Nissan Leaf long-term test

What's an electric car like when you live with it every day? We're running a Nissan Leaf for six months to find out...

Nissan Leaf long-term test
  • The car Nissan Leaf Tekna
  • Run by Allan Muir, managing editor
  • Why it’s here To see whether our 2018 Electric Car of the Year has advanced the cause of battery-powered vehicles at the affordable end of the market
  • Needs to Have a long enough range to make it usable for more than just short hops; be cheap to run; and be as comfortable and practical as any regular family hatchback

Price £32,890 (before £4500 government grant) Price as tested £34,555 Miles covered 3075 Official range 168 miles (WLTP); 235 miles (NEDC) Real-world range 160 miles Options ProPilot Park (£1090), metallic paint (£575)

3 October 2018 – Park life

Our Leaf is fitted with an optional (£1090) parking aid that Nissan calls ProPilot Park. Such aids won’t be for everyone, of course, but anyone who finds parking tricky or simply doesn’t want to risk damaging their car (or anyone else’s) will probably find this feature useful. Nissan’s system does almost everything itself and can safely insert you not only into a parallel space but also frontwards or backwards into an end-on bay.

Nissan Leaf long-term

I’ve tried it out several times in a variety of car parks and can report that it works – albeit slowly. Once you’ve confirmed the space you like the look of and the direction in which you want to enter it on the infotainment screen, you simply hold your finger down on a button on the centre console and the car does the rest all by itself: accelerating, steering, braking, the lot.

The fact that the process takes about three times longer than if I’d done the job myself – getting on for a minute, in some cases – is enough to put me off using it, though. If you’re reversing into an end-on space, having started at right angles behind it, the car will often require at least two forward and backward manoeuvres before it’s done. It also has a disconcerting habit of speeding up once it’s heading almost straight in and then braking abruptly at the last second. The system sometimes struggles to identify the parking space in the first place unless it’s clearly defined, too.

Nissan Leaf long-term

I suspect that if you tried to use the parking aid in a busy car park, you’d have a queue of honking cars behind you long before you’d completed the manoeuvre. Frankly, I reckon it’s far quicker and easier to do it myself, especially as the Nissan Leaf allows you to go swiftly from drive to reverse and vice versa at low speeds without the need to put your foot on the brake pedal.

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