This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Nissan Leaf Hatchback review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

Key to the appeal of Nissan Leaf performance is just how easy it is to access it. Press the start button, remind yourself there’s not meant to be any engine noise, select D and touch the accelerator – you’re off.

There’s 254Nm available from the off, and 108bhp shortly after, so while the Leaf is more concerned with saving the planet than shaving tenths off lap times it can prove surprisingly nimble at the traffic lights. In fact, with its single forward gear ratio the Leaf is surprisingly fast around town and can keep up with, and sometimes sprint in front of, most other users.

On the open road the Nissan will complete the 0-62mph benchmark in 11.5 seconds and complete its run at a maximum of 89mph. All in complete silence – save for the now more noticeable road and wind noise. It’s a strange sensation, but one that readily appeals from the moment you set off.

Brake energy recuperation has been increased from 88% to 94% while using the new B mode, though we found this too aggressive at higher speeds and better suited to low-speed town use.

It handles much like a conventionally powered family car, and is much more composed than most of its electric car rivals. There’s some body roll when cornering, but on the whole you’re unaware of the car’s relatively tall 1,550mm height – the low slung batteries helping keep the centre of gravity down.

Things have improved over the first generation cars though, the suspension being comprehensively retuned with British roads in mind. Previously high-speed ride was an issue, the bobbing sensation on rough motorway surfaces a tell-tale sign of the Nissan EV being considerably under-damped.

The steering has been re-engineered too, requiring more effort than before at high speed, lessening the nervous feeling it had around the dead ahead before. There’s still little feel to be felt though, and the Leaf is most at home in the town centre when steering feedback isn’t important.