My first test drive of the LEAF was at Brown's Fairfax Nissan, around 10:00 in the morning on Tuesday, 15 March 2011. Here is a brief account of my first impressions.
Starting off, it's interesting to note how the electric parking break works. Pulling up unlocks the break, and pushing down locks it. When it's locked, it has an orange light on the tab as well as a view on the console.
Once the parking break was disengaged, you had to turn on the car to adjust the side mirrors. Of course, the LEAF has a push-button start, tied to the foot break pedal. So I hit the break and pressed go. Ding! I was in business.
I adjusted the mirrors and then set the LEAF in motion. Putting the LEAF in gear is kind of counter-intuitive, since pushing forward is actually reverse and pulling back is the Drive / ECO Mode toggle. For this drive I decided to test out ECO mode and was pleasantly surprised.
Sharon, my LEAF tour guide for this drive, was nice enough then to directed me right on to I66 so I could put ECO mode right to the test. I activated the Steering Wheel cruise control — the controls are small but easy to spot on the right side of the wheel — and set it for the speed limit, 55 mph. I would have gone faster but the road was too congested and even if I had, I'd not say so publicly. Needless to say, ECO Mode + Cruise worked perfectly, maintaining a speed between 54 mph and 55 mph.
At the end of the test drive, we headed back to Brown's Fairfax Nissan where I took Sharon's picture and thanked her for the drive.
I didn't get to test the Audio over Bluetooth from my iPhone, but Sharon told me James had tried it and said it was working great.
All in all, I have to say I love the LEAF! I only wish I didn't have to wait another 8 - 12 months to drive it again!