Nissan Leaf long-term test

What's an electric car like when you live with it every day? We're running a Nissan Leaf for six months to find out...

Nissan Leaf long-term

5 November 2018 – Too much of a good thing

Much as I like the way the Nissan Leaf drives, a few things about it are really beginning to irritate me. Quite a lot of the niggles are to do with the car’s many electronic driver aids, which don’t seem very well adapted to life on London’s ridiculously narrow, twisty and overcrowded streets.

The automatic emergency braking, while being a highly commendable safety feature, is prone to intervening far too often for my liking, applying the brakes in situations that seem completely safe to me. For example, it happens randomly as I’m driving up to the barrier to get out of our multi-storey car park, going at snail’s pace and doing nothing differently from any other day. The AEB also reacts if you go for a gap that it deems too narrow, as well as to pedestrians and parked cars if they’re in front of you as you go around a bend in the road. It’s not only frustrating but also makes me feel as though I’m not fully in control of the car.

Nissan Leaf long-term

Then there’s the parking sensors. When the battery pack isn’t being recharged, I have a habit of parking in a quiet corner of our car park, with the left-hand side of the car up against a wall, and the parking aids are obviously convenient as I’m backing into the space.

The problem is that they aren’t smart enough to know when they’re no longer needed. Jump back into the car later and the side and rear sensors start screaming again the instant the gear selector is put into Drive, forcing me to hit the ‘off’ button every time. The same is true if I’m driving down a narrow road with parked cars at the sides. Previous cars I’ve run, such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport, had much better-judged sensors than the Leaf’s.

Nissan Leaf long-term

I could also grumble about the unnecessary number of alerts when you open a door or the tailgate and the fact that you have to accept or decline something to do with data telematics on the touchscreen every time you start the car, but I won’t, because the Nissan Leaf certainly isn’t alone in doing such things. However, they aren’t making me feel as warm and fuzzy about the Leaf as I would be if its driving manners were the only consideration.

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