By Patrick James on 2018-06-01 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Nissan Leaf Tekna
THE Leaf set the standard for electric cars, Nissan being the first to produce a five door family hatchback running fully on battery power back in 2010.
It's fair to say the novelty was mirrored by the styling. Clearly designed to make a statement that this was no ordinary motor and it certainly stood out - a kind of Marmite choice.
The all new model is a world away in terms of styling, a throughly modern family motor with a more powerful battery to deliver a greater range.
Prices start at just over £27,000 including the government electric vehicle subsidy,
On a full charge, my power meter was indicating around a 180-mile range from the 40kWh lithium ion battery.
That last time I drove one, admittedly on a dark, cold rainy November day, the juice was being eaten up at an alarming rate, sparking fears I would not make it home. I did, with one mile to spare.
I felt far more confident in this completely redesigned model.
The bulbous styling has been replaced by sharp creases and angles, a high waistline and impressive-looking light clusters and alloy wheels.
While the blue elements such as the front grille and rear bumper's moulding highlight the zero emission character of the car.
The interior too is a massive step up in quality and comfort. Instead of looking like aeroplane controls, it is now a much simpler and intuitive affair.
One thing that does not change is the remarkable speed off the mark delivered via the 150bhpe-powertrain. It has increased torque of 320Nm and whizzes the car to 60mph in just under eight seconds.
It also comes with a bewildering array of technology including what Nissan call intelligent mobility technology, which includes pro Pilot, a semi-autonomous driving mode, which when selected keeps the car with lane markings and a safe distance from other cars in traffic. It will even start up again when stationary traffic moves.
Autonomous hands-off self parking is another feature as is switching to the revolutionary e-Pedal. This enablesacceleration, deceleration and full stop with the simple increase or decrease of the pressure on the accelerator.
By releasing the accelerator, the car will decelerate and come to a complete stop, even hill holding, without the need to press the brake pedal.
This helps reduce fatigue and stress in, allowing the driver to use the brake pedal up to 90 per cent less than conventional cars and only really for emergency braking.
Nissan says the interior is based on a ‘gliding wing' design, with blue stitching in the seats, dashboard and steering wheel.
The fuel gauge is replaced by a power and range meter while a large seven inch colour central touch screen controls connectivity, sat nav and infotainment.
In addition to standard navigation features it also includes real-time information on the nearest charge points. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available for enhanced connectivity.
All versions are well equipped with this model providing a whole host of goodies.
Fit and finish to the interior is impressive while the boot is spacious with 435-litres available. Fold the 60/40 split rear seats and luggage capacity increases to 1,176 litres.
The vehicle's centre of gravity has been by 5mm and the stiffer body means the improved handling with the car sitting solidly on the road, even on winding country lanes.
The only real intrusion is road and wind noise, as the faint hum from the electric motor is drowned out.
As ever with electric cars, range and charging times are key concerns, and the bigger battery gives more peace of mind.
Charging up to 80 per cent at a fast charger at a service station takes takes 40 to 60 minutes, while it's around 7.5 hours to 100 per cent with a 7Kw wallbox.
It can take up to 21 hours with the standard domestic plug, so the wallbox fitted for free, makes sense.
Yet another clever feature is that climate control can be set to activate at a particular time, warming the car up or cooling it down before beginning a journey while being charged, thus saving power when driving.
There is the usual full range of safety kit with six airbags, assisted braking, hill start, blind sot warning and with this model Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and cyclist Recognition.
Nissan Leaf Tekna
Mechanical: 150bhp and 40kWh electric motor driving front wheels via CVT gearbox
Max Speed: 90mph
0-62mph: 7.9 seconds
Combined MPG:180 miles range
Insurance Group: 20
C02 emissions: 0g/km
Bik rating: 13%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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