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.