Review: Nissan Leaf (2018)

Rating:

Impressive real-world range (especially the E+ model). Relaxed drive. Plenty of space.

Infotainment seems dated. High-spec models are expensive.

Recently Added To This Review

21 June 2019 Nissan LEAF e+ launched

The new range-topping MY19 Nissan LEAF e+ has been launched, offering 217PS of performance and up to 239 miles of zero-emissions driving. Prices for the new range-topping Nissan LEAF e+ Tekna start... Read more

1 January 2018 Prices for Leaf announced

Entry-grade Visia models are available from just £21,990 (including £4,500 Government Grant), rising to £33,655 (also including Govt. Grant) for range-topping fully equipped Tekna grade... Read more

6 September 2017 Second generation Nissan Leaf unveiled

All electric, and packed with ingenious technology, the new Nissan LEAF is the company’s first car in Europe that will embrace the early steps of advanced driver assistance, and is packed with cutting-edge... Read more

Nissan Leaf (2018): At A Glance

When the Nissan Leaf arrived in the UK in 2011, it was revolutionary. An all-electric car with a usable range, as much practicality as a family hatch and a relatively affordable purchase price helped it secure the title of the world's best-selling electric car.

The latest model features a sleeker design, a bigger battery and therefore a longer 168 mile range under new 'real world' WLTP tests. Power has been increased to 110kW - equivalent to 150PS - while torque has been increased to 320Nm, improving performance.

From 2019, there's also a higher-powered version badged the E+. This has 217PS and can cover up to 239 miles between charges, meaning it's a genuinely useable electric car. With prices starting at more than £35,000 (after the government's plug-in car grant), it's expensive, though.

No matter which Leaf you opt for, one interesting feature is the e-Pedal. With this turned on, the electric motor automatically slows the car down, pumping energy back into the battery. Although many electric cars feature regenerative braking, this is more extreme - braking harshly enough for most situations and even allowing you to resort to one pedal driving most of the time.

This contributes to a very relaxed driving experience. It's pokey around town - although the standard Leaf soon starts to run out of breath at motorway speeds and the lack of an engine means you'll notice more road noise than usual. It handles fairly well, with a low centre of gravity thanks to the batteries positioned underneath the floor, although it's more suited to urban driving than rural roads.

The interior feels more conventional than the old Leaf with higher quality materials, but it's far from premium. An improved version of Nissan's eight-inch infotainment system looks dated but is easy to use, providing access to the navigation and audio systems, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

There's plenty of space in the cabin, with enough room to carry four adults in relative comfort. The boot floor is flatter than before, while there's a generous 435 litres of luggage space with the rear seats left up.

Although the Leaf's a very competent electric car, it doesn't shine in any particular area and there's an increasing amount of very impressive competition. It's a perfectly likeable introduction to electric motoring, though, with a big boot and a very useable electric range.

Nissan Leaf 2018 Road Test

What does a Nissan Leaf (2018) cost?

List Price from £29,845
Buy new from £22,910
Contract hire from £213.48 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

Nissan Leaf (2018): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4490 mm
Width 2030 mm
Height 1540 mm
Wheelbase 2700 mm

Full specifications

It was clear with the old Nissan Leaf that the development budget had been spent in areas other than the interior. Fortunately, the new Leaf's cabin is plusher than before and less likely to put people off who aren't necessarily keen early adopters.

A few hard plastics aside, the Leaf's interior is perfectly likeable. There's plenty of space and not many giveaways that you're in an electric car - a good thing if you're used to a conventional petrol or diesel vehicle.

There's the same eight-inch infotainment system as you'll find in other models such as the Qashqai, but with added features such as a 'find my nearest charge point' tool. It's not the slickest system to use - with poor graphics and complex menus. Fortunately you can swerve it by using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The seats are comfortable and it's fairly easy to find a good driving position - although, strangely, the steering wheel will go up and down but doesn't adjust for reach.

The main issue with the Leaf's interior is it just isn't as good as rivals like the Volkswagen e-Golf and Hyundai Ioniq. It's far from premium, with a below-par infotainment system and drab materials.

Having said that, the boot's a generous 435 litres and the rear seats fold down if you do need more space - although not entirely flat. Leave the rear seats up and there's plenty of space for adults in the back, although they do sit slightly higher because of the batteries located under the floor.

Specifications (September 2019):

Acenta features 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, electric folding door mirrors, leather steering wheel with switches, a faster heater, intelligent cruise control, NissanConnect EV 8-inch infotainment screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, six speakers, rear view monitor.

N-Connecta comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, electric folding door mirrors, gloss black B-pillar, part leather/part cloth heated seats, leather heated steering wheel, rear view mirror with auto dimming, intelligent around view moniro, moving object detection, intelligent driver alertness and parking sensors.

Tekna features full LED headlights with auto levelling, synthetic leather door trim, leather heated seats, leather heated steering wheel, electronic parking brake, Bose premium audio system with seven speakers, ProPilot.

E+ Tekna adds a longer range, metallic blue front bumper finisher, e+ embossed charging port.

Child seats that fit a Nissan Leaf (2018)

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What's the Nissan Leaf (2018) like to drive?

If you've never driven an electric car before, you're in for a treat with the Nissan Leaf. Its instant torque and zero engine noise means it's much more relaxing to drive than a conventional petrol or diesel car.

Want a quick getaway from a junction? Just press the accelerator and off you go, without delay. Cruising along the motorway? You'll have to turn the radio up slightly to drown out road noise, but there's no drone from the engine.

Many electric cars feature regenerative braking which automatically scrubs off speed as soon as you lift off the accelerator, pumping energy back into the battery. Not only does it help range, but it also means you don't have to use the brakes as much.

The Nissan Leaf has fairly extreme regen braking, dubbed the e-Pedal. With this switched on, you can drive suprisingly long distances without any need to touch the brake pedal.

Just lift off the accelerator and the Leaf will slow down pretty rapidly. The downside is that, when you do need to brake harder, it's difficult to moderate the pressure and your passengers might end up mimicking nodding dogs as you try to work out just how much braking is needed.

It's also worth noting that lifting off the accelerator triggers the brake lights - if you're on and off the accelerator pedal, you might unintentionally be replicating a disco with the rear lights.

Another perk of electric cars is the fairly swift acceleration. The Leaf's 40kWh battery provides enough juice for it to accelerate to 62mph in a not-too-shabby 7.9 seconds. Around town, it's quicker than this figure suggests. Hit the accelerator hard and it will very quickly reach 30mph.

The E+ model will reach 62mph a second quicker, and is comfortably quick enough for overtaking other traffic - but doing so will obviously impact range.

While the Leaf is at its element around town, its batteries are located under the floor which means it has a low centre of gravity. As a result, there's not too much lean during high speed cornering, although the steering is overly light and doesn't provide much feedback.

On the motorway, the Leaf is happy at 70mph, although you're better switching the cruise control on at around 60mph if you want to get as far as possible without charging it.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
40kW - 8.6 s -

What have we been asked about the Nissan Leaf (2018)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What's the difference between a BEV, PHEV, HEV and MHEV?

I have been viewing July's sales figures and I'm confused by the BEV, PHEV, HEV and MHEV classifications. Could you please give me an example of each?
A BEV is a battery electric vehicle. This is a typical electric car such as the Nissan Leaf. A HEV is a hybrid electric vehicle. Also known (controversially) as a 'self-charging hybrid', a HEV combines an electric motor with a petrol engine. An example is the Toyota Prius. A PHEV is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Like a HEV, this combines an electric motor with a petrol or diesel engine - but, unlike a HEV, a PHEV requires charging to get the best from it. The advantage of a PHEV is that they can usually travel 20-30 miles under electric power alone. An example is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. A MHEV is a mild hybrid electric vehicle. This is similar to a HEV, but its electric motor isn't powerful enough to power the car on its own - it can only assist the engine. An example is the Suzuki Ignis SHVS.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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