2018 Nissan Leaf electric-car prototype driven: first impressions Page 2

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The result is that the new Leaf is noticeably quieter than the 2017 model.

Engineers noted that stronger reinforcements in the corners of the hatch, along with more acoustic insulation in the rear wheelwell area, made a major difference, but we'd suggest the 2018 Leaf is now among the quieter mass-market cars of its size.

SAFETY and ADVANCED FEATURES

Nissan expects the 2018 Leaf to earn top safety ratings, and pretty much every advanced safety feature the company has in its arsenal will be available as standard or optional equipment.

The 2018 Leaf will also be the first application of ProPilot Assist, essentially the ability for the car not only to follow vehicles ahead and stay within a safe distance but also to center itself within the lane markings.

We were able to experience this in a brief, controlled drive on the test track, and it worked suitably well.

A parking-assist feature that steers the car into a parallel parking space was less satisfactory; it failed to work once due to slightly worn markings, and proved extremely slow in practice.

On the other hand, to be fair, it was a feature in development and it's not clear at present whether it will even be offered on North American Leafs.

Nissan provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this first-person report.

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