For almost a year I’ve driven an electric Nissan Leaf and there’s just one thing keeping it from being perfect.
Well, no. There are a lot of things keeping the Leaf from being perfect. Considering that it’s a $30,000 car, you’d think it would have power seats, door and steering wheel mounted controls that light up at night, and mirrors in the visors that light up. It doesn’t have any of those features and the interior is slathered in cheap plastic and ultra thin fabric wrapped around the door handles.
The Leaf does have plenty going for it, though. The heated seats and heated steering wheel are invaluable. The car has plenty of storage space and the 30-kwh battery pack offers an electric range that’s more than capable of managing commutes and daily errands.
My one wish for the Leaf is all-wheel drive, but one customizer is about to prove that the Leaf may not need it.
The low center of gravity and heavy weight of the Leaf make it a perfect candidate for AWD. With some solid winter traction tires and Nissan’s AWD system, the Leaf could be an unstoppable winter force. Instead it struggles to get out of the driveway after any significant snowfall.
This summer a modified Leaf will participate in the 10,000-mile Mongol Rally, an epic journey from the UK to Mongolia. While the modified Leaf doesn’t appear to have AWD, Auto123.com says,
The Nissan LEAF AT-EV is equipped with new narrow wheels and Maxsport tires to help it survive unpaved roads, while various elements have been added to protect components in the under-carriage. On the roof, the modified baggage rack offers added cargo space and includes an LED light bar for lighting up the dark zones the team is sure to encounter.
I’ve yet to own the perfect car, but the Leaf could get there with a little more attention to detail and the addition of an AWD system to tackle winter weather. You’d think, if a Leaf can be built to handle a drive to Mongolia, one could be built to tackle a Washington winter.
How would you complete this sentence: My car would be perfect if it only it had…