14 October 2020

Used Car Review: Nissan Leaf (2018)

Nissan entered the EV world a decade ago, and their first model that showcased this technology was the original Leaf, which was powered by a modest 24kWh lithium ion battery.


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Nissan Leaf (2018)
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Nissan Leaf (2018)
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Nissan Leaf (2018)
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Nissan Leaf (2018)
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Nissan Leaf (2018)

It  model which Nissan launched back in October 2018. Nissan’s second attempt at the Leaf offers a lot more excitement under the hood, as well as cutting edge technology to make this model even more enjoyable to drive than before. The range topping Tekna model we tested was imported from the United Kingdom.

Interesting fact; there was one Nissan Leaf sold every 12 minutes in the UK in 2018, which is not surprising considering the generous 4500 pound government EV incentive it would have qualified for.

Can a hatch back feel slick?

Nissan claimed that the Leaf has “a robust and sleek silhouette, creating the feeling of a high-tech device.”

The exterior styling of the Leaf does seem rather sleek and advanced thanks to its signature boomerang-shaped projector-beam headlights with dual, direct-lens low and high beams. These lights work-in cohesively with Nissan’s signature V-motion flow in style. The lower valance continues this theme and is thin and flares out towards the low slung fog lights. All this helps the Leaf maintain a coefficient of just 0.28 Cd.

If you look at the side profile of the car, the roof almost seems to vanish because of the two tone effect of the paint work. This is further amplified by the use of privacy glass. Other than that, the side profile isn’t overly busy, with chrome door handles and a fairly restrained body kit that runs the length of the vehicle. Towards the rear, you can see the rather large rear lights extending into the rear hind quarters.

The Leaf comes in at 4,480mm in length, with a width of 1790mm. So, she’s not the skinniest nor shortest example available in the world of hatchbacks, however, the Leaf is also not overly bulky, so it would be a good fit for a lot of city dwellers.

The Leaf of luxury

The Tekna model is kitted out well. It has leather seats which are detailed with vibrant blue stitching and suede inserts, and even the dashboard is shrouded in a leather finish.

Yes, there are some harder plastic surfaces around some areas of the cabin, like the inlayed accent panel above the glove box, but it still fits in well and doesn’t ruin the overall feel of the interior.

One of the most unique features you will find at your fingertips is a very short golf-ball-like gear selector, which is surrounded by a broad piano black accent panel, which assists in giving the car a futuristic feel. The space-age-feel does not extend to things like the ordinary-looking heated seat switches, which seem to stand out as these are mounted just in front of the transmission selector.

Speaking of the heated sweet controls, if you’re looking for the ones in the rear, it may take you a while as they’re situated on the side of the front passenger seat. We’re not sure who decided this would be a good idea.

The seven-inch, TFT display has been redesigned to highlight key features of the EV, and although this particular navigation system was programmed to UK roads, the Leaf is equipped with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allows you to access global maps just like on your smartphone. Any music you choose to listen to will sound excellent – the Tekna model boasts a premium Bose sound system which sounds all that more sweet in the near-silent cabin.

With the seats up, storage comes in at a generous 435L. As you’d expect, the rear seats fold flat for more room, but due to the structure of the Nissan Leaf, there’s a large hump eating into your cargo space. The sizable Bose amplifier also takes up some of that volume.

Charging

You will find what looks like a mini bonnet right at the front of the Leaf, which is where the plug goes to charge up. It will take around 21 hours from empty to 100% from a regular household wall socket. You’ll need a spare seven-and-a-half hours with a home 7kW charger. If you’re out and about, you can get an 80% charge in approximately 40 minutes from a 50kW fast charger.

Performance

At the heart of all the enhancements on the previous Nissan Leaf is the 40kWh lithium ion battery, which houses cells that are around 67 percent greater in density when compared to the original 24 kWh Pack.

The physical size of the pack, however, has not increased from the previous generation’s 30kWh offering. The claimed range on the New Zealand model is 270km when new, and we recently spoke to an owner of the model we tested, and even with age they said they’re still able to achieve 250km of range on a full charge.

The motor has received a sizable boost and is now 38 percent more powerful. There’s 110kW of power on tap, and 230Nm of torque, which is a good balance for this size of vehicle, and results in the ability to have a fantastic driving experience in this family hatch.

The excellent e-Pedal function allows increased energy recuperation and one pedal driving, so when you release the accelerator it will pull the car to a complete stop, and actually creates 0.2gs of force.

Who’s driving?

This Leaf comes with Nissan’s Pro Pilot, which gives you level two autonomous driving tech that can steer, accelerate and even apply the brakes for you on roads where it can see clear road markings and the car in front of you.

There is a comprehensive network of 12 sonar sensors and five cameras on the Leaf, as well as three radars, which also assist in autonomous braking and in the car parking itself. These radars also help detect pedestrians and warn you if a car is in your blind spot.

Verdict

Nissan have come a long way from their early EV days and have quite a lot of experience in the EV field now due to the popularity of both Leaf models. They’ve taken customer feedback seriously and this newer model is the end result. It’s a great all-rounder that will fit the requirements of many people, especially if you don’t drive too far.

If you’re looking for an EV, we always recommend looking for the newest model that you can find, and if range and budget are high on your priorities, then the Nissan Leaf is bound to be a strong candidate.

At a glance

Model and year

Nissan Leaf Tekna (2018)

Mileage

15,522km

Date Tested

29/07/2020

Price

$44,990 (Driveaway)

Engine

110kW motor

Transmission

Reduction Drive

Range

270km (from new)

Towing capacity

N/A

2WD/4WD/AWD

2WD

Seating capacity

5

Luggage capacity/payload

435 litres (all seats up)

Safety features include:

  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Intelligent Cruise Control
  • ProPILOT
  • Intelligent Forward Collision Warning
  • Intelligent EBD
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Intelligent Driver Alertness

Choosing you next used car?

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Thank you to AA Appraised Used Vehicle Dealer GVI for supplying us with the 2018 Nissan Leaf for review.

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