When my 2011 was new, it had the best air conditioning of any car I have driven. It would cool down quickly even when sitting still. Unfortunately, the first software update (Nissan TSB or recall) included some revisions to the HVAC controller programming. The maximum allowable compressor speed while the car was moving less than 18 mi/hr was reduced so it reduced the cooling capability a little while stopped. The A/C was still quite good, but I am not sure it was still the best of any car I have driven because you can rev a gas engine to get more cooling while stopped (assuming the engine cooling system is up to that abuse). As far as I know, the reduced compressor speed while moving less than 18 mi/hr has been present on all Leafs after that initial software update. There are some settings which require Nissan's Consult 3+ system to adjust the maximum compressor speed while stopped and while using the pre cool function. The defaults are lower than the maximum allowed by the HVAC controller software so raising those settings to maximum does help (I paid my dealer to change the settings to maximum shortly after getting my 2015). My 2015 SL has black leather seats and black plastic interior trim so it absorbs more heat than the light color plastic trim and cloth seats (actually made from recycled plastic) in the 2011. Both cars were silver and had factory tinted glass without aftermarket tint so the difference due to interior materials and color was quite obvious. Even with the black interior, my 2015 cools down quickly if moving at least 18 mi/hr. It takes a little longer to cool down if sitting still, but it is still at least as good as most other cars I have driven. Once the interior is cooled down, the lower cooling capacity while stopped is not really noticeable (although you can measure the difference in outlet temperature with an HVAC thermometer in the vents). One nice feature of the Leaf is that acceleration is not affected by A/C use because it is completely separate from the drive motor.
Battery capacity loss due to our extreme climate has been significantly less with my 2015 than it was with the 2011. At 29 months after purchase with over 43,000 miles on the odometer, it still has 11 capacity bars so there is little chance that it will deteriorate enough to qualify for a warranty replacement. The battery in the 2011 was replaced at 28 months (was at 8 capacity bars for 2 or 3 months) with less than 30,000 miles and the replacement was already down to 11 capacity bars by the time the car met its demise.
Describe your typical driving patterns and I will give you some recommendations as to whether a Leaf would be suitable for your needs in Phoenix.
Edited to add: The A/C compressor reaches full output once vehicle is moving above 18 mi/hr, but it starts ramping up above about 12 mi/hr. According to the energy use display on the navigation screen, it draws a maximum of 1.5 kW while stopped and it can approach 4.5 kW on an extremely hot day after being parked in the sun when moving above 18 mi/hr until it cools down the interior (power fluctuates to match cooling needs).
Last edited by GerryAZ
on Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Silver LEAF 2011 SL rear ended (totaled) by in-attentive driver 1/4/2015 at 50,422 miles
Silver LEAF 2015 SL purchased 2/7/2015; traded 8/10/2019 at 82,436 miles
White LEAF 2019 SL+ purchased 8/10/2019