2016 Nissan LEAF 30 kWh Test Drive Review

1 year ago by Mark Kane 30

2016 Nissan LEAF

2016 Nissan LEAF

2016 Nissan LEAF

2016 Nissan LEAF

Autocar, for the very first time, had the opportunity to test drive in the UK the new 2016 Nissan LEAF with a 30 kWh battery and the highest Tekna trim.

30 kWh battery increased range by about 25% compared to 24 kWh – from 199 km to 250 km (155 miles) under NEDC, or more like 107 miles (172 km) under EPA testing.

Interior was assessed as good:

“Interior quality is good rather than great, with a solid construction but a few too many hard plastics dotted about the cabin. The driver’s seat, though, is easy to adjust for comfort. Pressing the start button greets you with a charming tone as the car sets itself up.”

Acceleration didn’t change compared to the previous 24 version as 80 kW motor output is the same, as well as the weight (30 kWh version weights only 21 kg more).

From 0-30 mph (48 km/h), the  LEAF accelerates quickly and then torque begins to drop, so does acceleration.

“After releasing the footbrake and selecting drive mode, the Leaf seamlessly and quietly surges away with only a very slight whirr in the background.

Accelerate hard and the sprint from 0-30mph is conquered quickly, but the Leaf feels a little pedestrian as it picks up speed, which can mean some overtakes require a little more planning. In town, however, where it’ll be used most, it is responsive enough to make the most of any gaps.”

30 kWh 2016 Nissan LEAF Debuts In September (seen here at the Frankfurt Motor Show In Germany)

30 kWh 2016 Nissan LEAF Debuts In September (seen here at the Frankfurt Motor Show In Germany)

The ride is quiet, smooth and the suspension copes with potholes well:

“Once up to speed the Leaf is quiet and refined. Excessive tyre roar and wind noise is kept at bay, which makes driving the Leaf a relaxing experience. As the pace picks up to motorway speeds the noise level increases, but not to the point where it becomes intrusive.

The Leaf’s ride remains smooth and it handles bumps and road intrusions well, with even bigger potholes and undulations doing little to cause the Leaf to become unsettled.”

Autocar concludes that the 2016 LEAF remains a solid electric car, but now with more range (with 30 kWh battery).

30 kWh battery is available only in higher Acenta and Tekna trims – the difference between 24 and 30 is £1,600 (less than $2,300 today or $383 per kWh), which we have to note is much better than the ~$6,000 split found in the US.

Source: Autocar

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30 responses to "2016 Nissan LEAF 30 kWh Test Drive Review"

  1. Will says:

    Still wouldn’t buy it due to the hideous looks

    1. Mister G says:

      Dark tinted windows help with looks.

    2. evcarnut says:

      NOT ENOUGH RANGE!!!!Nissan is getting quite arrogant, and appears to be on a mission to LIMIT their market,instead of opening it up. That Cartoon Looking car is turning into a comedian’s Joke,with it’s out dated looks & Petty range.. The 200 plus mile Bolt & the up coming Model 3 are headed in the right direction …Range is the “KEY” and the Main “Principle” Issue, when selling EV’s ..You can Never get Enough Range, The More Range , The Better! No matter what!

      1. Benjamin says:

        The 30kwh Leaf is just an incremental upgrade to keep it competitive for this year, year and half before the 2cnd gen comes out. Right now the 30kwh Leaf is the leader in range among affordable EVs, and they’ll keep that title until the end of the year when we start seeing some Bolts delivered, at which time I expect Nissan will have to drop the price on the Leaf.

        I think Nissan has done a respectable job of improving the Leaf over the course of the first generation. Certainly the 2016 is a huge upgrade over the early 2011 models with their weak batteries, no quick charge, no heat pump, etc …

      2. 2011-12 LEAF: 73 miles range
        2013 LEAF: 75 miles range
        2014-15 LEAF: 84 miles range
        2016 LEAF: 84/107 miles range (24/30 kWh options)
        … see the trend?

        Note: Bolt, Model Ξ, etc. are 2017+ EVs likely to have 50-60 kWh packs which will offer 150-200 mile range.
        Nissan has hinted its next BEV will have ~60 kWh pack. Rumors hint at ~2018+ timeframe.

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          Brian_Henderson (AKA LEAF fan boy, GM hater said)

          “Bolt, Model Ξ, etc. are 2017+ EVs likely to have 50-60 kWh packs which will offer 150-200 mile range.”

          Bolt is confirmed to have 60kWh. Both GM and Tesla claims 200+ EV miles range.

    3. Eric says:

      I honestly don’t understand this sort of remark about superficial appearances.

      Why is the way the outside reflects the light on your retina so important for something you use to get from A to B?

  2. jh says:

    Why even bother with the nedc rating. EPA is so much more accurate.

    1. kosee says:

      The nedc rating is more or less correct when driving 70 km/h. It’s neither optimistic nor is it wrong. It’s just not a highway range rating, and shouldn’t be treated as such.

      Electricar.guru will give you actual calculations based on driving speed per car.

      EPA is for America and will never be used for anything in Europe. If that makes sense is up to you but that’s just how it works now.

      1. Kevin C. says:

        Thanks for pointing out electricar.guru. I have it squirreled away!

  3. SparkEV says:

    Where can one get Leaf torque curve? Google was no help as the only link seem to be broken. In writing SparkEV performance “analysis” (not done yet), torque starts to taper at about 30 MPH, yet time is quicker than Leaf, I’d like to see why.

    1. Elroy says:

      I have compared several Spark EVs to my LEAF 0-30 and they were identical. Everytime I get in the LEAF I am amazed how buttery smooth and refined it is. Spark doesnt compare in that category. Of course the i3 easily walks away from both of them with ease without even a tire chirp.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Do you have a link to Leaf torque curve? According to calculations, SparkEV should get 0-30 in 3.2 sec. and torque drops off starting about 30 MPH. Then it should be comparable to Leaf, yet Leaf is much slower to 60. I’d like to do some math and graphs and such to see why.

        By the way, one easy way to get quicker time is to have smaller diameter wheel/tires. Of course, that assumes traction holds, which is a problem with SparkEV, but might be easier with Leaf.

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          Gearing ratio..

          LEAF is in the range of 7is where the SparkEV is in the 3-4ish range…

          So, LEAF’s power should drop off naturally faster for the same given motor design.

  4. Ian says:

    NEDC vs EPA
    The LEAF 30 KWh,107 miles battery is like driving a gas vehicle with 1/4 of a tank. To point out the flaw with NEDC
    NEDC rated mileage 155×4 =620 miles
    EPA rated miles 107×4=428 miles
    At what point does falsified mileage constitute fraud. If some one can drive normally with a 30kwh LEAF and reach 620 miles after 4 charges show us.

    1. kosee says:

      You are confusing flawed with fraud..

    2. Rebel44 says:

      AFAIK, EU will change testing of both fuel consumption and emissions in 2017 to be much more realistic (driving on real roads is included, as well as higher speed and acceleration).

    3. SparkEV says:

      Drive at 25 MPH, and you’d get far more than 107 miles per charger. Someone drove SparkEV (82 miles EPA) for close to 140 miles at 24 MPH. 4 charges would be 560 miles. Doing the same for Leaf with bit less efficiency (119 SparkEV vs 114 Leaf), it would be

      140 * 107 / 82 * 114 / 119 = 175 miles per charge

      4 charges = 700 miles.

      Realistic? Well, that depends. It is probably possible, so that would be “realistic”.

  5. kdawg says:

    If I was shopping late this year or early next year, in the US; for $3K more, I’d get a Bolt with twice the range.

    Seems like Nissan should phase out the 24kWh version, sort of like Tesla is doing with the 85kWh version.

    1. Big Solar says:

      I imagine they will do that. Probably later this year.

      1. Texas FFE says:

        I don’t believe there’s going to be any phasing out of the 30 kWh battery. I believe that Nissan is going to have to completely redesign the Leaf to accept an additional 30 kWh battery. I think we will see a completely redesigned 60 kWh Leaf as a 2018 model.

        1. ffbj says:

          That would be interesting.

        2. kdawg says:

          We were talking about phasing out the 24kWh battery.

    2. Texas FFE says:

      The 2017 Leaf and the 2017 FFE are both going to have 30 kWh batteries. At today’s battery cost that should equate to about a $5,000 difference compared to a 60 kWh battery. If manufacturers can get the price down related to battery size then I think people who don’t need or don’t want to pay for the additional battery capacity would buy EVs with smaller batteries.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Why would anyone buys the 30kWh EV for about the same price of a 60kWh EV?

        I think those 30kWh EVs will need heavy discount or cheap/short term leasing deals to move.

  6. jstack6 says:

    The KEY is how does the bigger battery capacity hold up in the HEAT? With Repeated Fast Charges? This has been a BIG weak point in the LEAF in the past. No cooling for the battery pack is not good in any warm climate. Phoenix is the test location to really check the system.

  7. Lou Grinzo says:

    I’m not tempted by the 30kWh Leaf. My 2013 Leaf is still running beautifully — haven’t lost a bar yet — and it will act very nicely as a bridge car until the Leaf 2.0 is out and has at least one full year of production. At least my wife tells me I’ll have to wait that long.

    But I think it’s worthwhile to take a step back and consider where we are right now in this incredible change to electrified transportation. When the Leaf 2.0 and Bolt and who knows what else hit the market we’ll make the jump from EVs being a quirky, tiny slice of the market to their being a solid mainstream alternative for many drivers. That’s a breathtaking tipping point, one with vast, positive implications for us and our children.

    So, while we all love to wallow in the techno-minutiae of electric cars (I certainly do), I think it’s fun sometimes to ponder the grander implications of what’s happening, and our part in urging that process along.

    1. Scott says:

      Thanks for the reality check, Lou. I think that every time my wife is willing to give up “my” Leaf for a day. What a world of difference in so many regards.

    2. ffbj says:

      “wallow in the techno-minutiae of electric cars” Nice phrase.

  8. ModernMarvelFan says:

    It is a stop gap car for the “brighter future” of a long list of choices of Bolt, Model 3 and LEAF 2.0.