Turning over a new Leaf

Lancashire Life - - MOTORING - WORDS: Andy Rus­sell

EV pi­o­neer Nis­san has launched its sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Leaf, now a more cred­i­ble al­ter­na­tive to petrol and diesel power

It’s seven years since Nis­san launched the all-elec­tric Leaf and also in­tro­duced me to range anxiety when its 90-mile range on a full charge nearly left me stranded af­ter 60. Now the world’s best-sell­ing pure elec­tric car, with more than 350,000 sales, Nis­san has launched the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion, push­ing per­for­mance, power and range bound­aries.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

An elec­tric mo­tor, mated to an au­to­matic gear­box, now has a 40kwh bat­tery and, with 320Nm of torque all the way to 3,283rpm, then the max­i­mum 150PS of power to 9,795rpm – this is a mean ma­chine in ev­ery sense. New re­al­world MPG test­ing gives a range of 168 miles in nor­mal driv­ing – 242 miles in urban driv­ing with eco mode. There are charg­ing points – one for a do­mes­tic three-pin plug, tak­ing up to 21 hours, and a 7kw home wall charger which takes

7.5 hours, and the other for 50kw pub­lic fast charg­ers tak­ing 40 to 60 min­utes for an 80pc top-up.

HOW IT DRIVES

The Leaf cor­ners flatly, with good grip and steer­ing feel, to carry momentum through cor­ners and avoid wast­ing bat­tery power get­ting up to speed again, but the ride is on the firm side on rough sur­faces. The unique e-pedal, which can be switched on and off, makes driv­ing easy and re­lax­ing.

SPACE AND COMFORT

It will seat five adults but the back seat cush­ions are high to ac­com­mo­date the big bat­tery, legroom is at a pre­mium and there’s lit­tle foot­room un­der the front seats. The 385-litre boot is useful, but range-top­ping Tekna has an ex­tra speaker for the Bose sound sys­tem on the floor.

AT THE WHEEL

A con­ven­tional speedo, eco-power gauge in­stead of a rev counter and bat­tery life and range read­outs are easy to read. Con­nec­tiv­ity is a strong point and the in­fo­tain­ment screen in­cludes selectable data dis­plays about en­ergy use.

FI­NAL SAY

This award-win­ning new Leaf is so good, when it comes to elec­tric mo­tor­ing, it can win hearts and minds. And no wor­ries about range with a bit of plan­ning ahead.

SPEC AND TECH

Nis­san Leaf Tekna from £28,390 af­ter £4,500 plug-in grant

110kw/150ps elec­tric mo­tor, 40kwh bat­tery, and au­to­matic trans­mis­sion

0-62mph 7.9 sec­onds; top speed 89mph

168 miles com­bined; 242 miles city (new WLTP real-world test­ing)

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