The Nissan LEAF 4-Day Test Drive enables you to explore the strengths of this fully electric, small family, hatchback for an extended period before purchase. Highlights include its: environmental efficiency, pleasing maximum range, option to recharge by a variety of means plus a high equipment specification.
Power and range
The 80kW (109PS) electric motor provides population. Expect 0–62mph in 11.5 seconds which is similar to many petrol and diesel counterparts. The key strength of this unit is that it cannot pollute at the point of use. There is no exhaust pipe – so there are no emissions to damage the environment and cause health issues.
The motor is powered by a lithium ion battery. Choose a 24kWh or 30kWh capacity. The former provides a maximum range of 124 miles and the latter 155. However road conditions, weather, driving style and what equipment is running influence range. Pushing uphill into a headwind requires more power than rolling downhill, for starters.
The Nissan LEAF has a range of systems to maximise its range. ECO Mode limits the power of the motor and cuts back the air-conditioning. B Mode, in contrast, lets the regenerative braking system charge the battery at a more ferocious pace. When slowing, the motor creates electricity for the battery rather than using it.
The LEAF is charged from a standard mains plug, home charger or a public rapid charger. The following table reveals its charge times.
|24kWh battery||30kWh battery|
|Rapid charger||80% in 30 minutes||80% in 30 minutes|
|Home charging unit 3.6kW||7 hours||9.5 hours|
|Home charging unit 6.6kW (optional faster on-board charger)||4 hours||5.5 hours|
|Mains plug||12 hours||15 hours|
Trims and equipment
Trims are: Visia, Acenta, Black Edition and Tekna. All have a pleasing specification. Entry-level Visia features include: Bluetooth, automatic transmission, climate control, hill-start assist, front/rear electric windows and electronic stability programme. The sound for pedestrians system emphasises for safety reasons that this quiet, fully electric, car is manoeuvring nearby.
The Tekna – the top of the range trim - has extra features. Highlights include: heated front/rear seats, leather, privacy glass and cruise control. It also has the around view monitor that makes parking easier by providing a 360 degree, aerial, view of the surroundings. Images come via a camera on each side of the vehicle.
The Nissan LEAF costs £21,680 to £27,790 including its battery. Alternatively, own the car for £16,680 to £22,790 then lease a battery. Depending on the length of the contract and mileage requirements, leasing the battery costs from £70 to £113 per-month.