walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Nissan Leaf Test Drive

Today, T. and I went to Marlborough to test drive the leaf. There, we met the nicest, calmest and easiest to work with sales person of the week. If you need to buy a Nissan in the Boston area, please go to Marlborough Nissan and ask for Kasey (KC?). He's fantastic and I predict you'll love doing business with him.

The Leaf is just an ordinary car, that happens to be a BEV. The shifter looks like a chopped off shifter, but otherwise in an unremarkable location. There's a parking brake where you expect it. The window controls, turn signals, windshield wipers, etc. are all where you think they will be. I did not experiment with the music system; there are some controls for it in the center of the steering wheel that are pretty similar to what I'm accustomed to (the source switcher looks a little novel to me, but well within range). The rear view mirror has some buttons on it, in part for auto dimming, possibly there are some garage door opener buttons there, too.

You will be using the brake pedal on the Leaf; there is virtually no slow down when taking my foot off the accelerator in the Leaf. Nissan drivers will not be surprised to learn that I perceived the Leaf to be somewhat gutless. This is not a bad thing. When you need power, you just depress the pedal more and there is what you need, if you are driving in compliance with the law.

The seats are comfortable - far more comfortable than my current car, which in turn is more comfortable than its predecessor, the 2007 Fit which honestly had pretty uncomfortable seats. The headroom is ample. The car is designed for a mostly upright seating position. The back bench is not as deep as the i3, but perhaps a bit deeper than the Tesla. T. thought it was comfortable; I did not try it. There is no frunk; the charger is located there instead. It think that is a reasonable design choice. The trunk/hatch has ample cargo space. The back bench folds down 60/40, albeit not particularly flat. That's okay. Back seats that fold down really flat are rarely comfortable to sit in so I'll take that trade off. The navigation screen is about what I'm used to in the aftermarket navigator in my Fit. It _may_ be possible to get it with speed limit information. It is definitely possible to get real time traffic information.

My sense is that the CHAdeMO charging network is probably currently the most developed -- certainly way better than the SAE network that the BMW uses. It's unclear how that will go in the future.

Between the $7500 federal incentive, the $2500 Massachusetts MOR-EV incentive announced in June, and possibly additional rebate from the manufacturer, the already economical (compared to the BMW i3 or the Tesla) Leaf drops down into downright inexpensive territory.

Alas, I have too much range anxiety to buy one. If I didn't have range anxiety, I would have bought one months ago, and I didn't. If you don't have range anxiety, though, you might give this one some serious thought. There's no Statement here. Just a practical, comfortable car that Consumer Reports expects to be very reliable, and which got a perfectly respectable safety rating in crash tests.

BMW i3 test drive (I'll be buying this one):


Tesla test drive:

Tags: icevsev

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