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Nissan LEAF Shiro 2024 Review

The Nissan LEAF is a classic in the world of EVs, and it’s now possible to buy a new LEAF in the form of the Shiro model at a relatively affordable price.

  • Nissan LEAF 2024
  • Nissan LEAF 2024
  • Nissan LEAF 2024
  • Nissan LEAF 2024
  • Nissan LEAF 2024
  • Nissan LEAF 2024
  • Nissan LEAF 2024
  • Nissan LEAF 2024
  • Nissan LEAF 2024
  • Nissan LEAF 2024
  • Nissan LEAF 2024
  • Nissan LEAF 2024
Green Car Guide Rating: 7/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:   Nissan LEAF Shiro 39kWh
  • Fuel:   Electric
  • Electric driving range (WLTP): 168 miles
  • Maximum rapid charging rate:    50 kW

Summary

  • The Nissan LEAF is now a classic in the world of electric cars
  • Shiro model is at the more affordable end of the EV scale
  • 39kWh battery delivers 168-mile range
  • Infotainment system showing its age

BACKGROUND

The Nissan LEAF was launched in 2010, when it was the first mass market electric car, with the second-generation model appearing in 2018, and it has now sold over 650,000 units globally. Now, 14 years after it was first launched, the LEAF is still on sale, and the Shiro model aims to offer buyers an option at the more affordable end of the EV price spectrum; based on the N-Connecta grade, the Shiro still offers decent levels of equipment.

Nissan LEAF 2024

Nissan LEAF 2024

DESIGN & ENGINEERING

The Nissan LEAF Shiro has a 40kWh battery, with 39kWh usable capacity, and a 150 PS electric motor delivering front-wheel drive.

The LEAF is a five-seat, five-door family hatchback with a 385-litre boot, or 1,167-litres with the rear seats down (just don’t expect a flat floor when the seats are folded). There’s no separate storage area for the charging cables, so they’re likely to be taking up space in the boot.

There’s also what looks like a ‘transmission tunnel’ in the rear footwell, although it’s actually the battery that sits under here.

Nissan LEAF 2024

Nissan LEAF 2024

NISSAN LEAF SHIRO DRIVING EXPERIENCE

The vast majority of new cars are SUVs, so it’s a pleasant surprise to drive a car that feels low to the ground, compact and relatively light (helped by the smaller battery, the LEAF Shiro weighs 1,540 kg, which is definitely at the lighter end of the scale for EVs). As a result, the LEAF’s handling feels relatively agile, and ride quality is comfortable, even on potholed urban roads. It feels easy to drive, especially around town, although it’s not a car that exhibits sharp, dynamic handling on country roads, and it doesn’t feel particularly planted to the road at motorway speeds.

Acceleration from standstill feels rapid – and quicker than the actual 0-62 mph time of 7.9 seconds. That is unless you’ve selected Eco mode, when responses are dialled back significantly. Because the LEAF is front-wheel drive, it’s possible to experience wheelspin when pulling out of a junction, especially in the wet.

To engage Drive, you push the circular gear selector to the right and down, and there’s also a ‘B’ option for increased brake regeneration. The LEAF also has an ‘e-Pedal’, which provides an even greater degree of brake regen – to the extent that you can drive the EV just using the accelerator, with no need to touch the brake in normal driving. However the e-Pedal feels a bit severe; the B setting is likely to be better for most people for general driving.

The main issue we have with the LEAF is its driving position. On the first-generation LEAF, there was no reach adjustment on the steering column. Reach adjustment was added during the life of the second-generation LEAF, but the distance that the steering wheel can be pulled out is absolutely minimal. Combined with this, the seat base doesn’t go low enough, and you can’t change the angle of the seat base. As a result of trying to find some form of compromise driving position, your legs can brush against the bottom of the steering column when getting in and out of the car. And your left leg is often in contact with the plastic trim on the right-hand side of the centre console.

The LEAF has a central touchscreen but it’s small, the graphics looks dated, and the usability of the infotainment system – especially the satnav – is well behind the latest competitors. In better news, there are some physical buttons on the dashboard, including buttons under the touchscreen for climate controls. The switches for the heated seats look like they’re from a 1980’s Nissan 4×4, and the switch for the heated steering wheel is hidden away on the very far right-hand side of the dashboard.

The LEAF’s emergency braking system automatically applied the brakes twice, for no apparent reason, during the car’s week on test with us.

Nissan LEAF 2024

 

Nissan LEAF 2024

NISSAN LEAF SHIRO ELECTRIC RANGE AND CHARGING

The Nissan LEAF Shiro, with its 39kWh battery, delivers a 168-mile WLTP combined electric driving range. After a week of mixed driving, the LEAF’s average real-world range was 141 miles, which is low compared to most rivals.

When out and about using public chargers, the LEAF is pretty much the only BEV that has to be charged using a CHAdeMO connector rather than the more commonly used CCS system, and the maximum charging rate is only 50 kW, which is very slow compared to almost every other EV. This means that a 20% to 80% DC charge will take around an hour, compared to most EVs taking no more than 30 minutes for a 10% to 80% DC charge. At home you can use the normal Type 2 charging cable with the 6.6kW on-board charger.

How to charge an electric car

Nissan LEAF 2024

Nissan LEAF 2024

PRICE AND MODEL RANGE

The Nissan LEAF Shiro 39kWh costs £28,495. If you want a 3-pin EVSE charging cable, which came with our test car, this costs £295, taking the total price of our car to £28,790.

The Shiro is based on the N-Connecta grade and features ProPILOT Assist which includes Traffic Jam pilot, Intelligent Lane Keep Assist and an electronic parking brake.

Shiro is Japanese for white and this model comes with Arctic White paint as standard, along with the 39kWh battery only, and is available with optional Spare Wheel Pack and two-tone paint (Storm White with a Pearl Black roof).

The LEAF is also available with a 59kWh battery offering a 239-mile range. Trim levels are Shiro, N-Connecta, Tekna and Acenta.

Nissan LEAF 2024

Nissan LEAF 2024

Conclusion

Within the EV community, the Nissan LEAF has gained classic status. It was the first mass-produced electric family car, and it has been around since 2010. In Shiro trim, with its 39kWh battery, it offers a much-needed option at the affordable end of the EV price spectrum. The small battery means that it only has a driving range of 168 miles, and it can only charge at a maximum of 50 kW, and to do that, you need to find a CHAdeMO charger, at a time when the rest of the EV world has moved on to CCS. Many people will struggle to get a comfortable driving position in the LEAF, and the infotainment system is very dated. But if you want an electric family hatchback primarily for urban use, the LEAF Shiro offers a solution that’s comfortable and easy to drive, and which offers good value. The Nissan LEAF Shiro is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 7 out of 10.

Car facts and figures Nissan LEAF Shiro 2024 Review

  • Test electric driving range: 141 miles
  • Consumption (WLTP): 171 Wh/km
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):   £0 year 1, £0 year 2 onwards
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2024/25): 2%
  • Price:   £28,495
  • Insurance group:   21
  • Power:   150 PS
  • Max speed:   90 mph
  • 0-62 mph:   7.9 seconds
  • Torque:   320 Nm
  • Weight:   1,540 kg
  • Towing weight: N/A
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor