The Leaf’s improved styling is a good step ahead
It’s exhausting to not underestimate simply how a lot affect the predecessor to this new Nissan Leaf has had in that change. When the unique arrived in 2010 it was a distinct segment product; the primary mass-market totally electrical passenger automotive. However its 300,000 gross sales since then have made the Leaf the UK’s best-selling electrical automobile.
Electrical automobiles are rising in acceptance in any respect ranges (gross sales of these and hybrids are up 24 per cent on 2017) and with the introduction of Jaguar’s I-Tempo, plus Porsche and Audi bringing out all-electric fashions within the subsequent 12 months, there’s little question that battery energy will more and more be seen in showrooms.
Area of interest product or not, the primary technology Leaf’s success offers the brand new one a head-start on rivals, particularly within the non-premium sector.
The opposite excellent news is how a lot simpler this second-generation mannequin is on the attention. With appears solely a mom may love, the unique Leaf was by no means a design basic. This model is way improved, with some household styling cues from the Micra supermini.
We particularly just like the sharp-edged tail lamps however may do with out the Zero emission badges on each the decrease half of the entrance doorways and rear tailgate, which appears a bit excessive.
Fortunately the adjustments go lots additional than pores and skin deep. There are actually extra highly effective 40kW batteries (up from 30kW), equal to 150bhp and sufficient to offer the Leaf a zero to 60mph time of seven.9 seconds and an 89mph prime pace. Extra importantly, the official fully-charged vary has been prolonged from 124 miles to 235 miles.
Nonetheless, the idiosyncracies of the economic system testing regime imply that Nissan claims a better real-world determine of 168 miles. It’s a step up on the earlier mannequin however maybe not fairly as massive a step as anticipated. After we totally charged the automotive it solely confirmed a 155-mile vary, dropping to 151 miles after in a single day parking.
With regards to electrical automobiles, the place each mile issues, these small drops in vary actually begin to rely. Fortunately a bigger battery model with further vary is due later this 12 months.
The Leaf’s driving expertise isn’t that completely different from earlier than. Nissan claims to have made it extra involving however in actuality this isn’t a automotive that’s going to place a smile in your face down a twisty B-road. That concentrate on effectivity at each stage turns into all-permeating all through the driving expertise and, to be truthful, most house owners are unlikely to need to drive it that arduous.
The steering offers little or no suggestions about what the automotive is doing beneath you and whereas the experience high quality is fairly good, this simply isn’t a automotive that you simply’ll need to be cornering on its door mirrors.
For us, the brand new Leaf’s inside might be its weakest space
To attempt to put miles again in your vary, Nissan has launched an ePedal perform that will increase the extent of the regenerative braking and, it estimates, can scale back the usage of the brakes by 90 per cent.
It actually takes some getting used to on the street. You do a lot of your driving through the use of your proper foot on the throttle pedal however the lack of any capacity to permit the automotive to coast means it’s finest used away from quicker cruising roads. We’d additionally desire some extra graduated choices than merely having the system on or off.
Serving to that effectivity is the central infotainment display and menus in the primary instrument binnacle that present how economically you’re driving and the way a lot further vary is gained switching off the air-con.
Nonetheless, this display’s different features aren’t essentially the most intuitive to make use of on the transfer and it isn’t the clearest. On the primary map setting, as an illustration, road names are in black with a white encompass on a scrolling gray background which can be exhausting to learn when driving.
In actual fact, for us, the brand new Leaf’s inside might be its weakest space. Whereas most of the plastics have been improved, there are nonetheless too many low-cost surfaces and different odd absences reminiscent of the dearth of a movable armrest and solely a single USB port within the entrance.
It should undoubtedly do nicely in showrooms as extra drivers look in direction of electrical energy
Nissan had an enormous head begin on its rivals and the Leaf’s improved styling is a good step ahead but it surely hasn’t capitalised on that preliminary benefit and rivals will likely be closing that hole
The worst, although, is the driving place. Even at its lowest the driving force’s seat feels too excessive, whereas the dials are set fairly low and – unforgiveably in our opinion – the steering wheel solely adjusts for top, not attain.
The result’s that, particularly for taller drivers, you possibly can really feel as when you’re sitting on prime of the automotive relatively than in it. Even after quick journeys we began to get again ache from this lack of wheel adjustment, which on a £28,000 automotive is simply not acceptable. Within the again too, there are seat heaters however no USB cost factors.
Nissan had an enormous head begin on its rivals and the Leaf’s improved styling is a good step ahead but it surely hasn’t capitalised on that preliminary benefit and rivals will likely be closing that hole.
It should undoubtedly do nicely in showrooms as extra drivers look in direction of electrical energy however we marvel if historical past may present this as a possibility missed.
The Leaf’s driving expertise isn’t that completely different from earlier than
Worth: from £28,390 (after Authorities grant)
Engine: Electrical – 40kW
Energy: zero to 60mph in 7.9 seconds, 89mph prime pace
Vary: 168 miles
Recharge time: 7h 30m (6.6kW charger)
Rivals: Hyundai Ioniq Renault Zoe, Toyota Prius Plug-in