What is it?
The first-generation Nissan Leaf, launched back in 2010, will likely be remembered as a landmark machine in the development of electric cars.
It might not grab the headlines as the likes of Tesla models do, but the Leaf was a game-changer: one of the first truly affordable and viable EVs. Eight years on, it is the best-selling electric car of all time.
Which makes this second-generation Leaf kind of a big deal: arguably the first second-generation mass-market EV, the all-important sequel to a critically acclaimed and hugely popular movie.
And it’s a sequel that arrives at an interesting time. Not only have a string of other electric hatchbacks shown themselves to be a match for the Leaf, just about every car firm you care to mention – from Ssangyong to Hyundai, Audi to Jaguar – are lining up to flood the market with battery electric cars, many of which promise to break new ground in terms of range and performance.
The pressure is on Nissan to respond, then. And expectations that this second-generation Leaf will be as ground-breaking as its predecessor are high. Perhaps unreasonably so.
Predictably, viewed through that somewhat uncharitable prism, the new Leaf could, like most Hollywood sequels, be considered a little disappointing. Sure, it’s bigger than before, and better – it has a WLTP driving range of 168 miles (up from 124), and a 148bhp motor (up from 107bhp) – but it’s all steady increment, rather than a mighty leap.
It’s evolution, not revolution. Which, if you look at this new Leaf removed from any weight of unfair expectation, makes it arguably the most compelling option on the market right now for anyone considering an electric car.
We've already driven the Leaf abroad, but this is our first taste on the UK's rougher - and, during our test, snow-covered - roads.