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Nissan Leaf 30kW Test Drive Review

Date: 09 March 2016   |   Author:

Category: Lower medium
Key rival: Kia Soul EV
P11D: £31,435
On sale: December 2015

Nissan has added a new 30kW battery to its Leaf electric car, boosting claimed range from 124 miles to a more fleet-friendly 155 miles.

To increase capacity Nissan has used different materials, along with more efficient cells, making it one of the longest-lasting electric cars.

As with all electric cars, minimal fuel costs and rock-bottom benefit-in-kind charges add to the Leaf's company car appeal, but abysmal 21% residual values and high price inflates costs to 60.3p per mile for the Tekna model we drove.

The much more upmarket and speedy BMW i3 is available for 53.7ppm, partly thanks to much stronger 31.6-33.3% RVs. The Kia Soul EV comes in at 54.4ppm, while the VW e-Golf costs 56.2ppm.

Petrol, hybrid and diesel models also offer better value than the Leaf - including the diesel Audi A3 1.6 TDI at 43.8ppm, the petrol Vauxhall Astra 1.4 Turbo 125 at 40.4ppm and the Toyota Prius at 43.2ppm. BIK may be higher at £36-£60 and £72-£120 for 20% and 40% taxpayers respectively compared with £26 and £52 for the Leaf, but all are free from the Leaf's limited range.

On the road the Leaf is quiet and refined, thanks to the electric motor, but the firm ride and overly sharp brake pedal mean the driving experience isn't as relaxed as it could be. Kia's Soul EV offers a more comfortable ride, while the i3 is much faster and more enjoyable to drive.

Meanwhile, Tekna trim includes plenty of kit, but even so, the interior feels downmarket compared with its rivals from Kia and BMW.

Electric power might mean the Leaf is liable for very low BIK charges, but EV rivals offer better value for money, interiors and driving experiences. Meanwhile, petrol and diesel alternatives are far cheaper to lease - potentially offsetting higher BIK charges - while several hybrids offer some of the Leaf's silent running with reasonable BIK costs while saving firms as much as 17.1ppm.

Nissan Leaf 30kW Tekna

Model price range £25,790-£31,490
Residual value 20.8%
Depreciation £24,885
Fuel £980
Service, maintenance and repair £1557
Vehicle Excise Duty £0
National Insurance £911
Cost per mile 60.3p
Range 155 miles
CO2 (BIK band) 0g/km (5%)
BIK 20/40% per month £26/£52
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 370/720 litres
Engine size/power Electric motor/109hp


Extra range, but low RVs make it pricy against alternatives
  • Low BIK and NI costs
  • Quiet on the road,
  • More fleet-friendly range
  • Lacks style and quality of BMW i3 and Kia Soul EV despite being pricier to run