With two grade-school children and a dog, the inside of our 2011 Leaf has been given a tough time.
So far, everything from weekly grocery soccer practice runs to family vacations have been handled well, with no torn seats, carpets or trim.
However, even with Scotch-Guarded seats, our Leaf has begun to show signs of a year’s worth of abuse from the family. This is especially noticeable in the rear, where the unusually thin carpet has started to show signs of scuff marks and regular vacuuming.
Regular seat-cleaning with detailing wipes has helped keep the seats themselves fairly unscathed, although dark patches are now appearing around door pulls, the front arm-rest and seat squibs.
We’ve also noticed exterior paint, while generally of good quality, seems also thin. In fact, our car has just picked up a thin scratch from the local automated carwash’s rotating brushes. Despite being shallow, it looks to have caused some minor paint damage.
As the months have progressed, our 2011 Nissan Leaf has loosened up significantly, leaving us with excellent road manners, handling and performance.
Acceleration is, if anything, a little better than when the car was new, which we assume is down to a healthy, bedded-in battery pack.
The same is true from the car’s suspension and steering system, although we would note that the car’s stock energy-saving tires are fairly easily damaged under aggressive driving and require regular 6,000 mile rotation to give optimum performance.
Like other Leaf owners, we have yet to notice any deterioration in range or battery capacity after one year, despite regular rapid charging.
After one year, our 2011 Nissan Leaf is still operating well within our own -- and Nissan’s -- expectations.
So far our dealer experience has been good, with our local dealer loaning us a courtesy Leaf whenever warranty or recall work has been carried out.
Moreover, based on European gas prices over the past year, we’ve saved an estimated $5,454 in gasoline over the fuel cost of our previous car, a 1992 Volvo 240 Wagon.
Still, it should be noted that we’ve also had to pay nearly $1000 $10,000 in combined loan payments, insurance and electricity costs, while our maintenance bill so far stands at just $160.
Stay tuned over the coming few weeks as we tell you more about our first year owning the 2011 Nissan Leaf, including the five things we hate about it, five things we love, and five things that we’d like Nissan to change.