Our cars: Nissan Leaf - January 2012

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Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf

Week ending January 27
Mileage: 2820
Driven this week: 120

Four days a week, I work for What Car?, but once a week I embark on a second life – as a Fives coach at St Dunstan’s College in Catford – and that demands a journey that strikes fear into the heart of any Londoner: from South West to South East, around the South Circular.

Happily, the Leaf is perfect for the job. Its light and airy interior is a pleasant place to while away the hour-long crawl, and the instant response of the electric motor is just the ticket for easing my way in and out of the rare gaps in the traffic. In many ways, the Leaf makes the perfect city car.

My only slight complaints are that my long legs wish the driver’s seat would slide a little further back, and I wish the windscreen pillars were a little thinner, allowing me a better view out.

Mind you, none of that came as news to me. I have driven the Leaf before and emerged with much the same conclusion. Instead, what was most remarkable was that the battery range seemed so much shorter in the cold weather – both in how far the car said I could go on a full charge, and in how quickly that range became depleted.

I started on Wednesday evening with a claimed range of some 75 miles (it’s nearer 100 miles in the summer), and after doing no more than 50 miles in the course of two days, returned to the office on Friday morning, with just 5 miles’ charge left – and lots of warning lights flashing!

Nissan Leaf review

Week ending January 13
Mileage: 2546
Driven this week: 108

The morning after the What Car? Awards is considered one of the toughest drives of the year. You’re in London, the day after this title’s biggest night. You’re recovering from ‘a bit of a do’, therefore, but the traffic’s still awful.

Enter the Nissan Leaf: silent, totally relaxing town transport, without even the faintest of engine vibrations to aggravate the oh-so-tender heads of my passengers.

In all seriousness, it’s this sort of journey that shows the Leaf in its best light. It is simply awesome city transport, with a bright, airy interior, good all-round visibility, a compliant ride at low speeds and that beautiful surge of torque from, er, zero revs. It made the (late) morning after the night before bearable.


Our cars: Nissan Leaf - December


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