Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Nissan Leaf hatchback - Electric motor, drive & performance

With as much as 214bhp, instant torque and no gearchanges, the Nissan Leaf offers effortless acceleration

Nissan Leaf - front dynamic
Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.5 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Electric motor, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

While some electric car buyers are after blistering space-age performance, others just want a comfortable way to get from A to B while keeping running costs low. The Nissan Leaf caters for the latter, with light steering that makes driving around town effortless.

In order to keep body roll to a minimum, Nissan has had to stiffen the Leaf’s suspension setup – even more so on e+ models with the larger, heavier battery. Nevertheless, the plug-in hatchback is no more uncomfortable than the petrol-powered Nissan Qashqai crossover on a bumpy road. Although, as you’d expect, the largest of potholes do send shockwaves into the cabin.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Nissan claims the Leaf is around 30% quieter than petrol-powered rivals when on the move; we can believe that as tyre noise is generally kept to a minimum, while the electric motors are hushed when up to speed, only emitting a satisfying whine when under acceleration. 

The Leaf also has 'e-Pedal', which is Nissan’s version of one-pedal driving. This utilises the electric motors to slow the car down, in turn recuperating energy back into the battery. In practice, it’s simple to get used to, activating the brake lights as you decelerate; however, you may still find yourself reaching for the brake pedal when you’re travelling more quickly.

Nissan Leaf electric motors

If you’ve never driven an electric car, you may be unprepared for how they deliver their power instantaneously, making even underpowered models feel quick off the line. Boasting 148bhp, even the standard Leaf feels brisk under acceleration, getting from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds – quicker than a Citroen e-C4 and just behind that of the Volkswagen ID.3.

The electric motor in the e+ model is even more potent, outputting 214bhp; this cuts the 0-62mph time down to just 6.9 seconds and increases the Leaf’s top speed from 90mph to 98mph. Regardless of which electric motor setup you choose, both offer smooth and effortless acceleration that’s accompanied by a distant hum when accelerating hard.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

The best company cars 2024
The best company cars hero
Best cars
8 Jan 2024

The best company cars 2024

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
19 Jul 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers

All-new Audi A5: the sleek successor to the Audi A4
Audi A5 Avant front quarter
News
16 Jul 2024

All-new Audi A5: the sleek successor to the Audi A4

EU introduces new tyre rules potentially saving consumers £5.9 billion a year
Michelin tyres
News
19 Jul 2024

EU introduces new tyre rules potentially saving consumers £5.9 billion a year

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024