2011 Nissan Leaf Long-Term Road Test


2011 Nissan Leaf: Cruising in "Eco" Mode

March 29, 2011

Leaf Shifter in ECO.jpg

The shift lever on the 2011 Nissan Leaf shows that there are two drive positions -- drive and ECO mode. You can put it into ECO mode by moving the gear selector into D twice. The manual says that ECO mode will extend the range by increasing regenerative braking, cutting power to the climate control system and limiting acceleration. I chose ECO mode last night and embarked on my 31.5 mile commute home.

First thing I noticed was that the power was greatly reduced and the Leaf was suddenly no fun at all to drive. It felt like it had been drugged. But I stuck with it to see how much it would extend the range. I don't know if I was imagining things or not, but the predicted range seemed to bounce all over the place more than in the normal D position. When I got home I had covered 31.5 miles but used 35 miles of the predicted 95-mile range. So it didn't seem to extend the range at all.

This morning I went back to using the normal drive position and the Leaf seemed to come alive. I drove around near the office and when I pulled back into our garage I had covered 66.4 miles and had 18 miles left on this charge. So that totals 84.4 miles, which is a little better than we have been getting and better than the EPA's 76 miles of expected range.

So when I get my own Leaf, I won't be cruising in ECO mode, unless it is a choice between that and walking.

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Editor @ 1,496 miles

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