Caroline drives the 2018 Nissan Leaf.
Since its launch in Europe in 2011, the Nissan Leaf has done a lot to make electric vehicles more mainstream. The Leaf’s blend of compact, practical size, affordable pricing and zero emissions, all-electric powertrain has made it the most ubiquitous electric vehicle on Irish roads.
With the second generation of the new Nissan Leaf launched on the Irish market earlier in 2018, Nissan looks set to continue its strong position as a maker of smart electric vehicles for the masses.
Priced from €26,290 (including the €5,000 Government grant for electric vehicles), the 2018 Nissan Leaf offers a significant update over the previous model with new styling, more technology and a higher capacity 40kWh battery.
How far will the new Nissan Leaf get me on a full charge?
The range has increased by 50% to 378 kilometres on the NEDC cycle, which translates to between 250 and 270km in real world terms on 100% battery power. In my experience of driving the car, this makes the Nissan Leaf very convenient in day-to-day driving. Nissan Ireland cites that most buyers will make use of overnight home charging, so having 250km of range each day means a lot of anxiety-free driving.
It looks better too
The styling of the new Nissan Leaf is much cooler and more conventional than the outgoing model. The Leaf sports its own version of Nissan’s ‘V-motion’ grille that sits well with the other cars in the Nissan range like the Micra, Pulsar and Qashqai. The grille has a blue colour, which is a new signature feature for Nissan’s electric vehicles. The floating roof and sleek headlamps add more style to what is a good-looking car.
Inside there is a new interior with smart soft touch materials, signature blue stitching and new switchgear. There is a touchscreen for infotainment on all but the entry model with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This system also gives information on active charging, eco-routing, driving range, and nearby charging stations. The driver information screen shows data on the EV system like range and battery power.
Being a five door hatchback, the Nissan Leaf is also a practical electric vehicle. The rear bench will seat three and the boot has a capacity of 435 litres.
Standard equipment includes air con, cruise control, Nissan Intelligent Key, push button start, lane departure warning, intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, intelligent lane intervention, cross traffic alert and high-beam assist.
There’s also a 6.6 kW on-board charger and 50kW ChaDeMo rapid charge port as standard, the latter which can give an 80% charge in as little as 40 minutes!
There are other trim levels for the 2018 Nissan Leaf including SV from €28,690, SV Premium from €29,940 and SVE from €32,600.
The model tested was SVE Premium and it has a very impressive list of equipment including a BOSE stereo, parking aids, leather heated front and rear seats, full LED intelligent auto headlights and the ProPILOT advanced driver assistance system.
What’s the Nissan Leaf like to drive?
On the road the Nissan Leaf is nippy – power is now up to 150hp – and refined and comfortable across a variety of roads. You soon adjust to this silent motoring and the ritual of plugging in the car at charging stations for a top up where convenient. The Nissan e-Pedal is now a standard feature in the new Leaf and allows the driver to start from a standstill, accelerate, brake and even bring the car to a stop using just the throttle pedal. It’s very useful in traffic and intuitive to use.
Driving dynamics have been improved and while the Leaf could not be described as a sporty drive, it does handle itself confidently through corners.
Nissan has obvious expertise in building electric cars with mainstream appeal and pricing, and the new Leaf is the embodiment of that. This is a well-rounded electric vehicle that offers good accommodation in a smart conventional package, yet under the skin the Leaf’s electric powertrain is anything but conventional! With more power and more range, there’s never been a better time to check out the new Nissan Leaf.
Model tested: Nissan Leaf 40kWh SVE Premium
Price: €32,600 (Available from €26,290)
0-100km/h: 7.9 seconds
Top speed: 144km/h
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Motor tax: €120 per year