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Nissan Leaf Review

Written by Allan Noble · 17/05/21

As one of the first electric cars out of the blocks, the Nissan Leaf is now an established electric brand in its own right. The second generation of the Leaf came out in 2018, with several improvements that made the car even more attractive to ecologically conscious motorists.


The bigger battery in the second generation of the Leaf makes it a contender alongside the Renault Zoe and the VW ID.3 for an all-round electric car designed for the urban environment and the open road.

A hatchback that's supposed to wean people off fossil fuel-powered cars, the Nissan Leaf will please many city dwellers, but as this review makes clear, there are some compromises you'll need to accommodate if you are to love your Leaf. Of course, it is worth noting that the electric motor and the battery pack have significantly improved since the Leaf was first launched by Nissan in 2010, including a longer range.

This review will focus on the second-generation Leaf in the main with some information about the older version if you are looking to buy a second-hand model.

Range, Charging, & Emissions

To begin with, the 2018 iteration of the Nissan Leaf – officially known as the Nissan Leaf ZE1 – comes with a choice of two different battery packs. Nissan supplies the entry-level Leaf with a WLTP range of 168 miles. This would account for 151 miles in real-world driving conditions. The more significant Leaf e + will provide you with a considerably larger capacity, however. The real-world range you can expect with the Leaf e + is 226 miles. The equivalent WLTP figure is 239 miles of range for the Leaf e +.

Nevertheless, both vehicle types don't offer long-distance commuters with ranges that are likely to satisfy, especially if they need to travel around during the day when the Leaf could be charging up at the office.

As mentioned, the Leaf e + is the larger of the two ZE1 variants. The Leaf e + comes with a 62 kWh battery. On the other hand, the entry-level Nissan Leaf has a 40 kWh battery. Both the standard and the Nissan Leaf e + are equipped with lithium-ion batteries, the same technology that Nissan used on the first generation of the Leaf. If you obtain an older Leaf, it will either have a 24 kWh battery or, if it was made in 2016, a 30 kWh battery. Consequently, older versions of the Nissan Leaf have a diminished driving range.

The standard 2018 Nissan Leaf would take 18 hours to charge its battery to provide a full driving range if you plug in with a standard three-pin connection. From a 3.6 kW plug outlet, the Nissan Leaf takes 11 hours to charge. Both 7 kW and 22 kW charging stations will require six hours of charge time to get a full driving range from empty. However, in the real world, charging from 20 per cent to 80 per cent from a public recharging point with a 50 kW connection, the Nissan Leaf would only need about 40 minutes to power its electric motor. That's not bad for any electric vehicle and, with the Leaf, Nissan has come up with an electric car that is practical regardless of the charging stations you might have available in your vicinity.

Next: Running costs