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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Nissan Leaf 40kwh buyers guide.

Thought it an idea to post some general guidance for those buying a used Leaf 40. I have owned two in the past ( one an early 67 plate Tekna and recently a 18 plate Acenta ). I have some reasonable knowledge of the cars and having spent time recently looking for an Acenta I can pass on my thoughts to any potential owners. Firstly, bottom line, they all drive great from Acenta to Tekna. There is a tad of difference between how they drive but I will clarify that later on....

So, at present ( as of January 2020 ) the cars are coming up to two years old. When launched Nissan made a batch of 500 white 67 plate Tekna,most went to dealerships as demo cars. These very early cars can show evidence of build quality issues, mainly panel gaps etc. Just be aware that this is nothing to worry about per se, the cars are engineered to a high standard but the very early ones ( mainly 67 plate white Tekna’s ) might have slightly wonky panel gaps. To a certain extent even newer ones still show the issues. Price for the 40 secondhand start at circa £18500 for early high mileage examples, they tend to get snapped up fairly quickly so even if you see a high mileage one at a Nissan dealer ( at a good price ) then buy it. Even high mileage examples are wearing very well. I have seen many with 40k plus miles and they still looked excellent. The only give away was slight rucking of the drivers seat inner bolster.

When buying the Leaf try and have two thoughts. The car has a dated interior,the sat nav is too small, and yes, there are too many cheap plastics. But all this means nothing. Once you drive the car all negative thoughts will fade away. When you are poking the fire you don’t look a the mantelpiece so ignore the dated interior and enjoy the drive. You won’t care for the crap infotainment system but you will love the the hot hatch beating performance and the excellent E pedal. Just remember that the Leaf is more refined than an E Class Mercedes with the running costs of a milk float !.

Let’s start with which models there are to choose. My recommendation is to decide what kit is important. Do you need to use the car through winter and are heated seats important, will the car be used mostly on motorwarys then ProPilot would be useful, do you do many miles at night and need LED headlights (note that the Acenta main beam bulbs can be replaced with uprated bulbs ).Those buying on a budget would be wise to stick to the Acenta as it really has all the essential kit. The big advantage of this trim are the 16 inch wheels which give a tad more smooth ride than the rest of the range,tyres are also cheaper to buy than those on the 17 inch wheels. The Acenta has cloth seats which some might prefer to the artificial part leather of the other trim models. Be aware that some used car dealers are unaware of the exact trim specs, some cars that I viewed actually had Pro Park assist ( a £1000 extra when new ) that the dealer was unaware about ( spec tip, to spot this have a look at where the green eco button is located, If it is on the upper right dash panel then the button on the centre console will be the Pro Park assist button function. Don’t get too exited if you spot this extra as the Pro Park assist is very slow and dim witted at times ! ).

Here are the models as of Feb 2020 :

  • Visia. Rare as horse droppings. No kit. Avoid. Only buy if dirt cheap.
  • Acenta. Great value. All the kit you need.The best ride quality. Comfy cloth seats.
  • N-Connecta. Touch more kit. 17 inch wheels. Park sensors standard. Heated seats and steering wheel. Tekna better value for not much more money.
  • 2 Zero. Has nearly all the kit of the Tekna including ProPilot.
  • Tekna. Basically all the kit, LED headlamps the most significant But note my comments above, make sure you really do need all that kit....
  • In summary the Tekna has more kit so if LED lights are important to you then have a look at that version. Just remember that all the cars broadly drive the same. The early 2 Zero model is also worth a look but misses out on LED headlamps and the Bose speakers plus subwoofer system ( which does not make much of a difference to be honest, a tad more bass and clarity but nothing earth shattering ). Some cars might have been dealer fitted with “appearance” packs which are basically chrome exterior trim and/or coloured plastic trim highlights. Nothing to get too exited about in my opinion but the chrome trim can look quite nice.
What would I need to know when buying one ? Well, not much really. There are a few known issues that should have been addressed by the first owner. The drive shafts can make a creaking noise but this is down to greasing, the wing mirrors folding motor can be slow to fold ( or make a noise ). Both issues are covered under the original warranty. One tip is when I looked at a number of Leaf’s I did spot some evidence of lateral scratches on some of the early cars along the side panels. Not stone chips, just day to day scratches.My feeling is that the paint on the early cars is fairly “soft “ so when inspecting have a look at the sides of the car for any evidence of fine scratches.

Some of the early cars are now coming out of company leases so have look at the V5 logbook to see who the previous owners/s were. Another tip is to have a close look at all the tyres, have they been replaced with cheap Eastern Europe tyres ?, or has the owner replaced them with the original Dunlop’s or Michelin Energy’s. Also, have a close look the alloy wheels,they are of a machine finished design and are not cheap to replace. If the wheels and tyres are in good condition then that would indicate a good caring owner. The cars need “servicing” at 18000 miles or every one year whichever comes first. One green flag issue, nothing serious at this time, are corroded brake discs. Just have a peek and look to see if you can spot any scoring and/or corrosion. The early registered cars will be coming up to MOT time in 2021 so factor in some future expense if you spot the early signs of brake disc corrosion/scoring. Not expensive to fix so nothing much to worry about at this stage.There are a few reports of seized calipers.

When buying a car they should come with the handbooks,service booklet,two keys,wheel locking nut, towing hook,first aid kit in a grey pouch,two rear nets in the boot with a type 2 charging cable plus the granny charger. For the app you will need the dealer to update the Telematics to recognise the new owner. I will not add any comments about Rapidgate,there are plenty of other post’s here where the issue is discussed in detail. Range for the 40 Leaf can be from anything from 125-180 miles winter to summer. My best has been 168 miles range. When the car states there is no charge there is still between 6-10 miles available.

Colours are a personal topic but my personal favourites are red and pearl white. As ever, make your own choice. The UK 2019 model range year had a few extra paint choices. In Japan the car can actually be ordered in yellow or sky blue, shame there was not a greater choice of colours in the UK. Note that there were two white paint options here in the UK, the white pearl one was the most expensive and is a higher quality pearl effect. The flat white cars that I viewed had slightly dulled paintwork so be aware that the white cars are painted differently. Some early white Tekna cars mainly the 67 plate models that I mentioned earlier, came painted with the pearl white paint with a contrasting black roof. And one thing to mention,when washing the car be careful not to scratch all the external black trim mouldings. Use microfibre cloths when cleaning ( the black plastic panels ) otherwise you will see the formation of fine scratches over time.....

I would not recommend paying a high premium for a used 2019 model with the slightly larger infotainment screen. It is a modest improvement at best,if you have the funds to stretch to a 2019 model then fine, but I would recommend sticking with a cheaper earlier car. Longer term there are rumours ( circa 2021 model year ) that the Leaf might actually receive a totally new dashboard along the lines of the new generation Juke. One point to make is that there are now starting to be some competitive leasing deals for a new Leaf but the earlier used 2018-19 cars are really fantastic value. And they are holding their value very well. Actually they are outperforming many other comparable ICE cars, an equivalent priced used Mercedes A Class with the lovely 12inch dual digital dashboard is losing value at a faster rate than the 40 Leaf, and this is even after Nissan reduced the Leaf’s new price.....

So, here’s a summary of the good and not so good...

*Good value, secondhand prices from circa £18750.
*Good acceleration with useful mid range punch for overtaking
*Handling decent, steering has plenty of feel, ride borderline firm
*Excellent e-pedal
*Very quiet and refined
*Build integrity good with no noises or rattles
*Inconsistent panel gaps on early cars
*Infotainment system too small
*Dashboard plasticky and dated
  • Very practical with roomy accommodation plus a decent sized boot
  • Tekna very well equipped.
  • Good safety kit
Hope that helps. Feel free to add or amend anything. Simon.
 

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Thanks for the guide. I hope this doesn’t take the thread too far off topic but could you clarify which 40s have 3.6 kw chargers. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the comment. There is some confusion about whether all the 2019 ( and onwards ) Acenta model cars if they actually had a downgraded on board charger ( down from 6.6 to 3.6 I believe ). I have had a look at my 2020 Leaf brochure and there is no mention of the downgraded Acenta charger. Maybe someone else,who has all the brochures to hand could help. If someone could give a definitive answer I will add it to my guide.
 

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Thanks for the comment. There is some confusion about whether all the 2019 ( and onwards ) Acenta model cars if they actually had a downgraded on board charger ( down from 6.6 to 3.6 I believe ). I have had a look at my 2020 Leaf brochure and there is no mention of the downgraded Acenta charger. Maybe someone else,who has all the brochures to hand could help. If someone could give a definitive answer I will add it to my guide.
The reason I ask is I bought a 69plate (first reg 30 September2019) and it is only charging at 3.5 kw. I will start a separate thread with the details rather than take this off topic.
 

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Thanks for that, Simon, what an excellent post, just a couple of points:

When the LEAF40 KWh first came to market (January 2018), it was initially dogged by "Rapid Gate" where rapid charging on a CHAdeMO DC charger was severely throttled back, on usually the 3rd charge of the day, due the battery having no active cooling.
Initial charge rates as low as16 KW's were not uncommon, this is the battery management system (BMS) acting to prevent battery damage through excessive heat.. Anybody wanting to check this out can look at the numerous YouTube videos, TeslaBjorn is a good place to start. However NISSAN reluctantly issued a retrospective soft ware fix and all production cars having the update from May 2018. This eased the situation but purchasers who intend to do regular long distances must appreciate that the LEAF does not have any active battery cooling and on a long journey, probably over 300 miles, the battery will over heat and low speed driving, usually following a wagon at 58 mph is the only way to cool the battery.

If you can live with this then the LEAF is one of the best EV's out there, it's one of the quietest, the trim levels are not premium like German cars, but it is good and hard wearing, well bolted together by the Sunderland worker force and will out last a lot of the completion. I find that the motor whine on acceleration, is not noticeable above 14 mph making for a very refined driving experience.

The Regen braking is one of the best systems out there and is engineered to operate seamlessly with the brakes and is controlled solely from foot pedals. (not everyone wants to prat around with flappy paddles)..

The LEAF's drive chain has been criticised for being inefficient and compared to South Korean offerings it is inefficient. But compared to SUV's types vehicles it really holds it own (The LEAF has the same range efficiency as the MG ZS EV - LEAF has 37.5 KWh's usable where the MG has 44.5KWh's usable, so the MG has to use an extra 7KWh's to achieve to same range as the LEAF) and the LEAF has just about the same internal space as an SUV.


On the second hand market, you are quite likely to find for sale, the "2.ZERO" (there are 54 just now on Auto Trader) These were the initial introductory limited edition and were offered in 2 colour schemes - Pearl Black and a light green. These models were the first main production run with panel shut quality being sorted. These make good buys due to being fully specified with all bell and whistles, the only difference from the TEKNA's is none leather fabric seats and no BOSE system which actually gives more room in the boot as the subwoofer takes up space.


One note of caution, if you are buying for the long term (ownership of 6 years plus) consider that CHAdeMO rapid charging will become obsolete, CHAdeMO is supported in the short term but long term, distance charges be CCS only and this could result in the LEAF becoming a vehicle only suitable for local use.

The only models to come with 3.6KW charging was the "VISIA+" bargain basement trim level that didn't have an heat pump either. Nobody bought it so it was discontinued after 3 months. The 2019 ACENTA was threatened with 3.6 KW charging but in the end NISSAN backed off from this and continued to offer a 6.6 KW charger.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the comments. Interesting to hear about the onboard charger. As explained there is some confusion but it looks as if there might have been a small batch of 2019 Acenta built ( with the improved infotainment screen ) with the downgraded charger, but from 2020 model year onwards they are back up to 6.6 on board. Most of the 2 Zero models that I had seen secondhand appeared well made, the very early 67 plate Tekna‘s in white are the one’s where panel gaps were a bit iffy.
 

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This is the NISSAN LEAF Brochure from September 2019 and show the ACENTA with and onboard 3.6KW charger:

So between September 2019 and January 2020 officially the ACENTA trim level had a 3.6KW onboard charger.
 

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This is the NISSAN LEAF Brochure from September 2019 and show the ACENTA with and onboard 3.6KW charger:

So between September 2019 and January 2020 officially the ACENTA trim level had a 3.6KW onboard charger.
Thank you for clarifying that Gosport Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have been adding and amending my original post. I could delve into more detail but many of you would start to fall asleep. So I have kept it fairly brief for now.....
 

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One thing to keep a lookout for is a legacy issue carried over from the original Nissan Leaf. Corrosion/rust on the drivers side suspension strut. Water from the windscreen comes through the windscreen wiper hole cut in the trim and falls directly on to the rubber bushel holding the strut. I find it hard to believe Nissan were aware of this issue and never corrected it on the newer face lifted 40 model. I don't know how many older Leaf owners had issues with rusty struts or how long it took to become damaged to the point of requiring replacement. But a simple fix was to fit a suspension strut cover that deflected the water off the strut. Several types are available.

leaf_water_1.jpg leaf_water_2.jpg leaf_water_3jpg.jpg
 

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Is there a non ebay source for these strut mount covers?
It doesn't look like it. The folk that make them are all individuals who do it as a hobby. I don't think any company actually manufactures them. In saying that, I understand that other Nissan models do have covers and they may well also fit the Leaf. I saw on one site a guy said the Juke covers fit, but don't quote me on that as I don't know. But you could ask a Nissan dealer if you can find one that is helpful and prepared to go the extra mile.
 
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