I had been desperate to drive the new 100% electric Nissan Leaf, but I have had to wait as the demonstrators were fully booked by interested customers. To my delight I was allowed to have the new Leaf for three days and I made the most of my time in the 40 kW battery powered vehicle.
After a detailed 5 minute run through the features on the new Leaf by my expert sales executive, Tom, I was ready to engage the reverse gear and slowly, and quietly, back away from the charging point at Greenhous Nissan on Featherbed Lane. I had driven the original Leaf model, but I was in for a pleasant surprise as I ventured out onto Shropshire’s roads.
With a full charge I was off to work in Telford and the acceleration in the new Leaf is surprisingly quick leaving other makes in my wake from stop. The first tool at my disposal I wanted to try out was the Pro-Pilot autonomous driving technology, which is standard on all new Leaf models. Basically, it is a type of cruise control that will work in stop and go traffic as well as keeping you in lane and at a safe distance from the car in front, adjusting your speed to match the car you are following.
I tapped a little blue button on the steering wheel and engaged the Pro-Pilot and it made motorway driving incredibly relaxing and I had only the lightest of touches on the steering wheel. The Nissan has Intelligent Cruise Control and I set the distance I wanted to maintain between me and the car in front. I was amazed at how the car kept its distance braking and speeding up to maintain the gap even when we were travelling at quite slow speeds.
Once I got to Telford I pressed the button for the E-pedal to engage. In this start-go urban situation the accelerator pedal is the only pedal I used. It took a few minutes to adjust myself to the braking effect of lessening the pressure on the pedal, but I was hooked in no time and smoothly managed the rush hour traffic using the E pedal. (Don’t worry there is a proper brake pedal as well for an emergency brake test!)
The car itself has a high specification, a sassy design and has lots of driver and passenger comfort and room inside. I used the satnav a lot and it was easy to programme and read on the large screen which is a blessing for an old man like me! A friend asked if the boot would take his golf clubs? It did!
I managed to get around 170 miles on my mixed driving before I re-charged the car. That was plenty of range for my job where I spend a lot of time driving around Shropshire, into the West Midlands and Powys from my Telford base.
So to sum up. The new Nissan Leaf was everything I expected and more. I am convinced that once tried out this car will become a firm favourite with most drivers. But don’t take my word for it. Book a test drive from Tom and his colleagues at Greenhous Nissan, Shrewsbury on 01743 454020.