2019 Nissan Leaf Assessment: Fast Drive

2019 Nissan Leaf Assessment: Fast Drive

You’ve decided you want to buy an electric vehicle, and the 2019 Nissan Leaf has positioned itself as the smartest, most affordable option on your shopping list. Tesla product is simply too expensive – or, ahem, unavailable – and the BMW i3 is just that little bit too far beyond what you possibly can justify.

This preliminary, transient native drive isn’t about assessing the Nissan Leaf against its non-electrical competitors. Think Hyundai i30, Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3 or Volkswagen Golf. You’ve already decided you want to buy and drive an electric vehicle, so comparing it to conventional hatches just isn’t relevant.

Fairly, this test will deal with – if the pricing lands the place we think it's going to – whether or not the Nissan Leaf 2014 Leaf is still probably the most compelling option in a section that may get somewhat crowded pretty quickly. The Leaf was at all times the frontrunner; it’s straightforward to overlook that. Can it retain its place at the head of the real-world queue?

While the typical punter can’t hope to simply afford Tesla’s present offering, the BMW i3 is, however, closer to the price more folks can justify forking out for a day by day driver. The entry-level i3 electric-solely model starts from $sixty eight,seven hundred and steps as much as $sixty nine,900 for the i3s. Therefore, if the Leaf can sit around that essential $50K barrier, it’s a compelling value point for the typical buyer.

There’s a complete different argument to be had about how we generate our energy, and whether it's actually green to personal an electric vehicle in Australia in 2018. You may, nevertheless, opt for solar power, build sufficient storage into your property system and manage your electrical energy use carefully to minimise the impact on the grid. And when you’ve determined you positively want an electrical automotive, the perceived reliability and quality that include the Nissan badge are price something before you even start.

First up for me, there’s the Leaf’s styling. Or lack of the usual quirkiness, more to the point. Electric vehicles have typically had a bent to look a bit bizarre, edgy or sharp for no reason aside from they are electric. The Leaf, not so much. It appears to be like just about precisely the way you’d expect a small Nissan hatch to look.

It’s a transparent benefit to my method of thinking that the Leaf doesn’t appear to be some strange twiglet with wheels. You could argue that the Leaf might look more futuristic in case you needed to take the contrary view, but I just like the comparatively normal styling and I think it's going to broaden the appeal. Just because you’re an early adopter doesn’t essentially imply you wish to seem like one.

Nissan additionally claims a huge 400km battery range for the new Leaf. We’ll test the accuracy of that assertion when we get a Leaf within the CarAdvice garage for a full week of testing, but on face worth, with the typical commute being less than 50km return, most Aussies can have more than enough range in the Leaf.

(NOTE: The above determine of 400km was based mostly on preliminary details drawn from the Japanese unveiling of the new Leaf. Nissan has now confirmed the native range, primarily based on the new WLTP testing system, will probably be 270 kilometres. In our view, this range will get most city families via a few days of unplugged motoring

The Leaf will recharge overnight at dwelling from just about zero too, with the included pack. Use a fast charger like we did at the NRMA head office in Homebush, approximately 20km outside the Sydney CBD, and you’ll get to 80 per cent capacity in forty minutes – just sufficient time to have a coffee and check some emails.

Weighing in at 1500kg, the Leaf is somewhere within the range of 200–300kg heavier than a petroleum-powered hatch of the identical section size, however with 320Nm available from zero, it’s spritely enough. There’s 110kW on offer as well, and 0–100km/h comes up in eight seconds so it’s not lightning quick, however it’s more than snappy sufficient to satisfy urban dwellers. There’s little question the immediacy that we’ve come to count on from electric vehicles is there.

The Leaf does begin to plateau out somewhere between 60 and 80km/h, however I ran it up to 100km/h on the motorway and it sat there effortlessly. Up to 60km/h, acceleration is really effortless and linear. And silent, of course, which brings its own new tech-centered sensation. Single-velocity gearing is something you’ll must get used to. It’s a strange sensation initially, but like the texture of the brake pedal, it should rapidly become second nature.

With regards to the brake pedal and the feel of similar, Nissan is keen to advertise the intelligent ‘e-Pedal’ system. It’s activated through a change on the console, so you can use the brakes as normal for those who choose, but I quickly grew to become consolationable with e-Pedal activated. It delivers energy recuperation and deceleration as soon as you lift off the throttle too, bringing the automobile to a cease without utilizing the brake. It solely took two corners for me to work the system out and not want the brake at metropolis speeds.