2011 Nissan Leaf SL: High Tech, Low Tech
July 13, 2011
Finally drove the Leaf and was quite impressed, like others staffers, mostly by the car's natural driving demeanor. Even in Eco mode, the Leaf's regenerative braking is not overt, unlike the Mini E we had. In that electric Mini you could drive the car at great lengths without ever touching the brake pedal (except of course for quicker stops), so strong was its re-gen braking when you lifted your foot off the umm, "gas" pedal.
Nor does the Leaf's instrument panel hit you over the head with flamboyant, distracting displays. Yes it does have the "Make a small forest" game/function to show how efficiently you're driving, but that's actually kind of cool. But I was surprised to see this cutting edge car lacking synchronized clocks. I noticed an eight minute discrepancy between the instrument panel and center stack monitor displays. My OCD wouldn't allow this so I grabbed the manual and reset the instrument clock (which was fast by my cell phone and PC clocks).
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor