Total Cost of Ownership: Nissan LEAF vs Corolla Hybrid

I did a useless comparison of the Model 3 and a Camry and was totally not surprised to find that a car that costs $79,000 isn’t as cheap to own over 5 years as a car that costs $48,000. What about cheaper EVs? How do they stack up against hybrids? The perfect comparison is the Nissan LEAF and the Toyota Corolla ZR Hybrid hatch. Very similar size and very similar feature list.


Drive Away Price in VIC 3340
$44,920 - 2019 Nissan LEAF ZE1
$35,990 - 2019 Toyota Corolla ZR Hybrid

These are both demo models with under 3,000km on em. I love demo models as they’re practically new but have some depreciation already accounted for.

Corolla Fuel

  • 4.2L/100km official
  • 30,000km/yr for 5 years = 150,000km
  • $1.30/L average fuel price
  • 6,300L of fuel used
  • $8,190 spent on fuel

The Corolla only needs 91RON fuel unlike the Camry’s 95RON, so it’s a little cheaper to run.

LEAF Electricity

  • 171Wh/km according to GVG
  • 30,000km/yr for 5 years = 150,000km
  • 18c/kWh average electricity price
  • 25,650kWh of electricity used
  • $4,617 spent on electricity

The Model 3, despite being a bigger, heavier car, is a significant amount more efficient than the LEAF.

Corolla Servicing

  • First 5 services up to & including 75,000km - $180ea ($900)
  • 90,000km - $773
  • 105,000km - $234
  • 120,000km - $798
  • 135,000km - $298
  • 150,000km - $538
  • Total: $3,541

LEAF Servicing

  • 20,000km - $237
  • 40,000km - $317
  • 60,000km - $247
  • 80,000km - $330
  • 100,000km - $257
  • 120,000km - $343
  • 140,000km - $257
  • Total: $1,988

Insulting that the LEAF costs so much to service considering how little work is done. Personally, I wouldn’t even bother doing it and just take it once a year for software upgrades.

Comprehensive Insurance

  • $751.41 - 2019 Nissan LEAF ZE1
  • $609.84 - 2019 Toyota Corolla ZR Hybrid

Insurance pricing varies wildly, but to keep it simple I compared the same Bingle policies between the two cars.


  • $616 - 2019 Nissan LEAF ZE1
  • $616 - 2019 Toyota Corolla ZR Hybrid

Hybrids and EVs get the same $100/yr discount on rego in VIC. Unfair if you ask me, but it is what it is.

Finance Costs

  • $5,348 - 2019 Nissan LEAF ZE1
  • $4,284 - 2019 Toyota Corolla ZR Hybrid

This is the interest you pay on a loan for one of these cars. I’ve assumed here a 10% deposit and a 5% interest rate over 5 years.

Resale Value in 5 Years Time

  • $20,200 - 2019 Nissan LEAF ZE1
  • $18,000 - 2019 Toyota Corolla ZR Hybrid

Unlike the Tesla, we have old Nissan LEAFs to work off to calculate depreciation. They sell for around $20,000, so around 55% less than new. The Hybrid Corolla seems to hold its value at around 50%

Putting it all together as a 5 year TCO


  • Purchase Price - $35,990
  • Fuel - $8,190
  • Servicing - $3,541
  • Insurance - $3,049
  • Registration - $2,464
  • Loan interest - $4,284
  • Total expenses - $57,518
  • Total spent after resale - $39,518


  • Purchase Price - $44,920
  • Electricity - $4,617
  • Servicing - $1,988
  • Insurance - $3,757
  • Registration - $2,464
  • Loan interest - $5,348
  • Total expenses - $63,094
  • Total spent after resale - $42,894

The LEAF is very, very close overall. Get rid of the stupid overpriced servicing from Nissan and it is neck and neck. Quite impressive considering Australia’s very cheap fuel compared to the rest of the world and the total lack of any incentives! I dare say in a state like the ACT that has incentives, the LEAF wins just on price alone.

If I was in the market for a new hatchback and had a bit of cash to spend on a nice one with lots of features, the LEAF would be right at the top of my list. I’ve driven it before (my small review here) and it’s a great car.

There’s also the option of an imported LEAF from Japan. Much cheaper than a local one with all the same features, albeit without a warranty. Nissan will still fix it, but you’ll need to pay instead of claiming the costs under warranty. Being the cheapskate I am, I’d be tempted to do this instead of buying a local model.

A quick update to this - where I live, the state of Victoria, is planning to implement a road usage tax for electric cars on July 1st 2021.

This will add 2.5c to every kilometer driven in the LEAF, further widening the total cost of ownership between the LEAF and hybrid Corolla. That’s an extra $3,700 over 5 years.

The $100/yr rego discount won’t apply for hybrids at the same time though. Over 5 years that’s $500 more the Corolla will need to pay.

Corolla total spent after resale - $40,018
LEAF total spent after resale - $46,664

You’d save $1,300 a year driving a hybrid instead of an EV. Nice work Victorian government, you made EVs even more unaffordable.