The suspension setup is softer than the i3’s, which means it absorbs lumps and bumps better. However, it can’t compete with the i3’s scalpel-sharp steering. Instead, the Leaf’s steering is light, something you notice on twisting roads.
It drives like a normal car, and is super easy to start up and live with. You press the start button, and you’re ready to go. Never has “doing something at the push of a button” been this easy. Like the i3’s electric motor, the one here delivers all its 108bhp straight away. Perfect for when you want to get ahead of the traffic.
Where it falls short, though, is in terms of speed. Whereas the BMW can do 0-62 in just 7.3 seconds, the Leaf is left trailing with its 0-62 time of 11.5 seconds.
Still, it all comes down to what you need it for. And the Lead makes perfect sense for stop-start city driving.
Both cars are cheap to run, with the Leaf promising to turn you £2 into 124 miles of driving. However, this is the highest spec model we’re looking at, and it will be nigh on impossible to achieve those numbers.
It costs nothing to tax, and it’s free from the London Congestion Charge, too. The battery is expensive, and a new one will set you back almost £5,000. To ease your worries here, Nissan do monthly leases on batteries.
The Leaf doesn’t look quite as futuristic as the BMW inside or out, but if you prefer a bit of subtlety you’ll enjoy this one. The central display in the dash is attractive, and the car is just as well insulated from exterior noises as the i3 Hatchback. It’s moreover just as comfortable and relaxing – if not more so.
Electric cars are still not the most practical around, with charging times proving awkward and dampening the experience of owning one. The Leaf’s battery takes eight hours to fully charge, which could be a source of frustration.
That aside, this is a spacious, useful car. Four adults can sit in comfort quite easily, while a decent-sized glove box and armrest storage unit make up the storage spaces. The boot is much bigger than the i3’s, and measures 370-litres.
BMW – £32,300 – £35,500
Nissan – £26,000 – £32,000