This is a difficult verdict to give. The Nissan Leaf is a family car, priced well ahead of its similarly sized opposition and that cannot travel much more than 120 miles before it needs to be stationary for hours. That ought to make it absurdly easy to dismiss, but it doesn’t.
Despite its limited range, the Leaf is a thoroughly excellent town car and quite able family transport, with appealing levels of refinement and comfort. There’s ample room for a family of four (five at a push), while the boot is a decent size, especially since the battery charger electronics were relocated from behind the rear seats.
Nissan has given the car a fair sense of style, too, while resisting the temptation to be too outlandish (inside and out) in the quest to boast about the car’s advanced technology.
Compared with similarly-priced rivals, it’s also exceptionally well equipped with a clever sat-nav system that will also detail how far you can go before recharging and tell you where recharging points are. That it emits absolutely nothing (either CO2 or pollutants) from the tailpipe will be of huge value to some buyers, too.
Those in the market for an electric car like the Leaf will be quite aware of its limitations although the 30kWh version limits some of the anxiety. As an active family’s only car, the Leaf is a faintly ludicrous prospect. Think of it, though, as a practical, usable second car that allows a family to own just one internally combusted vehicle, rather than two, and it becomes a proposition that is absolutely viable, and unique.