Nissan Leaf hatchback - Interior & comfort
Some materials look a bit low rent, but that doesn’t stop the Nissan Leaf feeling sturdy and well engineered
While early examples of the previous Leaf sported a light cream interior to help them stand out from the crowd, the latest model has gone back to black. Indeed, it feels quite conventional, albeit with an added sporting flavour thanks to its flat-bottomed steering wheel, which also serves the practical purpose of making it easier to get in and out. There’s also blue stitching for the seats, dashboard and steering wheel to tie in with the Leaf’s exterior flashes of colour, and signify its purely electric propulsion.
It’s easy to see the theme of appealing to as many customers as possible has been repeated here, with little to put off wary buyers. Equally, there’s none of the ‘spaceship’ feel associated with the Tesla Model 3 and its huge tablet screen.
Nissan Leaf dashboard
Quality is slightly mixed, because while some of the plastics covering the dashboard and doors look a bit cheap, and many of the switches also lack flair, the interior still feels very well put-together. It's disappointing that some of these cheap-feeling plastics are the points you'll frequently touch too. But while it might not scream premium like a BMW i3, it should be well-suited to shrugging off family life.
One of the most noticeable changes from models like the Nissan Qashqai sits within the instrument cluster, where a traditional speedometer is flanked by a large digital display. This can provide quick access to information about battery life, safety features, media and sat-nav.
There are three trim levels to choose from when buying a standard Leaf: Acenta, N-Connecta, and Tekna. There’s a £1,700 price jump from the entry-level trim to Acenta to N-Connecta, while you’ll need to add around another £1,000 for the top of the range Tekna trim. The e+ model with the bigger battery pack is only available in top-spec Tekna trim.
All models come with halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED taillights, automatic air conditioning, cruise control, electric windows, a seven-inch TFT screen, NissanConnect nav with an eight-inch touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. There’s plenty of safety equipment, too, with six airbags, intelligent emergency braking, lane departure warning, cross traffic alert and a blind spot warning.
The N-Connecta trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, electric folding mirrors, part leather seats and parking sensors. Tekna includes full LED headlights, leather seats, heated seats and steering wheel, an electronic parking brake and a seven-speaker Bose audio system.
The e+ Tekna gets all the standard Tekna kit plus metallic blue front bumper accents, revised suspension and 100kW charging capability.
As with many Japanese models, it tends to be easier to simply pick the Leaf trim with all the features you want already included. There isn’t a huge options list but you could spend £575 on metallic paint (or £745 on a pearlescent finish) while a ProPilot Park system at £1,090 will take the strain out of parking the car.
Perhaps the Leaf's defining technological feature is the e-Pedal, which should allow an experienced owner to carry out up to 90% of their driving with just the one pedal, according to Nissan. It’s a clever and intuitive system once you get used to it, and we’ve described how it works elsewhere in this review.
Elsewhere, ProPilot makes its debut in the Leaf before arriving in other Nissan models. This is autonomous technology that works like a very advanced version of adaptive cruise control, not only matching your speed with traffic ahead, but also helping to keep you in the middle of the lane. It can also slow the car to a stop and resume driving if you press the ProPilot button or brush the accelerator. It’s standard on the Tekna model and a £400 option on the N-Connecta.