Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.
Like it or not, the electric car is here and it's here to stay.
Part of this electrification of our roadways means new infrastructure, new ways of looking at travel and new technology we'll all have to figure out. That part we expected.
A surprising outcome of this new EV charge is the entrepreneurship being shown as new brands bring functional cars to market. Small, flexible, tech-driven carmakers are beating the big guys to the electric-car punch, and one such carmaker is Coda.
Based on a Mitsubishi design licensed by a Chinese carmaker, the 2012 Coda EV Sedan pumps out 134 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque and doesn't look like a pod from a bad sci-fi movie. It's powered by a 31 kWh lithium-iron-phosphate battery pack and the EPA says it will deliver a total range of 88 miles and an MPGe rating of 73 combined.
The Nissan Leaf, the darling of the EV movement, is lighter, but has less power and hits 60 in 10.2 seconds and goes on to a quarter-mile time of 17.5 seconds at 75.9 mph. How does the 2012 Coda EV Sedan stack up? We towed it to the track to find out.
Vehicle: 2012 Coda EV Sedan
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $38,145 (base price)
Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Single-speed automatic
Engine Type: 31 kWh battery, DC brushless
Redline (rpm): N/A
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 134
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 221
Brake Type (front): Ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): Drums
Suspension Type (front): Independent struts, coil springs, shock absorber, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, multilink, coil springs, shock absorber
Tire Size (front): 205/45R17 (88H)
Tire Size (rear): 205/45R17 (88H)
Tire Brand: Kumho
Tire Model: Ecsta AST
Tire Type: All-season
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,710
0-30 (sec): 4.1
0-45 (sec): 6.4
0-60 (sec): 9.7
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 9.3
0-75 (sec): 14.6
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 17.4 @ 78.6
30-0 (ft): 36
60-0 (ft): 145
Slalom (mph): 61.3
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.75
Db @ Idle: 39.3
Db @ Full Throttle: 67.4
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 66.8
Acceleration: I don't know that this is the case, but it feels as if the electric motor's abundant torque is being meted out by the teaspoon here. Really slow to get off the line and I'd bet the tires could handle a good deal more than they're being asked. Once under way, there's the unmistakable whirring sound of the electric motor. Perhaps it's the lack of other noises, but the tire noise is remarkably loud at cruising speed. Also, I performed a top-speed test and there's a speed limiter at 80 mph, or a couple seconds past the quarter-mile mark!
Braking: The first stop was unremarkable with the exception of the below-average distance of 148 feet. The second stop felt similar but the pedal went softer about midway through the stop (and it was the shortest stop at 145 feet). The third stop revealed the brakes had reached their maximum capacity to absorb any more heat and the pedal went all soggy and the distance grew to 170 feet — so I quit there. Each stop was straight and with moderate dive nonetheless.
Skid pad: Mild steady-state understeer here with a useful amount of grip, but again, the ESC is a buzzkill and as soon as the tires begin to howl, it kills power and applies brakes. Best timed lap was just beneath the threshold of intervention.
Slalom: There's a pretty wide envelope in which to work before the tires slide or the nondefeat ESC begins interfering. Steering is expectedly distant and reasonably precise. Modest body roll and good in transitions; however, there comes a point when understeer begins and that's what the ESC does not allow. It (over) applies the brakes to bring the speed down below the threshold for intervention and then releases; really crude system without the ability to dab brakes to trim heading.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.