The world of electric cars might be dominated by Tesla, but Nissan actually beat the American manufacturer to the market by two years with its first-generation Leaf in 2010.
The new and second-generation Nissan Leaf you see here is available in only one spec level and is priced from $49,990 before on-road costs.
It's one of the most affordable electric vehicles you can buy in Australia. We highly recommend giving this a go if you haven't driven an electric car, so you can feel what it's like from behind the wheel.
From a 'what do you get for your money' perspective, essentially everything Nissan has to offer is standard in the Leaf. Leather trim, seat heating for front and rear passengers, and a heated steering wheel are included, along with power-folding mirrors, privacy glass, LED headlamps, and automatic lights and wipers are all included.
The Leaf was the first Nissan to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in Australia thanks to a new 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and the driver is faced with another 7.0-inch display with information about range, speed, and multimedia.
A full suite of semi-autonomous safety assists is standard, including autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera.
Power in the Leaf comes from a front-mounted electric motor with 110kW of power and 320Nm of torque. It’s fed by a 40kWh battery, which is good for 270km of range on the strict WLTP test cycle.
We saw an average economy figure of 13.5kWh/100km on our mixed city and highway loop with the air conditioning running at 19 degrees Celsius, good for a range of almost 300km.
Expect that figure to drop in winter, or in summer with the air-conditioning cranking, but in ideal conditions the Leaf is incredibly efficient.
It takes 24 hours to charge from empty using a conventional 10A wall socket, or just 7.5 hours using a 7.2kW wall box. Expect to pay around $2000 to have one installed thanks to JET Charge, which has teamed up with Nissan to take care of installation.
Nissan’s experience with electric vehicles really shows when you hit the road. It won’t blow you away with brutal acceleration like a Tesla, but the Leaf delivers its performance in a linear surge, building gradually off the line to a silky crescendo.
For more information and a detailed review, check out the Nissan Leaf showroom.