Eco cars rated Nissan Leaf
Nissan’s hi-tech electric car, the Leaf, was designed from scratch to be an electric car, which brings benefits in terms of interior space and practicality. It costs £23,990 after the government's £5,000 low-carbon car grant is applied.
The Leaf feels futuristic inside and out, and is certainly the most realistic electric alternative to a regular hatchback – albeit about 40% more expensive to buy than the Golf BlueMotion.
What’s it like to drive?
The Leaf’s silence is striking; electric motors don’t idle, so a ‘computer log on’ chime is all you’ll hear when starting up. The muted whoosh of the electric motor is audible only when accelerating.
It picks up speed much like a regular 1.6-litre petrol hatchback and can cope with short motorway stints. The sat nav can help you find recharging points (there are some fast-charge facilities at selected Nissan dealerships). The Leaf seats five and its boot is only a bit smaller than the Golf’s.
Good for: In-town use with passengers and luggage; moderate-distance commuting.
Not good for: Extended motorway use.
Environmental credentials: Very good. 81g/km CO2 (using manufacturer's range and battery capacity figures)
Fuel cost for 50 miles: £1.45
Everyday usability: Average. 100 mile range (claimed) and an eight-hour charge time (using domestic mains supply).