What's the used Nissan Leaf hatchback like?
We can say the future’s electric, but that future really started to arrive in 2011. That was when Nissan first offered the Leaf in the UK. It was not only one of the first all-electric cars to go on sale, but also, by dint of being an Astra-sized hatchback, one of the most family-friendly.
For a first-generation electric car, most models have a pretty useful range, too, although the later 30kWh model that was introduced during the 2016 refresh is considerably better than the early 24kWh Leaf. As with all electric cars, battery range is dependent on a number of factors, including how the car is used and even the weather, so you may not match the official figures in everyday use. Ideally, you will need some off-street parking or dedicated space to charge the car overnight, too. Otherwise, you'll have to rely on the public charging network, and this might not fit into everybody's daily routine.
Those points are worth considering before you decide whether an electric car fits into your lifestyle. If it does, the Leaf must be considered one of the very best of them. It’s quiet, comfortable, and good to drive. Pre-2013 examples have a more supple ride around town, while Leafs built after this date have slightly firmer suspension setup to improve stability at motorway speeds.
Equipment levels are generous, though; even an entry-level Leaf Visia comes with a fair amount of standard features, including climate control, Bluetooth, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, all-round electric windows, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and keyless start and go.
For a more rounded specification, we’d recommend the Acenta trim if you can find one. It adds cruise control, power-fold door mirrors, a driver’s armrest and automatic lights and wipers. You also get better infotainment with sat-nav and Nissan Connect EV, as well as plusher interior trim.
The top-spec Tekna grade features lots of toys, but it commands a hefty price, even in a used example. Only those really keen on having every last piece of kit, such as the high-end Bose audio system and heated leather seats all round, should opt for this.
The changes made in 2013 also extended to the interior because you could specify a matt black dashboard, which wouldn't reflect sunlight as much as the earlier cream one, which tended to also look grubby unless you kept a fastidious cleaning regime. Space is par for the family car course upfront, but the steering wheel only adjusts up and down, so some may not find a comfortable driving position. Six-footers can fit in the back, but the boot is on the small side for a family car, and it has a high lip to lift items over.