Nissan Leaf review

Category: Electric car

Section: Performance & drive

Nissan Leaf 2020 rear cornering
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 review
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 rear cornering
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD dashboard
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 rear seats
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD infotainment
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 side
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 instrument panel
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 gear selector
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 front seats
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 boot
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 charging socket
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 review
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 rear cornering
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD dashboard
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 rear seats
  • Nissan Leaf 2019 RHD infotainment
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 side
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 instrument panel
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 gear selector
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 front seats
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 boot
  • Nissan Leaf 2020 charging socket
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In this section:
  • Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
  • Suspension and ride comfort
  • Handling
  • Noise and vibration

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 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 VW 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 league of a 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 farther a Honda E can manage and about the same as an MG ZS EV. 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. The result? It's still relatively soft giving similar comfort around town, but 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.

Nissan Leaf 2020 rear cornering

Handling

The Leaf isn't as agile as a Mini Electric, but it does stay more upright through bends than the Zoe or ZS EV. Its steering is also precise, so you can guide it through town or along winding roads without drama, but don't expect much feedback through the wheel to help you gauge grip levels.