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View all Nissan Leaf reviews
Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9

A usable electric car that's starting to fall off the pace

Nissan Leaf Hatchback (18 on) - rated 3.9 out of 5
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PROS

  • Easy to drive, silent and refined
  • Intuitive and east-to-use E-Pedal set-up
  • The 62kWh Leaf e+ promises 215-plus mile range

CONS

  • Strange driving position and lack of enthusiast appeal
  • Longer range, but still shorter than a tank of petrol
  • Unable to perform multiple rapid recharges on 40kW 

PROS

  • Easy to drive, silent and refined
  • Intuitive and east-to-use E-Pedal set-up
  • The 62kWh Leaf e+ promises 215-plus mile range

CONS

  • Strange driving position and lack of enthusiast appeal
  • Longer range, but still shorter than a tank of petrol
  • Unable to perform multiple rapid recharges on 40kW 

Nissan Leaf Hatchback rivals

BMW
i3
4.5 out of 5 4.5

The second-generation version of the ground-breaking electric Nissan Leaf continues to perform a great job of cementing the company's position as an EV (also known as BEV) pioneer. It's easy to use, reasonably cheap to finance, generously equipped for the money– but don't ever expect to buy a petrol or diesel version.

The Leaf Mk2 wasn't entirely new when launched. It was a very heavily revised version of the original Leaf – boasting changes that make it better looking and faster, while also increasing the all-important range between recharges. Nissan is so far ahead of the game that, even though electrification is an increasingly hot topic in the motoring world, the Leaf finds itself with very few direct rivals.

The smaller Renault Zoe might appear on some shopping lists, but in terms of cars that match the Leaf for family-friendly size, there’s only really the electric motor version of the Hyundai Ioniq and the Volkswagen e-Golf to contend with. The BMW i3 is another option, but it’s more expensive and isn't quite as spacious.

What’s more, the updated Leaf is riding on the crest of very big wave. It is the world’s biggest selling BEV – with more than 300,000 produced so far and registered in England, many built right here in Britain at Nissan’s Sunderland factory – and has a loyal following. The previous model’s satisfaction rating has been measured (admittedly by Nissan) at a staggering 94%, so this new Leaf had better be good.

Using feedback from current owners and a larger 40kWh battery pack, so it's easy to drive, but other issues – such as its poor driving position – remain as before. Nissan claims a significant improvement and is hoping for wider appeal – in order to not only keep its existing customers as the EV market becomes more competitive but also win over plenty of new ones.

Will you get range anxiety in one?

The second-generation Leaf is much less controversial to look at than its quirky predecessor, but it's still left-field compared with something like an e-Golf. The design is less polarising yet still doesn't appear to be entirely conventional. It’s attractively styled in a manner the previous model never was, yet different enough for those who want to highlight their green credentials.

More importantly for most people, however, it also goes further between charges. That it’s significantly faster as well should further please many potential buyers. How much faster? Try 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds (down from 11.5 seconds); power is up 38% to 150hp, torque is up 26% to 320Nm – the Leaf is now a much more sprightly thing to drive.

As for the driving range, based on the official standard presently used by all car manufacturers, the claim is 168 miles per charge for 40kWh Leafs. For pure city use – the Leaf claims 258 miles on this basis. Enough to quell your EV range anxiety? Only you can decide that.

2018 Nissan Leaf interior

The increase comes partly from optimised aerodynamics and some clever electronic systems, but mostly from fitting a larger 40kWh lithium ion battery pack (the previous Leaf was offered in 24kWh and 30kWh variants). The pack takes up no more room than the previous designs, but it’s more energy dense, hence the greater capacity.

The Mk2 Leaf is also faster to charge – if only when using a home wallbox or public quick charger. On a regular three-pin household plug it now takes 21 hours due to the increased battery capacity.

Faster, longer range Leaf 3.Zero e+ 

Nissan has promised a faster version when it previewed the Leaf Nismo, but what appeared at the start of 2019 was the clunkily titled Leaf 3.Zero e+ limited edition. It's the e+ part that's pertient here, because it indicates that it's the 62kWh version with a bigger battery, featuring a 217hp motor that produces 340Nm of pulling power, which should mean rapid acceleration.

Not only that, but the 62kWh Leaf e+ also has a claimed range of 239 miles between recharges. Other modifications for 3.Zero models, which should filter down to other Leafs later in 2019, include an enlarged 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen complete with what Nissan refers to as door-to-door navigation.

Trim levels and interior quality

Inside, the second-generation Leaf has broader appeal than before, yet somehow manages to look less modern. It's well equipped with Nissan's semi-autonomous ProPilot cruise control system, as well as a much more up-to-date infotainment system. The quality has taken a notable lift - although it won't trouble an e-Golf in terms of tactile quality - while the new dashboard, steering wheel and controls feel altogether more conventional and inviting – although there are still lots of buttons, not all of which seem to be sensibly placed.

The UK gets four standard trim levels: Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta and Tekna. Equipment is generous across the board, and at 435 litres, the boot is bigger than any rival – including those part-electric plug-in hybrids you might be considering.

Now with a longer range from its bigger battery, is the Leaf a match for the brilliant Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric? Read on for the full review, and find out…

Find out more about all electric cars here

Nissan Leaf Hatchback rivals

BMW
i3
4.5 out of 5 4.5