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2012 Nissan LEAF Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Great little car for around town driving. by markatwork

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Introduction

Great car for commuting less than 30 miles each way.

Reviewed: 2012 Nissan LEAF

4dr Hatch 107-horsepower Electric 1-speed automatic FWD

Compared: 2010 Ford Taurus

4dr Sedan turbocharged 365hp 3.5L V6 6-speed shiftable automatic AWD

Why the 2012 Nissan LEAF?

  Compared to the Taurus
Exterior styling
Exterior styling: Worse Better Worse

Nissan set out to make a vehicle that looked different. Like other Nissan models, it is very stylish leaving some to love it or some to hate it.

Powertrain performance
Powertrain performance: About the same Better Worse

The performance is astounding. It is oddly quite with a small hum or whirling noise. Stepping on the throttle it will easily spin its front tires.

Ride smoothness
Ride smoothness: About the same Better Worse

It rides very smooth and is very quite. I was amazed with the ride and drive.

Audio & nav systems
Audio & nav systems: Worse Better Worse

The audio system leaves a lot to be desired for the rear passengers. In the front, it sounds ok, but, not up to standards for a $38k car. The Nav system works great though some settings can be hard to find, such as road preferences.

Front seat support & comfort
Front seat support & comfort: Worse Better Worse

The front and rear seats are very comfortable. The back can be cramped with three passengers. The SL has heated front and rear seats which works great and are needed as the car heater is very slow to initially get warm. The heated steering wheel is also a nice touch. The seat fabric is soft but the light color might not wear well.

Why Not the 2012 Nissan LEAF?

  Compared to the Taurus
Price or payments
Price or payments: Better Better Worse

With a price in the upper $30k range, the car is very expensive.

Feature availability
Feature availability: Worse Better Worse

Nissan included a DC fast charge, using the CHAdeMO protocol, on the SL model before this was a SAE standard. SAE has now standardized on another protocol now leaving this and all the LEAF owners with something they will probably never use. There are very few CHAdeMO charging stations in the US.

Dealer practices
Dealer practices: Worse Better Worse

Nissan, like other manufacturers, still have problems with their dealer network. We bought our LEAF two months ago and still haven't heard from the dealer, not even a thank you letter.

Interior styling
Interior styling: About the same Better Worse

The interior color of the seats and doors is too light and shows dirt too easy.

Tires
Tires: About the same Better Worse

The tires make a scrubbing noise on the pavement when turning. A testament to the quietness of the car.

Conclusion

If you run around town a lot, have a short commute, or simply want to run the kids to all their sports, this is a great little car.

Edit: 8/13 - If you plan to commute in this car, be sure each way is under 30 miles unless you can plug the car into a 110 volt or 220 volt at work. Be aware that your use of the AC and/or heater will significantly reduce range. Also extreme temperatures will reduce range, such as under 20F or over 90F.
This car is perfect for a short commute to work and to run errands all around town. This car is NOT for a long distance cruiser or for long commutes (unless you can charge at work). We have a short commute and plug the car in every second or third night into a 110 garage outlet. Our electric bill has gone up, on average, by around $8/month.
After almost a year of ownership, and almost 8k miles, we have had NO problems with the car and have enjoyed not purchasing gasoline.

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