What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?
Illustration for article titled Leaf: a preliminary review

One commute in the books, and I love it.

How did I get here? The first car I purchased after my hand me down Subaru Legacy was a 2005 Cooper S. That cemented the enthusiast in me, and introduced me to autocross. I traded that at 98k miles for a MKVI GTI with DSG. I never loved it, and only autocrossed it once or twice. It was in constant need of repair, and when my wife (of Camry and CR-V ownership) asked “why are we constantly dumping money into this thing?”, I had no answer. But I did have two kids. So I did the responsible thing and comprised. 2016 Civic with NA motor and a 6 speed manual. 40 mpg highway, real manual, a little bit of fun when I wanted it to be. But I never loved it either, and one day my wife suggested picking up a cheap Miata. After a year and a half of Miata ownership, I began to realize the comprised commuter was no longer necessary. And that 40mpg was an impossible feat in DC traffic. And the clutch dictated a seating position that killed legroom for the kid behind me. And that the car held it’s value pretty well. And that if I needed more than 100 miles of range, and my wife’s pilot wasn’t an option than I had the Miata, or the Tundra. And my commute is 54 miles round trip.

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We were able to negotiate the purchase price and trade in within$500 dollars of each other. The leaf has 7000 fewer miles, and 3 additional years of bumper to bumper warranty, and battery coverage to 100000 or 2026.

How does it drive? As a commuter: amazing. It is so quiet. A normal talking volume is too loud. Without the engine to talk over, you realize you’re trapped in a small glass and metal box with another person, and really, you’re kind of shouting. It’s just tire and wind. So quiet.

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The drive is adjustable in two ways, yielding four different combinations. Eco mode deadens throttle response, encouraging you to take it easy. B mode increase regenerative braking, turning into a one pedal car in traffic. So, stop and go or city driving would be Eco+ B, where open road would be no Eco, no B. Each selection makes a noticable difference.

Also making a noticable difference is climate control. Turn it on, and get a message letting you know you lost about 7 miles of range. But it’s got heated seats and heated steering wheel, so maybe leave that off anyway. It’s a pretty good guilt trip.

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Illustration for article titled Leaf: a preliminary review

The car is comfortable. It’s the same year as my Civic, but retailed for twice the price, so it’s definitely an upgrade for me. Visibility great. Tech is also an improvement, even if a current Tesla or Bolt owner would look down their noses at it.

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Now I just have to manage a charger install at the house. One quote came it at just under a grand for the circuit and outlet. But my neighbor up the street has one, and he installed the circuit and charger himself, along with a whole house surge protector. He seems to know what he’s doing and offered to help. Not sure if I’m willing to DIY a car charger though.

What do you want to know?

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