2023 updated Nissan LEAF: refined and practical daily drive

By THOMAS HUONG | 4 May 2023

AFTER nearly 300km and two nights spent with the 2023 updated Nissan LEAF battery electric vehicle (BEV), our main takeaways are that it’s a smooth and refined machine, and with overnight charging, a BEV can be a practical choice if your daily driving distance is not more than 270km.

Of course, its driving range would be extended, if you can charge the BEV during the work day at the office or public charging facilities.

To recharge the 40kWh lithium-ion battery, we only used the portable Type 2 cable and plugged it into a 3-point electrical socket at home.

This would take 12 hours for a full charge (from 0%), compared with seven hours with AC charging from a wallbox (6.6kW) or an hour via fast DC charging (50kW).

Our first day with the all-electric five-door five-seater hatchback saw us driving almost 110km, over highways and roads in residential areas.

We reached home after dinner, with the battery charge at 45% and the remaining travel range at 112km.

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The next morning, after charging for over eight hours, the battery charge was 93% and the remaining travel range showed 238km.

Our second day with the LEAF saw us driving 123km, with a battery charge at 40% and 108km of remaining travel range when we reached home at night.

Being heavy-footed drivers, we drove in D mode most of the time, except when we wanted to experience the B or Eco modes.

That was why our energy usage was high.

Light-footed and less impatient drivers can increase the driving range via Eco Mode (reduce accelerator response) or B-mode (more regenerative braking).

Meanwhile, the e-Pedal instantly retards the speed of the car, once you ease off the accelerator pedal.

Using e-Pedal also results in more regenerative braking and charges the LEAF’s battery, while nearly eliminating stepping on the brake pedal as the car comes to a smooth, complete stop if you lift off your foot from the accelerator pedal.

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As with any BEV, the LEAF is nearly silent to drive, and here, road and wind noise is more evident with the audio system switched off.

The acceleration is brisk thanks to instant torque delivery, despite the C-segment hatchback’s heavy 1,580kg kerb weight.

Shod with Dunlop Enasave EC300 in 215/50 R17 size, the LEAF handles competently with little body roll in road corners or bends, although the electric steering feels somewhat detached.

Ride comfort is good, and road imperfections are well soaked up.

The steering only offers tilt-up or down adjustment.

The cabin has a cosy and classy feel, with snug and comfortable leather-suede seats, smooth plastic surfaces and chrome inner door handles.

For 1.7-metre people, rear headroom is adequate and legroom is ample.

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There’s a new eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Also new is a rear-view mirror which provides a rear digital camera view, with the flick of a switch.

This is an extra safety feature, as the LEAF also has an around-view monitor which provides a virtual 360-degree bird’s eye view of the car.

External updates like a black Aero front grille, flanked by LED headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights, a redesigned front bumper and rear Aero spoiler, and new five-spoke 17-inch alloy rims, as well as a two-tone exterior with the Super Black roof, give the 2023 LEAF a sharper and more stylish look compared with the previous edition.

This updated LEAF also has new advanced safety features and a five-star safety rating from JNCAP (Japan New Car Assessment Programme).

The lane departure warning activates with the steering wheel vibrating, and an audible audio warning (horn blaring sound).

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Imported from Japan, the LEAF is among the best-selling BEVs in the world, with over 600,000 units delivered.

It’s also worth noting that Nissan says there are zero battery recalls and no major battery-related incidents in 13 years of LEAF production.

Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) highlights that maintenance costs are low at around RM300 per year, with 20,000km scheduled service intervals.

ETCM also offers the option of a LEAF subscription plan, where no downpayment is needed and monthly subscription is RM1,800 for a three-year contract.

At the end of the contract, LEAF customers can choose another Nissan model or discontinue the subscription plan.

Also, for a limited period, ETCM is giving LEAF buyers a free 12-month JomCharge membership (worth RM600) for recharging their car at public chargers (107 units AC Type 2 chargers and 30 units DC CHAdeMO quick chargers with 600 credits nationwide) as well as free Ice Cool tinting worth RM2,200.

For customers on the LEAF subscription plan, there is a 50% discount on Ice Cool tinting and a RM300 subsidy for a 12-month JomCharge membership.

Another privilege for new LEAF owners from ETCM is free usage of selected Nissan models for 23 days each year, during the first three years of ownership, which would be handy for certain trips.

The selected models are the X-Trail sport utility vehicle, Serena multi-purpose vehicle and Navara pick-up.

2023 Nissan LEAF facelift
Motor: AC Synchronous electric motor, single-speed reduction
Maximum power: 150PS (110Kw)
Maximum torque: 320Nm
Battery: 40kWh lithium-ion
Range: Up to 311km (based on NEDC)
Charger type: Type 2 (AC) up to 6.6kW/ CHAdeMO (DC) up to 50kW
Standard charge: AC 3-pin, 3.6kW (Type 2), 12 hours
Wallbox AC charging: 6.6kW (Type 2), 7 hours
Quick Charging: DC, 50kW, 0 to 100%, 1 hour
Features: All-round disc brakes, electric parking brake, LED headlamps and LED daytime running lights, 4 audio speakers, 8-inch touchscreen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, USB port, Bluetooh and voice recognition, 6 airbags, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), hill start assist, regenerative braking system, mixed leather/suede seats, 60/40 split folding rear seats, automatic air-conditioning, 17-inch wheels, cruise control
Extra safety features: Lane intervention and lane departure warning, High beam assist, Driver alertness (for drowsiness), Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, Ride control (adjusts engine torque) and Trace control (brakes each wheel individually), Intelligent rear view mirror (digital camera feed), Around view monitor and Moving object detection
Acceleration (0-100kph): 7.9 seconds
Top speed: 155kph (electronically limited)
Boot capacity: 435 litres, expandable to 1,176 litres with rear 60/40 backrests folded
Price: RM168,888 (with tax exemptions and free road tax, excluding insurance)
Warranty: Three-year or 100,000km (whichever is first), and eight-year or 160,000km warranty on the lithium-ion battery

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CarSifu's Rating: 7.2