Wired: One Week in Nissan LEAF Made Conventional Car Feel "Crude and Primitive"

By · December 08, 2010

Nissan LEAF confusion at the gas pump

This is a sight you'll never see with the Nissan LEAF, unless you're trying to get cheap laughs.

Having just completed the first week-long test drive of a Nissan LEAF, the folks over at Wired were nothing but impressed. Even though they noted the car had some faults, their overall feeling was that Nissan's LEAF is one of the most compelling vehicles they've ever driven, saying, "The Nissan LEAF is more than a very nice car. It is the car of the future we’ve been promised in countless sci-fi movies."

Telling people to "get over" their range anxiety, Wired said that in a week of using the LEAF as their sole transportation—and driving it as much as they would have a conventional car around the Bay Area—they never once experienced range anxiety. Noting, as I did in my first full range test of the LEAF, that the car goes out of its way to warn you about energy usage, Wired remarked, "Frankly, only an idiot will run out of juice in this car." So, don't run out of juice in the LEAF or wired will call you an idiot—unless you're made out of rubber and things bounce off of you.

Of course, what electric car review can be written without noting how quiet the car is? Wired was no different, saying that driving the LEAF was so "serene" that it was "eerie." Indeed, in the past I've also noted how driving the LEAF is the world's first truly Zen automotive experience. Wired also felt that the LEAF performed admirably in the categories of acceleration and handling.

The LEAF is a small car that has plenty of space for passengers, and earlier this year, during my drive of the LEAF in Japan, I made a video showing two very tall adult men sitting comfortably in the front and the back of the vehicle. The Wired folks took note of this copious passenger space, saying, "The Leaf is a compact that doesn’t feel compact. There’s loads of room even if you’re over six feet tall, and all that glass gives the interior a sense of spaciousness."

Even so, there were some qualms that Wired had. Firstly, they weren't impressed with the LEAF's cargo room. True, for a hatchback the space behind the rear seats is a little small. However, what you give up in cargo space is more than made up for in passenger room. Wired also felt that the interior was "awash in plastic, some of which feels cheap." I would agree with this sentiment, however it's good to keep in mind that a lot of the cheap plasticky feel is due to many of the surfaces being made of recycled plastic. The most glaring concern the Wired reviewers had was the look of the LEAF. However it eventually grew on them, saying that after a week they "found it odd but endearing."

As more and more of the first drive, week-long, month-long and even six month-long, media reviews start rolling in, it'll be great to compare notes. Given my experiences so far, I expect that the vast majority of them will be resoundingly positive.

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