Review of Nissan Leaf – the best selling electric car in the UK.
The Nissan Leaf is an electric vehicle that needs little introduction. As the longest serving member of the affordable electric car category, and as Britain’s best selling electric car to date, it is a familiar sight on our roads already. The Leaf has been in production since 2010, and Nissan released a significant update for 2018, adding considerable additional range and many new features as standard equipment. It is also slightly bigger, adding to the level of practicality and refinement over the previous model, with improved cabin space and load volume.
New Nissan Leaf 2018
The Leaf is a very accomplished small car. It may be considered by some to be a little on the conservative side in terms of styling and interior design, but the package is good overall, and the car has developed an affectionate following amongst its owners, which will only continue to grow with the latest update. Nissan have listened to their customers and made improvements based on the issues that came up most often.
The 40 kwh battery gives a realistic driving range of about 180 miles. Nissan claims 250 miles on the NEDC driving cycle but that generally assumes ideal conditions, and it is worth factoring that in to buying decisions.
On The Road
The Leaf is a pleasure to drive. Instant torque from the electric motor gives a pleasing surge off the line, making it a very nippy city car. The claimed 0-60 time of just under 10 seconds feels a lot quicker than that because of the initial surge in the first 10-20 MPH – very useful in stop-start city driving. There is no gear change to speak of either, as drive comes via a single gear, so you just push the lever into drive and plant your foot to get going. Nissan have worked hard on adding their e-pedal driving system which allows for true one pedal operation. Lifting off the accelerator engages regenerative braking, and the car can be brought to a complete stop this way. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but once mastered it is very intuitive and makes for a very smooth ride, while maximising the energy recovery of the clever regenerative braking system.
The driving experience is safe and comfortable rather than sporty and engaging, with quite soft suspension to soak up the bumps in the road. This also makes for a relaxing and stable ride at motorway speeds, which is assisted by the low centre of gravity afforded by the battery pack in the car’s belly. Handling is crisp but again errs on the side of conservatism rather than pure driving engagement.