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Nissan LEAF: Revisiting the World's Best-Selling Electric Car

Stocks in this article: NSANY F GM DDAIY

Once you're in the driver's seat, the only thing lacking is a telescoping steering wheel. If you are taller than 6 feet, or have short arms, this could be a problem. However, if you are 6 feet or shorter or have long arms, you will likely find a very comfortable seating position.

When you start driving the car, the first thing that strikes you is the excellent build quality. The car is devoid of any squeaks, rattles and shakes. It feels as solid as a tank, like a car costing twice as much.

The interplay between the steering and suspension is excellent. In city driving in particular, the car is very agile, and easy to place and to park.

But wait, there is more! The interior ergonomics are also superb. The buttons and dashboard may look a bit cheap, but they have a great feel to them.

Let's talk about the thing you touch the most, the steering wheel. It looks a bit cheap. However, the leather is reasonably grippy, and the thumbs rest in a carefully sculpted place that feels just perfect. On the steering wheel, the buttons are among the industry's very best and easiest to operate, like those for the cruise control.

The back seat is a little short on headroom, perhaps 1-2 inches but otherwise well laid out. The luggage space is average for its class, and the back seat folds 60/40 with ease.

What are the remaining shortcomings of the Nissan LEAF? Obviously at the top of the list is the rated 84-mile average range. As we know, after a few years of use and in extreme climates, this could shrink to 50 miles or even less.

Like so many other pure electric cars with limited ranges, the LEAF is not for everyone, or at least not for everyone all the time. That said, if your commute is short and you don't drive your car very far otherwise, the LEAF may just be the right car for you. We just don't know how many of "you" there are.

One thing that has not changed is the basic body style. Most people I ask think it is ugly and would never want to be seen in a LEAF even if it were free and had 300 miles of range. The "signature" blue color wore out on me a long time ago.

In my more moderate opinion, I think the car looks OK in the new gray color, and with the new wheels on the range-topping "SL" equipment tier. That said, most people will not consider this car until it is redesigned, perhaps in 2016, into something more socially acceptable.

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