In case you hadn’t heard, we’ve been driving a Nissan Leaf recently – why not pop over to our challenge page and hit the “Turn On” button to give us your support?
We started out this challenge with quite a lot of reservations about electric cars. We know, quite simply, that they aren’t a finished technology, that we are very much still in the early phases of market penetration. We were, quite frankly, scornful. But you know what? We’re really going to miss the Leaf when it goes – we’ll miss the nippy drive, the low-down grounded feeling, the looks we get from other drivers and pedestrians. Quite involuntarily, we’ve fallen in love with the thing – if we could only go on long country-wide drives it would be spot on!
So, what is it like as a driver – or a passenger, for that matter? What is this seemingly space-age car actually like inside?
Well, some elements are as you would expect from an electric car – the blue touches, the lights, the slightly Star Trekkian design. However, really it feels a lot like any other car, just without the fuel gauge, and with a battery bar instead! You won’t be scared off, and I imagine this is a conscious design choice from Nissan to prevent electric cars seeming intimidated!
Everything inside the car coordinates. We aren’t personally much fans of beige (the entire interior has a tendency to show up and attract dust, maybe electric cars have a static charge?!), but there’s no denying it’s finished well, with a coordinated look throughout and some nice tactile touches on the wheel and curving shapes to the dash.
It’s very easy to tell where you are power wise, and it’s endlessly entertaining to see the remaining charge go up and down as you navigate the hills and the troughs! You soon get a feel too for what draws on power – one big limitation being the heating system, which doesn’t ever seem to be particularly effective. You do soon learn though, which helps!
The most space age part, perhaps, is the toggle. You pull it where you want it to go (right and up for reverse; right for neutral; right and down for Drive) and then let go – it flies back to the centre, and lo and behold you’re ready to go! The speed in reverse is fun though disorientating to begin with – in fact, the nippiness overall makes this car great fun to play with!
Does the Nissan Leaf look like the type of car you want to drive?
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