Nissan has big plans for the electric Nissan Leaf in the next couple of years. The word on the street is that they will up their driving range to 300 miles. That’s a vast improvement on the majority of electrics out there right now, and a sign that the electric car market is finally maturing.
For now, though, the current Leaf is still a dominant force doing the business for the green car business. So, how does the Nissan Leaf stack up? We’re going to take a look at what you can expect in our brief review.
Right now, the Nissan Leaf is the best-selling electric car in the world, ever. That might surprise some as it isn’t something you hear a lot about in the motor press. Presumably because of the lack of glamour involved in helping to save the planet. Nissan has managed to sell well over 200,000 worldwide, which is an impressive statistic in itself. They also rate high on the satisfaction scale - Leaf owners are amongst the happiest drivers around. So, what is the big draw? Let’s take a closer look.
The new model
The new design features an upgrade to the battery cathodes, giving the Leaf a boost to the energy climb, up to 30 kWh. So, while the bodywork and size haven't changed much, there is a lot more going on under the hood. It extends the previous Leaf’s driving range up to 155 miles; no mean feat for a fully electric set of wheels. It does come at a cost, though. A quick glance over at the sale options at Pentagon-Group reveals the Leaf is at least £1,500 more when you have the 30 kWh option. Overall,m though, it’s still a good value car. Prices start from around the £22-23K mark. That’s a significant drop in price from the competing Tesla Model S - which, admittedly, does go a lot further. But, for price and range, there isn’t anything else on the market that comes close to its value.
The biggest reason Leaf owners love their cars is quite simple: they are great to drive. They are more comfortable than their price might suggest. And, it’s a relaxing, gentle experience that you will struggle to find elsewhere. In other words, it’s a great mainstream car that has a lot of fans from all walks of life. Sure, you might not get the thrills and spills of a petrol guzzling speed machine, but there’s a surprising amount of power. It’s automatic, too, meaning all you need to do to get to speed is hit the throttle. The suspension is robust and calming while handling is sound - if unspectacular. But, again, what can you expect for the price?
We have mentioned the relaxing feel of the Nissan Leaf, and a lot of it comes from the sheer comfort in the interior. There is no engine noise, of course, due to the electric battery power. It’s designed for the masses, so the Leaf features all the mod cons that have become standard in modern cars. You’ll get a good build in the cabin, plenty of leg space in the front and rear, and a logical if ordinary dashboard. There’s plenty of space in the boot, too, with enough room for 330 litres of luggage and equipment.
Of course, the primary reason for spending a five-figure sum on an electric car is because you want to save money at the pumps. Well, with the Leaf, you won’t need to visit the pumps at all. Your home electricity bill is going to rise a little, to compensate, but, it won’t be anywhere near the average car’s fuel spend. If you plump for the 30 kWh option, it’s the perfect vehicle for anything up to an hour long commute. When you consider all these facts, perhaps the price of the Leaf is worth considering after all.
Clearly, there is a lot to love about the Nissan Leaf. Given Nissan is promising to double that driving range, there will be many more people seeing the attraction in the coming years. It’s not perfect, of course. There are minor complaints on the quirkiness of the car, and the interior could be higher quality. But, for the mainstream audience that wants a first look at the power of the electric, there are fewer better options for the price.
Let us know your thoughts on the Nissan Leaf - and electric cars in general. Do you drive one, and how much are you saving at the pumps?