The Nissan Leaf was one of the best-selling electric cars to date World. For years the previous model was due to an acceptable Range often used in the city area. With the current completely revised version, our test car was no longer via Trailer delivered directly. A pointer to the much higher one Range with the new battery pack. What does the model year offer 2019 compared to its predecessor and how good is the suitability for everyday use? A detailed practical test in late summer 2018 illustrates the major changes compared to the previous model.
The new technical details
The complete overhaul, including the motorization and drive technology, begins with the motorization, a 150 hp electric motor works powerfully under the bonnet and is almost imperceptible in the interior. The departure from the internal combustion engine at Nissan should probably take place in the long term with the new Leaf. If you compare the model with its predecessor, the significant increase in range to up to 415 km is, according to Nissan, a smooth doubling under optimal conditions. However, these values could not be achieved even in our summer test at outside temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees, despite the activated ECO mode and activated e-pedal. With the generation change, the torque increased to 320 Newton meters (+26%). The power is transmitted to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission. Its top speed is specified as 144 km / h and the car can sprint from zero to 100 km / h without a sound in 7,9 seconds. Soberly, a clear increase also compared to the indirect competition from an e-Golf. Our test car reached 160 km / h while driving on the autobahn, and in any case much faster than the previous model. It is only surprising that this top speed is even achieved in ECO mode; according to the energy display, there are definitely no savings in power consumption at the top speed.
The enlarged battery pack with 40 kWh capacity consists of 192 modules, the energy density has been increased by 67 percent while the dimensions remain the same. The batteries are stowed in the underbody and thus ensure a very low center of gravity, which has a positive effect on the driving and rolling characteristics of the car. Not only technically, but also optically, the Leaf offers a revised and more contemporary appearance. The Leaf is now 4,49 meters long, 1,78 meters wide and 1,61 meters high, and looks more attractive and dynamic than its predecessor. The longer wheelbase of 2,70 meters now offers good space and 400 liters of luggage can be carried behind the tailgate. It is classified as a compact car in the NCAP safety test and was rated with full 5 stars in the various test scenarios.
There is no cut back on innovations. An e-pedal that can be switched on by a toggle switch is part of the standard equipment. In the end, it is the expansion of the accelerator pedal into a brake pedal as soon as the foot releases the pedal. Then the car brakes immediately to a standstill without the brake being actuated directly. That brings a boost of direct energy recovery every time. Once you have tried it, it works very relaxed as soon as you get used to this direct effect. If the braking process is not sufficient, the brake pedal is still available for short-term braking maneuvers.
After delivery, we were able to familiarize ourselves with the Chademo fast charging connection. On the highways nationwide, almost all rest areas at the tank and rest stops are now equipped with fast charging stations. The advantage of the 4 charging stations per charging station lies in the different charging connections. And so we charge right next to a BMWi3. The charging times with the Chademo connection and 50 kW direct current is currently the fastest charging option. We are still at 20% remaining capacity at the start of charging and an outside temperature of 20 degrees. It takes a good half an hour to charge the battery to 80%. After that, for technical reasons, the battery can be charged with only a lower power consumption. That's another 20 minutes. So even with a fast charger, you always have to plan a good hour of charging time for full capacity. In our experience, when the outside temperature is cooler, a little more time can be planned. The range with a fully charged battery is now shown on our display as 270 kilometers. The consumption values from the past are averaged here. This is then also a realistic value for the actual load including the use of air conditioning and heating power. Even with the completely new WLTP process, these consumers are unfortunately still completely switched off.
At the moment, the advantage of the fast charging stations for refueling and rest is that they can be used free of charge as a service at rest areas. Once refueled, you can experience the new agility on the motorway. Acceleration and overtaking maneuvers are much more agile than with the old model. The maximum speed is specified as 144 km / h, from 100 km / h the power consumption increases significantly. But at least you can now swim noticeably more relaxed in the running traffic. In the test car, the speed can easily be increased to up to 160 km / h.
Fortunately, not all components have disappeared from the previous model. From our point of view, the wonderfully easy-to-use automatic selector lever, designed as a joystick, is still a treat in the center console. This automatic system can be switched very quickly and easily at the touch of a finger.
Here, too, the "ProPilot" system makes things much easier for the driver. After switching on directly at the steering wheel, the car steers independently around the curves, maintains the distance to the vehicle in front and brakes autonomously if you drive too close. The steering wheel also checks whether the hands can constantly intervene, if this is not the case, a clear warning tone sounds. If the car is stubbornly neglected, it is also braked directly to a standstill.
The limits are set by the system; in stop-and-go traffic in the city or due to a traffic jam, a maximum of three seconds may pass for autonomous driving to work, after which a tap on the accelerator pedal is enough to reactivate. In construction site markings, there are sometimes problems with the differentiation between yellow and white road markings. The experiences with semi-autonomous driving are very different depending on the use. In the city area, steering could perhaps also be taken over; there will be further developments here in the near future. Correct maintenance of the distance to the vehicle in front is currently supported.
The timely detection of obstacles directly on the route is even more interesting with this system. In the ideal case, a collision can be avoided with pedestrians or vehicles standing sideways. An important aspect with regard to an almost silent approach to careless pedestrians or cyclists. Here the Nissan Leaf reacts much more uncompromisingly than any driver. A strong advantage in everyday life. Another safety aspect when driving at night is the fully automated control of the lane illumination, but this equipment package is only available at an additional cost.
In general, the extensive technical equipment in the highest equipment category is complete, including acoustic distance warning all around, a cruise control, heated seats and exterior mirrors, as well as a digital audio system and a practical navigation system. If you want to let the car do the parking for you, please, hands off the steering wheel and at the push of a button the car parks in the next parking space. The package for the autonomous parking aid is only available as an optional extra for an extra 1.200 euros.
A look at the center console
The relatively small and not high-resolution approximately 7-inch display is installed in the center console. After the start, the safety regulations must be confirmed each time via touch control. Audio systems, hands-free equipment, vehicle features and the navigation system can be controlled from here. The Bose audio system delivers an appealing and rich sound in conjunction with the DAB car radio. The hands-free system is coupled with your own smartphone and can be operated very reliably and clearly. The navigation system can still be expanded. For example, if you want to proceed in a more differentiated manner in the area of navigation, you can switch to Apple Carplay or Android Auto and couple the display with the smartphone. Maps from Apple or Google Maps work much more quickly and navigate around the traffic jam. On the other hand, this naturally costs the corresponding data volume. The more sophisticated voice guidance in these systems is also more practical while driving. The manufacturer's own Nissan Connect EV app is also easy to use. The available ranges can also be checked here at any time.
Below the screen, the complete control of the air conditioning and heating is well sorted and housed on control buttons. Below is the practical storage compartment for the smartphone including USB access. There are two storage recesses behind the automatic selector lever for drinks. There are additional storage compartments on the doors.
Prices and special equipment
The new Nissan Leaf appeared on the German market in January 2018. The prices for the newly designed electric car start at 31.950 euros without an integrated CHAdeMO fast charging connection. The higher-quality models are all equipped with CHAdeMO as standard, the Leaf we tested with full “TEKNA” equipment cost 39.850 euros at the time of the test.
Accessories - Our TOP-3 recommendations for a good resale value
1st winter package (325 euros)
The winter package is only part of the standard equipment in the TEKNA version. These include heated seats at the front and rear, a heated steering wheel and heated exterior mirrors. The package significantly increases comfort in the cold seasons.
2. LED headlight package (550 euros)
LED headlights with LED daytime running lights with automatic height adjustment increase driving comfort in poor visibility. Compared to halogen headlights, the energy consumption is significantly lower. The height adjustment prevents oncoming vehicles from being dazzled. (Standard equipment in the TEKNA version)
3. Smartphone holder (27 euros)
If you value your own smartphone in the mobile age, you can also order a smartphone holder 360 degrees in black as a useful accessory. This means that your own smartphone is always in the driver's field of vision.
From our point of view, advantages can be achieved with these accessories when reselling them. When it comes to the equipment variants, the options are diverse and here your own taste and budget are more decisive.
The Leaf has improved significantly in terms of driving dynamics and range compared to the previous model. In the EV compact class, it offers a well-engineered concept that is exciting for drivers interested in rapid charging via CHAdeMO up to 50 kW on the DC connection and for use in the medium-haul area. The Nissan Leaf could open up a larger group of customers with a larger battery pack.
Practical test from the green car magazine.
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