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2013 Nissan Leaf is cheaper, better, has longer range

A new Nissan Leaf is upon us. The latest version of the all-electric car goes on sale in mid-2013, and brings with it a lower price tag, longer driving range, faster charging, more luggage space, a nicer interior and better cold weather performance. It will also, for the first time, be available in three trim levels – Visia, Acenta and Tekna.

The new 2013 Nissan Leaf has the same size battery as the previous model, however its driving range is improved thanks to a new heat pump that reduces electrical consumption in colder conditions. It also has better aerodynamics. Its slightly tweaked front grille reduces aerodynamic drag from 0.29cd to 0.28cd, which results in a 124-mile driving range under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test cycle, up from 109 miles in the previous Leaf.

What that translates to in real-world driving conditions remains to be seen, but any improvement on the previous car in this regard is very welcome.

The new Nissan Leaf’s other big tweaks include the option of a 6.6kW onboard charger, which reduces charging time from 8 hours to four – though only if you have access to a 32 amp power supply. For reference, most household charging points use a 13-amp supply.

The new Leaf should drive better, too. Nissan says its chassis has been re-engineered in Europe, for Europe, which gives it superior handling.

The 2013 Leaf will be available Visia, Acenta and Tekna trim levels. The entry-level Visia car comes with 16-inch steel wheels, black door mirror caps and halogen headlights. Acenta swaps the steel rims for alloys, adds suede fabric seat trim, body coloured mirror caps and tinted glass at the rear. The top of the range Tekna car comes with 17-inch alloys, LED headlights, a Bose sound system and Nissan’s around view monitor system, which provides a top-down birds-eye view of the car whilst parking.

The new Nissan Leaf will be built at Nissan’s Sunderland plant and will go on sale in mid-2013 for a starting price of £23,490.

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