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Nissan Leaf changes note with new exterior sound

New ‘Canto’ sound gives Leaf a new urban voice, without affecting its underlying electric performance

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Did you know that Nissan Leaf was the world’s best-selling electric car until the Tesla Model 3 came and stole its march? It might no longer sit atop of the global battery-powered car table, but Nissan’s electric hatchback remains a brilliant offering to the class with its mix of performance, range and sharp looks. And now, thanks to the introduction of a new external sound generator, it’s got a more refined voice for 2021, too, making it safer and more recognisable in town. 

To give a bit of background, the external sound-generating technology is required by law to be played at urban speeds so that EVs don’t whizz about too quietly, potentially catching pedestrians unawares. Not surprisingly, car brands have found that the artificial noises their electric cars have to make at up to 18mph (after which tyre noise naturally does the job) can be another expression of individuality. You’ll no doubt have heard a few variations on the road by now. 

Nissan has developed a new ‘Canto’ soundtrack for its 2021 Leaf, using electronically-created sounds that project a “spectrum of sonic palettes”, essentially a small orchestra of digital notes. Like those of other brands, the new Nissan sound varies in tone and pitch depending on whether the vehicle is accelerating, decelerating or reversing, giving an audible signal to nearby pedestrians or drivers. It should also make a Leaf identifiable even before you’ve laid eyes it, once we’re familiar with the sound. 

Happily, for prospective buyers of used cars and owners of existing Leafs alike, there aren’t any other changes with this 2021 update from Nissan. Not that there was anything that really needed changing, because the latest Leaf is one of the most rounded electric cars out there. The model’s sales success provides the evidence, with no fewer than 14 Leafs presently listed on cinch. With prices starting from just over £16,000 and customisable monthly rate options, you won’t need to hear its voice to be won over by the accessibility of this plug-in car.

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