Guest Review : Test Driving Nissan’s LEAF

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For car enthusiasts, the Nissan Leaf needs no introduction as it’s been available overseas for some years. This weekend, the 100% electric car can be test driven by the public and there were a lot of people queuing up for this opportunity at their PJ Showroom along Jalan Kemajuan. One of them was The Dude who loves cars as much as rugby & Pagoda Peanuts. He took the Leaf for a 10-minute drive and here’s his review.

So there we were this overcast Saturday morny at Edaran Tan Chong’s Section 13 showroom to check out the Nissan Leaf. Unlike the hybrid Toyota Prius & Honda Insight, Nissan’s Leaf is all-electric, which to me deserves praise as it would be easier for Nissan to offer the Leaf as a hybrid like other manufacturers. Putting aside practicalities like availability of charging stations & range, making the Leaf all-electric demonstrates Nissan’s full confidence in their electric motors.

The Leaf has somewhat generic looks, a good move by Nissan if you are marketing to the masses. The interior is spacious with contemporary looks and is a pleasant place to be in. Ample information on the car’s electrics & systems on the multi-function display & instrument panel will keep the driver & passengers informed and entertained.

The Leaf starts easily at the push of a button. Engaging reverse on the nifty little palm-shift drive selector brings up the handy reversing camera on the multi-function display. Easing the Leaf out of the carpark onto the road, the near total silence is initially disconcerting but one quickly gets used to it. What impressed me was the instantaneous & strong acceleration, no problems overtaking other vehicles, and no problems slowing down either with the strong brakes. The electric motor produces 80KW of power which is average but what is impressive is the torque, all 280NM of it, and torque is what matters in real world driving conditions. Sound insulation is good with only the sound from the tyres giving one some “relief” from the near total silence. Unfortunately the test drive was just 10 minutes but understandable with the test drive queue.

Some practical information, the charging port is at the front of the Leaf since most people park with the front of the car facing the wall. The Leaf can be charged at home, full charge (8 hours) is good for a range of 160km which means it is more suitable as a city car.

Overall a very positive initial impression, better than expected. The 8 hour full charge is probably less than RM10.00 so depending on the Leaf’s price when it is available for purchase, coupled with the various incentives for hybrid/electric car owners the Government is planning, the Leaf could turn out to be both a winner for owners and for Edaran Tan Chong.

The Dude

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