2019 Nissan Leaf Review

2019 Nissan Leaf Road Test Review

New Nissan LEAF

So, this is the future of motoring.

We are all going to be driving electric cars next week….

Don’t think so.

Nissan’s new $50,000 Leaf is a good example of where EV technology is right now… pretty much the same as it was a decade ago. A lot of the issues are the same.

Range is still a major issue despite optimistic claims, so is recharging and so is living with an electric car which is what I would call seriously inconvenient.

Nissan says new Leaf will go 270km, which is a little less than some competitors such as the Kona Electric, but turn on the aircon’ and actually accelerate hard a couple of times and that figure plummets. This isn’t an issue driving around town daily, but longer distances on a freeway are a concern.

Plug it into a normal 240v 10 amp outlet and it takes upwards of 8 hours to recharge. Which is fine if your driving it daily and charging overnight, but not if your touring long distances.

Even the 50 amp super rechargers take an hour to get a decent charge back into the battery. That’s about 4 coffees by my reckoning.

And Leaf has joined the list annoying cars with intrusive driver assist technology. It beeps, peeps and flashes at you often and will even apply the brakes in a crash stop when it’s totally unnecessary. Mind you its not alone, a few manufacturers cars now seem to try to override good driving technique.

That’s because “the machine” has taken over and sorry, I am not a fan.

I trust my judgement every day over a machine calibrated by some boffin tucked away in a lab determining the driving parameters of an “assisted” car. All this technology unfortunately aims at the lowest common driver ability.

New Nissan LEAF


New Leaf is a much better styling effort than the first model. This one looks almost like a regular five door hatchback except for the recharge plug(s) lid at the front and blue highlights around the `grille’ and under the rear bumper.

The face is fairly generic Nissan with two pronounced ridges atop each guard sloping down to an aggressive looking nose.

The rear has notched tail lights and plenty of curves and angles to make it distinctive capped off with a pair of buttress fins leading to the generous rear shroud over the tailgate.

There’s a big hip behind the rear doors to break up Leaf’s profile.

Unlike some other EVs, Leaf has normal looking alloys and you’d rate it a good effort in styling terms compared with any other conventional hatchback.

New Nissan LEAF


Leaf is pure mainstream Nissan inside with no whacky stuff to make it look silly.

The “gear”selector is different but simple to operate and there’s a large centre control touchscreen to access most of Leaf’s features. Assorted round dials, rocker switches and push buttons dot the driver’s space and the wheel itself has numerous functions.

It leads into a conventional instrument pod with a round speedo and another dial that provided a multitude of information including driving range.

The colour is overwhelmingly light grey and Nissan has given new Leaf some soft touch surfaces and fairly funky fascia to lift the look inside.

It’s a roomy car offing adequate space for five and a decent size load space cluttered by the two large recharging cables and connectors.

The park brake is foot operated and the upholstery is leather – in perforated light grey with suede bolsters.

New Nissan LEAF


There are goodies galore in one spec’ Leaf to while away your near silent drive time. Nissan crams in pretty much everything from the features list like;

  • Heated wheel and seats
  • Satnav
  • Bi-directional charging (you can use the car to run stuff)
  • LED headlights
  • Climate control
  • Bose audio
  • Auto high beam
  • 4 drive modes

New Nissan LEAF

Drive and Engine

Propulsion comes from an alternating current “synchronous” electric motor delivering 110kW and 320Nm in near silence.

Electricity comes from a 40kWh lithium ion battery under the middle of the Leaf.

Direct drive is to the front wheels which has conventional strut type suspension. The rear suspension is a simple torsion beam.

An “e-pedal” multiplies regenerative braking to the point of being a secondary braking system.

But you don’t have to use it.

Performance is strong despite Leaf weighing 1595kg. It is quite gratifying to feel the amount of instant acceleration available from a stand still. Just a muted whir is all you can hear… sometimes.

The handing and ride characteristics are fairly standard mainstream hatchback.

It rides smoothly and steers fairly sharply with good braking and an overall pleasing drive feel.

In “eco” mode, Leaf feels like someone put a sock up its exhaust even though it doesn’t have one.

One cool aspect of driving Leaf is the shopping centre crawl in total silence. Just watch out for pedestrians.

It cruises easily at the legal limit on the freeway with plenty still in hand.

The only real complaint is keeping an eye on range and recharging which basically dictates you plug it in after each use.

New Nissan LEAF


Leaf gets five stars, has a full complement of advanced driver assist features as well as the usual suite of air bags and more regular safety kit. One complaint is the overzealous lane keeping and forward collision warning with braking.

Good Bits

  • Silent running
  • Strong performance
  • Guilt free driving if you have a solar array available for recharging

Not So Good Bits

  • EVs are not convenient by any stretch
  • Range issues
  • Purchase price

New Nissan LEAFSummary

Nissan Leaf is well styled, with a well laid out interior and lots of standard features.

I have to say, not for me and my circumstances.

If I was an urban dweller and only traveled in an urban environment and could easily charge the Leaf every night in my own garage, it would be a more attractive proposition.

If I’m driving a couple of hundred kilometres each trip as I tend to do, then a hybrid suits me better.

Facts and Figures: 2019 Nissan Leaf

  • Engine: EV Cylinder electric producing 110kW/320Nm
  • Transmission: Selectdirect drive Transmission
  • Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Origin: Japan
  • Price: from $50,000*

*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.

Also Look At 

Nissan Leaf


So, this is the future of motoring.

We are all going to be driving electric cars next week….

Don’t think so.

Nissan’s new $50,000 Leaf is a good example of where EV technology is right now… pretty much the same as it was a decade ago.

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