six years, this is R108 000.

Electricity will, however, become a factor here. Due to the car needing to be charged every 200 or so kilometres, you will need to charge the car for about eight hours every three days. The total cost of electricity over six years is estimated at around R22 000.


Due to the fact that there is only one moving part in the electric car, service costs will drop entirely. It is estimated that you will only be forking out R1 500 to R2 000 for services and maintenance over the six years.

An average fuel car will need to be taken in for at least two major services, and two to three services over six years. This could come to anything between R9500 to R15 500.

Looking at the Corolla in comparison, with fuel, maintenance, and the basic price included, you are looking at a total of R423 400.


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