By 2010 Toyota has already been recognized as an institution in the world of hybrid powertrains and some time after, it turned its attention to hydrogen also. Mazda declared that it is going to focus rather on improvement of already mass developed technologies, but Nissan wanted to highlight itself in a similar way that Toyota did. It turned attention to batteries, but it disregarded conventional engine used in hybrid and focused solely on electric part.
First Prius went on sale in 1997 and first Nissan electric car Altra was offered the same year. While Prius soon went global, Altra and later Hypermini were more of a testing ground as they were sold in extremely small numbers limited to fleet sales and government institutions. Anyway, the foundation was set and in 2010 new pure electric model hit the streets becoming an icon and taking the title of the best-selling electric vehicle in the world. After some time on the market, let’s see what 2017 Nissan Leaf has to offer while defending its throne against thriving competition.
Leaf has already spent seven years on the market and successor is in sight. This type of car is never bought because of its looks, and Japanese company knows that, but still more could be done over the years as the current version is pretty much the same as the one from introduction year. Styling is odd, and we are used to that when some car tends to present new technology to the world, just look at the Prius, Mirai, Volt…
This vehicle looks bloated and chubby but also friendly, and that makes it somehow cute. Visually the problem could occur when it is compared to other brands, which are offering an electric version of their hatches but in their more appealing usual shape. Still, many buyers are going for oddity, in this case, wishing to state their progressive thinking openly.
The cabin can surprise with some nice materials, acting as refresh within mostly cheap and hard plastic, which is often rare in this case, as it is all about batteries. For instrument gauges, we have a two-tier system, and each of them is on the digital display. The upper part is quite small offering data on current speed, time and there is an eco meter.
All other useful information as battery temperature, trip computer, power meter replacing rev counter and driving range is located on the lower, much bigger screen. There is one more screen in the car, no less important, and it is 7-inch touch unit located at the center of the dash. In case you go for the base version, there would be a slightly smaller 5-inch display. The car is pretty spacious, and the boot is quite large as batteries are located beneath the cabin and due to its peculiar styling visibility is very good for its class.
Leaf uses electric motor producing 107 hp and 187 lb-ft of torque, which is fed by 30-kwh lithium-ion battery. It is enough to take it to 60 mph in 9.9 seconds, which all stands as quite decent figures for a family hatch. But here, nothing is about that. On hard throttle, the car is going to deplete the battery in no time, and driving joy is not much better either, with numb steering feel and poor cornering abilities.
Anyway, that doesn’t matter, what matter is the lack of noise, 107 miles of range, the fuel efficiency of 112 MPGe and ability to fully charge your battery in four hours, although only in case if you are equipped with stronger 6.6 kW charger. Mentioned driving range would stay superb if only Chevrolet hasn’t just launched new Bolt EV offering 238 miles, making Leaf appear silly, but also many other rivals still circling around 100 miles mark.
2017 Nissan Leaf Video
2017 Nissan Leaf is showing its age openly. If you want to drive automotive electric world icon, go for Leaf, but if you are more calculated, there are myriads of others like VW e-Golf, Ford Focus Electric, Hyundai Ioniq, Kia Soul EV and the new king of the block Chevy Bolt EV, among else. Or maybe, if you are not in a hurry, just wait for a while as new Leaf is definitely going to up its game and we believe it will be by a decent margin.