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What Car? Electric Car Awards in association with ONTO

Electric Car Awards 2021: Best used electric family car

With electrified cars now coming in all shapes and sizes – and available to suit every budget – we’ve named the best models in every class. Here we look at the best used electric family car...

WINNER: Best used electric family car

Nissan Leaf 40kWh

Electric Car Awards 2021 logo

The second-generation Nissan Leaf took all the promise of the innovative original car, added a bit of polish to the driving experience and updated the battery tech. The result was a truly viable electric alternative to the traditional family car: it’s practical and good to drive, plus its range makes it useful for more than just commuting.

There are two models to choose from: one with a 40kWh battery and a 62kWh version (known as the e+). The 40kWh cars have plenty to offer, such as 148bhp and an official range of 168 miles, while the e+ puts out 214bhp and promises a range of up to 239 miles.

Hyundai Kona vs Nissan Leaf

Bought used, it’s now decently affordable, too. Prices for two-year-old examples of the 40kWh Leaf start at around £17,500. Acenta and well-equipped N-Connecta trims are available for this money, with range-topping Tekna costing only a grand or so more. The e+ starts at around £24,000, which is a significant hike in price over the regular model, and its stiffer ride makes it far less appealing, despite its longer range and extra pace.

In fact, performance is sprightly for the class, no matter which variant you go for, and the 40kWh Leaf delivers polished handling and a comfortable ride. You sit high up, so visibility is generally good, although large pillars can sometimes obstruct your rearward view.

Nissan Leaf dashboard

The Leaf’s dashboard is logically laid out and pleasing to the eye, and you get a touchscreen that’s clear and easy to use. Space up front and in the back is reasonable, too, and so is boot space. However, bear in mind that Tekna and e+ Tekna models, with their Bose sound systems’ subwoofer, have less capacity.

Overall, the 40kWh Leaf impresses next to its used rivals; its bigger battery makes it more usable than the Volkswagen e-Golf, and it’s more affordable to buy than the BMW i3.

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