• Nissan LEAF now rated at 115 miles per gallon equivalent combined
  • Revisions include better wind resistance, lower weight
  • 2013 LEAF is on sale now from under $30,000

The 2013 Nissan LEAF is getting a fuel economy boost. Several minor updates to Nissan's all-electric hatchback have increased mileage numbers from last year's 99 mpg-e to a whopping 115 mpg-e.

According to Nissan, the changes that brought about the fuel economy jump came when it moved LEAF production to the U.S. One such change was a revised front end, which improved the car's wind resistance. And an updated charging unit helped the LEAF shed more than 100 pounds.

With the changes, the 2013 LEAF gets 129 mpg-e city/102 mpg-e hwy. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) mpg-e rating stands for "miles per gallon equivalent." It estimates the energy consumption of electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Last year, the LEAF returned 106 mpg-e city/92 mpg-e hwy.

Interestingly, Nissan says the LEAF can outperform its EPA rating. The reason is that EPA ratings included the hatchback's Long Life battery mode, which only allows for 80 percent charging. Drivers who use the standard mode should exceed the EPA's figures for both city and highway driving.

In addition to the revised fuel economy numbers, the LEAF also boasts an increased range figure for 2013. EPA says the latest LEAF can now reach 75 miles on a single charge, marking a slight increase from last year's 72 miles.

With its fuel economy rating of 129 mpg-e in the city, the LEAF is among the most efficient cars on the market. Other top-rated vehicles include the Honda Fit EV, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the new FIAT 500e. Each of those models is rated above 120 mpg-e in city driving.

The 2013 Nissan LEAF is out now. The new model year added an all-new base model, the LEAF S, which starts under $30,000 with shipping. Last year's LEAF SV and SL models are also still available for shoppers who want more luxury with their LEAF.

What it means to you: Nissan's fully electric LEAF hatchback is among the most fuel-efficient cars on the market.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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