THE real worth of a car sometimes shows up when it's not new.
That's the case with the trend-setting Nissan LEAF, the world's first mass market all-electric family car introduced in 2010 and the recent winner of seven used car awards in three years.
For the UK and Europe it's built in Sunderland where about 200,000 have been made in a decade.
There are currently five models in the series utilising 150ps 40kWh or 217ps 62kWh traction batteries from around £27,000 to £35,000 and based on four trim levels.
Prices have come down to keep within the Government's Â£2,500 grant incentive to encourage EV ownership.
Electric car buyers can now get their vehicle, home charger and standard home installation from Nissandealerships in a new finance offer with a single monthly payment as a result of Nissan working with Pod Point and E.ON.
Over the 12 years of its run and two model generations, Nissan has carefully refined the powertrain and accessories and raised the range from an initial 73 miles per charge to almost 240 miles.
That's a big achievement and still a challenge for many late-comers to the EV charging posts.
Little wonder then that one used car analyst reports that the Nissan LEAF was Britain's fastest selling used car in 2021,taking an average of just 17 days to leave forecourts in the autumn compared to 44 days at the beginning of 2021.
For dealers that's a nice little earner and shows that while new EVs may be over-priced for many, their attraction as used models is growing as a direct result of petrol and diesel price rises.
We have just tried theNissan LEAF e+ Tekna ProPilot 62kWh, the larger capacity version attracting the e+ suffix, with the highly desirable dynamic driving aids and sophisticated infotainment systems linking to your mobile phone and delivering high audio quality through a number of Bose speakers.
If you thought electric cars were slow, think again. It has benefitted from some weight saving engineering with respectable acceleration and with judicious use of the power mode button next to the gear lever gives brisk acceleration when needed for overtaking.
That also improves the retardation when used properly and you can usually drive without having to brake and just let the motor slow down the car.
The steering, however, is a disappointment. The turning circle was not tight and it felt lifeless in my hands with little feedback on twisting roads but thankfully did not display any kickback over bumps.
The handling was competent, not exciting, and the front struts and rear beam axle springing meant it easily coped with loads and gripped quite well with a comfortable ride as a further benefit, although you could hear it working away.
It was at its best on country roads where gradient variations would recharge the battery and modestly extend range so we saw a 62 miles remaining extend to 65 miles descending a hill in Mid-Wales. Motorways quickly drained the battery and we considered a 50-60mph speed far better than the 70mph max..
The Tekna instruments and ProPilot features really work very well, possibly with the exception of the cruise feature on our test car which proved erratic in operation and sometimes reluctant to engage. Good cameras and sensors cover blindspots which are not visible in the small interior mirror and the wipers and washers both ends were highly effective.
Headlights and their automatic sensors were very bright but sometimes seemed slow to respond in country lanes and oncoming vehicles.
Heating and ventilation was comprehensive but would drain about 12 miles range when used, particularly in conjunction with the warmed wheel grips.
Oddments room was very reasonable although compartments were on the small side for a family car.
We liked the access front and back, noted the boot was very deep but had nets for stowing the two power cables, and found the seats extremely comfortable with good adjustment, shaping and support. Room in the back was good for all but the tallest passengers.
It was very easy to charge with its frontal flap covering the domestic and fast charger ports and both cables were of sensible length, quick to use and secured when the car locked.
Our range was at best about 230 miles on a 50kWh plug in just over an hour but a domestic point was scheduled to take over 11hrs to refill the battery and we found it crept up from around 180 miles, all still very acceptable ranges when time permits or is precious.