The figures at first don't look that impressive. The Leaf produces the equivalent of 109bhp from its electric motor. But this is where EVs win, 0-62mph is covered in just 7.9 seconds, and still the figures definitely don't tell the whole story. The Leaf is nothing short of electric (forgive the pun) in the way it dispenses that power – hauling in a way that 109bhp really shouldn't. In town, or in traffic, you've got the ability to surprise anyone around you. Steering feel isn't exactly blinding, but the leaf holds the road surprisingly well for a car that weighs nearly two tonnes and sits on low-rolling resistance tyres.
The most interesting part of the new Leaf's performance is the use of Nissan’s e-pedal for the first time. This is Nissan's first foray into one-pedal operation and, while eventually pretty intuitive, does take some getting used to. Instead of the neutral pedal position being at the top of its travel, it is now in the middle. Anything further forward is go, any further back is slow, up to the point of pretty heavy braking. Stick the Leaf in e-pedal mode and you can all but dispense with the second pedal. It works by strengthening the regenerative braking element to slow you and balancing with a little old-fashioned friction when needed. It won't bring you fully to a halt in an emergency, but once you’re used to it it's pretty relaxing for everything other than your ankle – which needs to maintain pressure on the car at all times.
What is brilliant about driving the Leaf is the pure refined feeling it brings. On an open road the low centre of gravity and decent suspension setup bring an almost wafty feeling, although if the road gets a little juddery it can be a little more jarring. No engine noise is available to intrude into the cabin, and while this allows a little more tyre and wind noise in than normal, it's deadened pretty well, allowing you to waft along in a relaxed style.
We can’t ignore the elephant in the room – range. Nissan have had the Leaf put through the more realistic WLTP trial, which give the Leaf a range of 168 miles. On our week with the car we found this was probably about right, and a 60-mile daily commute took about 70 miles of range off the trip computer. While that may not sound revolutionary, it would be a lie to say that 168 miles isn't enough for most people to live with day-to-day. Install a proper charger at your home for a four-hour top-up and it should be more than enough. Electric tech simply isn't ready for those with longer daily journeys yet, but realistically that's a very small part of the population.