• May 10, 2011
2011 Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

What is the best tool for commuting: a Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Toyota Prius, Ford Focus or a commuter train? The team at Cars.com decided to put all five to the test in a recent comparison. Starting out at the Cars.com Chicago headquarters, the team embarked on a 64.5-mile loop to see what mode of transportation could be crowned Abe Froman.

The results are not that surprising, but they do demonstrate the power of a pure electric vehicle driven in an urban setting. We won't give away all of the results, but the picture above should tell you which automobile was the cheapest to operate. The Cars.com crew makes a few interesting points, and provides great analysis into their commuting competition. Head on over and give their story a read.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not sure why cars.com feels they have to apologize for the Focus. Saying they think the mpg will get better when the car gets older? Due to how harmonic means work, if you drive any city at all it becomes difficult to approach the highway figure as an average. 31mpg is pretty good for a car that is rated at 28/38.
      Bob
      • 3 Years Ago
      WAY too much info missing from this article to prove a clear winner.
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bob
        The TCO picture is not clear from this. But I don't know that is what's needed to declare a clear winner. Most people do not buy their car based upon TCO. If they did you'd see more Aveos and fewer Mercedes C-classes.
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well DUH, EVs are obviously cheapest.
      • 3 Years Ago
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      • 3 Years Ago
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      tenspeeder
      • 3 Years Ago
      All it will take is getting stuck in one bad traffic jam or being forced to take a long detour around a construction site or mtn pass somewhere to make the owner of a Queef fear driving it in the future
      Noz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow...it's quite an eye opener to see how costly and inefficient even a "very efficient" small car like the Focus is compared to the EV's and hybrids. Makes you wonder about the intelligence level of the idiots out there driving trucks and SUVs as their car of choice for their daily commutes...truly doltish.
        LUSTSTANG S-197
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Noz
        It's not a matter of intelligence, but rather choice. Not everyone's priorities are the same.
          Noz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @LUSTSTANG S-197
          I disagree...when you're faced with serious issues environmentally, if you don't make the "choice" to be intelligent, that choice will be made for you via health issues, climate issues, and what not. We don't exist here based on a "free pass." What we do here affects everything...
      TwinTurbo3oooGT
      • 3 Years Ago
      sorry, but cheapest does not = best. I want a DRIVERS car for my commute, not an appliance. Especially for the drive home. To make it interesting, they should have thrown a used MX5 in there. Less than half the price of the others, so it's economical; it's the most "green" option, since it doesn't require manufacturing a new vehicle, and still gets decent MPG, but most importantly, you will ENJOY your commute. The average person spends more than a year of their life commuting for work...i'd rather not spend it stuck in some appliance.
        rally25rs
        • 3 Years Ago
        @TwinTurbo3oooGT
        Oh, but didn't you know that the best way to save $300 / yr in better fuel economy is to buy a $20k-$30k new car? That is what the news and the auto-show told me... Used cars that are $5k-$10k that got 30-40 mpg are for loosers!
        mathiaswegner
        • 3 Years Ago
        @TwinTurbo3oooGT
        Is creeping through gridlock in a Miata that much more fun than creeping through gridlock in a Camry? I don't think there's anything that can be done, car choice wise, to make a commute like the one in the comparison fun. Even if you do get up to speed at some point, you'll be on an interstate.
        macleod
        • 3 Years Ago
        @TwinTurbo3oooGT
        speed demon, the Leaf is not (until new variations emerge) but it has a faster 0-30 than the G37. how fast does your toaster go?
      Ferris Macau
      • 3 Years Ago
      Time is money and the only undisputable fact is the train saves 40 minutes / day = 3 hours a week stuck in traffic. The rest is voo doo economics.
      GeorgeAtha
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good for the EV! 20 cents difference for 20K car cost difference between the Prius and the Volt! and this is not the Plugin Prius! GM, do something about the price of this car and do it sooner. DO not make my taxes do something, you do something!
      Car Guy
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is Leaf still the cheapest to operate WITHOUT $7500 in US taxpayer (not to mention state) subsidizes? This whole idea of "savings" is completely artificial.
      Shiftright
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great news as long as you never go anywhere but to and from work. Try hitting the outlet mall on the way hoem and you may find yourself hitching a ride home.
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