During a period of five months we tested the Renault Zoe and some different new Nissan Leaf MY2019 editions to find out which one you should consider according to which personal requirements and wishes. As these models are the top two of best selling electric cars in the world many people are wondering which one to buy. Even our neighbours are hesitating…
New Nissal Leaf: a brief introduction
The second generation of the most popular electric car in the world is again a sure hit. It not only looks much better than the first model, thanks to falling battery prices, it costs just as much as the Leaf from seven years ago, and this with a larger driving range 378 km (NEDC) and much more modern technology under the hood.
For our first test drive we head of with the new Nissan Leaf (Tekna edition) with a 40 kWh battery. Revolutionary for this segment of cars is the e-Pedal – which we know allready from the BMW i3 – and which provides a completely new way of driving. Of course we have to try that out.
With a simple press on the e-pedal button at the middle console we convert the regular accelerator pedal into an e-pedal with which we can not only accelerate but also slow down the full electric Leaf. It takes some time getting used to and in the beginning we stop much harder than expected when lifting the e-pedal, but soon we know how to handle this pedal. The way of driving is similar to the bumper cars at the fair … of course it is well understood, without hitting anybody! In no time it becomes a true sport not to touch the brake pedal at all, because driving with only one pedal is so much more intuitive, more pleasant and easier! It helps you to keep the car better under controll on winding roads or when going up or descending a slope. In addition, unlike other pedals, it ensures that the Leaf does not roll down a slope when you don’t want it and helps – as the motor acts as a generator absorbing the kinetic energy – to recuperate energy for a more efficient driving.
Another pleasant novelty is the ProPILOT. The ProPILOT Assist system combines Nissan’s Intelligent Cruise Control and Steering Assist technologies and includes a stop and hold function that can bring the vehicle to a full stop, hold in place and can bring you back up to speed when traffic starts moving again.
We activate the semi-automatic pilot via the blue button on the steering wheel. We just set the desired distance to the vehicle in front of us on the motorway and let the Leaf do all the work. The Leaf accelerates and slows down itself in function of the speed of the predecessor and also controls the steering wheel movements to keep the new Nissan Leaf in the middle of the lane. Letting go of the wheel to eat a sandwich is unfortunately not (yet) in the cards. The legislators are throwing a spanner in the works here, for now. And as the manual that comes with the Leaf states: “the driver is still responsible for the car. This is not an “auto pilot,” nor is it intended to be.” But the ProPILOT makes traffic jams less stressful as this Driver Assist-technology accelerates for you, steers for you and brakes for you. However it works only on the highway at speeds above 70 km/h! And it does not work all the time. If there are no clear lane markings on both sides of the roadway, it will not work. In certain weather conditions that make using the system unsafe – for instance in case of heavy rain – the system won’t work. If the road has hard corners and should really be driven with two hands on the wheel the ProPILOT won’t work either. But the moments it works it makes your driving much more relaxing.
Let your Leaf park itself!
Are you sometimes struggling with parking your car? Then the Nissan ProPILOT Park is an option you might consider. You just push the ProPILOT Park button, designate which parking place you want to park and the Leaf does all the work. You don’t need to gear, pedal or steer! Watch the video:
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– price equal to the price of seven years ago for much more modern technology
– almost twice as much driving range 378 km (NEDC) How much kilometers you really can drive in daily life is somewhat less. We come back to that in one of our next reviews.
– e-Pedal provides an intuitive, simpler and more pleasant way of driving
– more power and torque
– Apple Car Play and Android Auto
– an electric car has virtually no maintenance costs
– In sunny weather the sun has such an impact on the navigation screen that you really cannot read anything.
– the armrest could have been slightly longer for more comfort
– driving range in real life is somewhat less than the official number
Nissan Leaf Tekna, electric, 40 kWh, 150 hp CO2 EMISSION 0g / 100 km BUDGET starting price € 33.140. Price test model: € 38.140 VAT: € 0 – traffic tax € 0.