Nissan Leafs charging
Douglas Stansfield's picture

Would You Like Nissan To Improve These 5 Things in Your LEAF?

Could Nissan have done better with the LEAF? Could various simple tweaks actually have improved the overall sales of this record setting electric car? Could they have fixed things without increasing the cost of the LEAF dramatically?

While range is always the key issue with Electric Vehicles, the Nissan LEAF had double the average daily trips range so they did use some statistics to come up with the range estimates but in reality, a much longer range is necessary for mass adoption.

Besides range, is there any major flaws associated with the Nissan Leaf that could be fixed?

Here are my top 5:

Location of USB plug
I don’t know about you but I’m constantly on the phone. Plugging in the Cell phone is a must inside the car for any length of trip and plugging in the USB plug is longer than the reach of my arm so I have to stretch to insert the USB plug into the car. Simple fix….move it closer to the shift paddle.

Location of the Cigarette Lighter Outlet
I don’t know about you but this location is beyond annoying to get to. You have to either stick your hand under the dash to feel around for it or lean over so far that you are almost eating the shift lever. Why not move this close to the new location for the USB plug once Item one is fixed.

Drivers Side Seat Plastic Trim Around the Base (S version)
As a business man, I’m usually wearing pants with pleats at the bottom. I can’t tell you how many times when getting out of the car that my pants get stuck on that plastic trim piece around the base of the seat. This is crying for a redesign.

Head Rest Tilt
My Leaf doesn’t let me move the headrest back or front only up and down. So if you head naturally tilts forward this headrest is perfect for you, however if it isn’t, then an adjustment would be welcomed.

Lack of Connectivity via BlueTooth
This might be an option on the higher end models but I think this should be standard equipment on all cars now since almost everyone has a Bluetooth enabled cell phone these days.

Overall, I love the Nissan Leaf and don’t get me wrong here. I am really looking forward to the next version of this car and I’m planning on getting one once it comes out. I’ve written extensively about my journey’s and love for this car. It can only get better in my eyes. I’ve got one bonus complaint that I’d like to address with everyone.

What is your feeling about the Eco tires they come with? I don't like them. The Ecopia tires were bald in almost 6 months in my case. I would never buy them again. I do believe I lost of range when I switched to stickier tires but I strongly recommend you do because of the outstanding difference they make to the driving experience. This car should not come with these Eco tires. Give them performance tires so people can truly experience the joy of Electric Driving.

Also see how to add 40 miles driving range to Nissan Leaf with Enginer's add-on battery pack.

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I would like to see some sort of front view camera like the Tesla Model S has. The way the nose of the Leaf sticks out it's very hard for me to judge when I'm close enough to the wall.
The 'Around View' option on the SV (not sure if it's included in the current SL) at least lets you know if there is an obstruction.
I have a 2011 SL with the QC port. In general, I love it. I find all the controls to be within handy reach. 1) I find the location of the USB port to be nicely within reach on the console. I leave one lightning cable there at all times. I haven't looked at the location of the USB port in an S vs. the SL trim. 2) I've never used, or wanted to use, the 12 volt power plug (AKA cigaret lighter plug). 3) I have an SL, so can't comment. 4) Head rest tilt would be nice, but it's not something I obsess about. 5) The SL came with bluetooth connectivity that has never given me any trouble. (It's more reliable than the USB which always wants to switch my player from iCatcher to the iPhone Music app.) The thing that annoys me *THE MOST* about the car is the legal disclaimer with the question: 'Touch OK to accept.' I really, *REALLY*, ****REALLY**** want to be able to answer that question once and make it go away - I'd be OK with answering it once a month, but not every. single. time. I. start. the. car! GAH! Tesla can do it (and they monitor a *LOT* about what you do with the car!) why can't Nissan? Things I want: 1) Adjustable regen levels - I want to be able to drive my Leaf with one foot like you can drive a Tesla with one foot *AND* I want to click a button and have the car coast (like the EV1 used to do.) 2) Internet connected GPS (AKA Google Maps with the voice interface) or even just letting Waze on my phone take over the display. I don't even try to use it any more - I run Waze on my phone. 3) GPS showing CHAdeMO chargers in a different color or otherwise separately from regular chargers. I must say that I *LOVE* the fact that the Leaf's GPS system loads up the locations of chargers - something that the RAV4-EV nav system doesn't do (that one loads up the locations of gas stations!) 4) Sun / moon roof as an option from the factory. 5) Auto driving features: Traffic-aware cruise control, blind-spot warning (I believe that this is in the 2015s), Lane departure warning, self parking.
Agree with almost everything you said. +100 on killing the annoying question on every start - that alone makes the Tesla 3 look very appealing! On my 2012 SL, though, the Level 2 chargers show as a plug icon, and CHAdeMO chargers as a gas-pump-with-a-plug icon. Is that not the case on yours? Different colors would be nice, as would map updates over the air. An HD touchscreen on the SL model would be great!
Agree with everybody that getting rid of the "Accept" or "Decline" should be a priority for Nissan.It is my understanding that the feature was put in to allow Nissan to track your movements via the car's GPS so they could determine if longer range batteries were justified. We plan to get rid of our 2011 Leaf for this reason and battery durability concerns. The 2016 Volt is starting to look really good about now.
I would like to see a commitment and communication between Nissan and their dealers. My Leaf had to be the hardest car to get information on, purchase, then continue updates about from the dealers around.
2011 SL so some of this may not be a thing anymore... 1.) get rid of the "I Agree" button when I turn it on. 2.) when I turn climate control off don't switch the vents to the floor. 3.) Sun roof option 4.) better infotainment system. 5.) Airplay
Love the steering, handling, responsiveness. Improvements: The seats are terrible. The head rest forces the head to tilt forward and the shoulders to roll forward. The shape of the seat contorts the spine into awkward positions that give me a head and backache. Another friend who's family has Leaf said she refuses to drive it for the same reason. My 1989 Acura had a more ergonomically designed seat. If I keep my leased Leaf, I will definitely replace the seat.
I agree with you. Seats need to be improved and the head rests adjustable. Thanks for reading and sharing...
THE HEAT!!!! Yuck! Here in Minnesota it is common to have temperatures of -20 F. The heater will NEVER heat the car to comfortable even if you disregard the range loss from using the heating system. To add insult to injury, the dumb thing opens the outdoor air vent when I turn off the heat to save energy, thereby defecting the meager heating system. I generally put a 110 volt room space heater in the back space of the car and preheat the car on an outlet separate from the charger outlet, both at home and at work, so at least I am warm for the first 5 to 10 minutes of a trip. I should NOT need to do this...
I think the thick pillars are a safety issue as i almost ran somebody over at the dealership while i was test driving it. Whats more, on the '13 whenever i try to adjust the seats, i almost always tend to grab the other handle as it is not intuitive. And the suspension sucks. Quiet but bumpy