Nissan Leaf reliability & safety
It's still a relatively new model, but the signs are the Nissan Leaf should be reliable and safe
|Euro NCAP rating||Adult protection rating||Child safety rating||Safety assist rating|
Theoretically, electric cars should be more reliable than their petrol or diesel counterparts, if only because of the relative lack of moving parts: an electric motor has one, engines have hundreds.
Nissan Leaf reliability & problems
It's the biggest-selling name in the world of electric cars, and for good reason. The second-generation car is all-new; new batteries, new technology and a host of other new bits too numerous to mention. However, you can take comfort from the fact that the original Leaf has performed well in our sister title Auto Express' Driver Power ownership satisfaction survey. In 2020 it placed 24th in the top 75-car 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 of that car.
Leaf owners slammed the car in both the interior and exterior categories, but the car more than makes up for its failings by topping the table for running costs. Owners love the electric drivetrain, while rating the car's handling highly, too. Nissan as a brand did pretty well in the latest survey, as well. Finishing 11th out of 30 manufacturers is no mean feat – beating 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 the 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; an 'e+' long-range version is available, too
- 2Range, battery & chargingWhen it comes to real-world range, it’s hard to overstate how impressive the Nissan Leaf is
- 3Running costsThe Nissan Leaf is affordable to buy and also one of the cheapest hatchbacks to run
- 4Electric motor, drive & performanceThe Nissan Leaf's very impressive performance on the road is marred only by slightly stiff suspension
- 5Interior & comfortThe Nissan Leaf's interior is quite conventional in appearance, but material quality is a little hit-and-miss
- 6Practicality & boot spaceWe have few complaints about the amount of space inside the Nissan Leaf for both passengers and luggage
- 7Reliability & safety - currently readingIt's still a relatively new model, but the signs are the Nissan Leaf should be reliable and safe