The all-electric 2018 Nissan Leaf now looks like an ordinary hatchback, but it still has quite a few unique features that definitely take some adjusting to get used to. Here’s five things you should know about it.
1. There’s a new dashboard light to let you know the Leaf is ready to leave
The Nissan Leaf is extremely silent when it’s powered on, so to help inform the driver that it’s actually ready to go, there’s a green light on the dashboard. It’s a car with a double-direction arrow underneath, which doesn’t make a ton of sense at first glance but probably means, “yes, you can now move forward, and also backward.”
2. The estimated range gauge wants you to suffer. If you’re committed, you’ll obey
Obviously range is slightly more important to keep track on of a relatively low-range electric car like the Leaf, which currently maxes out at an EPA estimated 150 miles. What’s fun about it is that you can see how everything in the car impacts the range.
When you turn on the air conditioning, for example, the range immediately drops by about ten miles. The infotainment screen also turns itself off frequently, just to remind you that you are spending nearly $40,000 to compromise your normal driving experience.
3. Gear selector nipple
I do not know why Nissan modeled the Leaf’s gear selector after a nipple, but they must have. Instead of using a normal stick-like selector, you instead grab the, uh, knob thing and pull it the left. Forward is for reverse, back is for drive, and back again is for B-mode, which is an increased regenerative braking. It works, I don’t hate it, but it does make me a little uncomfortable.
4. It has a transmission tunnel for what seems like no reason
If you hop in the back seat of this EV hatchback, you may not think twice about the little hump running through the middle of the foot area. But considering the Leaf is front-wheel drive and electric, there shouldn’t be any need for a transmission tunnel.
If you pop off the cover of the tunnel, it’s a little hollow space with a metal plate at the bottom. Maybe it’s for an upcoming feature, maybe it’s space needed for the longer range model to be introduced down the road. But for now it’s pointless and kind of weird!
5. The hatch release on the key is actually the charge point door release! Bamboozled again!
Something else that’s familiar but different: the little button space on the Leaf’s key that would be reserved for opening the trunk or hatchback on a normal car is reformatted to pop open the little charge port door.
This is a weird thing to realize at first, as you’re standing around with a group of people waiting to load their bags in the back of the car, desperately pushing the button as the crushing weight of embarrassment settles in. And then you do the basic amount of research, the highly technical task of looking at the key in decent lighting, and realize it’s for the cute little door in the front.
Those are some things about the Nissan Leaf! I still have a review to write, so if you have any more questions you’d like to have answered, let me know now! The car is fun to drive and perfectly serviceable as a daily driven hatchback for anyone who doesn’t live in their car for work. Also, what do you think that transmission tunnel is for?