If you’re looking for electric vehicles there is a lot to choose from. There are the high-end electric vehicles such as BMW and Tesla to the more pocket-friendly models like the Focus, Golf, and Leaf. But the Leaf is the one that’s the most popular. For 2018 the Leaf is brand new, with more conservative styling and a bigger battery it’s better in every way comparing to the outgoing model.
On the styling front, the Leaf is less intrusive than before. It looks like just a regular old hatchback. It’s not a bad thing in any way it just means it may not stand out as much when comparing to the previous model. While bland there are a few things that make this Leaf quite pleasing. The headlight has Nissan DRL LEDs and in the centre has Nissan’s grill with an elegant triangular blue insert. And around back the taillights have nice angular styling to them with a blank black piece below the rear window to make it seem bigger. Overall it’s pleasing to the eyes without causing harm or fuss.
Inside is your typical Nissan interior. While stylish there are some harder than liked plastics. The cluster itself is a nice addition, featuring a large display that shows details like range, power output, and even navigation entries. Nissan added a newer infotainment system with features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which are great. However, the resolution is lower than liked causing it to look dated even though it’s relatively new. Overall the interior is a nice place to be, however, taller drivers may have a difficult time getting adjusted.
The front seats are mounted above the vehicle’s batteries which cause the seats to be mounted higher than usual. Adding to this, the steering wheel only tilts and does not telescope so finding a comfortable driving position is hard. For the taller rear passengers, the batteries make it even harder to tolerate. With the lifted floor, there’s less than stellar thigh support, and with stadium seating, the rear seat passengers sit even higher than the front. It feels like an SUV from the back, which in no means a bad thing but it’s not for everyone. But a big positive of having the batteries under the floor is not only the balance, but it makes room for a large trunk. There’s plenty of space behind the rear seats for strollers or even the occasional Ikea trip.
On the road, the Leaf is a pretty good drive. Quiet, quick and everything you need in a car. The range of the batteries is around 240km which isn’t bad for driving around the city. Like most EVs, the Leaf is best suited as a city car, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work on the highway. Acceleration is brisk big thanks to 147 hp and 236 lb-ft torque, the leaf pushes off the line quickly. One of the features of the Leaf is something Nissan likes to call e-Pedal. With a flick of a switch, the Leaf can be driven mostly with just the throttle. Think of it like of like a Golfcart, once you lift your foot off the throttle it slows down the vehicle all the way to a stop. It slows the car down so quickly in fact, it actually triggers the brake lights.
The Leaf is a great EV, however, in Vancouver, it may not be the perfect vehicle to live with. There aren’t many charging stations around and those that are, are generally used. Which can become a problem especially when you’re running low on charge. Unlike a gasoline-powered vehicle, you can’t directly just go to a gas station and have it filled in minutes. It does take hours for the batteries to fully charge up. For those who own a home with easy access to a plug or EV charging station, this may not be a big factor. But, it’s something to consider before purchasing your first EV.