The team at motoring.co.uk assessed the Nissan Leaf with keen interest, having picked the car up from a local Nissan dealer, we had 24 hours to find out more, and here’s what we found out.
First impressions were that, the car was much bigger than we expected, with room for 5 adults and a decent size boot.
Interior finish was a little disappointing for a £25,000 investment after the governments £5000 rebate, but most of your bucks go on the technology, not the fittings.Boot space is fair, with no spare wheel and a tyre repair kit replacement. The car is not amazingly pretty, but it certainly attracts attention and interest with plenty of people stopping for a chat as we took some pictures.
It took a little while to work out whether the car was on or off, with a keyless start proving challenging. Perhaps a simple ON and OFF indicator might be just what is needed.
Noise levels in the cabin are low, and although there is a detectable hum, there isn’t much else that you hear, so it is a pretty relaxing drive. Acceleration is fairly brisk, but the Leaf used up 40% of the charge in just 30 miles of being driven hard, so keep your foot off the ‘gas’ if you want extended range.
There is no gearshift, as you select drive or reverse via a toggle on the centre console which you get used to quickly. The dashboard is modern, with a charge indicator visible easily and constantly.
Driving on country lanes doesn’t seem to suit the Leaf, with the steering appearing a little vague and the ride generally uninspiring. But the Leaf isn’t made for long jaunts in the country, it’s roots will be firmly anchored in urban life, joining it’s Qashqai sibling on the school and office run. And here’s where it works. Maybe the maths aren’t 100% right for everybody, but with a typical hatchback costing £80 to fill with fuel, the Leaf wins hands down with costs below 20% of the average. And it is exempt from the London congestion charge, saving £10 per day in the City. And of course there is no road tax to pay. With the Government taxing motorists to the hilt, it’s nice to keep a little for yourself.
Charging infrastructure is also best around big cities, as you can see from the map. Charging is slow at home, with a 12 hour overnight charge giving you circa 80 miles or a full charge with a Nissan adaptor. Dealer and certain public charging points are a lot quicker, with only a half hour slot needed, but aren’t always available.
The car needs a little compromise and a little planning. If you are a follower, this can’t isn’t for you. But if you want to make a statement, take a lead and show others the way forward, take a Leaf for a test drive, take it home and make a big difference.