Our Cars: Nissan Leaf Tekna

14 March 2019: Nissan Leaf niggles mount up

The Details

Current mileage 9444
Claimed range 168
Actual range 110

Let’s get one thing straight – we’re big fans of the Nissan Leaf. Over the past three months we’ve used it daily with no major problems. But it’s not a perfect car and part of the purpose of our long-term test reports is to flag up issues that you don’t really get to find out about unless you live with the car for a while.

We’ve talked about getting our hands dirty and having a messy boot, but our car’s boot is compromised in a slightly different way, too. Our car has the optional sub-woofer just bolted to the boot floor... because where else would you put it? Um...

And we’ve also discovered another quirk. You have to properly shove the charging flap down like you were in a bar fight – otherwise it just pops up again. It’s happened several times and each time it’s popped up when the car is doing 70mph on a dual-carriage way. Obviously this is going to impact aerodynamics and economy, and you also run the risk of the flap coming off and hitting the windscreen (or another driver). Not good. Not good at all.

But the biggest bugbear for us is how intrusive the rear-view mirror and all the sensors are. They’re mounted quite far forward on the Leaf’s windscreen and they really get in your way. It’s a problem compounded by the car’s rather chunky A-pillars, which make pulling out at a T-junction harder than it should be.


Sensors and rear-view mirror obscure the driver's view.

The driver assist systems are also very intrusive. If you go to change lanes on a motorway where you’re the only car (for example if you’re filtering on or off) the lane keeper will not only buzz but also hit the brakes because you didn’t use the indicator (even though there was no other driver to indicate to).

We’ve also experienced the emergency forward brake seeing ‘ghosts’. This happens regularly when we’re going home through town along a tightly curved road that has cars parked along both sides. As the road tightens, the sensors think the parked car is an on-coming vehicle and hits the brakes.

Other users have also reported problems with covering long-distance journeys in the Leaf where more than one 40-minute fast-charge is required. Essentially, the software slows the fast charge to protect the battery because the system is hot, which means that the second charge can take up to two hours.

Despite these niggles, we think the Leaf is a good car and we’ll focus on some positive points in the next update.

« Earlier: Why is the Nissan Leaf EV app so bad?     Later: Seven things we love about the Nissan Leaf »

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