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Nissan Leaf 30kWh Acenta review

Smooth and silent powertrain

February 2016

Likes:

  • Smooth and silent powertrain
  • Improved navigation system is useful
  • Low running costs assured
  • Relaxing driving experience

Gripes:

  • Looks may put off some buyers
  • Bigger battery may mitigate but not cure range anxiety
  • Local charging facilities vary and will affect driver experience
  • Acceleration feels inadequate at times
Nissan was the first to market an everyman's electric car with its mass-produced Leaf, and it has proved popular with buyers since 2010. Now Nissan is offering the Leaf with a larger 30kWh battery, giving increased range with the aim of allaying the 'range anxiety' of potential buyers, as well as making some detail changes.

Nissan's original approach to the task of creating a pure electric car focused on two key areas, namely making it easy to drive and to live with as well as keeping the experience as close as possible to a conventional combustion-engined car. In almost all areas Nissan succeeded, but the one area in which this wasn't possible was in respect of vehicle range.

The Leaf was originally offered with a 24kWh battery, and in this guise Nissan claimed a best-possible range of 120 miles. The company's research concluded that the vast majority of journeys were under 50 miles which made 120 miles a viable distance, but many buyers still find range to be an issue.

The 30kWh battery option does not increase the Leaf's acceleration or top speed but increases the maximum range to a claimed 155 miles, an increase of almost 30%. As well as increasing the potential range, the larger battery gives drivers freedom to use the performance more liberally, and avoid having to manage the range too carefully on shorter journeys.

The Leaf is still available with the previous 24kWh battery too, while all models come with the option of solar cells and a more powerful charger. The Nissan Connect EV system has also been updated, which can be crucial to driving the Leaf as it gives not just navigation but also live updates from nearby charging locations.

Our verdict on the Nissan Leaf 30kWh Acenta
The Leaf remains a competent car in its own right and - aside from considerably more expensive Teslas - is the most viable electric car for a one-vehicle household. The bigger battery certainly goes some way to alleviating range anxiety, although the overall range remains dependent on conditions and driving style as well as being considerably less than conventionally-powered alternatives.