Nissan Leaf interior
The Nissan Leaf’s interior is quiet, comfortable and the dashboard is easy to navigate. Some cheap-feeling materials let the side down a bit, though
The Nissan Leaf doesn’t feel as classy inside as a VW e-Golf but its sensible layout means everything’s easy to use and it all feels pretty solid.
One interesting aspect is the instrument cluster that’s half analogue, half digital. The speedo is an old-school dial while the rest of the binnacle is taken up by a fairly high-resolution colour screen. It gives you sat-nav directions and displays information about the current state of the battery and the Leaf’s driver assistance systems. It still has some way to go before it can match the resolution of the VW e-Golf’s optional Active Info Display, though.
Even taking the fancy screen into account though, the entry-level Nissan Leaf feels pretty low-rent inside – the plastics aren’t as squidgy as in a VW e-Golf and it’s all a bit dark and gloomy. N-Connecta cars do their best to add a little pizzazz with some partial faux-leather trim, but you’ll have to pay extra for a Tekna or e+ Tekna model if you want a leather-topped dashboard, some cool-looking trim inserts with patterned graphics and partial-leather upholstery.
The Nissan Leaf’s interior is so quiet it feels a bit like travelling to work in a sensory deprivation tank
Every Nissan Leaf comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav as standard. It’s the same basic system you’ll find in the Nissan Qashqai SUV but can also show you nearby charging spots and plan routes that include a stopover for re-charging.
The sat-nav itself is easy to use and it’s easy to stick in a postcode. Sadly, processing times can be frustrating because there’s a noticeable delay between pressing the screen and anything actually happening – something you don’t have to put up with in a Volkswagen e-Golf.
Thankfully, you can circumvent some of the Nissan Leaf’s infotainment quirks by using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto instead. Both are fitted as standard and let you use the navigation and music-streaming apps on your smartphone through the car’s built-in screen instead. In fact, you can control some of the Leaf’s functions such as heating and cooling as well as see various bits of info about the car via an app on your smartphone too.
Nissan’s four-speaker stereo fitted to basic models is pretty average so if you want more oomph, go for a Tekna or e+ Tekna which gets a Bose stereo with seven speakers. It sounds almost as good as the optional Dynaudio system in the VW e-Golf.