Nissan Leaf - Used

Car Review

Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf, front
Nissan Leaf, side
Nissan Leaf, rear
Nissan Leaf, rear
Nissan Leaf, interior, driven

BY far the biggest selling electric car in the UK and many other countries is the Nissan Leaf, which was one of the first on the market back in 2010.

There is little doubt in most people's minds that this is the type of car we will all be driving before many more years have passed.

Being an enthusiast, I have to say that I can't find much to enjoy about the Leaf - apart from its parsimonious sipping of electrickery - but I'm sure more powerful electric cars would provide a few more thrills.

People who might otherwise buy a Leaf often worry about the range on a single charge.

However, most drivers use their cars to commute and shop and get from A to B, rarely covering more than 40 miles at a time.

That's well within the Nissan's real tested range of about 70 miles and even that depends on careful driving, load, traffic conditions, weather and accessory use.

Of course, for longer journeys, there are fast chargers all over the country now, taking about 30 minutes to charge the battery up to 80 per cent capacity - the time it takes to have a break and a coffee. The Leaf's standard sat nav includes all the locations and will guide you to the nearest every time.

So such a car would be ideal for many, many people and would save a huge amount in running costs, with an equivalent average fuel consumption of about 113 miles per gallon when charging and all other costs are taken into consideration.

But of course, perhaps the best reason to run one is the zero emissions and low impact on the planet.

Battery life has never been an issue and some cars have already covered 120,000 miles and more with no problems at all. Nissan says that it only replaces about five batteries a year worldwide and most of those are because of accidents.

A larger 30kWh battery was introduced in 2016, first on more expensive trims and then on all models. Maximum range went up to a real tested 107 miles, which makes the Leaf even more of a proposition for many people.

As to driving, it feels very much like a petrol or diesel medium hatch with an automatic gearbox.

That gearbox suits the car's ethos very well. Just put it into drive and away, very quietly, you go.

Top speed is limited to around 90 miles an hour to help conserve the batteries, but it always feels willing and full of urge around town because it has an electric power.

Petrol and diesel cars produce maximum low speed torque and peak power at different points in their rev range.

But electric motors produce maximum torque and power right through their range and it's this that helps the Leaf - even in 24KWH guise - good for zero to 60 miles an hour in under ten seconds.

Comfort is very good over most surfaces and handling and road holding, albeit with rather inert steering, are also well up with the normal competition.

There's room for five inside, with a decent sized boot and standard kit on all models includes audio remote control, cruise, climate, six airbags, electric windows and mirrors, traction control, alloy wheels and parking sensors.

Pay about £8,200 for a '14 14-reg Visia, or £14,400 for a '16 16-reg Acenta 30KW.


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