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Nissan Leaf review

An electric vehicle that feels like a real car. It's expensive but fun to drive and comes loaded with kit.



The on-screen display also provides navigation through the Nissan EV Navigation System. It’s pretty quick to set a destination, and the directions it gave us were clear. We like the way that when you get to a junction it present a split-screen view, with the close up of the manoeuvre on the left, and the continuation of the route map on the right.

Nissan Leaf satnav

Voice instructions were easy to understand and you can set instruction volume separately from the rest of the entertainment system, so you can listen to music at full volume without being deafened by a sudden voice prompt. It made a couple of errors, such as asking us to turn left when it really seemed to mean right, but this was a rare occurrence.

Reversing camera

Putting the car into reverse turns on the rear reversing camera and shows the image on screen. It also has one of the best reversing aids we’ve used. An orange box the width of the car is superimposed on the rear camera footage. As you turn the wheel, the box curves to show the arc and direction that the car will take, which helps you see where you’ll end up and adjust your trajectory accordingly. Using the camera we managed to park perfectly every time.

Nissan Leaf reversing camera

The video footage also has a visual proximity meter; you’re safe if an object is in the green zone, but let it stray into red and you’re in danger of hitting it. It works fairly well, but can sometimes be confusing to understand. A parking sensor with an audible beep would have helped to make parking even easier.

Cruise Control

The steering wheel controls also give you access to the cruise control system. You can set a speed and use the plus and minus buttons to adjust it on the fly, speeding up or slowing down the car as you go. There’s no adaptive speed control to follow the car in front, but having just one gear on the car means you can turn on cruise control and not have to worry about changing gears.

Nissan Leaf cruise control controls

There’s also a speed limiter system, which lets you set the maximum speed that you want the car to go. It’s a neat way of making sure you don’t get caught out by speed cameras. This is as easy to set as the cruise control system, with the controls easy to reach.


The Nissan Leaf isn’t just a good electric car, it’s an impressive car in its own right. Its smooth ride and well-equipped interior make it a pleasure to drive. Whether it’s worth buying really depends on the types of journey you intend to make. It’s fine for driving around town and short commutes, but even taking into account government grants it’s expensive. Some of this is offset by the cheaper running costs – Nissan claims you’ll save £1,680 a year versus a petrol-powered car on a 12,000-mile average mileage – but you may still have to rent an internal-combustion vehicle for longer journeys.

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