Test Drive: European-Spec 2013 Nissan LEAF Visia Base Model

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 7

Euro-Spec 2013 Nissan LEAF

Euro-Spec 2013 Nissan LEAF

Known in the US as the LEAF S, Nissan’s entry-level LEAF forgoes several niceties in order to keep its price to the bare minimum.

2013 Nissan LEAF

2013 Nissan LEAF

Over in Europe, the base LEAF goes by the name of LEAF Visia.  It too omits several items to get down to a low sticker price, but are the omissions too much to deal with?

Auto Express basically says “yes” in its review of the entry-level, European-spec 2013 Nissan LEAF Visia.

First up is Auto Express‘ verdict: 3 out of 5 stars.

Here’s the opener from Auto Express:

2013 Nissan LEAF Euro-Spec in White

2013 Nissan LEAF Euro-Spec in White

“We drive the new entry-level Nissan Leaf Visia, which cuts the electric car’s starting price to £15,990.”

“The changes to the way the LEAF handles are welcome, and this new budget price tag is great if you’re willing to pay between £70 and £115 a month to lease the battery pack. It’s a shame that you don’t get the efficient new heater, though, because it drastically improves real-world range. We’d recommend a higher-spec LEAF instead.”

As Auto Express points out, the introduction of the entry-level Visia, along with the new-for-2013 option of leasing the battery pack separately, slashed the Nissan LEAF’s out-of-pocket price from  £23,490 to £15,990 after subsidies.  That’s a substantial price cut, but there are some drawbacks.

Here’s a bulleted list of what Auto Express wasn’t too fond of:

Interior of Up-Level LEAF

Interior of Up-Level LEAF

  • Visia does look a little cheaper than other LEAF
  • The mirrors aren’t body-colored
  • You get 16-inch steel wheels
  • There are no tinted windows
  • The gloss black panels (inside the LEAF) are now a cheaper-looking plastic
  • There’s no reversing camera, auto wipers or sat-nav.

On the upside, the 2013 Euro-spec LEAF is lighter, quicker and more agile than the 2012 model, says Auto Express, who adds this list of positives in:

Nifty Charge Port Light on All Versions of LEAF

Nifty Charge Port Light on All Versions of LEAF

  • There’s a surprising kick of acceleration whenever you floor the throttle
  • 0-62 mph is down from 11.9 to 11.5 seconds.
  • The steering feels a bit weightier and more natural now
  • Firmer dampers mean the LEAF is more composed in bends

But it seems the biggest gripe Auto Express had with the base Visia model is in regards to two features Nissan doesn’t include on the entry-level LEAF:  Quoting Auto Express:

“Nissan claims to have boosted the range from 109 to 124 miles, but we noticed little change. These entry-level cars also don’t include a new regenerative mode for the drivetrain or a new pump system for the heater, which you get in the more costly Acenta and Tekna.  The latter is supposedly 70 per cent more efficient than the Visia’s system, which effectively cut our range from 90 miles to 70 when we switched it on. Nissan says Visias will have a real-world range about 20 percent lower than other LEAFs.”

20 percent is surely a big deal, so we too agree with Auto Express‘ reasoning that buyers would most likely be more satisfied with either the Acenta or Tekna over the entry-level Visia.  And since the mid-level Acenta costs less than £3,000 more than the Visia, it’s money well spent.

Source: Auto Express

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7 responses to "Test Drive: European-Spec 2013 Nissan LEAF Visia Base Model"

  1. MTN Ranger says:

    There’s always a market for a stripper model. Some people just don’t want all the fancy options. In the long run, this will allow higher sales numbers.

  2. Aaron says:

    Sounds like they’re whining. Do you REALLY need automatic wipers? Oh, it’s raining! Let me turn this little knob. Do you REALLY need a back-up camera? Oh, I’m backing up! Maybe I should turn around and look out the (admittedly small) rear window. Oh no! Only 16″ wheels? My car won’t look right unless I get that extra inch of diameter and have aluminum wheels that are more-easily damaged than steel wheels. No tinted windows? Get ’em tinted at a good shop for $125. Mirrors aren’t body-colored? Oh no! What will I do.

    I’m done. 🙂

    1. Suprise Cat says:

      And if you hardly need a back driving camera, you can buy such system for self installation for 100-200$ everywhere.

    2. Suprise Cat says:

      And you will likely buy a second set of tires anyway to have winter and summer tires.

    3. robster says:

      Aaron,

      Agreed that you do not necessarily want all the bells and whistles. However the heatpump makes a big difference. The conclusion was written towards that major point (less range in real world (cold) driving).

  3. Bill Howland says:

    I always buy stripped models of cars. So I’m a big fan. Both my Roadster and Volt were the most plain jane of the models available at the time (2011).

  4. GSP says:

    Sounds like they really wanted the heat pump cabin heater. However they did not even consider that a heated steering wheel and heaters for front and back seats are included in the base model (in US at least). The cabin heater will rarely be needed.

    GSP