Road Tests

Nissan Leaf

3

thumbs upSmooth, refined, decent range, lots of room, well proven and built in Britain

thumbs downHeavy early depreciation, not exciting to drive, battery only

Should You?

The Leaf is the world’s most popular EV with 200,000 sold and has proven to be utterly reliable. Taxi firms now reporting 100k plus mileages without incident and battery life span looks very promising. Nissan claim to have only had a miniscule amount of battery failures since launch – all replaced under warranty. 90 mph top speed and 120-mile range on early cars but later 30 kWh versions good for 145 miles.  Big cabin, useful boot and very low running costs. With government Plug in Grant the new price works out at around the same as a Ford Focus with yearly running costs of around £250. The Leaf’s initial depreciation heavier than conventional petrol or diesel hatchbacks though but levels off in year three and four. Used values are likely to rise soon as buyers see value at around £6k for sensible mileage secondhand examples.  Probably Britain’s best value and most capable used EV.

My Charging Life

Charging from a domestic wall socket takes eight hours but a fast charger will top up batteries to 80% in two hours. Optional onboard fast charger brings home or normal roadside charging down to four hours.  100 miles to one charge easy even when using air con, lights and wipers. Drive carefully and you’ll get 120.

The Downsides

Still a battery only EV so some range anxiety but you get lots of warning when range is low. Not as special looking as it once was and a very familiar sight in most towns now. High new price means you should ask for (and get) a discount.  Only usable on motorways if you know where those fast chargers are.

Verdict
5

The EV that made EVs mainstream. Deservedly popular with no serious reliability or battery issues reported. Strong Nissan build quality and highly regarded among the EV community. If you want a 100-mile commuting EV that looks and drives just like a normal car yet costs buttons to run – this is the one.