Not everyone can afford a pricey new electric car, no matter how much less it would cost to fuel. Some of us instead have to wait for depreciation to take its toll, and that’s where early examples of the second-generation Nissan Leaf come in.
Here’s a car that provides all of the practicality of a family hatchback and plenty of modern safety technology, and since the Nissan remains one of the most popular EVs, there are loads of second-hand examples for sale.
You can find a well-specified, mid-range 2018 Leaf for £20,000 or so – a substantial saving of around £7000 compared with the list price of a new one.
There are two motor/battery combinations: the standard Leaf uses a 40kWh pack and a 148bhp motor, while the pricier Nissan Leaf e+ gets a 62kWh pack and a 214bhp motor.
The regular model has a 0-60mph time of around 8.0sec, making it much nippier than conventionally powered rivals. And in the Leaf e+, you actually need to be a bit gentle with your right foot when accelerating out of junctions, otherwise you’ll spin its front wheels.
There’s a choice of trims, but entry-level Visia is best avoided – unless you’re a fan of hair shirts. In fact, that model was dropped shortly after launch, because most buyers went for the next step up, Acenta, to get 16in alloy wheels, blindspot monitoring, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, a reversing camera and a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Arrive at a corner and the Leaf remains fluent, thanks to little body lean and well-weighted steering. Grip is good too, and while the handling won’t inspire you, it’s reassuringly safe and secure. The ride comfort is generally very good as well, with only larger bumps catching out the Leaf.