We’re fans of the Nissan LEAF so when Nissan asked us if we would like to join them for a road test / review of the all new Nissan LEAF 2018 with a scenic drive that would take us from Belgium to the Netherlands, we gladly confirmed. Lucky us, because the actual test drives took place on a lovely, sun drenched day.
Nissan LEAF 2018 = #SimplyAmazing
Fast forward to that testday somewhere during early springtime 2018. Once seated in the cabin of the all new Nissan LEAF, it feels like a renewed acquaintance. Since we’ve been putting generation 1 of the Nissan LEAF through its paces for a few months (check out our reviews here and here), it feels very familiar in the comfy seats of the Nissan LEAF 2018. The cabin is very ergonomic with plenty of space and the controls feel like they are in place, right where they ought to be.
Nissan LEAF 2018 scenic testdrive
Ok, starting point is the very elegant location of ‘La Butte aux Bois’ in Lanaken (Belgium). From there we have a scenic drive of about 65 km towards the Kapellerhut in Heeze (Netherlands). The range on the dashboard of the LEAF indicates 246 kilometers. That should be enough, shouldn’t it ? So, off we go. A comfortable drive with lots of electric power and a smooth steering experience immediately puts us in the mood. Not the most responsive steering yet with a consistent feedback. We still get that eery feeling of heaviness of the car but the 40 kWh electro-engine compensates largely for that.
Nissan LEAF 2018 e-Pedal | Pro Pilot
Tapping the climate control and/or the heating butting immediately deducts about 12 kilometers of the driving range. Tapping it back to off and, yes, we get our 12 kilometer driving range back. Important if you’re trying to squeeze those last available kilometers out of the LEAF. On the road the LEAF behaves very well, with a very descent grip. The e-Pedal is a marvel. You get the same traction and response like in a bumper car. You push the pedal for acceleration, release it gently to slow down and release it completely to come to a full stop. Only now, we’re not in a bumper car but on the road in real traffic and after a slight learning curve, the e-Pedal really assures a great and much more direct driving experience than the traditional gas/clutch/brake pedals combination. We only push the brake pedal occasionaly during a more abrupt halt. Once you learn how to anticipate the traffic with the e-Pedal you get a great experience. We love it !
Nissan LEAF 2018 : flawless behaviour
On the highway we activate the Pro-Pilot. Same thing there. It anticipates in a wonderful way by keeping a clean distance between the LEAF and the vehicle in front. Combine it with the intelligent cruise control and it slows down and accelerates related to the set cruise control speed. Scary at first, because we’ve always been used to control the car in all its aspects but now the car seems to take control. But, it does that in a flawless way. Hell, it even controls the steering. When we release the steering wheel we see the steering wheel making little turns all by itself to adjust the car’s position in a straight line.
Nissan LEAF 2018 Pro Pilot on the road
It’s a quite amazing experience if you’re on the highway at 120 kilometers driving behind a car right in front of you. But the people at Nissan have taken the necessary precautions. If you release the steering wheel for more than a few seconds, you get a warning on the dashboard. If you ignore that warning, the car will come to a complete stop, at least if we may believe Nissan. We didn’t try this on the highway. 🙂 Once the vehicle in front brakes the Pro Pilot slows the LEAF down to keep a specific distance. Through the dashboard we can indicate that specific distance. Great !
Behave like an e-driver
Arrived at our destination in the Netherlands, the range has dropped from 246 kilometers to 144 kilometers although the actual distance only is 65 kilometers. That is because the range is calculated in function of the driving behaviour. If you’re behaving like a 100 % e-driver the range would be much more accurate but we couldn’t resist on the way to Heeze to floor it every now and then. Oh, well. Some fun is allowed. 😉
Nissan LEAF 2018 : a very fine experience
Overall, the new LEAF is a very fine experience, especially if you’re used to generation 1 of the most sold e-vehicle worldwide. Combined with the e-Pedal, Pro Pilot and bi-directional charging technology it really sets the standard for other e-vehicles within its segment. The aesthetics of the car are much more improved, more oriented to European markets and we like that. The 40 kWh powerhouse provide lots of driving fun while minimalizing that famous range anxiety. On paper with a full charge, that should be 380 kilometers. Not bad at all. In the meantime the purchase orders for the alle new Nissan LEAF 2108 are rolling in because the world has embraced this little marvel of e-technology already a long time ago. And so do we. With the 2nd generation of the Nissan LEAF , that should only go further uphill. To be continued.