First Drive: Nissan's punchy and composed Leaf update is set to dominate the EV market yet again

(REPOST: Yahoo News)

Nissan says 12,000 orders have been taken since it was revealed three months ago, with 7,000 of those previous Leaf owners.

It’s also the poster child for Nissan’s ‘Intelligent Mobility’ ecosystem. The Japanese firm is branching out to promote a more sustainable society, using renewable energy and allowing owners to plug their vehicles into the grid to support the national network.

What’s new?

Pretty much everything is new, from the uprated battery and motor system underneath, to the styling of the exterior and interior. There’s also Nissan’s ProPilot semi-autonomous driving assistance features, which appear in the UK for the first time here on top-spec cars – one of these is essentially adaptive cruise control and the other parks the car itself.

The other standout feature is e-Pedal. It’s a glorified version of the driving mode found in many electric vehicles that ramps up the regenerative braking effect, but here it’s tuned so that 90 per cent of driving can be done without using the brakes. It’s really easy to use and really helps to extend range.

What’s under the bonnet?

he second generation Leaf debuts the fourth generation of Nissan’s electric powertrain. With a 40kWh battery, up from 30kWh, the system makes 148bhp and 320Nm of torque, and is plenty punchy out on the road. What’s more important, though, is the fact that range has now increased to 235 miles on the standard NEDC cycle (though Nissan prefers to tout the 177-mile figure, which comes from the new, more realistic WLTP combined cycle testing).

Coupled with the e-Pedal, this is entirely achievable, particularly if you resist the urge to really make the most of the high-torque acceleration the motor offers.

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