Nissan Leaf reliability & safety rating
The Nissan Leaf has been proven to offer reliable and safe family transport across two generations so far
|Euro NCAP||Adult protection||Child protection||Safety assist rating|
|5 stars (2018)||93%||86%||71%|
Theoretically, all electric cars should be more reliable than their petrol or diesel-engined counterparts, if only because of the relative lack of moving parts: an electric motor has one, engines have hundreds.
Nissan Leaf reliability & problems
The Leaf is one of the biggest-selling names in the world of electric cars, and for good reason. The second-generation version was all-new at launch, but the original has performed well in the Driver Power ownership satisfaction survey. In 2020, it placed 24th in the top 75 cars rundown – the highest finish for a pure-electric car. The MG ZS EV finished higher, but only when filtering out the results from owners of the petrol version.
The Leaf topped the table for running costs, while owners love the electric drivetrain and rate the car's handling highly, too. Nissan as a brand also did well, finishing 11th out of 30 manufacturers to beat key rivals like SEAT, Renault and Citroen. Owners gave good marks for ride quality, connectivity, and acceleration, but were less positive when it came to outward visibility and design.
In October 2020, aftermarket warranty provider WarrantyWise released data that showed the Leaf as the most reliable electric car on its books, with just two examples of claims from all of its active policies.
When the Nissan Leaf was crash-tested by Euro NCAP, it scored impressive ratings across the board: 93% and 86% for adult and child occupant protection respectively. Much of that is down to the structural integrity of the car, and should provide huge peace of mind. What’s more tangible is its 71% score in the Safety Assist category, which assess technology and features to help you avoid a crash in the first place. As well as the features such as anti-lock brakes, skid-reducing ESP and autonomous emergency braking (which can apply the brakes automatically if a potential collision is detected), the Leaf offers a full roster of smart technology.
Lane-departure warning and 'Intelligent Lane Intervention' will alert you and intervene if you drift out of lane, while 'Intelligent Trace Control' automatically applies the brakes individually to help the car stay on the desired cornering line. 'Intelligent Ride Control' uses imperceptible acceleration and braking to iron out bumps in the road, maximising grip and ride comfort in the process.
But the Leaf's most lauded feature is the ProPilot system. Standard on Tekna trim and optional elsewhere, it controls the accelerator, brakes and steering for a safer and more relaxing drive. It can even stop the car if required, keep you centred in your lane, and offers a self-parking function. On the basis that machines can’t lose concentration like a driver can, it should prevent collisions from happening in the first place.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe second-generation Nissan Leaf is one of the more affordable and practical electric cars on the market, with both standard and long-range versions available
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe Leaf does a good job of getting close to its claimed range figures, although more modern rivals are starting to go further
- 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 & comfortThe 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 rating - currently readingThe 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