Saturday, 22 February 2020

Nissan Leaf

It's all very simple and relaxing when you pamper the way you do things - smooth and quiet and serene. Try driving it as a GTI and of course it will push you back.

However, it is not slow. Up to about 50 mph it has a clear spring in its step, and even at highway speed there is sufficient acceleration. And it is practically silent and enchantingly fast. It gives the impression that it was always impatient to accelerate and just wait for you, by pressing the pedal, to allow this.

Don't get carried away on the highway. Doing outside lane speeds drives a coach and horses through your reach.

Uphill do the same, but what goes up must of course come down. On our test route we rode up a 2,400 m mountain. The battery charge dropped terribly on the way up. On the way to sea level, we have recovered 11 percentage points through careful use of regeneration. level we have recovered 11 percentage points through careful use of regeneration.

But that is a strange driving style. You try to prevent sudden acceleration and braking. But you keep your speed in turns. So there is an unnatural combination of low longitudinal g but high lateral.

Yet it is not what this car is for walking up and down mountain passes. In normal driving, the silent accuracy of its power captivates.

A new 'e-pedal' system means that you can apply powerful regenerative braking, as well as some mixed friction braking, simply by lifting the accelerator pedal. This means that you can usually avoid the brake pedal. It is a surprisingly relaxing and easy way to drive. You sharpen your anticipation skills and that is nice in itself.

The electronics of the e-pedal ensure that it is decided when the friction brakes must be applied and, by separate calculation, when the brake lights must be illuminated. Generally (unless the battery is full and therefore cannot handle rain energy), electrical deceleration is preferred over the brakes to very low speeds. You only need to use the actual brake pedal for events of more than 0.2 g.

Flat and predictable cornering is a natural result of a low center of gravity. Waving through open bends is surprisingly fun, partly because you can measure the power with such precision and the responses to the handlebars are pretty progressive. The Leaf is also stable on a highway. But the steering is depressing by the feeling and the tires with low resistance do not attach very gamely and the damping can become nervous.

The Tekna version with top performance is supplied with radar cruise control including lane tracking and file assist. Nissan calls the bundle ProPilot and makes quite a fuss of it. It is unusual in the hatch segment, but not unique, and larger cars often have it. Like any other such system, the steering aid is easily caught by things such as repair lines in the road or glare.

All but basic finishes get radar cruise, but without the steering function. All blades also receive radar sensors that feed intersecting traffic for reversing, and blind spot warning. Much more useful.

The ride isn't that hard, but it can get a little shaky when the road winds up that frequency. The absence of engine noise means that you notice the sound of tires and wind, but actually those things are quite modest and you don't have to turn on the stereo.

No comments:

Post a comment