If Electric Cars are for You, then the new Nissan Leaf is it By Brian Byrne

Has the time of the electric car finally arrived? With more sales in Ireland to date than in all of last year, and a significant increase in imports of used EVs, it would seem certainly to be closer. And after a recent time with Nissan's latest Leaf, I would say 'yes'. A qualified 'yes', but yes nevertheless.

The latest generation Leaf is a lot of car, a full C-segment size and a good looker too. Unlike its predecessor, you might not notice it as an EV at first. That's a good thing. It shows that the model has matured into the mainstream space.

This one is distinctly mainstream

This maturity is also reflected on the inside. In things like the dashboard and instruments styling, this one is distinctly mainstream as well. And then a bit more, because the quality of the materials and finish feels significantly better.

Dramatically more boot space

The new Leaf seems, and is, larger than the older car. Not by an awful lot, but it does make more than a perceived difference. It also has dramatically more boot space. The car is, interestingly, marginally bigger than the brand's standard compact family car, the Pulsar.

It's easy to read your range.

The real question from all of you reading is, 'how far will it go?'. The short answer, far enough. This is where the 'qualified yes' comes in. The review car had the 40kWh battery, which gives a real world range of 270km on a charge. That's actually enough for most owners' real world driving.

It can be ideal

If you do lots of relatively short journeys, or commute to work on a regular basis within 80-100km of your home, it is pretty well ideal. If you're a regular long-distance motorway traveller, it's not. But when you can leave home every day with a full 'tank' of electricity, to work where you don't have to use your car much during the day, you'll be fine.

A beautiful drive

The car drives beautifully. The 'e-pedal' system which more aggressively recharges on over-run all but eliminates the use of the brake in everyday driving. Acceleration, handling, and quiet progress are excellent. A next level of battery option is on its way, which may tag the 400km range target, and though that will cost more, it would open the road to more buyers.

If you think it might be one for you, talk to your Nissan dealer. Take a drive, talk again. He's under instructions not to sell you the car if it won't suit you, so feel safe.

PRICE: From €28,690 after Government grant.

Produced by Brian Byrne, Irish Car+Travel Magazine CarAndTravel.ie, irishcar@gmail.com/086 8267104

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