Review: 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus Brings a Bigger Battery to the Popular CarPlay-Equipped EV

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Earlier this year, I spent some time in a 2019 Nissan Altima, checking out how CarPlay interfaces with the native NissanConnect infotainment system, and I came away fairly impressed with the flexibility and ease-of-use of NissanConnect and the carmaker's decision to make CarPlay standard across all trims.

Looking to show off more of its technology and how some of it integrates with iPhones, Nissan recently asked me to take a look at the 2019 Leaf, specifically the Leaf Plus, a new-for-2019 extended-range version of the popular electric vehicle that's been on the market for nearly a decade.


The base Leaf starts at $30,000 before tax credits that can knock $7,500 off the price, and it comes with a 40 kWh battery that delivers up to 150 miles of range. There are three trims of the regular Leaf, with only the entry-level S model lacking CarPlay support. In fact, that base model comes with a basic 5-inch non-touchscreen display for the infotainment system, so most technology-heavy users will want to step up to at least the second-level SV trim on the regular Leaf.

The Leaf Plus begins at $36,550 before tax credits and upgrades to a 62 kWh battery that offers up to 226 miles of range. The extended-range Plus lineup also comes in three trims, all of which include CarPlay and Android Auto support.


My test vehicle was the top-of-the-line Leaf SL Plus, which checks in at an MSRP of $42,550 before tax credits, with a couple of minor add-ons like floor mats and splash guards pushing my vehicle's sticker price to just under $44,000. For those looking to squeeze out every last mile of range, it's worth noting that only the lowest S trim of the Leaf Plus can reach the 226 miles of rated range, with the SV and SL trims dropping back a bit to 215 miles due to some of the additional technology in the car sapping some of the battery's energy.

All Leaf Plus models come with an 8-inch touchscreen very similar to that I experienced on the Altima, albeit with the hardware buttons located in clusters on either side of the display rather than in a strip below. The 8-inch display is plenty big for showing off NissanConnect and CarPlay making it easy to hit the desired icons on the screen, while the hardware knobs and buttons help you get a few common tasks done more by feel.

Behind the steering wheel, there's a combination analog speedometer and digital information display, with the display offering a number of different views to suit your preferences, including such features as digital speedometer, compass, and current audio information (including CarPlay track information).


Importantly, all views also include a digital readout of your current battery level and estimated range, as well as a digital power meter to help you understand real-time power consumption and regeneration. One of the customizable views also lets you see the battery temperature, as charging times can vary significantly depending on the temperature of the battery.

My top-level trim naturally came with all of the tech bells and whistles, including Nissan's Intelligent Around View Monitor for a bird's eye view of your vehicle, intelligent cruise control, and ProPILOT Assist, which not only helps maintain a safe following distance automatically but also keeps your car centered in the lane, even on curves.

Intelligent Around View Monitor

NissanConnect

I covered NissanConnect and CarPlay in my review of the Altima earlier this year, and the experience on the Leaf is very similar. As on the Altima and most other vehicles, the Leaf's CarPlay implementation is a wired one, so you'll need to plug your phone into a USB port.


There is a single USB-A port near the base of the center stack, right next to the start button, and there's a convenient phone cubby located right below the port. Unfortunately, this is the only USB port included on the Leaf, with nothing in the center console compartment or for rear passengers.

One of up to three customizable NissanConnect home screens

From there, it's a relatively traditional infotainment experience. The 8-inch touchscreen is bright, with enough color to help individual items on the screen stand out a bit. NissanConnect allows for multiple customizable home screens with shortcuts and informational widgets for functions like the clock, audio, and phone. Unlike the Altima that I tested earlier, my Leaf Plus tester came with built-in navigation that performed well as an alternative to mapping apps available through CarPlay.

NissanConnect audio app with CarPlay icon in dock for easy access

CarPlay

When you plug in your phone and activate CarPlay, NissanConnect makes it fairly easy to hop back and forth between the two systems as needed, with a dedicated CarPlay icon in the dock at the bottom of the NissanConnect's screens. When you're in CarPlay, you can use either the Nissan app icon on the CarPlay home screen or the convenient Home/Menu hardware button to jump back into Nissan Connect.

CarPlay home screen

When active, CarPlay takes over the entire display of the infotainment system, and while I do prefer systems that offer at least minimal dual-system function with an app strip or even a small supplemental information screen on a widescreen setup, Nissan's system certainly isn't bad. The hardware buttons, steering wheel controls, and driver's information display all help ease interactions with the systems, whether it be moving between CarPlay and NissanConnect or adjusting/viewing details for one while the other is active on the main screen.

Google Maps in CarPlay


EV Features

As an EV, the Leaf has a lot of technology built-in for managing the battery and its charge level. The Leaf has a pair of charging ports located under a cover on the front center of the car. On the right is a standard port that lets you connect a Level 2 charger (220-240V) for normal charging that can give you a full charge in 11-12 hours or a Level 1 charger for trickle charging from a standard 110-120V outlet, although that would take on the order of two and a half days to fully charge the car's battery.

CHAdeMO quick charge port (left) and standard L1/L2 charging port (right)

On the left is a CHAdeMO quick charge port that lets you use higher-powered chargers often found at public charging stations to recharge to 80 percent in as little as 45 minutes under ideal temperature conditions and when connected to a 100kW quick charger.

One welcome feature of most EVs is the ability to schedule charging, letting users take advantage of cheaper energy rates during certain times of the day if their electric utility charges variable rates, and the schedule can be managed either right in the vehicle after you park it, or from your phone.



App Control

With an EV, your phone can become a crucial tool since you can refuel your car from home or work without needing to stop by a gas station. Your phone gives you nearly instant access to information about your car's charge level without needing to go out to the vehicle, so you can judge when your car has been fully charged or manage charging right from your phone.

Nissan offers an iOS and Android app to manage much of this from your phone, not only for battery management but for other features like remote start, car finder, plug-in reminders, and climate control remote start/stop so you can be sure your car is comfortable when you hop in. There's even an Apple Watch app to let you perform most of those functions right from your wrist.


Unfortunately, the app has received many poor reviews from users, with numerous complaints about sluggish response times within the app, difficulty getting a connection to the car that sometimes results in commands failing to register, and other issues. Nissan regularly updates the app with bug fixes, but hopefully a more comprehensive overall is in the works to improve functionality.

NissanConnect EV also integrates with Alexa and Google Assistant to let you check on the car's status and activate functions with your voice.

A basic set of NissanConnect EV features including remote charge start, remote climate control, and more is complimentary for the first three years of ownership, but there are a couple of paid upgrade tiers that offer additional functionality on 2018 and 2019 Leaf models. A Select tier includes remote lock/unlock, maintenance alerts, and Alexa/Google Assistant support and is priced at $11.99/month after a three-year trial.

A Premium tier adds features like remote horn/lights, valet alert, curfew and speed alerts, automatic collision notification with emergency calling, roadside assistance calls, and stolen vehicle locator. After a free six-month trial, the Premium tier is priced at $8.00/month and requires the Select tier, so once the three-year Select trial ends you'd be paying a total of $19.99/month for the full suite of NissanConnect services.

Wrap-up

Overall, I remain a fan of the NissanConnect infotainment system and the useful combination of hardware and software controls that make it easy to interact with. It plays quite nicely with CarPlay on the large 8-inch screen, and touch response is good.

For an EV where technology is a major focus, though, the phone app integration seems like it really needs some improvement, including app performance and perhaps some additional features like managing the charging schedule rather than limiting remote charge controls to manually starting a charge cycle.

I'd also like to see a bit more connectivity in the car, such as more USB ports or even an option for wireless phone charging. I realize that every power-drawing feature has the potential to impact the range of an EV, and manufacturers are generally trying to eke out every last mile from their batteries, but more and more of these technology features are becoming expected equipment on cars that can hit $30,000 or more like the Leaf Plus.

The Leaf has proven to be a popular EV, and the fact that it is still supported by the full federal EV tax credit makes it a competitive vehicle. The Plus lineup costs a good bit more than the regular version, but pushing the range above 200 miles is a significant improvement to the EV experience and lets even longer distance commuters rely on it for a full day without needing to worry about running low on charge, and makes longer road trips more palatable with fewer charging stops required.

Article Link: Review: 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus Brings a Bigger Battery to the Popular CarPlay-Equipped EV
 

laurim

macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2003
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Minnesota USA
I feel sorry for you if you drive a Leaf.
Don’t. I have the top of the line non-Plus Leaf and I love it. It’s the most luxurious car I’ve ever owned. Heated leather seats and steering wheel I can remotely turn on in the winter. I keep accidentally speeding because it’s so peppy. Love the eco-pedal so I rarely have to use the brake. All the mile range I need and I just plug it in when it’s in the garage. CarPlay works great and the Bose sound system sounds great. No complaints whatsoever. And my solar panels supply the fuel. Don’t have to go to the gas station or care about the price going up and down. No oil changes anymore.
 

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Baymowe335

macrumors 603
Oct 6, 2017
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Don’t. I have the top of the line non-Plus Leaf and I love it. It’s the most luxurious car I’ve ever owned. Heated leather seats and steering wheel I can remotely turn on in the winter. I keep accidentally speeding because it’s so peppy. Love the eco-pedal so I rarely have to use the brake. All the mile range I need and I just plug it in when it’s in the garage. CarPlay works great and the Bose sound system sounds great. No complaints whatsoever. And my solar panels supply the fuel. Don’t have to go to the gas station or care about the price going up and down. No oil changes anymore.
I'm shocked you have a Leaf and justify how great it is. It should be decent because it costs 50% more than a Civic, which is what it is with an electric motor.

It's certainly not a good looking car.
 
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laurim

macrumors 68000
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So glad EVs have matured to compete with gasoline vehicle ranges. An EV will definitely be my next purchase.
People overestimate how many miles they drive in a day. Even if you DO drive a lot, pretty sure there are times at home to plug in and top off. The 240v charger is pretty fast. I haven’t been to a fast charging station away from home yet.
 
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Baymowe335

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People overestimate how many miles they drive in a day. Even if you DO drive a lot, pretty sure there are times at home to plug in and top off. The 240v charger is pretty fast. I haven’t been to a fast charging station away from home yet.
I mean, the Civic gets 40mpg and costs a little over $20k. If you want a slow, pointless way to get around, there are many cheap cars for that. Not sure spending $30K on a Leaf makes sense.
 
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nburwell

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I've never been a fan of the Leaf, but I like the body style of the model in the pictures. Plus, the tech inside the car looks pretty great as well. Now I'm not sure if I'd go with the Leaf once my Altima lease is up, but it's tempting.
 
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TacoChowder

macrumors member
Aug 16, 2019
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Love the eco-pedal so I rarely have to use the brake.
All EV's have that, Nissan just tries to brand it like a feature. I love it in my Volt, people really won't understand what it's like to have an EV until they get one.

If you want a slow, pointless way to get around, there are many cheap cars for that.
Even cheap EVs are anything but slow, bub. Seriously, go test drive a leaf or a bolt, you'll be surprised!
 

Baymowe335

macrumors 603
Oct 6, 2017
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All EV's have that, Nissan just tries to brand it like a feature. I love it in my Volt, people really won't understand what it's like to have an EV until they get one.


Even cheap EVs are anything but slow, bub. Seriously, go test drive a leaf or a bolt, you'll be surprised!
I'm sure I'll be ready to trade the M5.
 

ShadowJade

macrumors member
Jul 12, 2014
42
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Don’t. I have the top of the line non-Plus Leaf and I love it. It’s the most luxurious car I’ve ever owned. Heated leather seats and steering wheel I can remotely turn on in the winter. I keep accidentally speeding because it’s so peppy. Love the eco-pedal so I rarely have to use the brake. All the mile range I need and I just plug it in when it’s in the garage. CarPlay works great and the Bose sound system sounds great. No complaints whatsoever. And my solar panels supply the fuel. Don’t have to go to the gas station or care about the price going up and down. No oil changes anymore.
I could not agree more!!! My 2-seater hard-top convertible Mercedes gets less use than my Leaf. You and I have the same exact model. Heated steering wheel, blue stitched leather heated seats....it is full on luxury. The power off the line is immense, no one-and I mean no one-beats me off the line (off course it helps that with e-pedal I have my foot waiting on the accelerator, and have no need to transfer). Pro-pilot is phenomenal...I go 60-70 miles never touching pedals at all. I put a $500 Chargepoint charger in my garage, but get 8 hours per day of free charging at work. Getting 6.6 kwh charge makes it never an issue to be full when needed. What I used to spend on gas, ($40ish/week), now covers my entire home electric bill with the car using it on weekends. This is a no brainer. What needs to happen now is more chargers at places where you spend 2-3 hours at like golf courses and movie theaters. Gas stations that put in chargers now will be way ahead of the curve 3 years from now, and will be rewarded for being proactive.
Very short sighted to "pity" us drivers. No zero degree day gas ups for me or my wife.
- - Post merged: - -

I'm sure I'll be ready to trade the M5.
Very short-sighted statement. I pass plenty of M5s on the highway. My Leaf gets up to 100 mph rather easily. I destroy people off the line with 100% torque instantly and the need to only use 1 pedal and not transfer. Yes, on a dragstrip you will win...that is what...0.000007% of driving time?
- - Post merged: - -

I've never been a fan of the Leaf, but I like the body style of the model in the pictures. Plus, the tech inside the car looks pretty great as well. Now I'm not sure if I'd go with the Leaf once my Altima lease is up, but it's tempting.
Dude, you will not regret it. My 2018 Leaf destroys my older Altima in every way. Best car purchase that I have ever made. Not an enviro-guy, just can't stand putting my $s in the gas tank.
- - Post merged: - -

People overestimate how many miles they drive in a day. Even if you DO drive a lot, pretty sure there are times at home to plug in and top off. The 240v charger is pretty fast. I haven’t been to a fast charging station away from home yet.
Can't believe he just compared a Leaf to a Civic. And 40 MPG....not even close. Lets assume I charge 100% at home, (40 kw)...that $6...just over 2 gallons of gas. I get 130-150 miles...that would be 65-75 MPG. I didn't have to stand out side to gas up, and didn't have to stop what I was doing to do it. Now add in that many charges are free, I pay $0 to charge at work, I have no oil changes or fees....no fluids to speak of. I am at 26,000 miles after 18 months...I have spent $80 total on scheduled maintenance items.
 
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oneMadRssn

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Sep 8, 2011
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People overestimate how many miles they drive in a day. Even if you DO drive a lot, pretty sure there are times at home to plug in and top off. The 240v charger is pretty fast. I haven’t been to a fast charging station away from home yet.
Definitely. If people bought other appliances like they buy cars: They would have a dishwasher big enough to wash in one go dishishes from a 3 course meal consumed by 25 people, because once every other year they might host Thanksgiving dinner.

I drive 300+ miles in a single sitting once or twice per year, and sometimes never for years at a time. So why do I need an 3-row SUV that has a 25-gallon gas tank?

It makes much more sense to buy an EV that fits my needs 99% of the time, and rent a Chevy Suburban for that 1% of the time that I actually need it. Much much easier.
 

laurim

macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2003
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Definitely. If people bought other appliances like they buy cars: They would have a dishwasher big enough to wash in one go dishishes from a 3 course meal consumed by 25 people, because once every other year they might host Thanksgiving dinner.

I drive 300+ miles in a single sitting once or twice per year, and sometimes never for years at a time. So why do I need an 3-row SUV that has a 25-gallon gas tank?

It makes much more sense to buy an EV that fits my needs 99% of the time, and rent a Chevy Suburban for that 1% of the time that I actually need it. Much much easier.
Exactly. The rare time I need to buy something like drywall, I spend $20 on the rental truck or get it delivered. I actually put 4 10ft 2” conduit in my Leaf to run home theatre wires thru my attic. How I found out the interior of my Leaf is 10ft long windshield to back window 😂
 

jayducharme

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2006
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The thick of it
People overestimate how many miles they drive in a day.
I'd agree with that. For three years (the term of the lease) I drove a Smart EV. Its range was only 80 miles, but I just needed a car to get back and forth to work. It was perfect for that. I was surprised at how much torque it had. It was a fun car to drive. I didn't buy it after the lease because I was scared off by the battery replacement cost (from what I found out, nearly $20,000). Battery technology is where EVs still have a way to go. But they're getting there. And I'm confident that in a decade they'll become a large percentage of auto sales.
 
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laurim

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I'd agree with that. For three years (the term of the lease) I drove a Smart EV. Its range was only 80 miles, but I just needed a car to get back and forth to work. It was perfect for that. I was surprised at how much torque it had. It was a fun car to drive. I didn't buy it after the lease because I was scared off by the battery replacement cost (from what I found out, nearly $20,000). Battery technology is where EVs still have a way to go. But they're getting there. And I'm confident that in a decade they'll become a large percentage of auto sales.
You might be interested in this article. They are having to find new ways to use Leaf batteries because they are outlasting the rest of the car. https://insideevs.com/news/351314/nissan-leaf-battery-longevity/
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I've never been a fan of the Leaf, but I like the body style of the model in the pictures. Plus, the tech inside the car looks pretty great as well. Now I'm not sure if I'd go with the Leaf once my Altima lease is up, but it's tempting.
Might want to do it while the $7500 tax credit is still available. Was considering a used 2018 model but the tax credit on the new model and the better features were enough to get me to go with the 2019. Nissan was also offering 0% or low % on a long loan. I did the 1.99% on a 7 year loan to give me breathing room. Can always pay extra but I’d rather pay off the 3% loan on my solar panels first.
 
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CIA

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Jun 17, 2003
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Before I bought my EV, for about 8 months I hit the trip button every day in my car and tracked daily driving. 90% of my drives were well within the range of the EV I was looking at, and the handful of longer drives were still doable thanks to charging stations along the way. It’s been 3 years now since I got an EV and I have only one drive a year where I need to take my old Subaru. That’s for a camping trip waaaay out in the middle of nowhere.
Based on miles driven and the cost of gas where I am, I’m saving about $2,000 a year on fuel. That’s $6,000 total saved since I started EV driving.
 
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V_Man

macrumors 6502
Nov 23, 2019
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I'm shocked you have a Leaf and justify how great it is. It should be decent because it costs 50% more than a Civic, which is what it is with an electric motor.

It's certainly not a good looking car.
Way to have a friendly chat. Insult a members ride. One that he loves.

So it’s all about appearance with you. No wonder you promote Apple so hard. Shallow dude.
 

V_Man

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Nov 23, 2019
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By the way, The leaf looks sharp imo. But you know it’s not a BMW 7 series or a Mercedes S. Lol
 
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vipergts2207

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Apr 7, 2009
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You might be interested in this article. They are having to find new ways to use Leaf batteries because they are outlasting the rest of the car. https://insideevs.com/news/351314/nissan-leaf-battery-longevity/
That’s not surprising considering it’s a Nissan. Useful lifespan of 10 years? That’s a joke. They might be the worst mainstream automaker in existence and their ‘luxury’ marque Infiniti is in shambles. I’ve also never heard somebody describe Nissan as luxury.
 
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V_Man

macrumors 6502
Nov 23, 2019
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That’s not surprising considering it’s a Nissan. Useful lifespan of 10 years? That’s a joke. They might be the worst mainstream automaker in existence and their ‘luxury’ marque Infiniti is in shambles. I’ve also never heard somebody describe Nissan as luxury.
We get it your not a fan. Why continue to post about it.
 
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laurim

macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2003
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I could not agree more!!! My 2-seater hard-top convertible Mercedes gets less use than my Leaf. You and I have the same exact model. Heated steering wheel, blue stitched leather heated seats....it is full on luxury. The power off the line is immense, no one-and I mean no one-beats me off the line (off course it helps that with e-pedal I have my foot waiting on the accelerator, and have no need to transfer). Pro-pilot is phenomenal...I go 60-70 miles never touching pedals at all. I put a $500 Chargepoint charger in my garage, but get 8 hours per day of free charging at work. Getting 6.6 kwh charge makes it never an issue to be full when needed. What I used to spend on gas, ($40ish/week), now covers my entire home electric bill with the car using it on weekends. This is a no brainer. What needs to happen now is more chargers at places where you spend 2-3 hours at like golf courses and movie theaters. Gas stations that put in chargers now will be way ahead of the curve 3 years from now, and will be rewarded for being proactive.
Very short sighted to "pity" us drivers. No zero degree day gas ups for me or my wife.
- - Post merged: - -


Very short-sighted statement. I pass plenty of M5s on the highway. My Leaf gets up to 100 mph rather easily. I destroy people off the line with 100% torque instantly and the need to only use 1 pedal and not transfer. Yes, on a dragstrip you will win...that is what...0.000007% of driving time?
- - Post merged: - -


Dude, you will not regret it. My 2018 Leaf destroys my older Altima in every way. Best car purchase that I have ever made. Not an enviro-guy, just can't stand putting my $s in the gas tank.
- - Post merged: - -


Can't believe he just compared a Leaf to a Civic. And 40 MPG....not even close. Lets assume I charge 100% at home, (40 kw)...that $6...just over 2 gallons of gas. I get 130-150 miles...that would be 65-75 MPG. I didn't have to stand out side to gas up, and didn't have to stop what I was doing to do it. Now add in that many charges are free, I pay $0 to charge at work, I have no oil changes or fees....no fluids to speak of. I am at 26,000 miles after 18 months...I have spent $80 total on scheduled maintenance items.
Seems he just wanted to talk about an M5. I had to look up what that even was because I couldn’t care less about vanity cars.
By the way, The leaf looks sharp imo. But you know it’s not a BMW 7 series or a Mercedes S. Lol
When I want a car that costs me an arm and a leg to do basic repairs on I’ll be sure to look into one of those 😂 I don’t buy cars to pretend I’m a big shot. I’ve owned 3 cars in my 55 years on earth.
 
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Ghost31

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Jun 9, 2015
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I’m glad electric cars are gaining traction, but if I was out there buying an electric car, I don’t know why I would choose a leaf over something like a tesla model 3. Tesla just nailed the electric car so well it really puts others to shame
 

Mick-Mac

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2011
193
361
Given that this is a Mac forum I thought I'd steer the conversation back to CarPlay. I own the top level trim Leaf, but I bought it mid-2018 so it's the 150 mile version (which is just fine for my driving). I was very excited to try CarPlay out (my first car with this feature) because pretty much every car's infotainment system I'd experienced to that point was just disgusting. Anyway, my impressions over about the first minute of use were (in order):
1. WTF - it's 2018 and CarPlay isn't wireless - I actually need a USB cable!!
2. I tried to look up a friend using the Contacts app so I could call him - but there's NO Contacts app in the CarPlay icon list.
Item 1 is likely Nissan's fault (and a curse on them for that)
Item 2 is Apple's fault (and a curse on them for that)
The rest of CarPlay is good and I like it, but boy did I get a bad first impression. Not having Contacts reminded me of when the iPhone first came out and planet Earth had to wait a few years before darn copy and paste was even implemented. Face palm...
 
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laurim

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That’s not surprising considering it’s a Nissan. Useful lifespan of 10 years? That’s a joke. They might be the worst mainstream automaker in existence and their ‘luxury’ marque Infiniti is in shambles. I’ve also never heard somebody describe Nissan as luxury.
The guaranteed lifespan is 10 yrs but they’ve been lasting much longer. It’s in the article. But that won’t help your insulting flex.