2018 Nissan Leaf first drive: Plug and play

It’s a little crazy to think that while many other manufacturers are just gearing up their first round of electric vehicles, the Nissan Leaf is into a second generation. The first car looked like an over-inflated balloon animal, but it was a proper car – not like those awful little plastic G-Wiz things you used to see in London that had a 50-mile range. 

While companies such as Volkswagen discover a newfound zeal for all things electric, Nissan has quite the headstart – and without wanting to be dramatic this could be the most significant car of the next 10 years. Sadly the future looks nothing like the Jetsons. 

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2018 Nissan Leaf driven

First impressions

The new Leaf looks rather ordinary – which is the point, really. If the old car was meant to stand out with a bit of eco virtue-signalling, the second-generation Leaf heralds the moment the electric powertrain became just another option. Dangerously for Nissan this means we’re going to start looking at the quality of its interior plastics and the infotainment system instead of being flabbergasted by the silent-running torquey motor. Fortunately for Nissan, the Leaf’s best quality rival – the Volkswagen e-Golf – starts the bidding at the top end of the Leaf range, but as other manufacturers start pumping out competitors the Nissan could find its advantage slipping. 

The Leaf might be a fairly stealth...