I had registered at Dixie/401 Nissan a couple of weeks ago to test drive the Leaf today;
When my wife and I arrived this morning, the 'marketing' company were just setting up because today was officially the Leaf introduction and test drive for this particular dealership.....it is a large Nissan dealership in the heart of Mississauga and Southern Ontario.
There were at least 3 Leafs to choose from and they were all optioned SL models that included rear camera, 400v optional charge connector, cargo security cover and possibly a few more extras. Didn't find out how much this option sold for as sales staff were not readily available, just the 'test drive' coordinators.
I have always thought of the Leaf as a smaller car than the Volt but in taking a good look at the wheel base and over-all length it is probably pretty close to the Volt specs........I really think the design of the two vehicles, being so different makes one think that the Volt is a much larger car.
The biggest disappointment with the Leaf was the interior. I thought it really reflected small car economy and quality; only a beige, cloth interior is available in the Leaf.......no optional leather at this time. There was lots of leg room in the back seat area for 3 passengers.........this was a plus but probably the only plus I found.
When I opened the driver's side door, I looked down at the inner panel of the door that extends out past the interior side panel and I thought this inner door panel section looked rather cheap looking....4 or 5 painted nut/bolts and simply not a very refined look that I would expect on a modern car of today.
The Leaf was quiet, as expected, smooth running and a pleasure to drive; since my only 'test drive' of the Volt was tightly controlled and very slow speed, I really couldn't compare this aspect of the Leaf to the Volt, at least yet.
It was an interesting test drive because the young lady that escorted us, felt she had time to allow my wife and I an extra five mins. or so beyond the normal route; this may have been a mistake because after driving for 5 or 10mins. she realized that she had no idea where we were.........may have been all the talking we were doing about different aspects of the Leaf..........so our 10min. test drive must have been close to half hour. I know that we used at least 25km of range during that drive. I found myself, when my wife was driving us back to the dealership, with the help of the GPS, I was constantly looking at how much range was left and knowing that there was no backup system to get us back if things really went wrong.
My wife is short @ 4' 11" and the seat did not adjust upwards for her, like the Volt; she concluded that there was 'nil' visibility out the rear for safe lane changes and the back-up camera would definitely be necessary for reversing. It was just not the same comfy drive for her as it was for me. However, with that said, she had no complaints about the Volt when we test drove that vehicle back in May.
This mornings experience also proved to me that there was no way, that if we had bought that Leaf on the spot, we probably would not have enough range to go up to Brampton, see Wainair's new Blue Topaz Metallic Volt and then get home to Port Perry on that one charge.
A couple of tidbits of information:
The standard charge cable plugs into a 120v outlet and takes about 16hours to charge (we all knew that).
The optional 'bullfrog power' 240v charge station costs about $2,300 installed and will allow an 8hr charge.
The SL model Leaf comes with a commercial charge connector on the front of the car and this will allow a 'commercially' located 400v charge when needed, however, I was told by a couple of people, that you don't want to 'super charge' too often as this tends to degrade the battery over time. How that fits with an 8yr warranty, I don't know.
There are five 'green' colours that can be selected for your new Leaf............Blue and Maroon (red) would be my choices.
Cargo area did not look as appealing as what I remember comparing to the Volt; there is a carpeted support piece (raised part of floor) immediately behind the rear seat backs and this really interrupted the over-all floor space.............important if you want to lay something that is large, flat on the floor, like golf clubs.
Ok, did I mention Wainair's Blue Topaz Metallic Volt sitting on the dealer's lot in Brampton; very nice!
The interior appointments are much superior to the Leaf; it definitely looked like a larger car than the Leaf.
My conclusion now is that the Volt concept........serial hybrid EV hit the target and the Leaf will probably make a nice 2nd 'commuter' type car but the quality was not the same.
Am I a little biased at this point...........YES, I have to be now BUT I know I made the right choice for my driving needs..............the Leaf would never get me to Windsor, ON let alone Arizona in January. What can I say more?