“At 60kph, the loudest noise in this new Nissan Leaf EV comes from your heartbeat”
Firstly let me apologise to ad executive David Ogilvie for plagiarising his 1958 press campaign for Rolls Royce, (click on this link to read more about Ogilvie and RR ad.) but it’s too good a tag line not to, just a little.
Hi, Bob Aldons, The Car Guy, testing the new Nissan Leaf EV.
I’ve driven a few hybrids and a PHEV but this is the first occasion I’ve driven a purely electric vehicle other than a quick spin in a Tesla, a day in a Mitsubishi i-Miev (a long time ago) and a golf buggy.
What is it? The Nissan Leaf is an e-Powertrain small to medium-sized vehicle with a 40kWh lithium-ion battery, automatic, and front-wheel drive.
How Much? On their website, the manufacturer suggests that the Nissan Leaf is $53,795 drive away in Queensland. The MRP is $49,990 so the dealer delivery and government charges add $3,805 to the list price.
If you check out number plates for a living or pastime, you’ll find a lot of LPG Diamonds but no so many EV decals….yet.
Competitors? Because of the relative newness of electric vehicles, there aren’t too many competitors, but you could include Renault Zoe Electric Intens and Hyundai Ioniq Electric Premium. Further up the food chain, you’ll find BMW i3 and Tesla 3, and further again you’re looking at Tesla S and X. EV’s from Mercedes Benz, Jaguar and Audi are due next year
At the Front
Unlike Tesla, This Nissan Leaf doesn’t have a frunk – it does, however, have a pretty large trunk or boot as we call it here in Australia. Charging is via a panel fitted to the nose of your car and the cables are located in a box in the boot.
Power is 110kW with an astonishing 320Nm torque
In design, it’s a traditional look large hatchback (not dissimilar in size to a Toyota Prius hybrid) but with the charge access in the front of the vehicle. (The newer Leaf PLUS, not here in Australias as yet, gets a 62-kWh battery good for about 320km)
Another cool feature is the e-Pedal, which allows you to crank up the amount of regenerative braking so that you can go all day driving with just the accelerator. Once you get used to it, it’s an efficient breeze to operate. It was by far my favourite feature on the Leaf.
Range (WLTP Combined Cycle), – Up to 270klm
Down the Side
I’ve ‘stolen’ the safety specifications directly from Nissan’s website – it’s 5-star rating was issued in 2018, so has the latest safety equipment list.
ISOFIX anchor points
Hill Start Assist
Intelligent Around-View Monitor
Parking sensors (front & rear)
Intelligent Trace Control
Intelligent Ride Control
Intelligent Driver Alert
Intelligent Forward Collision Warning
Intelligent Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection
Intelligent Lane Intervention
Lane Departure Warning
Blind Spot Warning
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
Tyre Pressure Monitor System
Vehicle Sound for Pedestrian
Traffic Sign Recognition
Temporary Spare Wheel
Interestingly, and for comparison sake, the Toyota Prius range also gets a 5-star rating but against the old safety specifications. ANCAP shows that the ‘newest Prius’ was tested in 2016 and hasn’t been updated since. From a personal viewpoint, I think the ANCAP rating system needs a massive shakeup.
Someone else’s opinion
My favourite US-based publications is Autoweek. I upload some of their more interesting road tests from time to time
One of their more recent articles was the end of a long-term test of a 2018 Nissan Leaf. You can read it here to gain some further insight into the flexibility and suitability of the Nissan Leaf – Nissan Leaf/Autoweek
And another thought bubble
And another critic, this time from Car Advice suggests “Unfortunately, for Nissan, the Leaf’s interior lets itself down with a number of easily avoidable ‘own goals’ on the design front. There’s a foot parking brake, for one, and the front seats are mounted uncomfortably high. The steering wheel doesn’t adjust for reach, the climate-control binnacle feels as though it’s been nicked from a mid-spec Navara and the indicator stalk is mounted on the left-hand side of the steering column.
There’s nothing wrong with left-side indicators, of course, but it just seems strange given the rest of the Nissan range has them on the right.
Given the brand has experience with electric vehicles, it’s disappointing Nissan hasn’t made more of an effort to make the Leaf feel bespoke with a truly spacious, up-to-date interior. And given the Leaf is meant to serve as a leader for the brand, it’s disappointing the accounts department wasn’t willing to approve a proper steering column, electric parking brake and seat bracket.”
So here I am sitting in the driver’s seat having a good look around. Whilst the ‘instrument cluster’ looks clever, there’s more to it than meets the eye. I’m sitting a bit high for my liking, but the driving position is something you get used to over a week. The cabin is airy and light, not too dissimilar to other hatchbacks on the market, but better. Whilst the steering wheel doesn’t adjust for reach, nonetheless, I’m comfortable. Not sure how Mrs Aldons will feel in the driver’s seat, but it’s ok for me.
The infotainment system is very classy – 8” TFT screen is perfect.
Navigation too is great, but I’m wondering how often it will be used if drivers hook their Apple Car Play/Android Auto into the car.
Google Maps are way more current than any factory navigation system and doesn’t cost a $ to upgrade anytime.
Could Do Better:
The foot brake is way out of date for a technology superior vehicle. Where’s the electronic park brake, Mr Nissan? And that you’ve got this funky D N P toggle in the car makes the omission of an electronic park brake even more surprising
Only 1 Auto Up/Down electric window. For the smallest of investment, all four windows should be auto up/auto down. At least that’s what I’m expecting.
It’s very plasticky. I’m really surprised at the amount of old-style hard plastic in the car. With Honda and Volkswagen announcing their E cars at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and pre-launch orders at around 30,000 (even before they’d been seen) methinks Nissan needs to step up the quality and inclusions in the car.
Nissan Leaf Range Anxiety
Ok. So I’m admitting here that I did suffer from some range anxiety when I picked up the Nissan Leaf.
Distance to empty (and remember it doesn’t have a back-up ICE) showed as 300klm, but my pre-collection reading suggested that the range was 275klm.
So rather than just drive the Leaf, I was constantly looking at the Distance to Empty readout on the dash. That 300klm fell through the floor as I drove back to my office.
Showing 256klm to empty after a 27 km trip from Eagle Farm to Margate didn’t do a lot for my confidence. However, a couple of days driving around the Redcliffe Peninsula saw the DTE drop to 34klm. Time to re-charge
So, I tried to locate a Charger, but that proved difficult. I had downloaded one of the 2 apps that Nissan suggested but still couldn’t find that fast charger – there’s only 1 in Redcliffe, 1 in Sandgate (near my home) but there are 3 showing at North Lakes, which was 22 minutes or 13klm away from my office.
Not so sure about getting to North Lakes so let’s charge at home.
I finally determined how the charger coupling worked at home (ed. Make sure the plug is firmly slotted into your household powerpoint, Doesn’t work when it’s only nearly in)
From 7.40 pm to 6.20 am it accepted a charge of 165klm and here I am again in my office much more comfortable than I was yesterday.
So it’s become apparent that management of the kilometres travelled is much more of an issue in an EV than an ICE. But as we move forward, there’s no doubt that more charging stations will appear, but at least you can charge overnight from home and maintain a pretty reasonable range to empty
And looking at my electricity account, I’m guessing that it tool about 76.5 cents to charge – and that’s an amazing saving compared to an ICE vehicle
Link to full ANCAP report on the Nissan Leaf
ANCAP – NISSAN LEAF (8 pages)
Green Vehicle Guide
Here’s a summary from the Federal Government Green Vehicle Guide website. You can search and compare any vehicle on the market in Australia for consumption, range, CO2 Output, and annual estimated fuel cost.
Certainly provides a good look at various Hybrid v ICE v EV cars.
Nissan Leaf Comprehensive Insurance
I use RACQ online to provide an approximate cost of comprehensive insurance for an owner such as myself. You should always check with at least 3 insurers to see what their premium is. The information entered into the RACQ portal is
Male Driver over 62 years of age using the Nissan for private use
RACQ member (bronze) for over 5 years with another eligible policy with RACQ roadside assist
The car has an engine immobilizer
No accidents or loss of license within the last 3 years
No Suspensions of License
Rating 1 for the last 10 years
Lives at Sandgate, the car is garaged overnight and there’s no finance.
No driver under 25 will drive the Nissan Leaf
The online quotation is – $569.73 paid annually with a $750 Excess
Service Costs and Warranty – Nissan Leaf EV
The service intervals on the Nissan Leaf are longer than the equivalent ICE vehicle. Under normal driving conditions, you should Service your Leaf at 20,000km intervals and for 120,000km the Nissan Capped Price Service runs out to $1731. That works out at about $288.50 per service. You’ll need to replace the brake fluid every 2 years and that will cost you a bit more.
The warranty on all Nissan vehicles is 5 years with unlimited kilometres, including premium roadside assistance. The Nissan Leaf EV battery pack in this car is warranted for 8 years or 160,000 kilometres whichever comes first.
A source inside Nissan suggests that after the battery warranty expires and the battery needs replacing, you can expect to pay around $9,900 for an exchange at least in 2019 prices. At least that’s what it costs on older Nissan Leaf EV models, with no update as yet available on the 2019 version.
I’d expect that by 2027, the exchange cost will have reduced considerably as technology and productions costs reduce.
Finance Estimate – Nissan Leaf EV
Now I’m no financial advisor and I don’t really know the particular circumstances of any individual who could be reading this story, so may I suggest that firstly you chat with your accountant or tax advisor. Secondly, if you really want to know whether you qualify for this quoted finance rate or something even better, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with my preferred finance broker.
Term 60 Months
Monthly Payment $771.21
The rate used of 6.55% and your actual rate could be higher or lower depending on the strength of your business or personal position.
Video Review – Nissan Leaf EV
Whenever I can, I like to provide you with some industry comment on cars. Tom Baker from Chasing Cars has completed a test on the 2019 Nissan Leaf. I’ve you ‘re interested click on the image below and be entertained by Tom. And if you’d like to see more from Chasing Cars, click on their subscription button and you’ll get more videos into your inbox on a regular basis
- Nissan Juke, Qashqai, X-Trail and Pathfinder Review – Why Should you Buy?
- Uber + ANCAP = More Questions About Safety
- 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed Review.
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