Nissan Leaf 2.0: What's It Like to Drive?

Video screen capture. Fully Charged

Fully Charged's Jonny Smith takes the new Leaf for a spin in Yokohama.

Unlike his Fully Charged co-host Robert Llewellyn, Jonny Smith actually likes cars. So it's always interesting—even for a non-car dude like me—to hear what he has to say about the ever growing number of electric cars that are coming onto our roads. In this latest episode, he gets behind the wheel of the new Nissan Leaf 2.0—the launch of which we wrote about last year—and takes it for an decent spin around the crowded streets of Yokohama.

You should watch the full episode for all of the details, but here's a summary of his findings:

— The aesthetics, while not exactly thrilling, are a significant improvement on the first generation
— Acceleration is greatly improved, as is handling
— The trunk (sorry, Jonny, the boot!) is considerably larger than the first Leaf
— Outside of the US, Nissan is claiming a real-world range of 200 miles or so (see below for caveats)
— The one pedal driving feature, which greatly increases regenerative braking to make brake pedal use largely unnecessary, works as advertised, although Jonny is not a fan
— And Jonny is clearly also a skeptic of semi-autonomous driving and parking, so his less-than-enthusiastic review of those features should probably be taken with a pinch of salt

That's the summary. He does a good job of sharing the real world experience of driving the next version of what has become a gateway electric vehicle for so many of us around the world. (You can see my experiences with a second hand, first generation Leaf here.) The only thing I'd caution is that real world range is being talked about more like 150 to 160 miles here in the US, even though this is exactly the same car. We already know that European testing cycles are considerably more generous, but I still get confused why real world range would differ so much from territory to territory. My guess—and this is only a guess—is that European and Japanese drivers spend more time in urban environments and relatively slow traffic. In the US, where we may drive more highway miles, we're likely to not get quite as much range out of the same sized battery.

Anyhow, like Robert Llewellyn, I don't really have a mind for the technical, automotive details. So check out Jonny's review below and, if you feel so inclined, support Fully Charged with a buck or two through Patreon.