THIS journalist has never had his future read or seen a clairvoyant, never had the interest or inclination to. But after experiencing the 2019 Nissan LEAF, I have seen into the future of motoring, and it has markedly changed my opinion.
Sure, I’d had experience with hybrids, and happily acknowledge the benefits of such an arrangement. But having been a self-professed pessimist regarding a possible full electric future, I took my first taste of an all-electric vehicle, and have to say I’ve been converted.
Stepping into the LEAF feels like any other ordinary car. It’s like your climbing into a new version of the Pulsar, but not quite. The interior is luxurious, with nicely appointed leather spread through the cabin with some ‘eco blue’ accents and stitching.
There is no gear lever, rather a drive selector knob which operates by sliding towards your desired gear and then springing back into place. Push the glowing blue start button however and, there is almost silence as the LEAF starts.
You hear a few whirring noises and the digital dash sparks to life with a Nissan Zero Emission animation. Setting off for the first time is an unnerving experience, accompanied by an eerie noiseless, but smooth and extremely refined, forward momentum.
What you also notice from the first press of the accelerator is the instant and sizable amount of torque the electric power train delivers. A 40KwH Lithium-Ion battery delivers 110kW of power and 320Nm of torque. It’s impressive. Genuinely impressive.
Changing lanes or merging with traffic becomes a breeze with the instant torque the LEAF has on tap. It’s enough to throw your passenger’s head back in their seat as you slingshot into whichever gap you choose.
There’s so much power and torque in fact that traction can become an issue if you’re not mindful while cornering, or at the traffic light drag race. However, unlike Jason Bateman and his Prius in Horrible Bosses, you might actually win more than you might think.
Using all of the available power and torque consistently though comes at the expense of range though, something you had better stay mindful of when planning your trips. Not that you will need to think about recharging every time you stop.
The LEAF has an estimated driving range of 270km, which can be extended by selecting either the e-Pedal or eco mode, which much like a petrol vehicle, makes range a sliding scale, depending on driving habits.
Elsewhere, the driving experience is smooth and refined thanks to Nissan’s Ride Control System, which automatically applies brakes and adjusts engine torque to manage your drive, and cope with any road imperfections.
A dull tyre roar is otherwise the only noise or intrusion into what is an excellent ride.
Filled with innovating technology, you will always feel connected to the car and your surroundings in the Nissan LEAF. Starting with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, connecting your smartphone and accessing all of your apps couldn’t be easier.
Paired with the BOSE energy efficient premium audio system, which saves power without sacrificing sound quality, your music sounds crystal clear through it’s strategically placed seven speakers.
Still on innovative tech, the e-Pedal system, which may take a while to get used to at first, allows you to accelerate, brake and stop using just the single pedal. Simply ease off the pedal to slow down or take your foot off completely to come to a stop.
It can be turned off and on through the flick of a switch for those who want the traditional driving experience, but give it a go, we found it surprisingly fun and efficient to use.
Combined with Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility features such as emergency braking, cruise control, lane intervention, auto headlights, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert, you have a comprehensive list of safety features to protect you on your journey.
And when you arrive at your destination, Nissan’s intelligent around view monitor gives you front, rear, bird’s eye and kerbside views to make sure parking and navigating tight spaces is as simple as possible. Gutter rashed wheels will become a thing of the past.
Charging the LEAF is pain free thanks to a simple process. Press the charging door release button on the key fob or dash and the flap is released, much like a fuel flap. Plug in, and let it do its thing.
With the ability to be charged fully in 7.5 hours via a standard home 240v electrical socket, or from 20 per cent to 80 per cent in 60 minutes via one of the many available fast charging stations around the country, you should never get caught short of charge.
When all is said and done however, there were a few little niggles that spoiled what was a great experience. For example, the emergency braking system tried to stop the car with no danger in front of us, a handful of times while driving in city traffic.
The parking sensors started blaring while sitting still, with no movement around us, and the infotainment system was a bit laggy, reacting to inputs with a significant delay.
Priced from $54,492 drive away, the 2019 Nissan LEAF is by no means cheap for a small car, and marginally more expensive than a Renault Zoe or Hyundai Ioniq, but we believe it’s much more car all round than either offering.
Having been through my first all-electric car experience, I can say, in short, I’d own one. This car has genuinely opened my eyes to an electric future, and I’m excited for what’s to come. Experience one for yourself and see what all the fuss is about.
Our test vehicle was supplied by Nissan Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Nissan LEAF, contact your local Nissan dealer.