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.
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.