Turning over a new LEAF

Nissan LEAF

By Bill McCarthy

The LEAF has come a long way since it hit the roads way back in 2010. A pioneer in its field at the time, it had an odd, bulbous sort of look. It was clearly different.

Now it has migrated from rounded, slightly awkward looks to sharp, angular styling that gives it an instant road presence.

Refreshed for 2022/23 it has a sleek swooping aerodynamic silhouette, with steeply raked windscreen, sloping bonnet, smart elliptical headlights and a new set of striking alloy wheels.

The interior too has moved on from that early model, with advanced technology and a host of driving assistance features. It now has a more premium feel, with a nice soft touch finish, even if some of the rocker switches and switchgear feel a bit dated.

But it is well-designed, comfortable and roomy and the premium feel is enhanced by the leather seats with blue stitching and an array of standard equipment normally seen in higher priced models.

Well equipped, it features heated and powered leather seats, LED headlights and LED signature daytime running lights and a premium Bose® sound system.

These include an eight-inch central screen that hosts the sat-nav, a DAB radio and a suite of infotainment features within the on-board NissanConnect system, which includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration.

A smartphone app lets you check things remotely, such as the battery charge, or you can switch on the climate control in advance of getting in.

It offers good head and legroom for passengers and a deep spacious 435 litres capacity boot that swallows a full complement of suitcases.

The rear seats fold down 60/40 to increase stowage space.

It comes with a choice of two batteries, one 40kWh and the 60kWh on this model. Delivering 150PS and 217PS respectively, they have claimed ranges of between 150 to 239 miles.

In the real world, like many other electric cars, this can be quite a bit less with prevailing conditions like the weather and darkness eating up battery charge.

However the more powerful model should prove pretty adequate for most journeys and it offers the choice of a 50KW fast charge to 80 per cent capacity in just over an hour. 

On the downside, it doesn’t have the facility for the most common rapid-charging connector, so public fast chargers are not compatible.

On the road, it is quick off the mark as most electric cars as it zipping away from a standing start to hit 60mph in a rapid 6.9 seconds.

It’s quiet, refined and comfortable and a pleasant drive around town or on the motorway.

The E-pedal function when activated allows single pedal driving allowing the car to slow when lifting off the accelerator while at the same time flowing recuperated energy back into the battery.

It is packed with safety kit including ProPILOT technology that enables the car to automatically stop, start and maintain a safe distance to the vehicle in front.

It handles well enough although the suspension is on the firm side. However, it is a solid performer and priced keenly enough, with a starting price of a smidge under £27k.

Factfile

 Nissan LEAF e+ Tekna

Price: £36,960

Mechanical: 217PS electric motor, driving front wheels via auto transmission

0-62mph: 6.9 secs

Top speed: 98mph

Range: 239 miles

Insurance group: 25

C02 emissions: 0g/km

Warranty: Three year/60,000 miles 

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