The 2019 Nissan Leaf EV is a fully electric five-seater and I'm going to admit it wasn't love at first sight with the Leaf for me, however, by the end of my week driving it, our relationship had blossomed and I became rather fond of the cheeky little fella!
Used to the excellent battery range of the Hyundai Kona EV I was shocked straight away to only get 250km of battery in the Leaf. By the time I'd driven the 100km home from picking it up, it felt like it was time to plug it in again!
I found over the week I did have to charge it more often than with the Kona EV, Tesla Model S or Jaguar i-Pace for example but because it has a smaller battery range it is quite a lot cheaper than those cars, even the Hyundai, and was much quicker to fully charge as well. There's a handy visual on the driver screen so you know how long it will take and the distance you have left.
Charging it wasn't a problem and I found I just did it as part of my every day, at the shops, zoo and at home.
It comes with different charging leads in the boot. The leads do take up quite a bit of space at either side of the boot though and there is a big BOSE box in the boot floor that has something to do with the stereo taking up more space.
Good news, though. The boot is nice and deep so you can still get all sizes of pram and stroller in and a good weekly shop. From empty it would hold nine shopping bags which is the same as the Hyundai Kona EV, one less than the Mazda3 and two less than the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid and Kia Cerato Hatch.
The Leaf felt like a small car but it didn't have a small turning circle and it didn't feel as nimble to drive as I'd expected, until… I used the e-Pedal which I found made a huge difference. With e-Pedal you drive just using the accelerator, a bit like a dodgem at the fairground, so taking your foot off the accelerator allows you to slow down and brake all the way to a stop. It was fun learning to judge how to get the car stop perfectly at the line of a traffic light and made the Leaf feel nippier and more exciting to drive, in other words, more like I had hoped it would be!
There is a round gear knob that has a diagram to tell you how to manoeuvre it into gear. To me the diagram proves someone at Nissan realised this design would confuse people but I at least found I got used to this very quickly, more so than the rotary or push-button systems in some electric cars. The Leaf's gear selector relied more on the muscle memory of using a geared car.
In the back of the Nissn Leaf I could fit two child seats, where they are nice and easy to install with ISOfix in the two outer seats and top tether anchorages on the back of all three rear seats. The Leaf is more spacious back there than I first thought and with rear-facing child seats installed we could just squeeze a 180cm passenger in front of it.
Storage throughout the Nissan Leaf is minimal, with cup holders only in the front, a very small central console box and no glasses case in the front and only map and door pockets in the back.
The Nissan Leaf EV is a rather beepy car! It has a VERY loud and annoying beep when you open the driver's door, it seemed to do it with and without the ‘engine' being turned on and would definitely disturb a sleeping baby and drove me a little demented!
The lane departure warning is shocking, the steering wheel vibrates and I found the sound too violent and startling.
The media system in the Nissan Leaf does have Apple CarPlay which is great. The screen is very glary unless you are in the shade though which makes it hard to use while driving.
It also makes it harder to see the reversing camera and sat-nav map.
You can mute the parking sensors with a button by your left knee which is good.
A thoughtful feature is the rear heated seat controls are not on the back of the central console box where little toes will interfere with them! They are on the side of the front passenger seat where the driver can reach to control them.
Being an all-electric car it was great to be able to drive my daughter to sleep and use no fuel andI could sit with the aircon running and not pollute the environment or waste my money.
The 2019 Nissan Leaf EV scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2018 and has six airbags as standard. There are seat belt removal reminders in all rear seats with a great visual on the driver display screen.