The all electric five-door Nissan Leaf is a surprisingly practical all-electric family car that rests in a relitively unchallenged segment of the market with the exception of just a handful of models, the Kia Soul EV and VW Golf GTE being two.
Essentially the first mainstream mass-produced all-electric vehicle to have gone on sale in the UK, an entry-level Nissan Leaf will set you back a staggering £25,790. However, taking advantage of a £5,000 electric car grant courtesy of the British Government means you can bring that down to £20,790.
In short, the Leaf is a pioneering mode of transport, it’s also one of the quietest vehicles on the road thanks to its battery powered motor. Talking of power, the Leaf produces 108hp and can hit 62 from a standstill in 11.5 seconds, which isn’t particularly quick, but is more than sufficient for pulling away at green lights and safely overtaking slow moving vehicles. The Leaf also has a top speed of 89mph, reducing to 87mph when specked out with the smaller wheels.
Driving the leaf is both an exciting and comfortable experience, it’s the first all-electric car I’ve had the pleasure of driving and from behind the wheel feels just like any other family hatchback, but without the noise and the need to visit the petrol station.
However, as the car runs solely on electricity, you will need to plug it into the mains for a charge once in a while, to be precise that’s every 124 miles and although better that the first iteration of the Leaf, it doesn’t do much to alleviate range anxiety. A full charge takes around eight hours. However, if you can locate a fast-charge point, you’ll be able to charge to 80 per cent capacity in no more than 30 minutes.
However, in order to take advantage of the 30 minute charge you’ll need to have opted for the 6.6kw fast charger. The added benefit of this is the fact that you’ll also be equipped to complete a full charge from home in just four hours.
Moving on to the aesthetics and the leaf is described as boring by some, but I kind of like it. Probably because it looks rather normal instead of overly futuristic, which is a route some car manufacturers have taken with their all-electric offerings.
Inside the Leaf you’ll find a suitably practical cabin with two seats and plenty of storage, in the back there are three more seats along with ample leg and head room. That said, if you’re six feet tall you might struggle in the middle rear seat.
Boot wise there’s a capacity of 370-litres, in practical terms there’s plenty of room for luggage. However, you should be aware of the fact that opting for the top of the range Tekna trim adds a Bose stereo which in tern reduces boot space to just 355-litres.
A key draw of the Leaf is the fact that it boasts low running costs. According to Nissan, that’s as little as £2 for a full charge and around £260 a year. In addition, there’s the fact that it emits zero emissions, this means no road tax is payable, but also means you’re doing your bit for the planet.
As you’d expect from a futuristic mode of transport, there’s tons of geeky kit on offer. All Leafs are equipped with Bluetooth connectivity and USB ports, but also an incredibly handy keyless entry system.
Moving up the ladder, the Visia+ trim is completed with the addition of a reversing camera, built-in satellite navigation, a set of four stylish alloy wheels and privacy glass. Meanwhile, in the middle ground there’s the Acentra trim, which boasts Nissan’s own Carwings system, an additional driving mode and a cruise control system.
Last, but not least there’s the range topping Tekna trim, which boasts all of the above, but also benefits from a high-end Bose stereo system and seven speakers, there’s also a cutting-edge 360-degree view camera system and heated seats throughout. Finally there’s an upgraded set of 17inch alloys and LED headlights.
- Look & Feel
- Space & Practicality
- Standard Equipment
- Running Costs
Overall the all-electric Nissan Leaf is a fantastic car, not only is it practical, but it's green and economical too.