- Low running costs
- Zero emissions
- Comfortable and refined
- Expensive to buy from new
- Insurance costs are higher than the e-Golf
- Limited range
Groundbreaking eco-friendly family hatchback
When it was first introduced in 2010, the Nissan Leaf was the World’s first all-electric production car. Even today, the Leaf feels way ahead of its time. The Leaf is a family-sized hatchback that’s sure to appeal to eco-friendly buyers. That’s because there’s zero emissions, and it has an impressive range of 109 miles. It’s more expensive than a non-electric equivalent, such as the Volkswagen Golf, but with no congestion charge, zero road tax, and a government grant on offer, it’s not quite as expensive as it first looks.
Spacious, stylish, and practical
For an electric car, the Leaf is exceptionally practical. There’s plenty of room for passengers and luggage, whilst cabin quality is impressive. There’s also plenty of modern technology incorporated in the equipment, so you won’t feel short changed.
When you think of Nissan, you don’t especially think of futuristic cabin design. The Japanese manufacturer does things differently in the Leaf however, with a cabin to match its latest technology. The dashboard of the Leaf is well built, and features some attractive, soft-touch materials, that give the Leaf a prestige feel, especially if your Leaf comes with lighter-coloured trim. There are some cheaper materials if you go look hard enough, but controls are well-damped, and intuitive.
Storage space is also impressive in the Leaf. It’s not quite as practical as some non-electric family hatchback, but it packs more space than the Volkswagen e-Golf, and even a standard Ford Focus. The 370 litre boot capacity is more than enough room for most families, though the high load lip, and the fact that the rear seats don’t fall completely flat may put off some buyers. These are the compromises when you go for an electric car.
Equipment levels in the Leaf are generous no matter which trim you choose to go for. There are three different trim levels with the Leaf, with the most basic being the Visia, the most expensive being the Tekna, with the Acenta trim occupying the mid-range. The Acenta offers the best value for money as it incorporates cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, climate control, electric windows, and the excellent Nissan Connect EV infotainment system.
All in all, the inside of the Nissan Leaf is extremely impressive. It’s stylish, spacious, and well built. You’ll also get plenty of kit as standard, which helps justify the Leaf’s comparatively expensive purchase price.
Comfortable and refined
For an electric car the Nissan Leaf reassuringly handles like any other family hatchback. It’s not exactly fun, and the Volkswagen e-Golf is more entertaining, but it doesn’t feel strange in any way. There’s plenty of grip through the corners, and the steering is nice and light, which makes the Leaf easy to drive around town. At speeds it’s less impressive, but most Leaf owners won’t leave the city too often, so it shouldn’t matter too much.
Suspension and Chassis
When it comes to comfort and refinement, the Leaf really excels. The suspension is exceptionally supple, so rough surfaces, city speed bumps, and potholes are ironed out without too much of a fuss. As with most electric cars, there’s no engine noise, so the Leaf is nearly silent when in motion, with wind noise and road noise kept to a minimum thanks to the Leaf’s aerodynamic construction.
Unlike most cars, with the Leaf you don’t have to worry about which transmission is right for you. The gearbox in the Leaf isn’t really a gearbox at all. It’s a go kart-esque setup in which putting your foot on the accelerator is to go, and the brake pedal is to brake. All the power is delivered instantly, so it’s smooth no matter how fast you’re going.
One exceptional electric motor
If you’re shopping for a conventional family hatchback, you usually have to spend quite some time considering which engine suits your needs. With the Leaf however, you won’t need to worry about that. The all-electric power is what the Leaf is all about, so there’s only one option available.
Power outputs in conventional cars correspond pretty neatly with acceleration, but with the Leaf, things are different. The 109bhp figure that’s quoted in the brochures doesn’t sound like a lot, but all of the power and torque is delivered instantaneously from the electric motor, so acceleration from the lights feels rapid. It’s an oddly engaging experience, and techy petrolheads are sure to appreciate the Leaf.
Eco-friendly buyers will obviously be delighted with the Leaf, as it emits zero CO2 emissions. The Leaf is one of the most practical ways of helping to save the environment, though it’s best suited to city driving, due to its fairly limited 109 mile range. Money savers will also be impressed with the Leaf, at least after its initial purchase cost. With no fuel to buy, it won’t cost much to run, and there’s a government grant on offer, as well as free road tax, and congestion charge.
Switching to all-electric power will be a huge step for most drivers, but the Leaf makes it relatively straightforward. It will feel a little strange to get used to at first, but the instant power, zero emissions, and incredibly low running costs are sure to appeal to a lot of buyers.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, impressive safety kit as standard
Like nearly every car in its class, the Nissan Leaf easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 89% in adult safety, 83% in child safety, and 65% in pedestrian safety, the Leaf is as safe as its more conventional rivals. The Leaf also comes with plenty of safety equipment, even on entry-level models. Six airbags, hill-start assist, and electronic traction control all come as standard.
Excellent value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Nissan Leaf certainly isn’t a cheap car to buy, especially for a family hatchback. Long term however, you can save yourself plenty of money. It won’t cost much at all to run day-to-day, and with zero emissions comes zero road tax, so you’ll save money there as well. A £4500 government grant is available when you’re purchasing from new, and with free London congestion charge, it certainly makes sense if you live in the capital.
Insurance groups in the Leaf depend on which trim option you choose to go for. The Leaf range starts in group 18 for the Visia, and climbs up towards group 21 if you go for the top of the range Tekna Flex 30kw. It’s more expensive to insure than the e-Golf (group 15), but it’s not exactly extortionate.
Depreciation is one area that particularly affects the Leaf, but only for the first year. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Nissan Leaf is a pioneer of electric power, and it points the way to the future of motoring. This futuristic family hatchback is impressively easy to live with. It’s spacious, practical, and safe, and though it is far more expensive to buy from new than a more conventional family hatchback, there are some exceptionally reasonably priced used Leaf’s on the market.
Buying a used Nissan Leaf online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Nissan Leaf for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Leaf. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Nissan Leaf online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Leaf? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Nissan Leaf, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Leaf, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Nissan to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.