Nissan Leaf Review

The Nissan Leaf is the most popular fully electric car in the UK, by a mile. The new Leaf sports a larger 40 kWh battery, which provides around 170 miles from a full charge depending on driving conditions. With a starting price of £21,990 (net of the £4,500 government grant), the Leaf is one of the more affordable all-electric cars for sale. 435 litres of boot space even make it suitable for a family, with more room for school bags and game kit than the Renault Zoe or BMW i3.

Anyone after the cheapest electric car or one with more range should also read about the Renault Zoe. You can also learn more from our article on Best Electric Cars.

Pros...

  • 435 litres of boot space
  • Starting price under £22,000
  • Real life range around 160 to 180 miles per full charge

Cons...

Review: Will the Nissan Leaf work for you?

The Nissan Leaf is one of a handful of all-electric cars available in the UK, and is a good option for those needing a run-around car to cover short distances. The new, larger battery can handle distances around 160 miles on average in the winter or up to 180 miles in the summer before needing a charge.

Boot space has risen from 370 litres to 435 litres in the latest model. In fact, the Leaf has more behind-the-seats storage space then any other all-electric car, except the cavernous (and expensive) Tesla models.

The savings from driving an all-electric car can be significant. The Nissan Leaf only costs around £6.50 for a full charge equating to a cost of 3.9p per mile, significantly less than the cost of 18p or so per mile for a petrol car. Anyone driving 12,000 a year can expect to save over £1,000 a year in fuel costs over a traditional petrol car. Add to that £0 in vehicle taxes and no congestion charge in London, and driving the Leaf could save you thousands of pounds in your first few years of car ownership.

Charging can be as quick as 40 minutes at a rapid motorway charging station. With the faster 6.6 kWh on-board charger now included as standard, time to achieve a full charge on a home wallbox will take around 7.5 hours.

Nissan Leaf Features

  • Average 170 mile range (up to 160 in winter, 180 in summer)
  • Running costs around 3.9p per mile
  • 114 MPGe (MPG equivalent), approximately
  • Charge times from 30 min to 7.5 hours

Range & Battery

The new Nissan Leaf is available with one battery option: 40 kWh. How far will this battery take you? Electric cars usually offer a longer range in warm, summer months; the battery depletes faster in cold weather. The chart below shows estimated real-life ranges for the Nissan Leaf in summer, winter and an overall average.

chart showing driving ranges for nissan leaf
How Far Can the new Nissan Leaf Drive?

Car dealers often advertise the NEDC ranges of their electric cars—unfortunately, these NEDC ranges are always overly optimistic. In real life, expected ranges are significantly lower. You can learn more in our article about electric car ranges. The table below shows both the advertised, overly-optimistic NEDC range and estimated real-life ranges for the Nissan Leaf in summer and winter.

Nissan Leaf Range

BatteryNEDC RangeReal-Life Summer RangeReal-Life Winter RangeReal-Life Average Range
40 kWh235 miles180 miles160 miles170 miles

Charging

Charging your Nissan Leaf can take anywhere from 30 minutes up to 7.5 hours, depending on battery size and to a larger extent the type of charging point. Charging points can supply electricity anywhere from 2.3 kilowatts per hour on a domestic plug (slow) up to 50 kilowatts an hour on a DC motorway charger (very fast). The higher the electricity supply rate, the faster the battery will charge.

The new Leaf comes with their faster 6.6 kWh on-board charger as standard now (which reduces charging times by half over the previous 3.3 kWh charger option) when you use the Type 2 connector, for instance on a home wallbox.

The table below shows approximate charging times the Leaf by type of charging point. You'll notice the times for the 50 kWh rapid charge points only reflect an 80% charge—this is because battery charging speeds really slow down beyond an 80% charge. Most people use rapid chargers when they're on the road and only take the time to charge to 80% before they start driving again.

40 kWh Nissan Leaf Charging Times

7.4 kWh Home "Wallbox" (100% Charge)Rapid 50 kWh DC Charger (80% Charge)
7.5 hours40 minutes
Which Port?Standard Charging PortRapid Charging Port

Nissan recommends POD Point and Chargemaster for home wallbox solutions.

Ports

The Nissan Leaf comes with two ports: a standard charging port and a rapid charging port. Most of the time, you'll use the standard charging port: on a domestic socket, a wallbox or compatible public fast chargers. When you have access to a rapid DC charging station you'll use the rapid charging point, for instance at some motorway charging stations and Nissan dealers.

Standard Port, on the Right
Rapid Port, on the Left

Performance

The Nissan Leaf accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 7.9 seconds—a massive improvement over the 11.5 seconds on the previous model. While this is still slower than Tesla electric cars, the new Leaf is nearly as quick as the BMW i3 (0 to 60 in 6.9 seconds). Max speed is 90 miles an hour.

Trim

In the UK, customers can choose between the Visia, Acenta, N-Connecta or Tekna trim levels. Full details can be found in the Nissan Leaf brochure, but we've summarized some of the features in the table below. Each model includes features offered by the model listed above, plus additional features.

Features
Visiae-Pedal, 6.6 kWh on-board charger, 50 kWh Chademo Quick Charger, a/c, cruise control, electric windows, USB socket, fabric seats, rain sensor wipers, etc.
AcentaElectric folding door mirrors, rear view camera, fog lamps, NissanConnect EV 7-inch, leather steering wheel, etc.
N-ConnectaAround View parking cameras, parking sensors, part-leather heated seats, privacy glass, auto-dimming rear view mirror, etc.
TeknaHeated leather seats (front and rear), heated steering wheel, Bose audio system and speakers, etc.

Prices

The Nissan Leaf starts at £21,990, net of the £4,500 government grant.

TrimOn The Road Cash Price after Government Incentive, from
Visia£21,990
Acenta£24,290
N-Connecta£25,990
Tekna£27,490

How the Nissan Leaf Compares to Other All-Electric Vehicles

To help you decide if the Nissan Leaf is the best car for you, we've compared the Leaf to a few comparable all-electric and petrol cars.

Nissan Leaf vs Renault Zoe

picture of blue Renault Zoe
Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe offers drivers 150 miles of range with the larger Z.E. 40 battery. The Zoe would not be considered sporty, accelerating from 0 - 62 mph in a slow 13.5 seconds. Boot space is a decent 338 litres behind the rear seats. Drivers have the option to hire the battery instead of buying it, reducing the upfront cost by £5,600. Another nice perk is that Zoe's home Wallbox is free, subject to conditions.

Quick Takeaway: If price is a deciding factor for you, the Renault Zoe offers slightly lower starting prices, the option to hire instead of buy the battery (reducing the initial purchase price by £5,600) and a free wallbox (saving another £354). If acceleration and boot size are more important to you, the Nissan Leaf may be a better choice.

Nissan Leaf vs Nissan Pulsar

picture of Nissan Pulsar
Nissan Pulsar

The Nissan Pulsar is a petrol car offering 385 litres of boot space and fuel efficiency achieving around 40 mpg. On-the-road prices start at £16,325 for a Visia up to £21,035 for a Tekna.

Quick Takeaway: If you buy the Leaf, you'll pay more upfront but have lower annual energy/fuel bills and taxes. The Pulsar list price is about £5k cheaper than the Leaf, but anyone driving around 12k miles per year would save nearly £1,000 a year in fuel costs with the Leaf. Add in vehicle tax savings around £140/year with the Leaf and you would break even in around 4.5 years.

Nissan Leaf vs BMW i3

picture of blue BMW i3
BMW i3

The BMW i3 is a zippy EV with a starting price around £28,600. While a bit pricier, you are paying for a sportier car; the i3 accelerates from 0 - 62 mph in only 6.9 seconds. 260 litres of boot space is a bit limited but the average range of 125 miles per charge is decent for an EV.

Quick Takeaway: If you don't mind paying a few thousand pounds more, the BMW i3 is a sportier ride. If you're after a larger boot and a lower price, the Nissan Leaf may be a better option.

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