FIRST DRIVE: 2019 Nissan Leaf – “Simply Electrifying”

Brands Local News News Nissan Review

Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) has launched the all-new 2019 Nissan Leaf a couple of days back and it marks a significant shift towards the future of electric mobility here in Malaysia. The second-gen 100% electric powered hatchback promises to be more dynamic with increased driving range plus all-round improvements in its driving experience.

A simple media drive was conducted by ETCM to showcase to the members of the motoring industry on just how good their second-gen Nissan Leaf really is. For that, a drive from ETCM Glenmarie to Putrajaya was held shortly after the launch and we here at Piston.My got a taste of this electric masterpiece in action.

For starters, the new Leaf comes with a more powerful electric motor that produces around 150hp and 320Nm of maximum torque. While the numbers are already impressive even for a standard petrol-powered hatchback, the Leaf has a big advantage where it can deliver all the power and torque instantaneously.

This means that can reach 100km/h from a standstill in just 7.9 seconds. Before we reached Putrajaya for our last pitstop of the day, we stopped at Nichicon (M) Sdn Bhd in Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor for a quick lunch and a couple of interesting activities. One of them was a mini drag race between the Leaf and Nissan’s 370Z; a petrol-powered 3.7-litre V6 sports car with 330hp.

The exercise was to showcase the Leaf’s incredible torque delivery from a standstill and while the drag strip was short, the electric Leaf basically left the powerful 370Z in its dust. We had a go and its acceleration was quite astounding. Reaching its electronically limited 155km/h top speed while we were in the convoy was also swift and quiet, to say the least.

Nichicon also happens to be the first owner of the new generation Nissan Leaf and at their factory, there’s a 50kW CHAdeMO quick charging station that the public can use for free (during office hours, of course). This bad boy is able to fully charge the Leaf’s 40kW lithium-ion battery in just 60 minutes.

There are only three locations in Malaysia so far with this quick-charging facility (Bangi, Subang Jaya, and Ayer Keroh). In the meantime, all new Nissan Leaf owners will also get the standard 6.6kW Wall Box Charger (Type 1) to be installed at their homes, offices, or any place of choosing. The Wall Box Chargers are also available at 17 ETCM showrooms nationwide and they will be expanding that to more showrooms in the near future.

This provides a full charge for the Leaf between five to seven hours (depending on the battery percentage). There’s however a slight issue when it comes to those who live in condominiums or apartments as they must get authorization from the management for Nissan to install the Wall Box Charger at your designated parking space. ETCM is currently making owners aware of this in a pre-purchase questionnaire before prospect owners place their booking.

Alternatively, Nissan Leaf owners can also look for ABB fast chargers (part of the ChargeEV charging network) with close to 200 charging stations across Malaysia.

For normal day-to-day driving between homes and offices, the Nissan Leaf is more than capable to keep you mobile with its maximum driving distance of 311km (when driven sensibly). Four driving modes are available where drivers can opt between the normal D driving mode, B Mode with greater regenerative braking capability, ECO Mode where it cuts down power consumption for better range, or the B ECO Mode for maximum driving distance.

We basically covered around 100km yesterday where we tested all the modes available. We drove it as we normally would with a normal petrol-powered car and quite a few high-speed stints in between. Our goal was to test out the battery’s percentage when driven slightly above the norm and once we were done with drive, we only managed to use 50% of the Leaf’s battery.

That is quite impressive considering we did push it to its maximum speed of 155km/h and basically maintained the rest of the drive at around 110km/h on highways. Throughout the ride, the Leaf presented a quiet and comfortable ride without any issues or hassle. Its NVH levels were also quite impressive as there were no internal-combustion engine banging under its hood (plus and how much Nissan invested in soundproofing its cabin area).

Its most unique feature has to be the e-Pedal; a world’s first where drivers will only need to operate one pedal to accelerate, cruise, decelerate, and roll to a complete stop. This feature helps to reduce driving fatigue as you don’t have to constantly switch your foot between the accelerator and brake pedals too often.

We tried it and after only a few kilometres, the e-Pedal was quite intuitive to operate, and it was indeed an eye-opener to how good the Nissan Leaf drives. All the driver needs to do is anticipate the traffic ahead and gently lift off to slow down and roll to complete stop, even going up and down hills.

Once mastered, drivers won’t even have to use the available brake pedal (it is still there in the car in case of emergencies of if one is still not used to this newly introduced driving experience). This feature, we really, REALLY like.

Other features that we really like are its big boot space (435 litres; fold the rear seat and you’ll get 1,176 litres of storage), comfortable interior that can easily fit five full-grown adults comfortably and loads of safety features provided courtesy of Nissan’s Safety Shield technologies.

We also love the fact that with the Leaf, you won’t ever have to worry about weekly fuel price hikes and all other hassles related to owning a car with internal combustion engines. Apart from saving money by cutting out your monthly petrol funds (for good!), service intervals have been bumped up to every 20,000km where Nissan will run diagnostics and change a few wear and tear parts like the aircon filter, brake pads, and the other normal stuff.

All in all, the 2019 Nissan Leaf should be seriously considered for those who are keen to save the environment without sacrificing a fun driving experience and comfort. For normal everyday driving, the Leaf’s driving range is more than enough to cover the day’s travel before heading home and charging it again.

Pricing is a bit on the higher spectrum as ETCM is offering the new Leaf at RM188,888 (OTR without insurance). Alternatively, you can opt for the subscription program where you basically lease the Leaf at RM3,500 month for three years. Owners can also register for a complimentary backup plan online where ETCM offers 23 days/year of free usage on their other models; the X-Trail, Serena, or Navara if you’re planning to go somewhere further.

If you’re simply looking for one mean-looking hatchback and consider saving the planet as a bonus, the new Nissan Leaf should definitely fall under your wish list because it’s definitely a car that you turn around to have that ‘I love you’ look after parking. Beautiful and an awesome friend for the environment, what more could you ask for?

2nd generation all-electric Nissan LEAF launched in Malaysia at RM188,888

Leave a Reply