Nissan Leaf review

Category: Electric car

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:electric
Available colours:
Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD infotainment
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  • Nissan Leaf 2019 front cornering shot
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 rear tracking shot
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD dashboard
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 rear seats
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD infotainment
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 front tracking shot
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 side tracking shot
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD instrument panel detail
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD gear selector closeup
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD front seats
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 boot open
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 charging sockets
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 front cornering shot
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 rear tracking shot
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD dashboard
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 rear seats
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD infotainment
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 front tracking shot
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 side tracking shot
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD instrument panel detail
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD gear selector closeup
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD front seats
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 boot open
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 charging sockets
RRP £29,845What Car? Target Price from£28,430

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

The 40kWh Leaf qualifies for the lowest band of benefit-in-kind tax, so company car users who choose one of the lower trim levels will sacrifice roughly the same amount of salary as if they had plumped for a middle-of-the-range VW Polo. When compared to other electric cars, its purchase price puts BiK slightly higher than you’ll pay for a Renault Zoe, but lower than for a VW e-Golf or Kia e-Niro.

Of course, private buyers are more likely to be excited by the prospect of spending a lot less on fuel than would be the case in a petrol or diesel car. However, you’ll need to do a lot of miles before the Leaf begins to pay for itself. Even when you take into account the government's £3500 grant and the fact that the Leaf is exempt from road tax, a small petrol hatchback will still work out as a cheaper option for many.

With its bigger battery, the Leaf e+ Tekna, meanwhile, is very expensive but still won’t travel as far on a full charge as the e-Niro or Hyundai Kona Electric. So if you want a Leaf we’d stick with the standard battery.

The Leaf uses the same Type 2 connector for normal charging as most of its rivals. However, unlike the Zoe and e-Golf, there’s also a CHAdeMO connector for fast charging. Charging at home from a 7kW wallbox will take around eight hours, although you can charge to 80% from a 50kW CHAdeMO charger in about 40 minutes. Nissan says the e+ Tekna battery might be bigger, but it can charge at faster speeds than the 40kWh version – so their charging times should be very similar.

Equipment, options and extras

Entry-level Acenta trim is all most buyers will really need. It gives you 16in alloys, climate control, automatic lights and wipers, adaptive cruise control and tonnes of safety kit, along with the sat-nav equipped infotainment system mentioned above. If you want heated seats or parking sensors, you can always add them as an option.

It's worth considering an upgrade to N-Connecta trim, though – this adds part-leather and heated front seats, a heated steering wheel,  electric folding door mirrors and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Tekna is too pricey to really recommend, although that does come with full leather seats and a driver assistance system that can take care of the steering in certain situations (such as motorway driving) while keeping you a set distance from the car in front. The e+ Tekna is pricier still, with pretty much the same equipment list as the 40kWh Tekna but with a couple of subtle cosmetic tweaks.

Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD infotainment

Reliability

The previous-generation Leaf proved surprisingly dependable, dispelling any notion that new technology is bound to be full of glitches.

This latest model was too new to feature in the 2018 What Car? Reliability Survey. However, overall, Nissan as a brand did very badly, finishing near the bottom of the league table (27th out of 31 manufacturers).

The Leaf comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty for its 'standard components'; its electric drivetrain is covered for five years (also capped at 60,000 miles).

Safety and security

Every leaf comes with automatic emergency braking (AEB) as standard, along with lane departure warning, blindspot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. The latter will warn you about passing cars when you’re reversing out onto a busy road.

With all that preventative safety tech, along with six airbags to keep you safe if you are unlucky enough to hit something, it's no wonder the Leaf scored five starts (out of five) in its Euro NCAP safety tests.

All models come with a Thatcham-approved alarm as standard.

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Nissan Leaf 2019 front cornering shot
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Overview

The Nissan Leaf is reasonable to drive, well equipped and easy to live with. However, the Kia e-Niro and big-battery version of the Hyundai Kona Electric will both go much further on a full charge. True, the standard battery versions of the Leaf may appear good value compared to those rivals if you can live with its shorter range, but the e+ Tekna is far too expensive to recommend, and still has a shorter real-world range than some rivals.

  • Punchy performance
  • Lots of standard safety kit
  • Big boot
  • Rear headroom
  • Flawed driving position
  • Limited real-world range

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