From £20,9757
Nissan has raised the all-electric Leaf's game by increasing its range by 25%. We drive it on UK roads for the first time

Our Verdict

Nissan Leaf
2013 saw the launch of the re-engineered Nissan Leaf

The electric Nissan Leaf has its work cut out competing with cheaper mainstream cars - but it does make a case for itself

26 January 2016

What is it?

The electric revolution continues, with more than 27,000 plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles sold throughout 2015, representing a 90% increase on 2014.

Nissan believes one of the main reasons for the increase in consumer demand is down to the number of electric and hybrid vehicles available on the market, with a total of 30 available now compared with the six options on offer back when the original Nissan Leaf was launched in 2010.

The Leaf is still regarded as a viable route into EV ownership, with a £20,790 price tag for the entry-level Visia trim 24kWh version. But now Nissan has decided to tackle the issue of range anxiety with this new 30kWh Leaf, which is claimed to have a longer, 155-mile range.

Despite an increase in the battery’s capacity, the battery unit is still the same. Nissan has introduced new cathode and electrode materials and has revised the battery's construction in order to increase density. As a result the Leaf weighs 21kg more than its 24kWh stablemate, but performance and speed remain the same.

The 30kWh Leaf will be available in mid-level Acenta and range-topping Tekna trims only, with prices starting from £24,490 after the £5000 government subsidy has been applied. You also get the added bonus of a longer eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on the battery.

What's it like?

Interior quality is good rather than great, with a solid construction but a few too many hard plastics dotted about the cabin. The driver’s seat, though, is easy to adjust for comfort. Pressing the start button greets you with a charming tone as the car sets itself up.

After releasing the footbrake and selecting drive mode, the Leaf seamlessly and quietly surges away with only a very slight whirr in the background. 

Accelerate hard and the sprint from 0-30mph is conquered quickly, but the Leaf feels a little pedestrian as it picks up speed, which can mean some overtakes require a little more planning. In town, however, where it'll be used most, it is responsive enough to make the most of any gaps.

Once up to speed the Leaf is quiet and refined. Excessive tyre roar and wind noise is kept at bay, which makes driving the Leaf a relaxing experience. As the pace picks up to motorway speeds the noise level increases, but not to the point where it becomes intrusive.

The Leaf's ride remains smooth and it handles bumps and road intrusions well, with even bigger potholes and undulations doing little to cause the Leaf to become unsettled. 

On our 55-mile test route around Northamptonshire, the Leaf only used an indicated 50 miles of range, but even on this prescribed route we found ourselves sometimes peering anxiously at the predicted range. It seems only Tesla has managed to remove most of the anxiety, albeit at a far higher price. 

The mid-level Acenta trim equips with the 30kWh Leaf with a host of useful features including automatic climate control, reversing camera, a 7.0in infotainment/sat-nav system and Nissan Connect, which brings telematics, nearby charging location information and the option to activate charging and the climate control via a smartphone or computer.

The Tekna-trim car we drove which benefitted from a nine-speaker Bose sound system, 17in alloy wheels, LED headlights, heated front and rear seats and heated mirrors.

Should I buy one?

Of course, the extended range that the 30kWh Leaf provides will certainly appeal to potential buyers put off by the 80-odd miles provided by the 24kWh car. However, bear in mind that the 155-mile figure being marketed will translate to more like 120 miles on the public road.

Still, that's plenty for most, and the Leaf remains a comfortable car around town, where it will spend the majority of its time. The pure-electric car remains a niche choice governed by how well your surroundings and daily life are set-up for ownership of one, but the UK's infrastructure is improving.

Ultimately, if you decide to take the plunge, the Nissan Leaf now makes an even more compelling case for itself than it did before. 

Nissan Leaf 30kWh Tekna

Where Silverstone; On sale Now; Price £21,490 (plus £70 per month battery leasing) or £26,490 (after £5000 government subsidy); Engine Electric motor; Power 107bhp at 3000-10,000rpm; Torque 187lb ft at 0-3000rpm; Gearbox single-ratio ‘reducer’; Kerb weight 1516kg; 0-62mph 11.5sec; Top speed 90mph Range 155 miles; CO2 0g/km

Join the debate

Comments
7

26 January 2016
At last a non-vw Porsche 911 article. Looking good for the next Leaf in 2017, Nissan are stealing a bit of a lead on the German opposition.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

27 January 2016
Half the range of a Tesla and twice as ugly. When are the big players going to get to grips with this-its already been proven by a back-yard firm from the U.S. Is it oil-cartel corruption at work or are they delaying for some other reason. ???

27 January 2016
Always seemed strange to me that in the past Oil prices and then petrol went up when there was trouble in Middle east, stories of being ripped of were rife. Now it seems the opposite Oil and therefore Petrol goes from £1.40 to £1.00 despite all the problems in the Middle East. I guess this time Oil/Petrol companies have to think about the future threat to their business model that is the Plug-in.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

27 January 2016
xxxx wrote:
Always seemed strange to me that in the past Oil prices and then petrol went up when there was trouble in Middle east, stories of being ripped of were rife. Now it seems the opposite Oil and therefore Petrol goes from £1.40 to £1.00 despite all the problems in the Middle East. I guess this time Oil/Petrol companies have to think about the future threat to their business model that is the Plug-in.
Nothing strange going on xxxx regarding oil prices. Oil has become very cheap recently mainly due to fracking in the USA and tar sands in Canada. The USA is heading to be self sufficient in oil and gas and is preparing to become an exporter of crude hence the US government changing the law to allow exports of crude oil. It was recently reported that gasoline was selling retail for 43 cents a gallon in Michegan. Here in the UK petrol retails at about 25p per litre before the almost 300% of taxes is added to bring the total to just under £1 a litre.. As most electricity in the UK is produced by fossil fuels green lobby groups give the leaf a rating of 44 mpg. That is less than a similar sized diesel car manages, that I believe is one of the major reasons with price, low range, and lack of charge points holding back electric cars. If we all adopted electric cars the government would certainly not give you £5k off each car nor allow you to get away with aying virtually no tax on your fuel electricity.

28 January 2016
Campervan wrote:
xxxx wrote:
Always seemed strange to me that in the past Oil prices and then petrol went up when there was trouble in Middle east, stories of being ripped of were rife. Now it seems the opposite Oil and therefore Petrol goes from £1.40 to £1.00 despite all the problems in the Middle East. I guess this time Oil/Petrol companies have to think about the future threat to their business model that is the Plug-in.
Nothing strange going on xxxx regarding oil prices. Oil has become very cheap recently mainly due to fracking in the USA and tar sands in Canada. The USA is heading to be self sufficient in oil and gas and is preparing to become an exporter of crude hence the US government changing the law to allow exports of crude oil. It was recently reported that gasoline was selling retail for 43 cents a gallon in Michegan. Here in the UK petrol retails at about 25p per litre before the almost 300% of taxes is added to bring the total to just under £1 a litre.. As most electricity in the UK is produced by fossil fuels green lobby groups give the leaf a rating of 44 mpg. That is less than a similar sized diesel car manages, that I believe is one of the major reasons with price, low range, and lack of charge points holding back electric cars. If we all adopted electric cars the government would certainly not give you £5k off each car nor allow you to get away with aying virtually no tax on your fuel electricity.
Actually OPEC (80% of the world's oil reserves and producing four in every 10 barrels of oil, more than America ever could) are not dropping supply like they used to is the main reason oil prices are so low. Several reasons for this including internal wangling and maybe just maybe worrying about the world dumping oil as a fuel for transport in the long term. Leaf 44 mpg?, no matter how you put it to the consumer it’s around 2p a mile which works out to an equivant 225mpg (with petrol at £4.50), fact. If it's well adopted the Plug-in car prices will come down and the government grant won't be needed anyway.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

2 February 2016

The comparison you give is completely wrong at 44mpg. You're comparing well to wheel with the leaf vs pump to wheel on a diesel car.

Agreed the government would stop the subsidy if we all bought electric cars, but the volumes would go up so much that they would most likely come down by that much anyway. As for the no tax on electricity, I don't think they'd go down that route anyway as how could they tell if you were using solar/wind, or differentiate from it being an oven on for a few hours vs charging a car.

27 January 2016
XXXX is correct to conclude that Nissan (and nearly all Japanese car companies) have a lead on the Germans with regard to "alternative fuel" vehicles - full electric/petrol-electric hybrid/hydrogen fuel cell etc. This is because 15 or so years ago the Japanese and Americans decided that the way forward with so-called man made global warming, emissions regulations falling out from that concept and the inevitable reduction in fossil fuel availability and ultimately the drying up of fossil fuels was electric power. The Japanese are looking towards 2035 and beyond with cars like the Leaf being the concept proving prototypes. Tesla are just as forward looking if not more so and show what can be done by pushing technical boundaries. The problem in Europe is that the EU effectively decided that the future was diesel and so French and German car makers have advanced diesel engines to the stage where some like the BMW 320d are quicker and more powerful than their petrol equivalents. The problem with that approach has been a massive reduction in air quality in the EU, public health has been damaged and now we find with the VW Dieselgate scandal that the Germans were just lying about how clean their diesels were hence the above issues with pollution. Only BMW seems to have grasped the problem and started to produce the "i" range of electric and hybrid cars. This technology is now filtering down to the mainstream BMW range with cars like the 3 Series PHEV. By 2020 I expect that the 3 and 5 Series ranges will have more PHEV variants than diesel or petrol ones. It is only a matter of time before we have a BMW M3e PHEV as well. If the US authorities continue with their legal action at both a Federal and State level as seems to be the case by 2020 VW could have ceased to exist under the weight of fines and bans on US sales of their cars. As for the oil companies it is interesting that some like Esso and BP are now re-branding themselves as "energy" companies suggesting they know that they have to expand into things like charging points and hydrogen production.

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