First impressions of the 2018 Nissan Leaf

The 2018 Nissan Leaf is an incredibly solid car, sweet blend of design and tech! The Japanese know us tech heads like to have lots of buttons to play with The seats are highly comfortable as well as heated. Not all models have the heated seats. The driving position is higher than in my Renault Clio so it felt like I was driving a van or an SUV. Great viewing all around and that’s nicely enhanced with the rear camera. I’ll be able to see clearly when reversing and the sensors also give extra warnings for things coming up behind. When I was driving the Leaf I noticed the warning the car gave for the frontal collision avoidance. It didn’t put the brakes on for me,(It didn’t need to) but it is supposed to do that if needed. I wasn’t that close or not close enough for the car to need to save itself. The salesman when driving it went across a lane marker and the car beeped at that too. No sleeping and driving in the 2018 Nissan Leaf.

2018 Nissan Leaf

I would have liked a longer test but the boss at the garage called the sales guy back. Apparently the car wasn’t supposed to leave the showroom. I am so glad I did get the test drive though and he enjoyed taking a spin too. Not enough time to see how the Pro Pilot Assist worked. I pressed the blue button and something came up on the panel in front, but I needed to concentrate on getting used to a new car on roads in a town I didn’t know at all. It’s not as easy to put into cruise control as the Clio. I use the cruise control all the time and I’m looking forward to the Intelligent Cruise Control in the 2018 Nissan Leaf. The Leaf 2018 intelligent cruise control would have come in very handy when we were driving home in the Clio and the traffic was a bit mad. Stop and go traffic with the car doing the work of keeping the distance with the car in front will be really cool on the Leaf.

Buttons all over the place

Mostly with buttons sprinkled liberally though out the interface like this you only use them infrequently. You do have to have the muscle memory of where they are so you can hit as required when engaged in driving safely. It seems like the steering wheel is absolutely festooned with buttons. The ones on the left control what you see in the panel in front an behind the steering wheel. In the 2018 Nissan Leaf there is a full set of navigation buttons in a cluster making it like a joystick with an OK button in the middle. I was able to change the language of the panels in the car from Spanish to English easily. I would get used to Spanish but nice to explore everything in my mother tongue first.

2018 Nissan Leaf 2

Seems to have some effect in the main screen when going through menus there. I need more time with the Nissan Leaf 2018 driver interface to learn all it can do. I might even need to read the manual. The audio controls are on the left too. Buttons for audio track navigation and volume control. Will take time to get used to the layout so it is not necessary to look of give more that a glance while driving.

Analogue Speedometer – Retro or What?

There’s an analogue speedometer. I hope that one of the screens will show a digital display of the speed too. I prefer digital for showing the speed it will seem strange to rely on seeing where a needle is pointing on a gauge to see how fast I’m travelling.

I could set in the system menus which was the preferred or default display to show on that drivers information screen. Will need time to see which one is the most useful to keep front and centre most of the time. When I looked it was the Pro-Pilot Assist which was the default. Could that be an omen or a notice from Nissan as to what is going to be most important to drivers of the 2018 Nissan Leaf?


The cluster of buttons on the right side which control the Pro Pilot Assist I need more time with. There’s a button to use to control Apple CarPlay with voice. Didn’t get to set that up because it needed the lightening cable to set it up. I had my phone connected by bluetooth, but it wasn’t enough for the job. I had thought the BT connection for Apple CarPlay had been sorted out in a recent OS update? It will be cool to have my Apple iPhone / CarPlay details on the car screen. The Nissan comes with GPS mapping and I hope to also be able to use the Google Maps, Waze and Apple Maps if I have to. Apple Maps are pretty rubbish and therefore my last choice for navigating. There is also software in the Leaf to show where chargers on and info about how you can incorporate them on your route. I’ve seen videos showing the car informing the driver that there’s not enough juice in the battery to get to a particular charger chosen by the driver in the 2018 Nissan Leaf.

Overwhelmed by the controls

Whatever the vehicle, the first minutes or even hours can be confusing and hard to get the measure of in terms of displays and buttons. There’s a plethora of information in the two screens and more so with an electric car. It’s necessary to see data about the battery level and kilometres left in the car. You want to see how your driving is doing in terms of regeneration of power too. There are lights in the dash to show when you have the e-Pedal engaged and when the car is in Eco mode in the 2018 Nissan Leaf. This is on top of all the other warning lights you usually find in a car. I would love to get my hands on a user manual for the 2018 Nissan Leaf to see how everything works. I expect after a time, a couple of days of high use or a couple of weeks you would feel comfortable with all the bells and whistles.

e-Pedal Bliss of the Nissan Leaf 2018

The e-Pedal is a driving pleasure. It’s not necessary to touch the brakes in normal driving when using this single foot control. Foot down to go and foot up to brake. I tried out the stopping on an incline a no handbrake was needed. The car holds it’s position until you press the accelerator pedal again. When pulling up to a stop sign in the road it is easy to use the pedal to come to a halt in exactly the right spot in the road. It’s almost like magic. The brake pads are going to last a very long time in this 2018 Nissan Leaf.

The planning of long-distance journeys

When I was a young fella with a car and enjoying the novelty of having my own transport I loved the planning part of journeying to places. I had an 1959 Austin Cambridge A55. It was a cool car with fins at the rear and leather bench seat inside. Back in those days we didn’t have GPS and it was necessary to look at maps on paper. I had the book of maps in the car, but I preferred to work out beforehand which towns I needed to go to along the route. I would make a list of the road names required to get me to the towns along the way. All I had to do then was to find the road signs as I drove going in and out of the town. It worked pretty well back in those days. It’s a big jump to the systems we now have available. We rely on a disembodied voice in the car to tell us which exit we need to take off the roundabout. It’s lovely to think that we are now living in the future even if we don’t yet have flying cars.

2018 Nissan Leaf

French Pyrenees and back in the 2018 Nissan Leaf

It’s not really been necessary to do much planning while using GPS to go to places in an ordinary petrol driven car. Changing to a battery-powered electric car is going to change that. Despite the larger battery of the 2018 Nissan Leaf there could still be occasions of range anxiety on long journeys. It’s going to be necessary to take note of various charging options along the way. I see that many drivers of electric vehicles will take the opportunity to put in a few kilometres whenever they can. If they stop at a service station or a shopping centre with a charger for just a few minutes they’ll put the car on charge just to add the extra small bit of range which might just save them. It could be when they get to the next planned stopping point the charger isn’t working and having to go with a plan B. There’s a journey I plan to do from home to a small town in the French Pyrenees. I’ll need to stop in Perpignan in France to grab some electrons. There is a Nissan garage close to my normal route. This will tie me down to getting there at opening times of the garage. I’ll also have to hope that the charger hasn’t been iced or blocked in by someone else. With the CHAdeMO charging points I can get from 0 to 80% in about 40 minutes. If someone is in there first I could decide to wait until they finished. In such a situation it’s probably going to be okay that the person will only stay as long as they need to charge. It’s not going to be like at a shopping centre where someone might plug in and go into the shops for three hours. There’s a whole load of new electric vehicle drivers having to learn the etiquette of using electric charging points. Including myself I suppose. Whichever way you look at it there will be challenges to overcome with running an electric car. I am looking forward to that, it will make things interesting and be the bearable cost of getting cheap kilometres.

Not all about low cost motoring

I really do have an idealistic desire to do my bit for the environment by buying a 2018 Nissan Leaf. Many years ago I visited places like the CAT – Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales. In those days over 30 years ago the prices of solar panels was prohibitive and not at all mainstream. In 2018 there is more of a concern for the environment and the need to get off fossil fuels. Just looked at prices of photo-voltaic panels and I could afford to buy some. I still have to work out how to do it while the sun tax is still in place in Spain. What a regressive backwards government here in Spain. We should all be encouraged to add solar panels to our houses. I feel like doing some civil disobedience in relation to the solar panels. Get the panels up there on the roof and hope for the best. There is Som Engergia which is a collective used by people here to get around the Sun Tax.

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