An electric car makes a good auditorium for the sound system ...
Comfort and Refinement
The Leaf is pretty reasonable for cabin comfort, with a fair amount of headroom and knee space for the size of car, and seats that are quite well cushioned if a bit bench-like in the back. Refinement is excellent, you hear the faint whirring of the electric motor, but it is very much quieter than an internal combustion-powered car. Wind noise is minimal.
Safety and Security
Cash protection is confirmed by a 5-star Euro NCAP rating. Standard kit includes six bags: dual-stage front airbags, front seat-mounted side impact airbags, and roof level curtain airbags for both front and rear seats. The car has electronic stability, traction control and electronic brakeforce distribution. Our Acenta trim test car also comes with standard cruise control with a speed limiter.
An electric car makes a good auditorium for the sound system, because it’s unusual quietness lets you hear the music better. The car is equipped with an excellent Bose sound system that is energy-efficient in using half the usual amount of electricity needed to run it. There is a 7-inch LCD screen built into the dash, and you can have 360-degree vision around the car for manoeuvring, via the surround view monitor camera system.
- BMW i3
- Renault Zoe
What We Liked
- Comfortable family car
- Whisperingly quiet, wonderful refinement
- Rides smoothly and grippy handling
- No expensive fuel bills
- Convenient recharging, just plug into the mains
- No road tax, no London congestion charge
- Feel-good factor of no tailpipe emissions
- Pioneering feeling of being an early adopter
- Novelty value. You won’t see many others on the road, not yet anyway
- Five year warranty, longer than most
What We Disliked
- High purchase price, dearer than an equivalent petrol or diesel model
- Worry about battery life and replacement cost, unless you go for the leasing option
- Range anxiety. Will the battery power last your journey?
- Recharging time, hours of plug-in time, rather than minutes at a filling station
- Infrastructure limitation. They’re increasing, but not enough recharging places yet
- Divisive looks, few would call it a pretty car
- Divisive technology, how green is the power station producing the electricity?
- Needs extra vigilance for driving in urban areas, pedestrians don’t hear it coming
What We Would Like To See
- A breakthrough in battery technology to make it possible to go a lot further on a full charge, and the price of electric cars come down to make them more attractive as an alternative to conventionally fuelled vehicles.
An electric car is not for everyone, but it is an interesting alternative to an oil-fuelled model for a growing number of people. The Leaf is pretty convincing as frugal family transport if its range fits a daily commute and you don’t mind taking a time-consuming approach to longer trips. The Leaf’s relatively high price and range limitation will be off-putting for many, at least until battery technology catches up with the kind of car use that the internal combustion engine has accustomed us to. If you’d really like to be greener behind the wheel, and are prepared to pay a premium price up front, it is one of the more practical electric cars currently on the road.11 March 2014
Nissan Leaf Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Nissan Leaf Acenta|
|Body Type||5-door Hatchback|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||11.5 Seconds|
|Top Speed||87 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Euro NCAP Rating||5-Stars|
|Warranty||3 Years / 60,000 Miles|
|Price (when tested on the 11/03/14)||£28,490|