Leaf test drive
I promised you all I would give my impressions of the Leaf test drive which I did at Nissan Canada HQ in Mississauga Ontario last Friday. I drove the vehicle for about 5-7 kms at speeds up to 80kph.
Let me begin by saying the Volt is for me and this was reconfirmed when I drove the Volt again yesterday in Ottawa. Overall the Volt has a more refined, luxurious and sporty feel - it is "fun to drive" and looks a lot better as well. You won't have people comparing the Leaf to a BMW but I have seen many previous BMW owners here in the forum say that they like their Volt better.
Handling is far better in the Volt although I found acceleration to 80kph about the same in both vehicles. In ECO mode the Leaf regen is not as strong as the Volt in low gear (regular drive mode there is no difference between the two vehicles). I actually prefer the Volt's more aggressive regen when in Low and will likely be using this gear most of the time. Leaf cornering is a bit more sluggish in my view and it has feeling of a more practical utilitarian vehicle. Compact feel yet electrically driven - but solid and well built at the same time. Honestly, I don't think range anxiety will be a big deal for Leaf owners. 170kms range in Summer - probably 110kms in Canadian winter - should be plenty if you use this as a practical second vehicle. Also, nothing but tire changes and maybe a brake job every 100,000kms to worry about.
The Leaf does have a few features absent on the Volt (instantaneous KW usage info, heated rear seats, mini solar panel and of course room for an extra person) but the advantages of the Volt extended range make up for these in my view. No options like leather seats etc on the Leaf that I know of although GPS is included in base price so the Leaf has a pricing edge when you look at a similarly equipped Volt. That said, Nissan should be able to generate sales here - it is a nice vehicle (I was pleasantly surprised) and I see this almost as a soccer mom car in a two vehicle household.
It did strike me as a bit worrysome that GM doesn't have plans (that I know of) for a zero emission vehicle. Nissan has a head start here and I think the GM portfolio would benefit from a similar type vehicle. GM has essentially ceded this segment of the market to Nissan - not the best thing to do in my view from a competitor standpoint as potentially hundreds of thousands of Leafs (and newly minted Nissan customers) will be on the road by the time GM gets into the fully zero emission game.
What did the kids think? They love the Volt! But not so much love for the Leaf and think Volt is far better looking (this was just spontaneous feedback on their part). For me, it was almost a surreal experience to have driven two production electric vehicles back to back. Finally, consumers have a choice to get off petrol. Personally, I love the idea of not being held hostage to buying gasoline - and better yet I get to do it in a fun to drive great looking vehicle like the Volt!
Although I have never driven a plug-in Prius (regular Prius only), as far as I'm concerned the only thing a plug-in Prius will have advantage wise over a Volt or Leaf is price (and that remains to be seen). Only the die hard's or highway drivers need be bothered with a Prius - there is simply no comparison to a vehicle with Electric drive as its primary means of propulsion. And better yet - I get to support a North American made company and vehicle.
Any questions just ask!P8051467small.jpgP8051466small.jpgP8051472small.jpg
Volt # C662 - White Diamond, Std Wheels, Black Leather/Dark Console, NAV/DVD, Bose Premium Sound (07/27/2011 - Produced; 09/20/2011 - Finally home!!)