Nissan created the Prairie electric car way back in 1995 but only now is it beginning to invest heavily in EVs. With the Leaf and its range of around 124 miles, Nissan is targeting low mileage drivers but the initial high price put people off. However, it has dropped its retail price and also added in a new pricing scheme which enables you to lease the Nissan Leaf’s battery. Read on to find out if it’s worth it.
Nissan Leaf. Image: Google UK
The Nissan Leaf has a relatively conventional structure and is comprised of a steel structure with a torsion beam at the rear and MacPherson struts at the front. The LED cluster is designed to keep airflow away from the mirrors which should reduce aerodynamic drag. The charging sockets are in the nose of the vehicle which is convenient and there is a grille at the front where the engine would normally be which directs cool air to the systems under the bonnet.
The Leaf has a delightful cheerful interior; it has a split level display which has the speedometer above the steering wheel and the ancillary gauges behind. The remaining IT systems are in the centre of the dashboard; these consist of the vehicle monitor, sat-nav and entertainment systems.
Nissan Leaf. Image: Google UK
There is also a system of gauges which display the amount of energy used by the ancillary power drains and drive motor. The Leaf has a quiet cabin and while there is plenty of legroom, things get a bit tight when it comes to headroom and boot space.
As the Leaf has heavy lithium ion batteries in droves, it happens to be around 200kg heavier than most internal combustion vehicles of a similar size. The batteries are located beneath the boot floor but the car itself travels smoothly. While handling is okay, the steering is best suited to urban areas because it lacks feel and more steering input is needed at higher speeds than most motorists would want.
It is also not particularly suited to motorways speeds as travelling above 70mph becomes a slightly hairy experience. The Leaf can travel up to 80 miles on a single charge though this falls to 45 miles on snowy wintery days. However, the updated version of the car has a new heating system which is pump-based and appears to extend the Leaf’s range to 100 miles.
The Leaf is safe and predictable unless you are travelling at higher speeds and its range isn’t a problem if you are using it as a second car or else you typically drive short distances. As it can fit 4-5 people and has a generously sized boot, the Nissan Leaf is definitely a suitable town car and its clever sat-nav system tells you how much further you can drive without a charge. However, it is not a practical car if you live in a rural location or plan to use it as your only mode of transportation.
- Rating 3.5/5
- Cost – £30,935 ($51,000)
- Miles Per Gallon Equivalent (MPG): 102 on highway, 129 city driving
- Official Driving Range (Miles): 80-100 miles
- Standard Charging Time (Hours): 0-80% charge in 30 minutes using Rapid Charging Station
- Practicality (Seats & Doors): 5 door hatchback
- Engine Size: 80kW electric motor
- Engine Power: 110bhp
- Transmission: Single speed constant ratio (7.94:1)
- Acceleration (0-62mph): 11.5 seconds
- Top Speed (mph): 89mph
- NCAP Safety Rating: 5 stars