Nissan Leaf review - Interior, design and technology
The cabin looks fairly conventional, but there’s an impressive amount of technology fitted
Nissan themselves will admit that the design of the first-generation Leaf could have put some people off, but it’s hard to see that happening with this model.
Although it’s a striking shape with some hi-tech lines, the current Leaf is certainly rather more conventional than the original car. The front end has Nissan’s family grille, and with tail-lights that echo those of the popular Juke baby SUV, this could even be a family hatch with a combustion engine – were it not for a few tell-tale signs, like the awkward-looking bonnet flap, which lifts to reveal the charging sockets.
The most basic Visia trim has been dropped, making Acenta the entry point to the Leaf range. Even so, it comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a rear-view camera and Nissan’s full suite of driver assistance systems including lane departure warning and rear cross-traffic alert. From N-Connecta trim, the car also comes with tinted windows and a black pillar between the front rear doors, while the top Tekna models have full LED headlights. If you're looking at the long-range Leaf e+, it only comes in top-spec N-Tec and Tekna trims.
As outside, so inside, you can see how engineers have tried to give a seamless transition to the EV experience. Apart from the odd flash of backlit blue, the layout, plastics and finish are as they’d be in any contemporary mid-sized hatch.
But, there are still some familiar sights, such as the gear selector from the original Leaf between the front seats, and Nissan’s regular infotainment system in the centre of the facia.
Quality is a mixed bag. The plastics across the top of the dash and door are a bit cheap and some of the switches aren’t exactly premium-looking, but it’s all put together brilliantly by the gang at Nissan’s factory in Washington, Tyne and Wear.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
Every model comes with a customisable 8-inch TFT screen next to the analogue speedometer, as well as Bluetooth connectivity and the smart Nissan Connect EV system. This gives you not only Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but also an intelligent navigation system that will help plan your journey, showing places where you can charge, up if you need to.
Acenta models also come with six speakers for the stereo but if you opt for a range-topping Tekna model, it comes with a premium Bose stereo and seven speakers.
In this review
- 1VerdictThe all-electric Nissan Leaf is a practical and efficient family hatch, but it faces a growing number of appealing EV rivals
- 2Engines, performance and driveElectric motor responds quickly and smoothly; and, with the e-Pedal system, it makes the Leaf a great car to drive around town
- 3Range, charging and running costsRunning on electric power only and with zero tailpipe emissions, this is a very cheap car to own
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingThe cabin looks fairly conventional, but there’s an impressive amount of technology fitted
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Nissan Leaf will happily take four adults, and its boot is one of the biggest in the class
- 6Reliability and SafetyA five-star safety rating bodes well, as do the high levels of safety-related technology fitted to the car