Friday, 29 June 2018

Is The Nissan Leaf Electric Car A Good Family Car?

In recent years electric cars have become really popular with charge points popping up in local towns and cities all around the country.

 I will be completely honest and say that I didn't know a lot about electric cars and I honestly thought they weren't for families like my own, who like to go on day trips and use a car fairly often. So when we were set a challenge of taking an electric car on a family day out by Lookers I was curious to see what it would be like and how it performed as a family car. I don't actually drive so I was the passenger on this outing. 

On Saturday we were invited along to our local Lookers Nissan dealership in Newcastle to collect the car we would be test driving, the Nissan Leaf. The staff were friendly and helpful as they demonstrated how the car worked and explained all the extra tech and features that the car has, it has a lot! We also learned a little about the Lookers Electric Charge in aid of Ben group challenge, which Lookers is supporting by taking a 6-month long road trip across its dealerships from Ireland, over to Scotland and down to Surrey. BEN group is a not for profit organisation that helps people in the automotive industry and their families. So, with my own dad working in the industry for 40 years, I was interested to learn about this fantastic campaign. 

White Nissan Leaf car at the coast

We decided to take the car on a family day out up along the Northumberland coast as the sun was shining and the children wanted to be out in the fresh air. We drove along the coast, stopped off for a play in the park and paddle in the sea and of course we had chips and ice-creams for lunch before heading home. I have to say the car performed well and was ideal for a family day out along the coast as the intelligent around view monitor made parking so easy and the automated climate control made the car cool for the children on a hot summers day. 

Jacob enjoying an ice cream at the beach

So what was the car like? 


First impressions were that the car looked good, it was modern and stylish and much nicer than I thought it would be. I was a bit worried that it would be a bit small for a family of five but the three children fitted in the back with plenty of leg room. We did struggle with two car seats and a teenager in the back so we had to put our five-year-old in a booster seat instead of her car seat so all three children could fit in the back. However, if you have three older children who don't require car seats (or bulky car seats like we have) or you only have one or two children in car seats then it would be totally fine space wise. 

Inside the Nissan Leaf boot


The boot size was also really good and bigger than I expected. My children are no longer in buggies, but if they were I could have easily fit it into the boot space. The Nissan Leaf is a keyless car so you just have a fob to open and lock the car and you start the car by pressing a button on the dashboard. Being electric it was so quiet too and it felt like a really smooth drive. We loved all the extra gadgets that came with the car which you can find out more about here

Driving the Nissan Leaf


Obviously, being an electric car, it was slightly different from driving a regular car. I don't personally drive but I was told the gears were so simple to use as you just pressed forward or reverse and it was so light to drive. The biggest change is that it only has one pedal, which was surprisingly easy to get used to and made driving a much more comfortable experience.  The pro pilot features also make driving much easier as it does a lot of the hard work for you, such as maintaining your speed and helping you keep in lane. You would receive an alert (the steering wheel vibrates) if you got too close to the road markings. The intelligent around view monitor made parking and reversing so easy as you could see everything on the screen on the dashboard. 

Nissan Leaf around view monitor for parking

So how far can it go? 


The thing that I was most worried about with an electric car was it running out of charge and being stranded miles away from a charging station with some suitable unimpressed children to entertain. I need not have worried as none of these concerns were a problem. 

Nissan Leaf gearbox

We were told that the Leaf averages around 130 miles before it needs charging, which is further than I thought. Also, you can charge the car 80% in around 40 minutes to an hour so not too bad. There is no need to worry about being stranded miles from a charging station either as you can plan your itinerary on the inbuilt map and it will show you where the charging stations are. 

We were out all day and we did not need to charge the car once. 

So what did we think? 


Overall we were all really impressed with the Nissan Leaf, it was a stylish and comfortable car and a lot bigger inside than we expected it to be. It has a good sized boot, comfortable 'zero gravity' seats and it is big enough to fit three children comfortably in the back. It has lots of extra features that make the driving experience better and a good choice for a family car. We were impressed with how quiet the car was, you could actually have a conversation and enjoy listening to the Bose sound system without the usual background engine sounds. It could go a lot further than we thought it would without needing to be charged and it has a low charge time.

We drove for around 60 miles and were out for most of the day and did not need to charge the car once. But you can charge the car fully at home in 7.5 hours and quick charge the Leaf from 20% to 80% in less than an hour by using a rapid charger on the go. 

Nissan Leaf car

We would never have considered getting an electric car before test driving the Nissan Leaf but after taking it on a day out and trying it for ourselves I have to say we are actually considering it. Obviously producing zero emissions is good for the planet but running an electric car also works out more cost effective too which is something to consider. It would be an ideal car for driving around Newcastle and for my partner driving into the city for work too. If you are looking for a new car then I would recommend booking a test drive at your local Lookers garage as I am sure you will be as impressed as we were with how family friendly and comfortable an electric car like the Nissan Leaf actually is. 

Back view of the Nissan Leaf car


Have you tried an electric car before? If so, I would love to know what you thought about it. 

Collaborative post. 








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7 comments

  1. Sounds great - something I've always wanted to know is, do you have to pay to charge your car at car parking spots that aren't at your home (eg the ones in Newcastle or at service stations).

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  2. I've never tried an electric car before, I would consider one in the future though.

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  3. Great post this. I'd love an electric car and a Nissan Leaf is at the top of the list!

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  4. Sounds fab! We've never considered an electric car before either but it does sound like an option!

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  5. It sounds like a great car for around town but its not unusual for us to do 150+ miles per trip so would not work for us - please it fails the three car seat challenge :(

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  6. This looks great, we haven’t considered an electric car before but would for our next one. Intrigued to see how I would feel driving with different pedals

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  7. I am in the same boat as you in that I don't know much about electric cars and never considered them before but would definitely love to give them a try

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