There is one thing everyone who knows about the 2011 Nissan Leaf wants to know: How does it drive? This is a question not even I can answer from first hand experience, but can’t wait for the opportunity to arise. Have no fear though, our partners over at AllCarsElectric.com have had the change to drive it not once, but twice! The particular test drive session we speak of happened just a couple days ago in the lush backcountry of the UK. The verdict? Oh no, we aren’t giving it up that easily.
As Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield writes for AllCarsElectric.com, the Nissan Leaf is a special car; it is a car developed from the ground up by Nissan to be an electric vehicle. In fact, even the vehicles name stands for something. Not sure what LEAF means? Leading, Environmentally-friendly, Affordable, Family car. But enough stalling, the Leaf is reported to drive like a car. What is more is that the handling is said to be “light and precise” allowing drivers to navigate around obstacles with ease. Even the acceleration is pretty good with 0-60 times near 10 seconds and a little extra reserve of electric power that serves to mimic the kickdown function of a gasoline or diesel powered car. Other good news for drivers that like to get a little spirited is that the Leaf is said by Gordon-Bloomfield to exhibit “little in the way of understeer or oversteer…”
Distance on a charge have you worried? Gordon-Bloomfield says that even with aggressive driving the computer showed distances left that still equaled at least 100 miles. For those used to driving with the “pulse and glide” techniques frequently talked about and used when driving a hybrid like the Prius, our expert test driver saw “predicted range” climb over 130 miles for a short while.
Bottom line—The 2011 Nissan Leaf will make you forget you are driving an electric car because it feels like the car you are used to driving now. The difference comes with how you refill it…instead of pulling out your credit card, you pull out the plug. Old habits die hard, but plugging your car in at night instead of visiting the gas pump is one I think people will get used to quickly.
Be sure to read the in-depth First Drive Review over at AllCarsElectric.com.