2017 Nissan LEAF Tekna 30 kWh

Summary:

A taste of the future, but not quite there... yet

Faults:

Annoying buzzing sound from the headlining that keeps coming back despite the dealer having tried to fix it twice, and fiddling with it myself several times now.

Headlights required adjustment from the factory, as we could barely see more than a few feet ahead in the dark.

General Comments:

This is no fan-boi review, we use our Leaf as a car, and it needs to do what our previous car did brilliantly (Prius), that is: it must get us from A to B with no fuss and as cheaply as possible. In this the Leaf has succeeded, more or less.

The real world range is massively dependent on driving style, weather and the roads you use. My wife drives it with no regard for what is "best", driving it exactly the same as any other car. So, she has the heating on (including the excellent heated seats and steering wheel) whenever she feels like and has no fears of turning the air-con on either. She also likes to push it up to 80 mph or so on faster roads, which kills the range very quickly. She doesn't want to brake in a fashion to make the most of the regeneration either, which is fair enough, I guess.

Despite all of this, it copes with a 65 mile daily commute with no problems at all. Only in winter does it become a bit more nail biting as the combination of the cold weather and the uncompromising driving style result in less than 80 miles of real world range. This is giving the car no mercy however, and the range is as short as it could ever be.

Drive the car gently with plenty of forward anticipation and (if you're lucky) some nice Goldilocks weather (not too hot or cold!) and you can realistically see 110 miles or more from a single charge. Maybe more if you stick below 60 mph.

The performance is amazing... up to 40 mph, then it's rubbish, especially above 60 mph. There's a lot of room for improvement there.

So far in one year and 14k miles Leafspy reports no degradation in battery life at all. We charge to 100% every day (often twice a day) and frequently drain it to 20-30% too. We rarely use fast chargers - although when we do, they're brilliant for long motorway journeys, genuine 10-15% charge to 90-95% in the time to go to the loo and then buy and drink a coffee.

As a car (let's not forget that's what it still is!) it's a disappointment in many ways. The driving position is poor and lacks adjustment. The touchscreen is difficult to use on the move and the sat nav is poor.

The headlights are terrible - we have the LEDs; apparently the halogens are no better.

The rain sensing wipers never quite feel like they're working as they should.

The climate control often makes the car feel stuffy and airless, which might partly down to using ECO mode most of the time. Why not ECO mode for the throttle and non-ECO for the climate?

Everything looks and feels cheap inside and the stereo is naff, despite being the BOSE upgrade.

And while I'm at it, why do Japanese manufactures insist on electric windows that cannot be operated by the driver if the child switch is on? European cars never have this issue.

Despite all this, it's difficult not to like the car, because it's so cheap to run and easy to drive. For that, it wins us over, just. Maybe the new Leaf has nailed it, I'd like to see, because for us, the idea works, it just needs polishing off some more.

One last complaint: why does Nissan feel it can get away with increasing the servicing costs so that now it matches the cost for petrol and diesel cars? There's practically nothing for them to do other than check the car over and change the pollen filter, they're taking the mickey charging the same as for cars that need oil changes etc. One of the things that attracted us to buying the Leaf was the very cheap servicing, which they've reneged on out of greed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th June, 2018

5th Jun 2018, 17:23

Very good review. I follow the dealership used car inventory in my area. The Nissan Leafs are coming on to their lots. Not a lot of them, but maybe two or three every other month. I know every little thing about them. Your review gives me an idea on how they work and function.

6th Jun 2018, 15:24

You know every little thing about them... but you haven't driven one?

2016 Nissan LEAF Acenta Electric

Summary:

The future is here and it's electric; most people just haven't realised yet

Faults:

Nothing.

General Comments:

I wanted a Leaf when they were first announced in 2011, but the range of the 24KWh battery in the initial offer was 85 miles, not enough for my 100 mile round trip commute, so I had to wait and stick with a petrol Ford.

Then in 2015 Nissan announced they were releasing a bigger capacity battery 30KWh with 155 mile range.

The car is available in three model specs Visia, Acenta and Tekna which vary in trim levels, like sat-nav and cruise control on Acenta and leather heated seats on the Tekna.

The engine and drive train is the same on all cars.

I took a leap of faith and in April 2016 ordered my 30KWh battery Nissan Leaf Acenta, took delivery on May 31st.

So 18 months and 18000 miles later (Nov 2017) I feel qualified to review this car.

The car is Ford Focus sized and the driving position is similar, I find the seats comfy and it has all the regular knobs and buttons I expect. Climate control, auto headlights, auto wipers, sat-nav, bluetooth to hook up your phone and electric windows.

It has 2 pedals (like an automatic) for driving and a 3rd foot parking brake down by the side of the centre console.

To drive you walk up to the car (key in pocket or bag), press a little button on the door handle, which unlocks the car. Sit in the drivers seat, push the foot brake and press the start button, blue lights come on and a jingle is played. This became irritating quite quickly, but you can disable it in the car settings, so I did, now my car turns on silently.

The ‘gear’ lever is a little round joystick type in the middle with 2 selections; forward puts the car in drive, backward puts it into reverse. It also has a ‘P’ button on the top to put it in park, so I rarely use the foot parking brake (only when on steep hills for extra security). Lift your foot from the brake and the car will move.

Acceleration off the mark is very swift and silent, as revs build and internal combustion engines get louder, the Leaf remains silent. It is very civilised.

I found the 100 mile commute easy, the car can do 155 miles if you drive at 30mph, real world driving shows the range to be 120 miles, but I found this to be remarkably consistent.

As winter came and the temperature fell, I experienced a feature of batteries and cold weather, range reduces by about 20% when the temperature drops below 5 degrees C (41 F). I guess this is partly due to the heater drawing more power and partly due to batteries not liking the cold. The coldest we get here in Southern England is about -5C (23F) and the batteries didn’t degrade further, it’s like a switch at 5 degrees, above that fine, below that 20% reduction. As soon as Spring came and the temperature rose, the car was back to normal.

I have fairly regularly driven bigger distances for work and regularly use rapid chargers on the way. When I first got the car the only vendor in the market was Ecotricity who provided Rapid chargers at motorway service stations, but the network has increased considerably over the last 18 months and new providers have appeared. So if a Rapid is busy or out of service you usually have another fairly close. My car charges very quickly at a rapid and typically will go from 8% to 90% in 30 minutes, the final 10% slows considerably so really isn’t worth bothering with. I changed my job and now drive 200 miles each way, which requires two 20 minute stops at rapids.

In terms of costs I pay an £8 per month subscription to Polar-Network which allows me to use their chargers for 11p per Kwh; if I have to use a different provider (rarely) a rapid charge is about £6. Over the 18000 miles fuel has cost 1.6p per mile (about $0.02).

So in the UK my fuel costs about 20% of the cost of a frugal ICE car.

The car has been 100% reliable, service costs are £75 on odd years (1,3,5…) and £150 on even years (2,4,6…) because they change the brake fluid then. (Though I got the first 3 years included in the cost of the car).

Regenerative braking means the brake pads will probably last the life of the car, there is no oil or filter, no air filter, no radiator, timing belt, valves or exhaust (tail) pipe.

The battery is guaranteed by Nissan for 8 years.

So what did it cost me?

List price was £30k, the dealer put a £5k contribution toward it and the Government have a £4500 grant. When I purchased Nissan had a £1k discount offer and the dealer gave me £500 for being a returning customer.

The result £19k, over 3 years with a £10.5k GMFV, £220 per month.

I love electric cars and can’t see me ever downgrading to an ICE car :-)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th November, 2017

2nd Dec 2017, 18:58

I’ve been curious about electric cars for a while and your review of your Leaf is well written and very informative. One thing bugs me but no one seems to be able to answer this. Here in Yorkshire we can get very cold winters with ice on all of the windows; you scrape off what you can and the heat from the engine does the rest - how does this work in an electric car with no heat (by-product of the engine)?

Kind regards, James.

23rd Dec 2017, 05:01

A superb review, thank you. You got a great deal as well.

7th Jun 2018, 21:17

The Leaf has a heat pump driven by electricity. You can set it to come on while it's still plugged in to have a defrosted car with no loss of range.