There are lots of serious reasons to like the Nissan LEAF. Its range of up to 155 miles, for example, or its classy, futuristic cabin. Or even the Tekna model’s 360-degree video cameras, which make parking a doddle.
Point it at the open road, though, and you’ll notice something else.The f-word. A word not often associated with lowering emissions and sensible, economic motoring. Fun.
You see, electric cars are pretty special when it comes to power delivery. Take the Nissan LEAF. 254Nm of torque is a lot, which means plenty of punch when it comes to getting out of a corner and into the next straight, but it’s how an electric motor delivers that power that makes it really interesting.
Traditional diesel or petrol cars need a gearbox, and getting to peak torque takes a while. The Nissan LEAF produces peak torque from zero RPM, so you get maximum power delivery from standstill. That makes acceleration a pretty special event – that 11.5 second 0-60 time feels much, much faster.
Otherwise, the LEAF drives like the best, quietest hot hatch you’ll ever own: precise steering and keen suspension keep it poised and predictable, making it as happy during a motorway cruise as it is on a decent A-road.
And once you get over the LEAF’s handling and acceleration, there’s plenty of fun to be had elsewhere. Take its stylish, blue and white accented cabin, whose technology almost matches what’s under the bonnet. Acenta and Tekna models come with the ability to check your LEAF’s battery status from your smartphone, or set the car heater going before you’ve got in. Bluetooth is standard on all models, but the Acenta gets a six-speaker surround sound system and the Tekna goes one better, with its seven-speaker Bose system providing a high-end audio experience.
Still think electric cars are serious?
Don’t stop the fun
The LEAF’s range of up to 155 miles should cover most journeys, but the UK’s electric car charging network is growing all the time. Hit Zap-Map for full details – its smartphone app will tell you where your nearest juice stop is.
Of course, you can charge your LEAF from a three-pin socket at home, but you’ll find charging stations all over the country. Public chargers are often 55kW Rapid Chargers, which rush the LEAF’s battery to 80 per cent charge in just 40 minutes.
No fuel is good fuel
Both Nissan and What Car? are committed to helping drivers understand the real cost of motoring. True MPG is What Car?’s guide to how many miles a petrol, diesel or hybrid car really does to the gallon. Still, when it comes to fuel efficiency, no petrol. diesel or hybrid engine can beat the Nissan LEAF: it uses no combustible fuel at all.