New Nissan Leaf vs used BMW i3: which is best?

Should you join the electric revolution with a new Nissan Leaf, or do you play it safe with a used range-extender BMW i3? Read our review to find out...

New Nissan Leaf

New Nissan Leaf vs used BMW i3 – alternatives

New Seat Ibiza vs used Audi A1 Sportback: which is best?

The biggest compliment you can give the Volkswagen e-Golf is that it feels like a regular Golf. That sounds faint praise, but since the Golf is one of the best family cars you can buy, it’s actually quite the accolade. The e-Golf does wallow more in corners, due to the additional weight of its batteries, but other than that it drives in a similarly sophisticated way. It's a little bit pricier than the Leaf, though, and you won’t be able to drive as far between charges.

While it’s harder to find on the used market, the Vauxhall Ampera was a fine attempt at a range extender. It's only a four-seater, because the battery pack is housed in a large central transmission tunnel that cuts out the middle seat in the rear, but you should still find it to be a practical family car. We found the electric range to be more like 20-30 miles in our hands, but that's enough for those with short commutes. Even using a slow 13-amp socket at home, you can recharge the battery in six hours, so plug it in when you get home and it’ll be fully replenished when you get in it the next day.

New Volkswagen e-Golf and Used Vauxhall Ampera

New Nissan Leaf vs used BMW i3 – which is best?


The original Leaf was the first electric car to prove that practical zero-emissions motoring was a possibility, and the fact that it quickly became the best-selling electric vehicle is a testament to that. With this second-generation Leaf, Nissan has further improved an already compelling package by making it faster, giving it a longer range and providing more space inside.

The Leaf is easier to live with than the i3, provided, of course, that you can charge it. You see, in order to take full advantage of the Leaf, you’ll need regular access to a charger. Many people in cities don’t have a driveway and therefore cannot have a charge point installed at their home. If you live in a flat with a car park, facilities will have to be installed by the people who run the building, or you'll need to get a charger installed at your place of work. This can be a process beset with bureaucracy, particularly if your place of work doesn’t own the building it operates from, or if the people who look after your block of flats aren't interested in giving up a parking space solely for drivers of electric cars.

If you fall into either of these categories, the BMW i3 might be a better bet for you. It isn’t the most practical car around, and its ride comfort might not be to your liking, but it does give you the option of driving an electric car while also allowing you to keep going if you don’t have easy access to a charger.  

Nissan Leaf vs BMW i3 infotainment
New Seat Ibiza vs used Audi A1 Sportback: which is best?


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