“LEAF” stands for Leading Environmentally-Friendly Affordable Family Car. In this spirit, the newly refreshed and updated 2018 Nissan LEAF has taken all the best bits from the original LEAF – the class-leading EV range, the smooth drive, the affordable price – and made it even better.
The new LEAF looks great, with a fresh face sporting the new “V-Motion” grille, which continues the line across the bonnet and on to the A-pillars, splitting and pushing air around the car for maximum aerodynamic effect. The redesigned rear end now has a boot which rivals some of the biggest in the class – at 435 litres, it’s even bigger than the Qashqai!
The LEAF itself sits slightly lower, with improved underbody slipstreaming to reduce drag. This lower, wider profile has given the new LEAF a purposeful stance – much more grown-up compared to the wide-eyed trailblazer which it replaced.
Internally, there have been a whole raft of changes, with the dashboard being changed dramatically to accommodate a new driver-centric 8″ instrument cluster – user-configurable to show much more information than ever before.
The look and feel is much more premium, with the navigation screen now “floating” above the centre console, and the drive mode selector now in a premium black finish rather than the previous silver.
Under the skin
New features such as ProPILOT – with auto-adjusting cruise control, active lane keep assist, and around-view cameras with moving object detection are all just a button-press away. The new e-Pedal feature can be activated or disabled via a switch next to the drive mode selector. The e-Pedal allows the car to be driven with just the accelerator pedal – removing pressure causes the vehicle to brake, and come to a complete stop, even on a hill.
Beneath the cosmetic differences, there have been important changes to the LEAF’s EV Drivetrain. The motor output power has been increased from 80kW (109bhp) to 110kW (150bhp), and the onboard battery charger has been boosted to 6.6kW as standard across the range (previously a £1100 optional extra). The battery capacity has been increased from 30kWh to 40kWh, with the maximum range now 235 miles (up from 155 miles).
So the new LEAF is quicker, looks better, goes further, but what about the price? Well, the special 2.Zero launch edition is priced at £26,490 after the government plug-in car grant (including metallic paint, heated seats, and ProPILOT). To compare – the previous model Acenta 30kWh 6.6kW in metallic paint would have cost £27,515. So the new model costs over £1000 less, but has more standard kit, and a bigger battery.
Win – Win.