ChargedUp: Nissan LEAF Visia (2013)

Following on from the QuickCharge videos where Nikki and Mark gave their initial views of the 2013 Nissan LEAF Visia, this is the ChargedUp review where they give their final impressions having lived with the car for a week.

Find out what they thought here:

It could be argued that the Leaf is the ‘standard’ fully electric car. It’s the car that many people go to first when thinking about making the move to electric. However, with other manufacturers coming out with competitors, can Nissan hold on to their market share?

The 2013 model year Leaf has some changes from the ‘old’ 2011 version. Now being made in Sunderland in the UK, the Leaf’s styling became more European alongside some tweaks to how the car handles to better fit the expectations of UK drivers.

The Visia spec level is Nissan’s ‘budget’ offering at £15,990 with  battery rental or £20,990 all in (both prices including the £5000 UK grant).  Forgoing the gadgets and gimmicks of the higher models and providing just the basics. When compared to the Tekna that had heated seats and steering wheel, a Bose eco sound system and all around cameras you could be forgiven for thinking that this version was one big compromise to get the price down. But that’s not what we found.

The Visia gets the same range increase from the 2011 LEAF model. Going from 109 miles on the old car to 120 miles. While it would be very difficult to achieve this in the  real world, this does represent a real-life increase in range of around 10%. However, the Visia does not come with a heat-exchange pump as standard meaning it suffered from the same range drop if the heating is used in the winter.

There were some missing features though that both Nikki and Mark wished were still there. The car lacks one of the eco modes that the higher models have – this would usually have been activated from the steering wheel which only holds a blank space in the Visia. Likewise the cruise control and speed limiter buttons are gone too.

Add this to the lack of ‘kick down’ – that final little bit of resistance when you floor the accelerator to activate full power – and one is left with a car that just doesn’t have as many driving options.

To keep price down the touch screen has gone, being replaced by a standard Nissan sound unit. That means no reversing camera leading to using the – rather small – rear window to check for clearance. As the touchscreen is where the charging and climate timers are usually set had both Nikki and Mark confused for a while until they found the extra options on the car’s dash display.

As with the Tekna, Mark gave this car two scores. He gave a 7 out of 10 for the base-model Visia. However he went on to say that if you took the base model and just added the options that suited you as a driver (say, CHAdeMO rapid charging or the upgraded onboard charger) then it would go up to a 8 out of 10.

Nikki gave the car 8 out of 10 saying it was the perfect car for someone just looking to move towards their first ever electric car.

This comes to a total of 15 (or 16) out of 20. When we see that the Tekna model (the fully loaded model) got 14 out of 20 we can see that it isn’t always the gadgets that matter.

What do you think of the Nissan LEAF Visia? Would you buy this over the Tekna? Do you have a 2013 LEAF, let us know which one you went for and why.

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