Our Review of the All-New Nissan Leaf

Driving the new Nissan Leaf

Anyone who has an idea about electric cars already will be aware of the luxury Tesla models and their performance. The top of the range Model S P100D has a 'ludicrous mode' which enables the car to rocket from 0-60mph in just 2.5 seconds thanks to the instant power you get from the cars battery and there being just 1 gear.

This is no different to the Nissan Leaf. Ok, so it's not going to be winning any drag races with its 40kW battery - but the Leaf does put in a 0-60mph performance of 7.6 seconds which is quicker than most, if not all non-performance cars of its size including its electric car rivals the Renault Zoe and VW e-golf.

One thing that does differ in the Leaf from a petrol or diesel car is when you take your foot off the accelerator. Normally you'd expect to coast, but the regenerative brakes on the Leaf slow you down quicker; harvesting that energy to replenish the battery. Pretty clever huh? Not quite as clever as the new e-pedal function however. Push the 'e-pedal' button in the new Leaf and it takes this one step further by acting as both an accelerator and brake in one, meaning you'll rarely need to switch to the brake pedal.

Performance in an electric car isn't just about speed - it's also about range, which is undoubtedly one of the biggest factors when deciding whether to make the switch from a combustion-engine car. The new Leaf claims up to 235 miles which beats both the Renault Zoe by a marginal 5 miles and the VW e-golf by a significant 49 miles. However, Nissan state that in 'real world' driving conditions, a more realistic figure to expect would be up to 168 miles. It might be a drop from the claimed 235 miles but it's still enough to get you from Leeds to Oxford and change.

As for driving, we found the new Leaf to be really rather comfortable. It handled the Yorkshire potholes well and tackled corners with refined ease. Plus, because you don't have that combustion engine rattling around under the bonnet - it's incredibly quiet.

Space & Practicality of the New Nissan Leaf

Interior space is an important factor when deciding on a family car with potential buyers wanting to know "how many kids can I get in the back?" and "how many suitcases can I get in the boot?" Fortunately these aren't things you'd need to worry about with the new Leaf with leg room in the rear for both young and older children and plenty of space for adults in the front.

When it comes to the boot there's enough room for everything and the kitchen sink with a 435 litre capacity (the Zoe offers just 338 and the e-golf a meagre 341). The rear seats also fold in a 60:40 formation to expand that capacity to a whopping 1,176 litres. That's more than enough space for 7 carry-on suitcases with the rear seats up!

Cost of the New Nissan Leaf

All electric cars qualify for a government grant (currently £3,500), meaning the new Leaf starts from just £26,190. Whilst this may sound expensive to some don't forget that you'll be saying goodbye to visits to the petrol station to fill up and to paying any road tax. You can have your own electric point installed at home to top up your Leaf's battery for around just 3.3 pence per mile*: a significant saving on the cost of petrol or diesel.

It's not just monetary costs however as electric cars also emit no CO2 or nox gases meaning the cost to the environment is also a lot less.

Verdict: ★★★★★

The previous Nissan Leaf was a good car with Marmite looks - the new Leaf is a great car with great looks, performance and practicality. For anyone looking to make the switch from petrol or diesel or just looking for an environmentally-friendly alternative to the Ford Focus or VW Golf: the Nissan Leaf is definitely well worthy of a look.

Has the new Nissan Leaf piqued your interest?
Take it for a test drive & experience electric for yourself.

*Based on electricity supply costing 14p/kW.

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