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What other EV's did you test drive before buying a Leaf?

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:31 am
by leafydeafy
I'm a new Leaf owner (2018 SV) and am interested in hearing other takes on the Leaf vs. other EV's (BEV or PHEV). What other EV's did you test drive? What sold you on the Leaf? (Or what sold you on another EV?)

Here's my list:

Information-gathering test drives (before I was actively in the market for an EV):

1. Tesla Model S: a couple buddies and I went for a test drive, and this is what turned my interest in EV's from distant daydream to "I need to do this soon." I've never been big into performance vehicles, but the Tesla's acceleration and handling were intoxicating. The car felt like an extension of myself. The interior was fine. I wasn't a big fan of the huge touch-screen monitor on the dash. It seemed like overkill and a distraction. This may just be personal taste.

2. Prius Prime: for a while I thought this might be my first EV. I have usually steered toward Toyota or Honda vehicles in the past, and thought this would be the way to go. Driving the Prius Prime was great. Loved the feel. Loved the heads-up display on the windshield. Acceleration wasn't great from what I remember. What ultimately led me away from the Prime was the electric range. I felt like I'd constantly have reverse range anxiety...always trying to go all-electric and not have to use the ICE. Then it struck me that I really needed to get an all-electric car.

When I got serious about buying a new EV I narrowed my choices down to a Leaf and Bolt:

3. Chevy Bolt: it's a really nice car, but just didn't feel right to me. It was kind of boxy and cold-feeling on the inside. And kind of drove like a box on wheels. It had a lot of nice features, but most I felt I'd never really use. I've never been a big "bells-and-whistles" guy. Driving-wise, it was fine, but just not the same as the Leaf. It had an impressive turning radius (I don't know why this impressed me as much as it did...but it did). And of course, the range is great. Again, a lot of this just may be personal taste.

4. Nissan Leaf: it was kind of love at first drive. It felt kind of Tesla-light to me...that is, nice, peppy acceleration. Nice handle and feel to it. And unlike the Bolt, it felt more car-like. I was really comfortable in it. It had features I really wanted and appreciated: e-Pedal and Pro Pilot.

Deciding factors in favor of the Leaf: updated look and interior feel; e-Pedal; Pro Pilot; range vs. this point I don't need the extra 80-90 miles of range the Bolt offers, and that extra $5k+ on the price would have inched it out of what I was willing to spend. I have a 28 mile commute (round trip), so I only need to charge it every 3 days or so (I tend to keep the battery between 40-80%).

So this is my journey to Leaf. I'm very interested to hear all of your stories...what did you test drive? What did you like / dislike about the EV's currently on the market?

Re: What other EV's did you test drive before buying a Leaf?

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:28 pm
by jjeff
You looked at the Prime PHEV but did you look at the Volt? When I was looking, on paper the Volt was pretty ideal(except for the less than steller ICE MPG, not up to the Prime MPG) but I could have probably got by with it but I just couldn't stand the cramped cockpit, for us it was hate at first sit :(
I thought the Bolt was more acceptable for cockpit room but IMO the seats were too hard and tight.
In the end the Leaf seemed to be our best option, sure the range isn't up to something like a Bolt but the seats and interior front room is quite good.

Re: What other EV's did you test drive before buying a Leaf?

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:12 pm
by webeleafowners
Tesla model S. Twice. Couldn’t afford it.

Bolt twice. Didn’t feel right. Too small. Loud. Nice car though.

Smart EV convertible. Not really fair cause we own one and we drive it EVERY day.

Then the 2016 SV 30Kwh leaf. Perfect fit. Has been flawless on every level. Will consider another when the time comes.

Re: What other EV's did you test drive before buying a Leaf?

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:03 pm
by WetEV
Didn't get to drive co-worker's electric homebuilt. Not sure if I would have wanted to if asked, was an interesting collection of things well before their time and things well past their time.

Ford Focus Electric. I loved it, wife didn't.

iMiev. Cross between a Flintstone's car and a Jetson's car. Too small of battery. Too little space for the family at the time. Not enough space to haul stuff.

Didn't fit into the Tesla Roadster. The Model S wasn't out, yet. And both didn't fit my budget.

Re: What other EV's did you test drive before buying a Leaf?

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:46 pm
by LeftieBiker
The Leaf was the first electric car I had ever driven (not counting our Gen III Prius), although I had owned several two-wheeled EVs. I liked it enough to lease one that day. This was in 2013, when 4 wheeled EV options were much more limited.

Re: What other EV's did you test drive before buying a Leaf?

Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:14 pm
by alozzy
The LEAF was really the only PHEV/BEV I considered, mostly based on price. When I started thinking about an EV, I didn't think I would find anything for my budget of $10k CA...

A 2013 SV, in January of 2017, averaged around $17k CA in Vancouver - way more than I could afford. So, I feel like I won the lottery when I found a 2013 SV for $8k US
in Seattle and promptly imported it into Canada.

Having said that, the LEAF has been perfect for my family, just wish it had a little more range so we could get rid of our ICE car.

Our next car will likely be a 2018 LEAF or a used Bolt, but we won't do that until our 2013 has less than 50 miles (80km) of range.

I'm not interested in a PHEV, too much complexity and I like driving a zero emission vehicle. Also, in just a few short years, all BEVs will have 300+ miles of range so why would anyone buy a new PHEV at that point?

Re: What other EV's did you test drive before buying a Leaf?

Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:30 pm
by ElectricEddy
For public transportation Leaf was only logical choice in 2013 around here, however I did drive one of these EV for many years: ... fts/gs2046

Re: What other EV's did you test drive before buying a Leaf?

Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:52 pm
by LeftieBiker
I "drove" an Oxygen Lepton scooter starting in 2002. Great little EV, just a little too slow, with the top speed limited to 25MPH. Then a crappy X-Treme XM-3000 scooter that would do 43MPH or so, then a terrible ZEV 5000LA that would go 62MPH - if you were patient. Our 2010 Prius II is what got me interested in electric cars, along with the early Leaf ads.

Re: What other EV's did you test drive before buying a Leaf?

Posted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:36 am
by RonDawg
The Leaf was the only one I test drove. It wasn't really a test drive, but I needed a rental after my Audi ended up in the shop (again) and the local Enterprise just happened to have a couple of Leafs available. This was in the summer of 2012, and at that time the only affordable alternative EVs of (somewhat) similar capabilities was the iMiEV and the Coda. The iMiEV was just too weird looking (even when compared to the Leaf) and I did not hear good things about the way the Coda drove.

Tesla Model S was (and still is) out of my price range, and at that time was in extremely short supply. Focus Electric would not come out for another year or so, 500e and eGolf and Soul EV even further out than that.

Re: What other EV's did you test drive before buying a Leaf?

Posted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:36 am
by GetOffYourGas
When I put down a deposit on a Leaf in 2011, I had only driven it, an iMiev, and the Tesla Roadster. The roadster was way outside of my budget, but I sure would have loved one! The iMiev didn't really feel like a "real" car to me. The Leaf was an easy sell.

When it came time to upgrade, I had driven many more EVs. Model S, Focus, Golf are the ones that stood out. Ultimately to upgrade I need more range so that my EV could go from a regional car to an actual road-trip car. With my budget, that left the Leaf, Bolt, and Model 3.

The Model 3 is a great car, but it seems more like a computer than a car. I am one of those who is turned off by the lack of a proper instrument cluster. The single 17" monitor doesn't do it for me.

The 2018 Leaf looks like another great option, but it simply doesn't have enough range. The nearest QC along my typical route is 140 miles east. That means coming home, I'd have to QC to full, and then I'd still be sweating bullets driving 140 miles on the highway, into a typically strong westerly headwind. Basically, I wouldn't be road tripping in the 2018 Leaf until more chargers appeared. Maybe in the next year or two.

The Bolt really checked all the boxes for me. The range was plenty to make the last leg home on my journeys. The QC is slower than I want, but fast enough for my needs. The car drives like it was designed by an auto-cross racer (probably because it was ;) ), which I love. I don't need the extra power, but I sure do enjoy it. Plus it really holds the road better than my old Leaf. The "penalty" for this is a stiffer ride. That's really just physics, though, and is true for any sporty car.

I really do think that all three cars are great options. I'm thrilled to see them all available, and am looking forward to the 2019 e-Plus, not to mention the Hyundai Kona EV.