There are about 10 Leaf's on the campus I work. We have an EV listserv. I sent out a message asking if anyone would want to swap cars for a day, and got one very excited taker. He got his Leaf in December, and it is the top level Leaf with all available options. It seems most dual car owner reviews are coming from Leaf owners that buy Volts, not a Volt owner buying a Leaf, so want to point out the differences I saw between the two cars, and what they can marry between the two to make both better...
Pros of the Leaf:
- The EV Meter showing actual instantaneous numbers on kW consumption/regeneration, the pull from your AC system, and other systems is really neat. It is nice to know exactly how much energy the AC is consuming. It is also nice to know the hill that zonks a part of my range everyday is pulling 30 kW per hour when I am on the steepest part of the grade. The Volt should definitely have these meters.
- The Ride is a bit more quiet (however, you can hear the engine whine which is more annoying)
- Braking is more normal and feels more like a normal car
- I prefer the gear selector
- Much better turning radius
- Back seats are better
- Head room is vastly superior
Now the cons:
- The Regeneration is weak compared to the Volt. Their equivalent for 'Low' is 'Econ' mode, which remaps the throttle so the car is very slow off the line and regernation is increased. There is no way to drive the car in 'sport' mode AND have the regernation be aggressive. It is a winning combination on the Volt. The Leaf owner couldnt believe the regernation in the Volt. He loved not having to brake the car except at complete stops. The Leaf simply doesnt have this.
- The front seats dont slide back very far. This may be part of the reason the back seats seem so much roomier.
- The electric engine whine can be annoying.
- Lane change quick flip turn signaling is missing.
- Interior quality is lacking compared to the Volt (plus, no leather options)
- The Range Meter is a joke
- Its missing the electric guages the Volt has, which I would take as a whole compared to the Leaf.
Anyway, if you have good insurance, and a Leaf owner you trust, I suggest trying this out as well. I could definitely live with the Leaf if I had to, although I still really prefer the Volt.