Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Some people still associate electric cars with milk float performance, but that really couldn’t be further from the truth. The 40kWh version of the Nissan Leaf can manage 0-62mph in around eight seconds; a perfectly respectable time and quicker than a Renault Zoe, if not quite as nippy as the Kia e-Niro or Volkswagen ID.3. The 62kWh Leaf (called the e+) is quicker still with 0-62mph taking just 6.9sec; acceleration is surprisingly brisk, if not quite in the same league as the Tesla Model 3.
But when it comes to electric cars, performance isn’t just about how quickly you can speed up – it’s also about how far you can drive between charges. Official figures for the 40kWh Leaf say 168 miles, which is a lot further than the Honda E can manage and about the same as the BMW i3. Meanwhile, the 62kWh version of the Leaf can officially manage 239 miles on a full charge.
Things are rather different in the 62kWh e+ version. It’s heavier than the 40kWh model and its ride height has been raised by 5mm to help accommodate the bigger battery under its floor, and the suspension seems firmer to better control body movements. The result? Sudden impacts around town – such as potholes and speed bumps – can cause a bit of a jolt that would otherwise be absorbed by the softer Citroën e-C4.
On the motorway things get really quite unsettled, and along undulating roads you’ll experience a lot of head bobbing, which gets annoying after a while. In such circumstances, an ID.3 would be preferable because it smooths out imperfections far better.