2012-2013 Nissan Leaf SL Review

to the 2012 Nissan Leaf SL this is the first all-electric four-door family car available on sale in the world and this is the second year of its production there’s been some slight changes since we last take a look at it so let’s dive under the hood let’s dive inside and see what the leaf is all about so here we are under the hood of the leaf we need to know a few things before we begin there’s no engine of course since this isn’t a hybrid vehicle so there’s no gas tank so we need to know a few terms kilowatt hours kilowatts those are the main things

we need to know this is an 80 kilowatt motor here that roughly translates to about 107 horsepower an engine also produces about 200 pound feet of torque so the car is about as fast to 60 as a Prius the battery capacity is 24 kilowatt hours so meaning that will recharge in about 24 hours when it’s consuming about the same amount of power as your household space heater that’s the 110 volt charge if you have a 220 volt home charger that’s built into your home or at a public charging station it’ll take about seven hours to fill that battery the electric range is about 100 miles or so really depends on how you drive whether you’re going up hills whether you’re in traffic how fast you’re going etc those are all factors we’ve been averaging about three point eight miles per kilowatt so you know you can translate that into miles per gallon the EPA claims

that’s around 99 miles per gallon equivalent have no idea how that math works so right here we have Nissan’s emergency charger this is the hundred and ten volt charging cable that is standard with the Leaf Nissan does recommend that you purchase a 220 volt charger for your home unless you have one available at your apartment complex or your condo they plug-in right here in the nose of the leaf and again this will take about 24 hours or so to charge 110 volt seven hours and 220 volts and this port right here is the optional DC quick charge port and if you had access to a DC quick charge station there aren’t any in the u.s. at the moment it would take about 30 minutes to charge your Leaf to 80% capacity

from empty and since the leaf is really trying to be the car for everyone cart capacity actually is fairly good we were able to fit 55 inch LCD TV in here with the seats folded flat you can definitely fit luggage for two for a weekend away luggage for four might be a bit more of a squeeze but since it is a hatchback you can’t pile it high so let’s take a look at the inside it’s unlike your average compact car the Nissan Leaf doesn’t really feel like it’s built to a price it really feels more like it’s built to a weight and so what I mean by that is these dashboard plastics are hard but they are textured fairly well the fit and finish is fairly good and they’ll actually look

you know fairly nice the doors get some soft touch plastics and new for 2012 we now have a leather steering wheel that is heated over here buttons on the side for heater charge timer and other controls as well as heated seats both in the front and the entire Ritter bench is heated through this control on the front passenger seat we have single zone climate control over

here and we have our standard nav system here as well now the reason for the heated seats and heated steering wheel is that it takes an awful lot less energy to heat the seats and steering wheel then heat the air in the car so you can set your heater in the car at a much lower temperature and then heat the steering wheel and heat the seats and say an awful lot of energy and accrue to improve your range so ever here we’ll take a look at the nav system one of the interesting things about the leaf of course is that you in a normal car you take for granted how much power certain things consume so the leaf helps you by showing a nifty little energy screen here so if we were to turn on our

climate control and turn up the temperature to a more reasonable 70 degrees you know turn on our headlights turn on our windshield wipers here you can see that our usage starts to grow considerably there you know it separates other systems from your climate control climate control is the big energy hog here so since there’s no engine to throw off waste heat to heat the cabin you really do have to run essentially an electric heater in order to heat the leaf that is the only downside and that really does impact your range we only

have 14 miles left on our leaf here but the climate control impacts up by two miles so it’s a decent decent power consumption there scooting down the center console here we have our gear shift we have our parking brake and you can see that we have drive in Eco mode you know the one nice thing about the leaf is that you know when the Prius first came out and even the second and third generation Prius they’re quite different from a normal car and the the leaf really isn’t the leaf is very normal car on the inside you know

you have your instrument cluster where you expect it to be rather than in the center that all the knobs and buttons are in very logical easy to find places the steering wheel controls are exactly like they aren’t any other nissan product so it’s very normal car like and the car definitely drives very much like a normal car from the steering which is you know numb and vague but you know so it’s almost every other car these days to the handling the handling is fairly average in the mid-size car segment I wouldn’t call it any better or any worse

than the average you know Prius or Honda Civic Hybrid or even midsize cars like a Nissan Sentra you can see the leaf is actually fairly space just even in the rear you can easily fit five people for lunch four people for your average commute taller drivers and taller passengers don’t have a problem there’s decent amount of headroom and there’s also decent amount of legroom so you know

I’m 6 feet tall and I still have at least 3 or 4 inches of legroom left here in the rear so you could easily fit you know six foot five six foot six person in the front and a six foot tall adult in the rear as well this does come at a price however our Nissan Leaf SLE started out at 37 thousand two hundred and fifty dollars now I won’t go into the tax rebates because

there are tax credits tax rebates and other tax incentives and assistance and charging stations etc that are available to you depending on what state you live in so I’ll let you go and explore those on your own but just sticker price wise $37,000 is about eight thousand dollars more than your average midsize sedan so supposedly the average car sold in America is about thirty thousand dollars in 2011

you can definitely easily find a Toyota Camry Honda Accord Volkswagen Passat in that price range so how do they stack up versus something at the $37,000 midsize price range is is a good question and it’s one that I’ve been asked before and the the leaf definitely has some corners cut in in that respect the carpet is not quite as nice headliners not quite as nice you won’t find leather upholstery at any price

you’ll find dual zone climate control or cooled seats radar cruise control lane departure warning lane departure prevention blind spot warning anything like that in the Nissan Leaf but you will find is an awful lot of batteries and an all-electric car that supposedly costs only a few dollars a day to to charge up even in California and our high electric rates so if you’re looking for a commuter car and you live less than 50 miles from work especially if you can charge at work then the leaf actually makes fairly good sense maintenance costs are greatly reduced compared to regular car there no belts no spark plugs no oil to change etc so time will tell so that’s been our quick look at the 2012 Nissan Leaf SLE check out the truth about cars calm for news reviews and of course the full review on the Nissan Leaf coming up soon

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