Green Car Review - Nissan Leaf

PUBLISHED: 00:24 28 February 2012 | UPDATED: 21:07 20 February 2013

Green Car Review - Nissan Leaf

Green Car Review - Nissan Leaf

In the first of our exclusive green car reviews, Faye Sunderland branches out with a Leaf

Quick Facts about the Nissan Leaf

Cost: 25,990 (including a 5,000 grant)

Range: 109 miles on a full charge

Recharging time: 8 hours using the Home Charging Unit

Power: 109PS or 111bhp

0-62mph: 11.9 seconds

USP: worlds first mass-market affordable electric car

As the very first family-sized electric car, the Nissan Leaf was a breakthrough when it arrived in the UK in March last year. But just what is it like to live with a car with a range limited to around 109 miles on a full charge? Put simply, its not a car that is likely to suit everyones needs, but early adopters seem besotted with the Leaf especially with its recharging cost of around two pence a mile.

In smugness stakes the Nissan Leaf outdoes the hybrid Toyota Prius to a factor of around 100. Its not just the low running costs that appeal, the lack of tailpipe emissions mean that its new owners have been proudly proclaiming to be part of the clean motoring revolution thats been slowly stirring in the UK ever since the electric G-Wiz first caught Jonathan Rosss eye.

Unlike the quadricycle G-Wiz and its reputation for low safety standards, the Leaf is a real car, of sensible dimensions (comparable to a Volkswagen Golf) with a top ranking five star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Driving the Leaf is brilliant fun; electric cars have the advantage that their full torque power is supplied almost instantaneously, with the Leaf arguably as brisk off the mark as a high-end sports car.

Beyond that initial instant pull, the performance becomes more in line with the expectations of a small family car, with the 80kW electric motor supplying the equivalent of 111bhp. A top speed of 90mph and a 0-62mph time of 11.9 seconds mean that the Leafs performance is respectable for its class. Steering is light yet precise and the Leaf feels very nimble. Automatic transmission means there is no clutch or gear-changes to worry about, making it very friendly for the new driver.

Compared to its conventional combustion counterparts, its not cheap, starting at 25,990 (and thats after you include a 5,000 government-funded plug-in car grant), and the Leaf is available in a single but well-equipped trim. That includes a seven-inch colour LCD touch screen with a satellite navigation system that among other things will detail the reachable, public recharging points.

A rear view camera, iPod connectivity with six speakers are also included as is the ability for owners to use their smartphone to remotely set the interior temperature, perfect for defrosting on a cold morning without leaving the house. An on-board timer also means you can pre-set the car to start charging overnight to take advantage of lower electricity tariffs.

Recharging the lithium-ion battery takes eight hours using a British Gas installed Home Charging Unit.Using a special, high-voltage quick-charger, the car can replenish the battery to 80 per cent of capacity in just under 30 minutes. And if you want to do your bit to support British manufacturing, from 2013 the Leaf will be built from Nissans car plant in Sunderland.

About TheGreen is the definitive guide to fuel efficient cars and economical motoring, providing a wealth of information on everything from electric cars, hybrid cars, efficient petrol and diesel cars to biofuels and hydrogen fuel cell technology.

About is the definitive guide to fuel efficient cars and economical motoring, providing a wealth of information on everything from electric cars, hybrid cars, efficient petrol and diesel cars to biofuels and hydrogen fuel cell technology.

More from Motoring

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The new DBS Superleggera is the fastest and most powerful car that Aston Martin have ever produced

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

Historic farm buildings in Essendon have undergone a multi-million pound redevelopment to host a different kind of animal – heritage Aston Martin cars. Richard Burton visits the state-of-the-art showroom and workshops

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Gamekeepers and the ‘ton up’ boys learned to live in harmony – and for a time they somehow made it work!

Read more
Thursday, September 6, 2018

Bolesworth Castle was once again home to Carfest North, hosted by Warrington-born Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans.

Read more
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Swansway Garages compares two of the hottest electric cars on the market.

Read more
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Camper vans are fast becoming the preferred way to get away from it all... and Suffolk’s a perfect place to try it | Words: Nick Cottam

Read more
Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dick Lovett Aston Martin Bristol is perfectly placed just up the M5 from Devon so you can easily take an incredible DB11 on a test drive through the beautiful scenery of Dartmoor

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

North East Life regular newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Local Business Directory

Property Search