Nissan Leaf review: interior, dashboard & infotainment
The Nissan Leaf's interior is quite conventional in appearance and material quality is a little hit-and-miss
Unlike some other electrified models, the Nissan Leaf is fairly conservatively designed inside. That means there are few sweeping lines and neon-lit panels, just a fairly plain-looking centre console and a set of part-digital dials. This may please buyers trading up from regular family hatchbacks, but those looking for a plethora of on-board technology and screens may be disappointed. It looks especially dated next to the new Nissan Ariya, but even the bargain MG4 feels more modern inside.
Nissan Leaf dashboard
Although the Leaf is conventional inside, there are still some neat design touches, such as a number of blue accents and flashes to highlight the electric nature of the car. The infotainment screen is smaller than the huge tablet-style displays that are becoming common in more recently launched models, while in place of the normal dials, you’ll find a part-digital display showing everything from speed, to range and trip information.
Technology fans may be a little disappointed, then. but those seeking a dose of family-car familiarity won’t be. Things get a little more mixed when looking at the materials used. Most of the parts you’ll frequently touch feel tactile, but run your hand across the top of the dashboard or along the top of the door panels and it feels surprisingly low-rent, given the asking price. An MG4, despite costing slightly less, feels better built inside.
Equipment, options & accessories
As of early 2023, the standard Leaf is offered in three trim levels, Acenta, N-Connecta and Tekna, while the longer-range Leaf e+ version is offered only in the last two of those three versions. Acenta now offers an eight-inch touchscreen (up from seven inches previously) with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus a seven-inch digital display in lieu of the conventional analogue dials. There’s air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, auto wipers, and a host of safety aids including a reversing camera, blind spot warning, cross-traffic alert and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
To that, the N-Connecta adds larger alloy wheels, electric folding mirrors, heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel, plus climate control and sat-nav. This version also brings Nissan’s Intelligent Around View Monitor, which includes various object detection and driver-drowsiness warning functions.
Above this, the range-topping Tekna adds Nissan's ProPilot driver-assistance technology, part-leather upholstery, LED headlights and a Bose stereo.
The choice of options depends largely on the trim you go for. Some of the standard features on the next model up are optional on the one below, but a space-saver spare wheel is a must-have extra on all models. Two-tone paint is also available on N-Connecta and Tekna cars.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
The Nissan’s touchscreen system is adequate but far from class-leading these days. It allows you to plot a route that takes in public charging stations on the way, and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which make it easy to use your phone’s map and music functions. The standard stereo is decent, but the Bose upgrade will please keener ears.
Many Nissan Leaf owners will like having the NissanConnect EV app, which allows you to check the car’s battery charge, remotely start the charging and even set the air-conditioning. Other features include a location service to prevent you losing your car in the car park, and a route planner. It’s all useful stuff, but the app can be slow to operate and we found it sometimes even failed to connect to the car at all, which is why it gets a poor sub-two-star rating on the app store.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe Nissan Leaf is one of the more affordable and practical electric cars on the market, but more modern rivals cast shade on the EV stalwart
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe Leaf does a good job of getting close to its claimed range figures, although more modern rivals go further and charge faster
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe Nissan Leaf is relatively affordable to buy and also one of the cheapest family hatchbacks to run
- 4Performance, motor & driveThe Nissan Leaf's very impressive performance on the road is marred only by slightly stiff suspension
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfort - currently readingThe Nissan Leaf's interior is quite conventional in appearance and material quality is a little hit-and-miss
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityWe have few complaints about the amount of space inside the Nissan Leaf – for both passengers and luggage
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe Nissan Leaf has been proven to offer reliable and safe family transport across two generations so far
- 8Living with itWe spent six months running a Nissan Leaf in Tekna spec to get a thorough overview of what it's really like to own one of these pioneering electric cars