PREPARE to be surprised. I've just been driving a ‘reasonably ‘priced all-electric car and, guess what? it's fun.
Not just a glimmer of fun, as in enough to raise a slight smile but it delivers serious grins in the way that a Mini Cooper used to be back in the dark ages.
The subject of frivolity was, would you believe, the latest Nissan Leaf in e+Tekna form. Its immediacy of response, smooth (and silent) getaway is almost addictive. Mind you, indulge in this extravagance too much and the charge will decrease faster than a tenner in a betting shop.
Now in its second generation, and with loads more EV competition, the current model - pun intended - has thoroughly cast off any relationship with a milk float. The 59kWh battery pack fitted to the review car allows a potential range of 239 miles and acceleration to 62mph in a nifty seven seconds - that's warm-hatch territory.
It's not quite in the Tesla league, but its abundant torque allows it to show the way to many larger ICE models. Also cornering is relatively roll-free and grippy for fast cross country driving.
Ride is comfortable and absorbent without feeling ‘floaty' and pock-marked surfaces are handled with ease, transferring few jolts to the passenger compartment.
It's quite possible to just use a single pedal to drive the Leaf. Its E-pedal system allows you to slow down and even stop by lifting the off the throttle using the battery's energy regeneration. Of course, if you prefer a more conventional style, just dab the brake pedal in the normal way.
An added bonus of the relatively small battery is that an overnight charge via a three-pin plug will give you nearly full range, very useful when staying at a friend's home who doesn't have a fast-charging wall box.
The cabin is surprisingly spacious with high-set front seats and decent shoulder room, plenty of storage areas and cubbies. There are also two cup holders between the front seats.
Room in the rear is even more generous with loads of legroom, although the roof height may be restrictive for those much more than six foot tall. The boot, too, is larger than that of most rivals with ample space for holiday luggage although there is a noticeable lip over which cases must be hauled.
The rear seats split and fold 60-40 in the usual way, and there are nets either side of the boot in which to store the charging cables.
All versions of the Leaf come with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection as standard. Lane departure warning and blind-spot monitoring are also fitted.
For those concerned about battery longevity, Nissan says the power pack fitted to the Leaf is expected to last the life of the car and it is guaranteed for eight years/100,000 miles.