Here to clear the air

Nissan Leaf

Price: £26,995- £36,395

The world’s best-selling electric car is a practical, fun-to-drive, no compromise family hatchback that just happens to be powered by electricity. 

  • Battery size: 40 – 62kWh
  • Miles per £: 30
  • Battery warranty: 8 yrs/100,000 miles
  • Emissions: 0g/km
  • Range: 168-239 miles

Tom Says



“The Leaf is a good bet if you find the thought of an electric car a bit daunting. It’s just a hatchback. A hatchback that looks like it’s been hit several times with a flat shovel, granted, but it’s still very user-friendly. I think you should go for mid-range Acenta to get the best value for money. ”

Ginny Says



“Nissan was first to launch a mainstream electric car and all their knowledge has gone into this latest model. It’s an easy car to live with and makes owning an EV feel like a mainstream choice. Ignore Tom’s comment about how it looks, he’s not in any position to be giving style advice.”

Nissan was the first to launch a proper, serious electric car when the Leaf came out in 2011. It’s gone on to be the best-selling electric vehicle in the world, with good reason. It is a sensible family car which is about the same size as a VW Golf or Ford Focus and so doesn’t involve any compromises. And yet it is much, much cheaper to run than a conventional car as it is 100% electric, with no petrol or diesel engine at all.

Since those first cars were launched, the Leaf has been gradually evolving with bigger battery capacities and more performance. The most expensive version now has a range of 239 miles, which should be plenty for most drivers. It is a pricey option though, so think carefully if you really need the extra capacity, or could make do with the cheaper battery.

Whichever Leaf you choose it is easy and surprisingly fun to drive. The controls are all simple to use and pretty familiar to anyone who has driven an automatic car before, and the acceleration away from a standstill is enough to take most first-time Leaf drivers by surprise. 

Despite the simplicity there’s still plenty of technology. The most interesting is probably the e-Pedal, which means you can drive the Leaf without touching the brakes, except in emergencies. It works in the same way as a fairground dodgem ride – press the accelerator and the car gathers speed as you’d expect, but lift off and the car will slow down and stop. It takes some getting used to but makes driving in traffic much more relaxing and is more efficient. When the car is slowing down the motor is switched automatically to become a generator and it feeds power back into the battery so it’s never wasted. And don’t worry, the e-Pedal also operates the brake lights so following drivers will know you’re slowing down.

The Leaf also has an app which lets you do all sorts of clever things such as checking the battery charge level and sending destinations to the navigation. Our favourite feature is the ability to preheat the car though. If you wake up on a frosty morning, you can start the Leaf’s heater to have the car warmed before you get in. Besides being comfortable and saving on de-icer, it also preserves the car’s range as you are using mains rather than battery power to run the heater.

Our only real concern about the Leaf is its price. It does look a little expensive and the models at the top of the range are not far off the price of a Tesla Model 3. There are often good finance offers at dealers though, so it shouldn’t necessarily be an obstacle.

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