New Nissan Leaf – Short Test
If you think of electric vehicles, chances are the first one that comes to mind is the Leaf.
It pays to be first on the scene, and Nissan were first to market a serious electric car. The legacy remains and the Leaf is still the benchmark; the boss.
Refering to this car as new however is stretching the point a bit. It is revised, it is tweaked and it has a little more to offer without having made much of a dent on the price. But in everyday driving terms the car remains what it has always been – a highly accomplished and very enjoyable small family car that knows nowt about fuel pumps.
Inside there are a few minor changes. The dash display has new colours, and the hand brake is operated by your foot. This should go down well in America where you play football with your hands.
Other revisions include options for leather and an upgrade to the sound system, but most of the development has been on the powertrain. The batteries are a little better, the motor has lower resistance and the generator is a tad more efficient, all adding up to a few percent improvement on the driving range. We are all waiting for technology to make a great leap forward but Nissan have not been sitting on their hands in the meantime.
Another improvement can be found in the boot. Or rather it cant be found in the boot. Some of the electronic equipment that once took up boot space has been shoe-horned under the bonnet – giving an extra 40 litres approx of space and a properly flat floor.
They haven’t really turned out a new Leaf, but polished the old one. I don’t see this as a bad thing as it is a good car made better, but Nissan are also checking their rearview mirrors.
Their alliance partners – Renault – have launched the Zoe, which is much cheaper and offers better range. To me the main difference apart from the way you buy the car (Renault lease the battery to you) is that the Leaf feels all grown up.
The Zoe really impressed me in my short test, but is a supermini, and feels it.
New Leaf is still the boss; pretty much the same as the old boss
words and pics – Mark Wolens