Driving the Nissan Leaf Barcelona
When you get into an unfamiliar car it does take some time before you get comfortable and familiar with the vehicle. So when you go out for your first drive it’s best to go somewhere where you know the roads. This allows you to relax and take your time trying out the various tech gadget bits and pieces. Today in Barcelona I didn’t have that luxury. The roads were busy with lots of traffic and I hadn’t got a clue where I was going, relying upon directions from my co-pilot/minder. There were strange markings on the roads where it looks like they change the width of the road to adapt to which way the most traffic is going in rush hours times. Nissan Leaf Barcelona was a good day.
It’s true to say the Nissan Leaf is stuffed to the gills with new technology and it’s hard to know which to try first. I was keen as mustard to try out the Pro Pilot Assist and to have a bit more time with the E–Pedal. I had previously driven the Nissan Leaf for about 10 or 15 minutes. That last time I went out for a test drive I was being distracted by the salesman taking a call as I was driving. It was kind of unsatisfactory. I think the salesman might have called me sometime or other to say they had a car in to give me more of a test drive. That’s another story with regard to the ineptitude of the dealership and their relationship with Nissan. Nissan should be cranking these cars out faster. Only 4500 per month compared to the car maker newcomer Tesla with their 2000 cars per week.
I went to the wrong place and so I was late
Nissan Leaf Barcelona – I didn’t know there were two shopping centres with the word Diagonal in the title. I thought the Nissan Leaf test drives were at Diagonal Mar. The street called Diagonal is a long street and the place I needed to be was at the other end. I’d never been there before and I was completely unfamiliar with that end of Barcelona. I was rushing and decided the best thing to do was to leave the car at Diagonal Mar and take the Metro. That was a good plan although I was unable to find where the nearest metro station was to Lilla Diagonal shopping centre. I took a guess and got out at Diagonal and then I had 20 minutes of walking to do. None of this really mattered too much because I didn’t lose the chance to drive the Nissan Leaf. That was the most important thing. It would have been better to arrive in good time as I did to the wrong place, but in the right place relaxed and in the right frame of mind. No worries, I only had to wait a couple of minutes before being escorted to the parking spots under the shopping centre where there was a Nissan Leaf waiting. It was a black Tekna which was great because it was full of all of the good tech and is similar to the car I’m buying. So we jumped straight into the car and I was guided out onto the streets of Barcelona. No wasting time showing me where everything was. Pressed Start and put it into Drive. Off we go Nissan Leaf Barcelona test.
Wide roads and a little bit of motorway
The man working for Nissan Leaf Barcelona changed the route so I could try out the Pro Pilot Assist. I was grateful to him for that. This is how we ended up on a stretch of motorway style road. Now I’m thinking about it again the route was simple – Getting on to one road driving into a roundabout and turning around to come back again. Not the sort of route you could use to test what the car was like driving round bends. Not going to get anything different with a test drive in a city anyway. Some lucky people had had a car for a few hours or even days to really get under the skin of the car with a test drive. At the time it didn’t seem too bad, but now I’m wishing it could have been longer. Due to the amount of traffic I was having to spend more of my mental processes keeping myself and the car safe on the road, rather than properly testing the car.
What did I love about my drive today in the Nissan Leaf?
The smoothness and the silence of driving a top quality car was marvellous. Obviously the quietness due to no internal combustion engine making annoying noises was noticeable during the test drive at Nissan Leaf Barcelona. In the cockpit of the car there is a definite feel of luxury in well-padded comfortable seats. The dashboard of the car is fairly understated if you don’t take into account the number of buttons all over the place. Doesn’t look cheap and plasticky like some cars do.
The first time I sat in the Nissan Leaf in the dealership showroom it felt a little cramped. In the drivers seat this time I felt I had plenty of room. The centre console seemed to impinge upon my leg when in the car previously, this time I didn’t even notice it. Once again I enjoyed the high up sitting position in the car. You get a great view through the windscreen, across the bonnet towards the road ahead.
During using Pro Pilot Assist it seemed a little weird with the steering wheel moving by itself on my Nissan Leaf Barcelona test. To be honest though it seemed more weird with the intelligent cruise control and letting the car come to a halt behind vehicle stopped in front. That’s going to take some getting used to! My co-pilot didn’t seem to know about the three second rule. When the cars been stopped for more than three seconds it’s necessary to press the reset button to get it moving again, or give a quick tap on the accelerator pedal. Getting that to work was kind of nice considering the amount of traffic on this road in Barcelona. You’d want to make sure you are aware the driving assistance was turned on or you could forget to use the brake. That might be taken care of by the collision control feature, but it’s better to be properly in charge of the vehicle and use the brakes yourself when you need to. I suppose after owning the car for some time you have more awareness of what’s going on because of familiarity.
Various beeps and warning noises
One of the things I noticed first was the centre console screen changing from the navigation to showing what the cameras could see around the car. It may also have beeped during the Nissan Leaf Barcelona drive. I didn’t know why this was happening at first but it was because a motorcycle pulled up alongside and went past the car sensors. It’s possible to turn that off and that could be a good thing with the way motorcyclists drive in Barcelona. They are always making their way to the front of the queue when you’re pulled up at traffic lights.
The car made other noises to tell us when the Pro Pilot Assist had turned itself off due to not being able to see the lines on the road. To be honest, I didn’t always notice due to having to concentrate on driving in an unfamiliar environment. Not really a problem because I was not taking my hands off the wheel to let the car drive by itself. You can only take your hands off the wheel for between five and seven seconds before it tells you to put hands back where they should be. That’s a safety feature and nothing to complain about. That short amount of time is useful anyway if you needed to reach for something and you want to know the car can keep you safe during that period. It’s quite clear that the Pro Pilot Assist is best used for dual carriageway and motorway style driving.
I would have liked to tried out more of the intelligent cruise control without the Pro Pilot Assist lane keeping being active. In the car I have now I particularly like using cruise control whenever possible. Having the added benefits of the car controlling its speed dependent upon the vehicle in front is going to be very useful. With a longer test and more time to get used to the technology I’d experiment more with the adjustable gap between the leaf and the car in front.
Other things I like to try with the Nissan Leaf
I’d love to be able to give a try of the reversing camera to see how useful that is pulling out of a parking spot. I’d like to see how that works in combination with the 360° Birdseye view you can have in the screen in the centre console.
Needs a Longer Test than Nissan Leaf Barcelona test drive
Space inside the Leaf
On another occasion when I’m a passenger I like to be able to stretch out my legs. When I sat in the passenger seat in the display car in the shopping centre at first it seemed there wasn’t much legroom. So I made some adjustments to the seat. It wouldn’t slide back any further, but I was able to move the upright part of the seat back a notch or two. It was then it seemed like it would be okay in terms of passenger legroom.
Even with my adjustments to the driving seat to seat myself and my long legs there is still plenty of room for passengers in the back of the car. That’s going to be a nice improvement upon the situation in the car I drive now. Anyone sitting behind me in the Renault Clio is going to feel a bit cramped.
Testing the Safety Features
I didn’t have any pedestrians walking in front of the car or behind so I didn’t get to experience the sensors telling me to beware. On account of it being daytime I couldn’t experience how well the automatic headlights behaved. They are supposed to dip automatically when there’s a car coming from the opposite direction. The lights will also turn themselves on when it becomes dark enough to need them. When driving through Barcelona there are quite a few tunnels and you are expected to turn on your lights as you drive through. I’m wondering if the automatic headlights on the Nissan Leaf takes care of that situation.
One of the things particularly interesting to me for the purchase of this car is the ability of it to run Apple Carplay. This is something else I wasn’t able to try out. Perhaps I should have just put in my phone when I got into the car anyway. My co-pilot/minder seemed to be making use of the centre screen for keeping an eye on the navigation.
Levels of Leaf Automation
As part of the testing of Pro Pilot Assist I’d like to have tested out the button which turns off the lane keeping part of the system. This takes it back to just having intelligent cruise control. I wonder if it’s possible to just turn on the adaptive cruise control without having to go to full Pro Pilot Assist.
The joys of having a minder
As I already mentioned the guy at Nissan Leaf Barcelona didn’t know about the three second rule. At least he was able to learn something along the way. It was slightly annoying having someone reaching across and pressing buttons for you. It would have been better if he had just said to me “See that blue button there, give it a press to turn on Pro Pilot Assist”. That would have been less intrusive and allowed me to feel more in control of what was going on in the car. In any case, the guy was very friendly and helpful and was able to chat to me despite my questionable Spanish language skills.
The Nissan Leaf purchasing experience
My experience so far of being a Nissan Leaf has not been perfect. I knew there was going to be wait of a few months after putting the ordering in December. They started making the vehicles in Sunderland during the month of December. So I believed the dealership when they told me I could expect a car around about the end of March. We are now three weeks into April and it was only two weeks ago when I was finally given a date for delivery of the car. I’ll be waiting until the end of May. I’d love to know why it is some people go to other dealers and are given an approximate delivery date as soon they make their order.
I’m expected now to pay more for the car because the dealer didn’t say anything about there being a time limit on the government incentive money. This makes the car much more expensive to buy. This is why had to put an official complaint into the customer service department of Nissan. I got a phone call before the weekend from a nice man who said he would try and do something to help me out. He said he would contact the dealership and talk to them and then get back to me. Now it is Tuesday and I’m still waiting.
No Other Buying Options
I did hear there was a Nissan Leaf available for sale in another dealership. I rang them up but the model is the cheaper version with less of the good technology. I might try ringing other Nissan dealers to see if they have any cars available. I’ve got the money burning a hole in my pocket and am still deadly keen to purchase such a gorgeous, well-equipped electric car. I’ve just rang the main dealer in Madrid and he told me there are no cars available for sale in Spain. There’s just a long waiting list and if you made a new order now you wouldn’t get the car before the end of the summer.