Nissan Leaf (2018) Review

Looking for a Nissan Leaf (2018 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

Nissan Leaf (2018) At A Glance

3/5

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

-Infotainment seems dated. High-spec models are expensive.

New prices start from £27,290, brokers can source from £22,348
Insurance Group 21

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.

Looking for a Nissan Leaf (2018 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

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Ask Honest John

Why is it more expensive to insure electric cars?
"The quotes to insure my Nissan Leaf are generally much higher than those to insure my Skoda Kodiaq. Is this a disincentive to buying electric cars and could it put people off buying them?"
There are a number of factors that go into insurance policy pricing. Other than the obvious things like power and acceleration, insurance pricing can also be based on things like how many cars are stolen in your local area. For example, if the Leaf is recorded as a more at-risk (of theft) vehicle, that could factor into the premium. Other factors include the value of the vehicle (electric vehicles cost more, generally), the ease of finding a professional qualified to repair the model (there are far fewer qualified technicians for EVs than ICE cars), and the cost and availability of parts. There's also a matter of insurance history. Petrol and diesel cars have been around yonks, but EVs haven't — meaning up until recently, there wasn't much for insurance providers to go on. If you look at the torque stats for, say, a Tesla Model 3 Performance model — it accelerates much faster than a conventional petrol. If there's not a long insurance history that shows what drivers of EVs do with said EVs, insurers have to price the policies based on expectations. It's only in the last few years that EVs have become more mainstream, allowing for more of an insurance history on electric vehicles. Lastly, higher premiums for EVs aren't always the case. 2020 marked a tipping point for EV owners, with new data from two of the largest price comparison sites showing that EVs are now consistently cheaper to insure than their petrol and diesel counterparts. Examining insurance trends from GoCompare, we found Nissan Leaf drivers paid £394 per year (on average) in 2020, while owners of the smaller and cheaper to buy Ford Fiesta were charged £550 for their yearly premiums across all petrol and diesel models. This is compared to 2019, which saw Nissan Leaf drivers pay on average £424 for their yearly premiums, while drivers of the smaller Ford Fiesta paid £602. You can read the full story on our parent site, heycar, here: https://heycar.co.uk/blog/electric-cars-cost-less-to-insure-than-petrols-and-diesels On a separate note, you may find that using an electric vehicle-specific insurer gets you a much better deal as they will offer an incentive. A number of established insurance companies have specialist policies available for electric car owners. There are also a few bespoke electric car insurers. These specialists will have a better understanding of how accurately price your insurance cover, while some may offer a discount as an incentive, too. I know that Admiral and LV have their own specialist EV policies. However, it may also be worth your time to look into a specialist like PlugInsure.
Answered by Georgia Petrie
Can you suggest a reliable family car replacement for our 15 year old Honda Jazz?
"We're looking to replace a 15 year old Honda Jazz - which we bought on your recommendation and it has been perfect for us. But, sadly, it will need a lot of money spent on it to pass this year’s MOT. We do a lot of very short trips, about a mile or less, but also need to drive 30-40 miles at weekends and occasionally go further to visit family. We do need space for 2 growing boys (14 & 11 years old). We're happy to buy secondhand and have a budget of about £15,000. Reliability is important to us, and a few modern touches like Apple CarPlay would be great. My wife would love keyless entry! With short journeys, should we look for a hybrid? The annual mileage will probably be about 6000 miles. What would you recommend? Many thanks."
Can you charge a car at home? If so, an electric car might work for you... it'd certainly be well suited to your regular short journeys. Consider a Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 or Kia Soul EV. All three would make a good introduction to EVs and should be practical enough for your needs. If you can't charge a car at home, it sounds like a hybrid would work well. We'd recommend a Hyundai Ioniq – it's a bit bigger than your Jazz and your budget will get a 2018 model with the remainder of its five-year manufacturer warranty. Consider a Kia Niro, too, particularly if a crossover SUV body shape appeals.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Should I only charge my electric car to 80% to prevent battery degredation?
"I recently read that the best practice for good EV battery health is only to charge to 80%. I'd be grateful for a bit more advice on this, please. Is it best to limit a charge to 80% when rapid charging, or for any kind of charging? I always charge the car at home from a standard domestic 13A socket, and I always charge to 100%. Am I reducing the health/life of my Nissan Leaf's battery? Many thanks for any advice."
There is a bit of a myth around EV batteries that stems from advice on charging your mobile phone (i.e. that you should charge phone batteries between 20% and 80%, rather than from 0% to 100%). It does change and each manufacturer is different. I drove a Polestar 2 that recommended only charging to 90% at all times. As a footnote, the warnings about charging come from the manufacturers as a kind of 'insurance' - with the technology being so new, the evidence is limited as to how batteries perform so carmakers try to cover themselves. Nissan says: Recharge fully from 10% or less to 100%. They're not sure if you can set the charge level in the car. I drove one, and I thought you could but I might be wrong. They also say repeated fast charging shouldn't be too much of a problem unless the battery temp is very high. They've got reports from taxis that have clocked up 150k that have been rapid charged repeatedly without showing any sign of battery degradation.
Answered by Keith Moody
What's the best value, used electric car?
"Is the Volkswagen e-Golf the best value, used electric car?"
The Volkswagen e-Golf is certainly an excellent introduction to electric vehicles. We ran one for six months and rated it highly: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/our-cars/volkswagen-e-golf/ You might find a Nissan Leaf to be a better choice, however. The 40kWh model can travel 168 miles on a charge (compared to the e-Golf's 144) and, as it sold in bigger numbers when new, there are more to choose from on the used market. We'd also recommend the Hyundai Ioniq Electric which has a range of up to 183 miles.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Nissan Leaf (2018) cost?

Buy new from £22,348 (list price from £29,845)