Nissan Leaf long-term wrap-up: One year of electric feels
We've spent a full year with this Nissan Leaf, and as it turns out, the electic car revolution, well, it may not be a revolution at all.
And that's precisely why EV Life might be way more attractive than you might think.
Hop in with me and I'll show you why.
For the 400,000 or so people who have already put a LEAF in their driveway, this may not exactly be news, but since only about 1% of cars are EVs these days, I'm guessing there are still a lot of people who that are electric curious but not really ready for long term commitment.
Here's what we've learned from living with the Leaf for twelve months.
This Nissan makes electric car life easy, second nature easy.
The great thing about the Leaf is it adapts to you and not the other way around.
There's plenty of power but not so much that you're tempted to risk your licence every day.
In TV fashion, it's actually from lights quicker than most traffic and it's got enough power for passing or even doing 10 or 20 over on the freeway if that's your jam.
The steering is easy parking dimensions are friendly, and everything just kind of works inside the leaf is pretty ordinary to it doesn't delete most of the physical switch gear in favor of a new control scheme, like a jumbo size touchscreen either.
It just has a regular size navigation and easy to decipher controls.
The weirdest thing is its mushroom shaped E shifter and that is simple if there is anything it takes getting used to is e-pedal which enable single pedal driving that is the strong region breaking when you lift of the exhalilator so there is very little coasting is something you can elect to turn on or not me I left it on all the time because it was nice to get that extra range back.
Plus, I found it to be kind of a fun way to manage the car's momentum.
Admittedly we could have learned most of those things in the course of a week long loan.
But we wanted to dig deeper.
We wanted to know if range anxiety would really set in over the course of a year.
We wanted to know how it would perform in winter and maybe most of all, we wanted to know if we'd be reliable.
With 151 miles of range, the LEAF trails rivals like the Chevy Bolt, Hyundai KONA Electric, and of course the Tesla Model 3 but honestly, using this car as intended, as a daily driver and commute warrior, it excels.
I just plug it into the level two charger in my garage most nights, and set it up to charge off peak and that was it.
It was really convenient not having to go to gas stations all year long.
Plus as an [UNKNOWN] owning friend of mine mentioned if you're at all prone to buying cigarettes or energy drinks well not having to stop at gas stations might just mean that you kick more than just gas.
Is the leaf a great road trip car.
Well of course not.
That's not what it's about but it is a super commuter especially on the freeway with Pro Pilot assist and it's smart crews and lanes centering assist engage.
Most of our miles were around town, or in 30-45 minutes hops each way into and out of city centers.
In decent weather, it's even possible to get a good bit beyond this car's stated range estimate, especially in eco-mode.
Of course, weather isn't always great and I had to drive this through a particularly harsh Michigan winter.
Thankfully, we substituted some snow tyres and that made all the difference.
The leaf standard low rolling resistance rubber is pretty hard, which coupled with front wheel drive wasn't exactly a great match for my very steep driveway.
A set of Nokia winters was a huge help though, and I actually found the leaf to be a better drive in the white stuff than most internal combustion cars.
Of course extreme cold is lousy for batteries too.
I intentionally left the [INAUDIBLE] out over night in sub zero weather and so a 50 plus percent drop in range to as little as 72 miles.
That is a short enough distant that it might be cause for concern.
The good news, there's now a LEAF Plus with a bigger 60 kilowatt hour battery good for 226 miles.
If you live somewhere prone to tough winters, you should consider getting the Plus just for cold weather insurance.
What would we change?
Well for starters, we'd update this infotainment system.
And then we turn our attention to the haptic feedback steering wheel.
I love this kind of setup, except this one sounds like a buzzer is going off whenever you veer out of the lane.
And that's really all there is to know.
Other than swapping in some winter tires we had exactly zero service visits and no squeaks or rattles.
Our year with the leaf was utterly trouble free.
In other words after 12 months we're struck primarily by how easy and uneventful our year was for most everyday drivers.
That should be reason enough to consider plugging in.
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