Changing cars

I’ve had my current car, a Mazda3, for nearly 6 years. It’s a great car. I like it a lot.

But, there’s a few things I’ve gotten somewhat fed up with on it:

  • It doesn’t have all the safety features I want (especially lane departure notifications and collision avoidance)
  • It costs a lot to maintain given how little I drive it
  • Its cargo space isn’t very flexible (since I have the sedan version)

For a while I’ve been thinking about getting an electric vehicle, and recently I got the idea planted in my head that it would be worth switching to a Nissan Leaf.

Anyway, on Carvana, I found a 2018 Leaf SL with all of the safety features I want, and also it still has around 135 miles of range (supposedly) and its battery is still well under warranty, and the cost was only a little bit more than what Carvana said the trade-in value on my Mazda3 was.

So maybe a bit impulsively, I bought it. It will arrive on Friday.

My cost after trade-in is around $1000, and it only raises my insurance premiums by around $8/month. So, yay.


  • It has all of the safety features I want (adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance, lane departure warnings, 360° surround parking camera, etc.)
  • It has way more range than I typically need
  • It’s a BEV which means having way less maintenance to perform
  • Passively charging at home means not even having to worry about refueling (and I can stop caring about minmaxing my Kroger Fuel Points as well)
  • 30 cubic feet of cargo space (higher than the Mazda3’s 12.4, although not as high as if I had the Mazda3 hatchback)


  • It’s black (boring, and gets hot in the summer)
  • It already has 80,000 miles on it (but I don’t drive that much — my Mazda3 only has 5100 miles on it since I bought it new in 2016!)
  • It has the smaller 40kWh battery (thus the 135-mile range, but again, I don’t drive that much, and for longer distances I prefer to take the train anyway)

I’d also considered waiting for an electric pickup truck (like the Ford F150 Lightning) but I think a proper hatchback gives me the cargo space I’ve been wanting without having to become a pickup truck person. And I was getting really anxious about driving my Mazda3 so I wanted to replace it sooner rather than later.

For the immediate future I only plan on using the consumer level 1 (120V) charger, which takes 35 hours for a full charge, but for the rare times that I need faster charging there’s plenty of commercial DC fast chargers around here, and really any time I need more than a few miles of range it’ll be because I’m going to be on a longer trip and will need to use a commercial fast charging station anyway.

If my needs ever change (for example I start driving for Lyft/Uber or whatever) I can of course get a level 2 charger installed, which apparently costs around $1500 all-in (for both the charger and the installation). But that seems ridiculously unlikely at this time.

If I still lived in the condo I of course wouldn’t do this, as my condo parking situation didn’t have anywhere to install a charger (at least not easily). But also if I still lived downtown I wouldn’t have the same considerations involved as to why I wanted a Leaf. The fuel efficiency of a BEV is almost incidental to this; for me it’s more about having less of a hassle and more flexibility (and also not having a panic attack whenever I drive anywhere).

If I’d originally bought the Mazda3 in the Grand Touring hatchback model, rather than the Touring sedan that I went with, I’d probably not be making this change; the GT hatchback has superior cargo space and all of the safety features I wanted. But, hindsight and all that.

Also, it feels better to be buying a used, well-loved car than to be buying something new, especially with my driving patterns. A used BEV feels especially right.

Let’s just hope I don’t get any major surprises from this!


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