Nissan Leaf

There’s a certain simplicity to the interior layout of the Leaf that those frustrated by the car industry’s fixation with touchscreen technology might just embrace. 

There’s a clear sense of antiquation too, of course, and a certain plainness and monochrome drabness about the mouldings and materials used that fails to invite you in or appeal much to your senses, like the cabin of the Cupra Born or Hyundai Kona Electric might.

The trick to realise is where, if anywhere, the Leaf is likely to find its buyers in what remains of its lifecycle: not among those who can afford richer-looking and -feeling alternatives but as a cut-price rival to Chinese-made EVs like the MG 4 EV, BYD Dolphin and GWM Ora 03. Next to cars like those, there’s a certain reassurance and solace to be found in a dependable known quantity of an interior like the Leaf’s, from a company like Nissan, which has been majoring on sensible cabin designs for generations.

The driving position is improved but still feels oddly perched (because you’re sitting, even up front, directly above the battery) and still lacks a bit of longitudinal seat travel for longer-legged drivers, and telescopic steering column adjustment also.

Perceived cabin quality’s a shade improved over the 2011-2017 Nissan Leaf, although it was never really good enough for the prices being asked for upper-tier versions of this car a few years ago. In 2024, for less than £30,000, it’s passable – but no better.

In front of the driver, in the case of our Shiro-spec test car, was a half-digital, half-analogue instrument binnacle with a clock-style speedo and a screen-style drive/trip computer. The infotainment is a smallish 7.0in touchscreen system with quite basic-looking graphics and physical shortcut buttons around its margin. There’s a physical button console for heating and ventilation just below, as well as fairly chunky physical switches and knobs for drive selection, electronic handbrake activation and start/stop.

In the back seats, there’s space for smaller adults and younger teenagers, but both head and leg room are a little too limited for larger occupants. Here, both the 4 EV and ID 3 are more spacious.

Boot space is more impressive, at 385 litres under the parcel shelf, and Nissan provides some handy retention nets in which to keep your charging cable tidy.

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