Review: Nissan Leaf Acenta (30kWh 2016)

Review Date: 29 November 2020
Current Mileage 620,000 Miles

Reviewed by Lee Pratt

General Overview

I was initially just looking for a car that got more mpg than my previous car the Ford Focus C-Max, I had looked at hybrids and all sorts of other cars. At the time I purchased the leaf I was doing a 22 mile commute would easily be achievable on a single charge.  I took the car on the 4 day test drive and managed to live with it more than easily even just using the 3-pin socket to charge the car. The acceleration and quietness and smoothness of the ride  and I was sold. I have always enjoyed tech and gadgets and this seemed like a logical progression for me.

Were you the first registered owner of the car?

I purchased this car from new in November 2016 from Trenton Nissan near Hull,

If so what additional options if any did you purchase with it?

No additional options were taken with the car, it is the standard Nissan Acenta version.
The only option taken on this was the three years free servicing.

Were these options worth the extra money you paid on the car?

As it was included in the price of the car it was worth the money.

Did the dealer who sold it to you know much about the EV or did you get the impression they you were more informed with them as is much the case?

In my case I bought the car from Nissan Hull and the dealer who sold me the car was Ian Tattersall. He had been previously driving the Nissan leaf and Renault Zoe and advised on real-world mileage and charging etc.

Think of things you really like about the car, what would you say to a friend who was in the market for an EV to convince them to purchase the car you have?

My previous car Ford Focus C-Max was getting approximately 35 to 40 miles per gallon. I was spending approximately £800 to £1,000 per year in maintenance and keeping the car running alone.

Now, with cheap overnight charging I was paying approximately 1.5 pence per mile and the maintenance on a most EVs is almost zero.

The initial acceleration is still one of the things that I love about this car after 4 years of driving it. I also sometimes just drive without any music or radio on and listen to the world go by.

What things are you not pleased about?

The range estimator ‘Guess-o-meter’ (GOM) when fully charged shows 130-140 miles. After 5 to 10 miles of driving that has rapidly dropped to around 100. There must have been a better way for the car to calculate the real range. I always work off the battery percentage rather than what the range estimator says. Typically on the 30 kilowatt version it’s a good rule of thumb to go by 1% per mile especially if motorway driving. 

If you’re country driving along rural roads you can feel the weight of the car when you come to the more severe corners, especially in winter.

Think back to when you purchased the car. What other cars did you test drive or look at? Did you make the right decision?

At the time when I purchased the car in 2016 there were only 3 real options. The Renault Zoe, the BVMW i3 and the Nissan Leaf. The i3 was too expensive, the Zoe was too small which just left the Leaf as the best all round option.

I dropped from the Tekna version to the Acenta version so I could afford to get the 30 kilowatt hour version, just to try and appease my range anxiety in the early days.

The Interior

Is the interior hardwearing?

The interior has held up relatively well, the driver’s side door card where I rest my right elbow is starting to wear a little bit as it gets a lot of use. The piano black centre console around the gear selector is really annoying as it attracts dust all the time and shows lots of fingerprints and requires constant buffing to keep it looking anywhere decent. Everything else looks like you inside the cabin it just needs a good clean.

What is it like for comfort on long journeys?

I currently commute approximately 100 miles each morning for my daily drive and 100 miles on the return journey. The only thing I really would have liked is adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. The chair seating position is comfortable and the steering wheel is ok. I have added a third-party heated seat cover just to warm my bum on the cold mornings!

Is the interior quality good?

The interior quality is sufficient for the type of car. There are some cheap scratchy plastics in many places but the parts that you come into contact with mostly are cloth covered and feel ok.

Is it easy to keep clean?

Overall most of the car just takes a quick dust to clean interior. Although getting down between the seats and the centre console is tight, the rest of the car is quite quick and easy to look after.

Does the interior easily mark?

The piano black on the centre console and around the touchscreen gathers dust and fingerprints very very easily but a quick wipe over has it looking almost back to new. The rest of the interior I think has held up very well and shows little sign of ageing.

Interior rating: 3/5

The Exterior

What’s the general quality of the exterior paintwork like?

The exterior paintwork is reasonably good although if you don’t use a good quality wash shampoo and treatment afterwards you can see paint swirl marks. After 60,000 miles there are approximately 5 or 6 stone chips which is fairly good considering the amount of miles the car has covered.

Are the wheels easily scuffed?

The Acenta wheels are not the prettiest but the gaps between the alloys makes them very easy to clean and they have held up well over time. There is a touch of flaking around where the wheel nuts are.

Are the gaps on the panels throughout the car even and straight?

The panel gaps are even and all fairly close. I wouldn’t complain about them compared to some of the cars on the road I have seen.

Exterior rating: 4/5

Any Issues with the Car?

If anything, what have you had to take your car back to the dealers to have fixed?

None that require dealer assistance. The only issue had been a squeaky driver’s side wing mirror which was quickly repaired by myself by removing wing mirror cover and applying grease.

Nothing so far has needed repairing under warranty.

Was the dealer courteous and did you find you received a good service?

The dealer service for the first three years was more than acceptable, although I really didn’t have to contact them about anything.

Driving Pleasure

Do you enjoy driving your car or is it just a tool to get somewhere?

Over the last couple of years the Leaf has mostly become a tool due to the mileage I cover although I do still enjoy driving it, and is saving me a small fortune on fuel.

Do you often just go for a drive for no reason because you can? Has it reignited your passion for cars?

No, it’s now a work tool to get me covering distance.

What do you find is the best part of the driving pleasure?

The acceleration obviously and the cost per mile compared to petrol diesel cars. Also, driving in silence. It’s often nice just to turn the stereo off and listen to nothingness.

Driving pleasure rating: 4/5

Running Costs

Thinking about the mileage you have completed in your EV do you have a rough estimate of costs to date that you have spent on electricity and consumables like tyres, servicing etc?

One replaced set of front tyres at £140 one set of front wiper blades at £20. £0 on servicing as first three services were free and have serviced bits since by myself.

I estimate I have spent £1,200 on electricity over the 60,000 miles. This is due to cheap overnight charging and being able to charge at work and also free charging at destination chargers.

If you had an equivalent ICE car do you think your overall motoring costs would have been cheaper or more expensive?

I estimate the tyres cost would have probably been around the same although fuel costs would have been approximately £9,000 to £10,000. An estimate also of approximately £500 to £1,000 on keeping the vehicle roadworthy. Then factor in the VED it has more than made up for the difference in cost between buying an electric car and a new petrol diesel over the 4 years I have owned it.

Overall running cost rating 5/5

The Future

Do you think you will ever go back to an ICE car?

I hopefully would be buying electric from now on, dependent on initial costs.