A growing number of our clients are asking for help comparing the various electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids on the market. In this post we’ll take a look at three of the most popular all-electric vehicles around the $30,000 price point.

 Volkswagen e-Golf vs. Nissan LEAF vs FIAT 500e

We’ve configured a sample vehicle for each car and then examined some of the key differentiating factors of each. Our sample models are based on popular configurations among Cartelligent clients.

  • 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf: Our example Volkswagen e-Golf SE is configured at an MSRP of $29,815.
  • 2016 Nissan LEAF S: Our sample LEAF is the S with the Charge Package. MSRP as configured is $32,075.
  • 2016 FIAT 500e: We’ve chosen a FIAT 500e with an MSRP as configured of $33,295.
Vehicle Comparison

We’ll look at the features of each vehicle side-by-side.

VW  e-Golf Nissan LEAF FIAT 500e
Model Type 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf SE 2016 Nissan LEAF S 2016 FIAT 500e
MSRP $29,815 $32,075 $33,295
Engine and Fuel Economy
VW  e-Golf Nissan LEAF FIAT 500e
Horsepower 115 107 111
Top Speed 94 mph 90 mph 90 mph
City MPGe 126 126 121
Highway MPGe 105 101 103
  Charging and Range
VW e-Golf Nissan LEAF FIAT 500e
Range 83 miles 84 miles 84 miles
Charge time 4 hours (with 240V Charger) 5 hours (with 240V Charger) 4 hours (with Level 2 Charger)
California HOV Lane Access Yes (with sticker) Yes (with sticker) Yes (with sticker)
VW  e-Golf Nissan LEAF FIAT 500e
Seating 5 5 4
Cargo volume (behind seats) 22.8 ft3 23.6 ft3 Trunk – 7 ft
Cargo volume (rear seats folded) 52.7 ft3 30.0 ft3  26.8 ft

All three vehicles are similar in their ranges, size and fuel-economy. The biggest differentiator is in interior space with the e-Golf and LEAF offering significantly more cargo space than the 500e.

Cost to purchase: Volkswagen e-Golf vs. Nissan LEAF vs FIAT 500e

First we’ll examine the cost of each when purchased. All payments represent pricing based on market conditions at the time of writing.

VW  e-Golf Nissan LEAF FIAT 500e
MSRP $29,815 $32,075 $33,295
Down payment $2,500 $2,500 $2,500
Monthly payment (inc. tax) $520 $525 $570
Total of payments over five years $33,180 $33,475 $36,130
Federal Rebates (income tax credits) up to $7,500 up to $7,500 up to $7,500
California State Rebates (with qualifying income) up to $4,000 up to $4,000 up to $4,000

The e-Golf and the LEAF are almost identical in their cost to buy; the 500e is a little more and costs about $2,500 more over the course of the loan. Purchasers of all three vehicles can apply for Federal income tax credits of up to $7,500. California residents may also be eligible to apply for State rebates of up to $4,000 (depending on their income level). See Understanding the changes to California plug-in and electric vehicle rebates.

Cost to lease: Volkswagen e-Golf vs. Nissan LEAF vs FIAT 500e

Next we’ll compare the three vehicles on a three year, 12,000 mile/year lease.

VW  e-Golf Nissan LEAF FIAT 500e
MSRP $29,815 $32,075 $33,295
Down payment $2,500 $2,500 $2,500
Monthly payment (inc. tax) $240 $290 $205
Lease disposition fee $350 $350 $350
Total of payments over three years $11,250 $13,000 $10,025
California State Rebates (with qualifying income) up to $4,000 up to $4,000 up to $4,000

Because of the way FIAT has incentivized the lease, the 500e is the most economical of the three to lease. The Federal rebate is built into the cost of the lease for all three, but qualifying Californians will still need to file seperately for the State rebates.

Which to buy: Volkswagen e-Golf vs. Nissan LEAF vs FIAT 500e

All three vehicles can be fantastic options depending on your personal circumstances. Your Cartelligent agent can talk you through the pros and cons of each vehicle (as well as any other brands) to help you make an educated decision.

Whether you want a new electric vehicle or any other new car, Cartelligent can help you get a great deal on exactly what you want. Call our team of car-buying experts at 888-427-4270 or get started today.