Nissan Leaf Review 2024

Written by Andy Brady

heycar ratingAn easy-going electric pioneer
  • 2018
  • Family hatch
  • EV

Quick overview


  • Punchy electric acceleration
  • Composed handling
  • Generous safety equipment


  • Dated infotainment system
  • Standard Leaf has short range
  • Dull interior looks

Overall verdict on the Nissan Leaf

"The Nissan Leaf is a great entry to the electric car world. It demands few compromises, has punchy acceleration, comes well equipped, and it drives better than many rivals while undercutting them on price. True, the range isn’t class-leading, but it’s a great all-rounder that makes it a viable alternative to many fossil-fuelled rivals."

Nissan Leaf Review 2024 front

When the original Nissan Leaf was launched back in 2011, it had few rivals, but the current car that pitched up in 2018 arrived at a time when the market for EVs was growing exponentially. It's one of the cheaper electric cars on sale and we'll take a closer look at how it compares with the competition our in-depth Nissan Leaf review.

Nissan bills the Leaf as an ordinary family hatchback that just so happens to have a ground-breaking zero tailpipe emissions. Despite it looking quite reserved, it's a very strong all-rounder and while not one of the best electric cars on sale, it does come with fewer compromises than many battery-powered electric cars.

The cabin of the Nissan Leaf is roomy enough for four (and five at a push), the boot is above average for a small SUV, let alone a five-door family hatch, and as long as you plan your charging carefully, it should be a hassle-free car to own.

It now comes with a choice of battery sizes too, each with different power outputs and range. As standard, the Nissan Leaf gets a 39kWh (kilowatt hour) battery with a 150PS motor and an official 168 miles of range (real-world mileage may vary). This is on the lower end of what's possible from the latest electric cars, but should be enough for any urban drivers.

Pay a fair wedge more for a Nissan Leaf e+ model and you get a larger capacity 59kWh battery, a 217PS electric motor that makes the Leaf feel seriously quick and that cruising range increases to an impressive 239 miles. Floor the throttle and its remarkably rapid, pinning you to your seat from a standstill. It'll keep shifting itself at a rate of knots as you build up to motorway speeds, only tailing off at the top end, helping conserve battery.

Very few rivals feel as punchy, but many do claim a longer range, especially compared to the entry-level car. A Kia Soul EV, Hyundai Kona EV and BYD Seal will all travel further on a charge, in some cases by far enough that it could make a real difference to your daily routine. It's the one drawback.

In other respects, the Nissan Leaf stacks up very well with rivals such as the Renault Zoe and Peugeot e-208. It's wonderfully refined, with a comfortable suspension setup, tidy handling and impressive traction, to go with its laidback manners and light controls. The Nissan Leaf's 'e-pedal' regenerative braking system is one of the best implementations we've tried, and it's smooth.

The standard Nissan Leaf comes in four trim levels: Nissan Leaf Shiro, Acenta, N-Connecta, and Tekna, but unless you want the high-capacity model, we would stick to the first rung of the ladder. It's the best value (undercutting several of the cars we mentioned above) but still comes equipped with almost everything most buyers will need day-to-day.

If you want an electric car to feel like a cutting edge step into a shining future, the Nissan Leaf is perhaps not for you. It delivers a competent, capable driving experience that holds no unpleasant surprises, except a lowish range. A wilfully sensible cabin has a foot rooted in the past, but that makes the Nissan Leaf a perfect entry into electric ownership.

Looking for a used car for sale? We've got 100s of Nissan Approved Used Cars for Sale for you to choose from, including a wide range of Nissan Leafs for sale. If you're looking for the older version, you need our Nissan Leaf (2011-2018) review.

Electric cars will not be for everyone and charging does require more planning than a fill-up. But if you're interested in cutting your transport costs and helping cut pollution, the Nissan Leaf  is an excellent place to start.

It's as roomy and practical as a normal family car, easier to drive, with surprisingly brisk performance. The restrained design means it won't seem to your neighbours like you've landed a spaceship on your driveway and with the standard battery size and in Nissan Leaf Acenta trim, it's reasonably priced and very generously kitted out.

The biggest limiting factor will be the range. Will 168 miles be enough for your needs? How often are you able to charge it or top up the battery? You'll need the answers to these questions before you buy, to help you make an informed choice of which is best, and whether to upgrade to the rather expensive e+ model.

Nissan was one of the first mainstream brands to launch a relatively affordable electric car with the original Leaf back in 2011. It's taken rivals the best part of a decade to catch-up, but now it has plenty of competition.

For something a little smaller, the Renault Zoe is a proven electric city car with decent range, and the newer Peugeot e-208 or Vauxhall Corsa-e can go even further. The former in a more stylish and premium package.

If you want something less practical but more charismatic, the funky Honda e or BMW i3 could be right up your street, while the MINI Electric is one of the most entertaining zero-emissions cars to drive at this price.

The futuristic Volkswagen ID.3 offers a similar footprint to the Leaf, larger standard battery pack, and a range of 340 miles on the top-spec model.

Finally, if you are considering an electric car but would prefer an SUV, the Peugeot e-2008, Kia Soul EV, or Hyundai Kona Electric all offer the raised driving position and chunky styling you seek, but smaller boots.

Comfort and design: Nissan Leaf interior

"Nissan played things safe with the interior of this car. It's conservatively styled and conventional in its layout so that anyone stepping from a traditional family car will feel instantly at home with where all the controls sit."

Nissan Leaf Review 2024 front interior

The infotainment screen is a regular size and shape, so sits neatly within the dash rather than dominating the cabin like some kind of technological monolith, Handily there are separate controls for the temperature. Its odd bean-shaped gear selector is rather unusual, but intuitive enough to use and the ana-digi dials are clear too. 

The driving position is quite high on the Nissan Leaf, which is great for visibility, but the fact that the steering wheel only move up and down (and not in and out) means there is likely to be some trial and error involved in finding an ideal fit. Seeing things over your shoulder can be trickier, so on Nissan Leaf Acenta models it's worth investing in parking sensors.

At least the seats in all models adjust for height plus you can manually tweak the backrest angle if to find the right posture, but there's no electric adjustment or lumbar support offered, even on the highest trim levels. It should be okay as the seats are supportive and you'll get a break from driving after around 200 miles, at which point you'll be looking for a charging point - potentially a fair bit less in the cheaper 39kWh version.

The Nissan Leaf is a pleasant place to spend time, but its interior is middle-of-the-road. The build quality is a clear cut above the cheaper Renault Zoe, but nowhere near as plush or well finished as a Volkswagen e-Golf or a Peugeot e-208.

Things you'll regularly interact with are finished to a good standard, including the sculpted steering wheel, the rounded nub that acts as a gear selector and the shortcut buttons around the infotainment screen. However, big swathes of the dash, door tops and transmission tunnel are hard, industrial plastics that mark too easily.

There are nods to the Leaf's zero-emission status, with lots of blue accent colours and stitching to brighten up what is a fairly gloomy environment, while in pricier versions the leather seats help. Still, the switches feel more 'parts bin' than premium. We've no doubt it will prove durable, but there are certainly nicer ways to spend your money.

While every Nissan Leaf comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen display, plus a smaller digital screen that takes up one side of the instrument cluster, technophiles might be disappointed because it's not very futuristic looking inside at all.

The system is decently equipped, with nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and the ability to take over the screen with your favourite phone apps via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Just plug your phone in with a normal USB cable and you'll be able to use navigation tools like Waze or stream your finest Spotify playlist.

However, you will find the system a bit ponderous to use. It's far from the best infotainment system around. It really slows down when plumbing a route into the nav, and sometimes you have to press the screen quite firmly for it to register your inputs. The graphics are not as sharp (and the display won't get as bright) as the gorgeous 10.25-inch screen you get in the Kia Soul.

Sound quality from the standard six-speaker setup is pretty good. For keener listeners who want to make the most of the Leaf's hushed road manners and turn their car in into a mobile concert hall, the optional BOSE stereo that comes standard on Tekna models will be the way to go, but its big subwoofer does take up space in the boot.

In terms of dimensions, the Nissan Leaf is a similar size to a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus. It's 4490mm long and 2030mm wide (including mirrors), while it has a wheelbase of 2700mm. Sporting 19-inch alloy wheels, it's 1540mm high.

The Nissan Leaf stashes its batteries underneath the rear seats, so it has a much larger boot than you might expect. At 435 litres (without the parcel shelf) is has more luggage capacity than some of Nissan's crossover SUVs which makes it surprisingly practical.

That is easily enough to carry several suitcases on the airport run, with room to spare for the pair of charging cables that are supplied with the car, which sit in netted pockets on either side of the loading bay. Spec the BOSE stereo and you lose 15 litres, but we can't see many Nissan Leaf owners complaining about a lack of boot space, at least with the seats up. 

Folding the rear chairs down is no chore, but they don't sit flush with the boot floor, leaving a large hump that makes it harder to push heavy items right to the back of the car in two-seat mode. The 60/40 seating configuration does mean you can carry people and bulky objects at the same time though, while the Nissan Leaf can carry up to 1176 litres of luggage with the seats dropped entirely.

Passengers are well catered for, too. Those in the back do sit slightly higher than normal (due to the battery) but should be able to get settled in, with reasonable amounts of knee, head and shoulder room to play with. Taller adults might feel their hairdo brushing the roof, though, unlike in the much taller Kia Soul EV or Kia e-Niro.

Carrying three is more of a challenge though. Space in the narrow plinth-like middle seat is pretty tight, while foot space is taken up by another sizeable bump in the floor. No one is going to want to sit there for too long.

Finding the ISOFIX anchors for fitting a child seat is simple. They're clearly marked, and provided in the front and the back, but the doors don't open quite as wide as they do in a Volkswagen e-Golf, so you have less room to work.

Cubby space onboard is pretty average, with little provision for storing loose items beyond the usual spots in the door pockets, under the central armrest and in the two cupholders up front, but at least all trims provide a pair of rear USB charging points to keep the kids as quiet as the smooth electric motor on the motorway.

Remember when charging your Nissan Leaf, the access port is at the front, not on the sides in the usual spot for a filler cap. You'll only get caught out once or twice reversing into a charging bay before learning your lesson...

Handling and ride quality: What is the Nissan Leaf like to drive?

"All electric cars have to deal with the challenge of combatting the negative effects of weighty battery packs. It is clear within just a few hundred metres of driving a Leaf that Nissan has plenty of experience in this regard."

Nissan Leaf Review 2024 backright exterior

The standard Nissan Leaf is really comfortable, dealing with poor road surfaces well. Better actually, than plenty of its all-electric peers, especially at faster speeds, where it cushions out bumps while maintaining body control.

Understandably, the setup is softer than you might expect from a normal family car, but still very composed.

At low speed, you might feel the odd clunk from the suspension as the car rides over a deeper pothole. It's a trait that you won't find in an e-Golf for example, but it never upsets the suspension to the point of discomfort.

So far, so predictable then. What might surprise you though, is the tidy way that the Leaf handles corners. It steers with neat precision, isn't fazed by tackling bumpy or challenging roads, and even grips pretty well too. It's capable rather than fun, but with some electric cars feeling quite compromised in this area, it's a big plus.

Combine this admirable agility on country roads with incredibly light, easy to modulate controls and the Leaf is unbelievably simple to drive, which is obviously part of its appeal. It's one of the best electric all-rounders.

However, there is a penalty to pay for choosing the more powerful e+ model with its increased range. It's a good 120kgs heavier than the standard car, with a raised ride height to accommodate the larger batteries. This affects the ride on the motorway, where the Leaf rolls about more, and you can feel that weight in corners.

The Leaf's alternative power source places no limits on its performance. Quite the opposite in fact. Drive the 39kWh version (revised down from 40kWh in 2023 alongside the 62kWh version dropping to 59kWh) and you'll have 150PS and similar torque to a punchy 2.0-litre diesel in a normal family car. Power is sent to the front wheels via an automatic transmission that is smooth and incredibly responsive.

The biggest difference is that while in the latter you have to wait for the right engine speed and turbo to spool up before it picks up, in a battery-powered car all of that shove is available as soon as you push the throttle.

That makes the Nissan Leaf feel really quite quick off the line. It will surprise plenty of other drivers when surging away from the lights or nipping into gaps. It feels usefully swifter than either a Volkswagen e-Golf or Hyundai Ioniq in town.

However, full-power high-speed driving depletes the batteries very quickly, which is why its top speed is limited to just 90mph. You won't want to be driving anywhere near that to arrive at your destination with any charge left in it.

For buyers planning mostly short suburban trips, this is probably all the Nissan Leaf you're going to need. Anyone in the market for a bit more performance, or requiring a longer range should go for the higher-output 59kWh e+ (previously rated at 62kWh).

This has a 217PS electric motor so it feels even speedier off the line, seeing off some hot hatches. Apart from this party trick, it doesn't feel much more potent in normal driving, like when overtaking above 50mph. The other important boost you get from this model is range - you'll be able to travel around 80 miles further.

Electric cars are very different to drive than conventionally powered hatchbacks. One of the major benefits is just how quiet, calm and relaxing they are to drive, whether you're in the city or venturing out further afield.

Without an engine under the bonnet, there is little to disturb you inside the car, apart from a very faint whine from the electric motor as it spools up. This does mean that you can hear the tyres rumbling and wind noise more than normal. Not because they're any louder in the Nissan Leaf, just that there is nothing to mask the sounds.

It's quieter than any combustion-engined family hatch and with an automatic gearbox and the instant oomph available from the batteries, this is pretty much as relaxing as motoring gets. In fact, you don't need to brake. Like many zero-emissions cars, it features regenerative braking to harvest energy and improve the range. 

In the Leaf, Nissan engineered this into a feature that it calls an ‘e-pedal’ which slows the car down as soon as you lift your foot off the throttle. It feels counter-intuitive at first, but you'll soon be making smoother stops. However, this is not fitted to the base Shiro trim.

Every Nissan Leaf comes packed with safety equipment. Not just mandatory stuff like airbags and a tyre pressure monitoring system (it has those, too) but stuff premium brands will charge you thousands for in safety packs.

There is a high-beam assist to automatically dip your lights for oncoming traffic, lane departure warning to let you when you start to wander, and blind-spot monitors that flash orange if someone is hiding in your mirrors.

City driving should be less stressful too, knowing that the car is always watching out for pedestrians, cyclists and other traffic. It will warn you if it senses a collision, stepping on the brakes for you if necessary. This system is called auto-emergency braking (AEB) and comes included on every single trim in the entire range.

Small wonder then, that it achieved a five-star rating from the crash testing experts at Euro NCAP. In fact, the Nissan achieved a 93% rating for adult protection and an equally impressive 86% for safeguarding children.

All models come with radar-guided cruise that can maintain a set distance from the car in front, but the Tekna models benefit from Nissan's ProPILOT self-driving technology. This can follow your set speed, steer to keep you in your lane and even brake to a full stop while in traffic - all you need to do is keep your hands on the wheel.

You can get an equally cutting-edge system to help with parking manoeuvres. Most of these gadgets require you to control the speed, but in the Leaf it's a hands-and-feet off, fully automated (quite spooky) experience. It's quite an expensive option though, costing over a grand and only available on the most expensive trims.

In earlier base models, you'll need to be a bit more careful - especially as parking sensors are not included on the spec sheet unless you buy a Nissan Leaf N-Connecta or higher. From mid-2023, all Leaf models came with front and rear parking sensors included, as well as the 360-degree surround view parking camera.

The Nissan Leaf's range depends on a number of factors, but drive it gently in warmer conditions and expect the Leaf to return very close to its predicted range - so 168 miles for the standard car and 239 miles for the Nissan Leaf e+ version.

Charging times: How much does it cost to charge the Nissan Leaf?

"There are two ways to charge an electric car. Either at home using a conventional three-pin socket (or higher discharge wall-box charger), or at a public charging station."

Nissan Leaf Review 2024 profile

Charging the 39kWh (and earlier 40kWh) Leaf to full at home overnight will add roughly £4 to your electricity bill - depending on your supplier - so much less than a tank of petrol.

This process takes 21 hours from a domestic plug, or seven and a half hours using a wallbox and the higher capacity Type 2 charging cable supplied with the car. However, the Leaf also has a CHAdeMO rapid charging port that can take up to 50kW of juice - speeding things up and taking the battery pack from 20% to 80% in under an hour.

With the 59kWh (62kWh in earlier models) Leaf, you'll need to factor in a seriously inconvenient 32 hours if charging from a domestic three-pin plug, and over 10 hours from a 7.5kW wall-box, which we'd recommend installing where possible.

Electric cars are generally very reliable – there aren't many moving parts to go wrong and they require less maintenance than a petrol or diesel car.

Nissan has a reputation for making very reliable cars and the Nissan Leaf ought to be very dependable indeed. Very few issues have been reported by readers of and Nissan ranked in the middle of the 2023 HonestJohn Satisfaction Survey for car makes.

Insuring a Nissan Leaf costs a little more than a conventional family car, but it's broadly in-step with other EVs. For example, a petrol-powered 150PS Volkswagen Golf automatic sits in insurance group 18, where a Nissan Leaf is Group 21 insurance.

Things are reversed if you go for the pricier Nissan Leaf e+ version though, which has similar power and performance to a hot hatch Volkswagen Golf GTI - but only rises five brackets to Group 26, where the pumped-up Golf is way up in insurance Group 32.

As for Nissan's all-electric rivals, only the Hyundai Ioniq EV will be significantly cheaper to cover for the year. If you are keeping a careful eye on your yearly outgoings or have a few points, since it's down in Group 16.

Like all zero-emissions vehicles, the Leaf is VED road tax exempt. The government has promised that this status is guaranteed to last until 31 March 2025, so during that time you'll be saving yourself quite a tidy little sum.

If you live in a city, the Leaf will also be free from any congestion charge and ULEZ Ultra-Low Emissions Zone exempt, so you can drive it into the heart of the city without needing to pay (as long as you've registered the car first).

It's similarly kind to your wallet as a company car as, like most EVs, it attracts a Benefit in Kind rate of 2%.

How much should you be paying for a used Nissan Leaf?

"The latest generation of Leaf is attractively priced in the used market. Most come with the lower driving range 40kWh battery."

Nissan Leaf Review 2024 front exterior

A 2018 model year with above-average mileage and a fully stamped service book starts from about £10,00. Spend more than £20,000 and you'll be driving a plush one-year old Nissan Leaf N-Connecta or Tekna model with very few miles on the clock.

Look for the 62kWh Nissan Leaf e+ and you'll pay from £22,000 for a two-year old car with average miles under its wheels.

If you're looking for money off deals, discounts and offers on a Nissan Leaf, check out our Best New and Used Car Deals page.

On the outside, the all-electric Nissan tries quite hard to hide its light under a bushel. Nothing about the looks suggest that this is anything other than a normal family car - especially compared to a Volkswagen ID.3 or BMW i3. 

It started out with three standard trim specifications and a separate rung for the Nissan Leaf e+ high capacity 62kWh version. As standard, the Nissan Leaf has a set of 16-inch alloys, LED running lights and chrome door handles, but as you go higher up the range you add larger wheels, privacy glass, and a striking two-tone paint job with a black roof.

Inside, even the entry-level Nissan Leaf Acenta is nicely equipped, helping to offset its higher purchase price than a petrol or diesel powered hatch. There's an 8.0-inch touchscreen media setup, with DAB, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto connectivity, plus navigation. Creature comforts like climate and cruise control, keyless entry and start, auto lights and wipers plus an extensive roster of active safety kit are all present and correct.

Stepping up to the Leaf N-Connecta brings with it all-round parking sensors, a clever 360-degree camera setup, part faux leather heated seats front and back along with a heated wheel, plus larger 17-inch alloys.

Top of the range Nissan Leaf Tekna models stray towards luxury, with a full leather interior, premium BOSE sound system and Nissan's ProPilot semi-autonomous driving gadgets. The Nissan Leaf e+ versions have a similar spec sheet and the rise in price is mainly just you paying for the larger battery, increase in performance and range, not more goodies.

In mid-2023, Nissan added the Shiro trim to the line-up as a cheaper entry point to the Leaf range. It comes with the Around View Monitor and all-round parking sensors, Heat Pack including heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel, ProPilot driver assistance, part man-made leather upholstery, and Arctic White paint.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

There are two ways to charge an electric car; either at home using a conventional three-pin socket (or higher discharge wall-box charger), or a public charging station. Charging the lower powered Leaf to full at home and overnight will add roughly £4 to your electricity bill - depending on your supplier of course - so certainly much less than a tank of petrol would.
Industry experts predict the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries (like the ones in the Leaf) to be roughly 100,000 miles. Nissan will cover any issues with the EV powertrain (including any lost capacity) you encounter up to that distance, or in the first eight years of ownership. Nissan provides a five-year, 60,000-mile battery warranty, which is not as strong as most other EVs that come with eight-year, 100,000-mile cover.
Yes. Pure electric technology has been around for a while, but Nissan was among the first brands to offer a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) to consumers at an affordable price, since its rivals launched plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) with the security of a small petrol engine instead.
Electric range depends on a number of factors, including outside temperatures and driving style, but you can expect the Leaf to return around 85% of its predicted range, so 120 miles for the standard model and around 200 miles for the e+ Tekna version with the larger battery.

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