Nissan Leaf Review 2023

Nissan Leaf At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Nissan Leaf is a very sensible electric car. The priciest models have an impressive range, while it's much more versatile than a compact EV like the Renault Zoe. The market's moving on rapidly, though, and the Leaf's looking a bit past its best.

+Impressive real-world range from the Leaf E+. Fairly spacious cabin. Should be reliable. Decent value for money.

-Dated infotainment. Pretty drab interior. Competition is now way ahead.

New prices start from £29,690, brokers can source from £21,995
Insurance Groups are between 21–25

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 Nissan Leaf went on sale in 2018, bringing with it an improved interior and more tech for your money. But even then it was starting to feel dated, and there's now a much broader range of very competent electric cars on sale. The Nissan Leaf's £27,000 start price will get you an MG ZS EV or Volkswagen ID.3, while top-end models are straying dangerously close to cars like the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

So what has the Nissan Leaf got in its favour? Well, a new longer-range model arrived in 2019. Badged the Nissan Leaf E+, this has a bigger 59kWh battery providing an official WLTP range of up to 239 miles. It's not quite as impressive as the longest-range electric cars but it should be more than adequate for a lot of drivers.

Not everyone needs an electric car capable of travelling from Land's End to John O'Groats without stopping, though. It's easy to go chasing numbers but remember, the bigger the battery the longer it'll take to charge (and the more that'll cost). If you're only wanting to bimble about locally, even the cheapest Nissan Leaf will be more than adequate – with its 39kWh battery and 168-mile range.

No matter which Nissan Leaf you buy, you'll find it easy and relaxing to drive. Refinement perhaps isn't quite as impressive as newer (more soundproofed) alternatives, but it's no noisier than an MG ZS EV. Turn the e-Pedal on and the Leaf's regenerative braking is ramped up to the max. This simply means that, as soon as you lift off the accelerator, the car will use the electric motor to slow down. With a bit of practice, you'll barely need to use the brake pedal for around-town driving.

The Nissan Leaf's interior feels almost boringly conventional, while there's a distinct lack of plush materials. The standard-fit eight-inch infotainment system looks dated but it's functional, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. That's a good thing.

There's loads of space in the Nissan Leaf, especially if you're comparing it to compact electric cars like the Renault Zoe. You could actually use it as your main family car, thanks to enough space for carrying four adults in comfort. The boot's capable of carrying up to 435 litres of luggage, which is pretty good, although the MG 5 EV is an electric estate car that trumps the Leaf on outright space.

While it's difficult to get excited about the Nissan Leaf in a rapidly expanding market, it could still make a very sensible electric car purchase. Its slight lack of showroom appeal will help you bag a nearly-new bargain (as well as skip waiting lists), while Nissan's electric car expertise means it ought to be a very reliable introduction to eco motoring.

We lived with a Leaf for six months - find out how we got on with it in our Nissan Leaf long term test. Looking for a second opinion? Why not read heycar's Nissan Leaf review

Ask Honest John

What's the best second-hand electric car - Leaf or Zoe?

"I am thinking of buying a used electric vehicle. This will be my first electric car. Would you recommend a Nissan Leaf or a Renault Zoe?"
The answer will depend on which generation of Leaf and Zoe you are thinking of buying. There are two versions of the Nissan Leaf and multiple models of the Renault Zoe (all with varying range). The latest Leaf is very good and much better than the latest Zoe: If you are looking at the older end of the used EV market then I'd suggest buying a 2017 or newer Zoe with the Z.E.40 battery that has a 250-mile range.
Answered by Dan Powell

Is electric car insurance affordable?

"With more and more electric cars coming on the market with power much higher than some supercars. How is this going to going to reflect on insurance costs? I remember in my younger days, to buy a Ford RS Cosworth or Ford Escort Cosworth, you would find the insurance would be almost the cost of the car itself. These electric cars are becoming more affordable to buy but produce more power than cars costing thousands of pounds more. Surely this will cause insurance premiums to rise to the levels of some supercars?"
High-performance EVs will attract the powered up premiums, just like their petrol counterparts. But I haven't seen any evidence that suggests everyday electric cars, like the Nissan Leaf or Renault Zoe, are more expensive to insure than their petrol rivals. Our partner site heycar did some research into this topic and found that Nissan Leaf owners paid £156 less on average than Ford Fiesta drivers:
Answered by Dan Powell

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: 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
More Questions

What does a Nissan Leaf cost?

Buy new from £21,995(list price from £28,995)