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2018 Nissan Leaf & ProPILOT Assist - Hands on

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by Drax, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Drax

    Drax Member

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    If you would have told me 2-3 days ago that we would be the owners of a new 2018 Leaf SV with ProPILOT Assist I would’ve called you crazy, but that’s exactly what just happened today. After finding an ad for a rather substantial discount on a brand new model and being extraordinarily skeptical, I went to the dealer expecting to waste a couple hours of my day and end up annoyed. There were 3 new Leaf’s on-site, but only one with ProPILOT Assist.... and now there are none! =). The negotiation wasn’t easy, but I’m very happy with the results.

    I’ve only put ~20 miles on the car so far, but here are some initial thoughts:

    -ProPILOT Assist is not quite Autopilot, but in a few ways I think it’s actually better. The way the system engages/disengages is great, and very intuitive. Just turn on cruise control, and once the system thinks it can provide steering it does and gets indicated on the dash. It’s a perfectly smooth transition. I quickly developed confidence in using the system - much faster than I did with Autopilot.
    -In my relatively extensive experience using AP, you can’t really make minor corrections/adjustments without the car fighting you - and if you provide too much corrective input, the system reacts and disengages somewhat violently. This is entirely the opposite of what I experienced this evening. PPA took minor steering corrections beautifully, and did not once disenage due to this behavior. I *think* the system processes human steering inputs as the priority and adjusts as needed, but I really need to do more thorough testing before I speculate any further.
    -The “E-Pedal” is incredible. The car has much stronger regenerative braking than previous generations, though it’s still not quite as strong as Tesla’s. The catch is that it’s very smooth and actually brings the car to a complete stop - even on an incline. It sounds like a pretty basic tweak, but it felt perfectly implemented and makes “one pedal driving” a very real thing.
    -The car is very quiet, and the ride is super smooth. An improvement over previous generations, and impressive.
    -The main control center UI is roughly the same, but seems more responsive. -The new instrument cluster is great though. Lots of easily accessible info!
    -CarPlay. It’s there, and it seems to work. I still don’t get along with Siri, but that’s more of personal problem, not Nissan’s.
    -The new mobile app is fantastic and features a ton of options. Blows Tesla’s app out of the water. It even features intelligently designed long distance trip planning, that appears to have the ability to be imported into the car. Will explore this more at a later date.
    -It’s definitely faster and torque-ier than the older versions, but it’s still slowAF.
    -The seats have been slightly redesigned, and are comfortable.
    -Looks are subjective, but I think it looks nice/better/less alien than previous generations. It’s still not a sexy car, but it’s not bad either. Definitely better than a minivan!
    -0% interest for 72 months. Gotta love free money.
    -2 years ago we got a ridiculous deal for purchasing a new 2016 Leaf SV, and Nissan basically just gave us just as good of a deal on the trade-in value. The 22 months ownership for our 2016 Leaf SV total ended costing us less than $85/month after the tax credit, including taxes/registration. It’s just silly!
    -The 2018 SV insurance quote from a major carrier just came back $15/month cheaper than the 2016, for the exact same coverage.
    -The new 120/240v charging cable & adapter looks great through the packaging/bubble wrap, but I haven’t actually unwrapped it yet.

    I will absolutely concede that these cars aren’t sexy, and not having access to the supercharger network is a little sad and certainly limiting.. But the cars are actually available today, are reasonably well built, relatively inexpensive, and there’s nothing even remotely close to ProPILOT Assist within $20K. The 150 mile range is totally manageable for daily driving too.

    So far, so good Nissan!
     
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  2. cwerdna

    cwerdna Active Member

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  3. Drax

    Drax Member

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    It did! =)
     
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  4. Webeevdrivers

    Webeevdrivers Member

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    Congrats. Keep us up to date on your likes and dislikes.
     
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  5. gaswalla

    gaswalla P4201/85/airsusp/pano/19i

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    Cool..thanks for sharing.
    What was the price?
    Seems like it's definitely better than prior Leaf... Not convinced that comparison to 3 or AP2.5 is apples to apples
     
  6. croman

    croman Active Member

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    There is no operational difference between AP2.5 and 2. Right now AP isn't something to brag about.
     
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  7. Snerruc

    Snerruc Member

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    Car and Driver really doesn’t like ProPilot. Check current issue.
     
  8. pakman00

    pakman00 Member

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    Thanks for the info. I had a chance to test drive a 2018 SV with propilot the local Nissan dealer had on the lot. Sad part was the sales guys were absolutely clueless on the features. Fortunately I had read up on it somewhat. Love the e-pedal. Did try pushing the propilot but couldn't tell if it was engaging. Test drive was short and on local roads so not sure if ProPilot just didn't want to engage.

    The 2018 definitely looks better than. The older model. Would be tempting to use as my daily commuter.
     
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  9. number12

    number12 Supporting Member

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    I bought my 2017 leaf for $14K after $10K discount and $7500 federal.

    Could not like the car anymore. Full charge everyday.. more than pays for itself. Gets more miles than my Tesla with no worries what so ever.
     
    • Like x 1
  10. joer00

    joer00 Member

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    What a difference a space makes :)
     
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  11. NerdUno

    NerdUno Member

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    Just got to test drive the new Leaf with ProPILOT Assist on the same stretch of interstate around Charleston that gives AP2 fits. In a two mile stretch, AP2 disengages or heads into another lane of traffic at least a half dozen times. Nissan Leaf was as smooth as silk. If it weren't for taking a financial bath on our P90D, I would have left it with the Nissan dealer. ProPILOT Assist was that good. Charging with 240V connection is about 28 miles per hour with the Tesla. With the new Leaf, they claim only 20. Top of the line Leaf like the one we test drove was $38K including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you live in an area with good DC charging stations (free use with 2018 Leaf but not available in South Carolina), you really should go drive the new Leaf before wasting the extra money on a Model 3.
     
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  12. Cheburashka

    Cheburashka Member

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    Nice! I think we should see some decent lease deals on the Leaf too along with a LR version soon, which could make it much cheaper to own than a M3. Will have to give ProPilot a spin!
     
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  13. NerdUno

    NerdUno Member

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    #13 NerdUno, Mar 21, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
    My daughter now drives a 2018 Nissan Rogue with ProPilot Assist (same functionality available in 2018 Leaf). I thought it might be helpful to share a feature comparison with our Tesla's AP2 which is an excerpt from an upcoming Nerd Vittles article. Haven't seen any of these observations discussed elsewhere yet. And that's probably because very few folks have access to extended use of both cars.

    [​IMG]

    Tesla’s AutoPilot and Mobileye’s EyeQ featured in the new Nissan Leaf and Rogue could best be described as follow-the-dotted-line technology.

    Tesla and Nissan have taken two very different approaches to autonomous driving. With Tesla’s AutoPilot, it’s an all-or-nothing deal. Either AutoPilot is steering or you are, but never both. With Nissan’s ProPilot Assist, it’s much like the Driver’s Ed car with two steering wheels. Either you or ProPilot can make steering adjustments without disabling ProPilot. When you switch lanes on a city street in AutoPilot mode on the Tesla, you physically have to wrestle the steering wheel away from AutoPilot, and the AP2 functionality then is permanently disabled until you manually reenable it. On the Rogue, you change lanes and make steering adjustments just as you would in any other car with no noticeable resistance from the ProPilot Assist hardware. The Rogue only disables ProPilot if it loses lane markings. Once it again identifies clear lane markings, it automatically reengages and you continue on your way. Having used both systems, anyone would conclude that the Nissan approach is better for a couple of reasons: it’s more intuitive in emulating what ordinary drivers do on the road and it’s fully automatic as a driver assistance tool.

    The Tesla still has an advantage on poorly marked roads. In addition to following the dotted lines, the Tesla will also track a vehicle in front of you without disabling autopilot. ProPilot Assist can’t do that and will issue a chime when it disables self-driving mode. But, as noted earlier, when ProPilot Assist can once again identify clear lane markings, it will reengage automatically. In contrast, when the Tesla loses tracking and beeps to alert you that autopilot has been disabled, it remains disabled until you watch the dash for an indication that the Tesla has once again identified clear lane markings. Then you have to manually reenable it. Especially on many city streets, this is a regular occurrence so our tip of the hat again goes to the Nissan approach.

    Did we mention the difference in interior quality? Judge for yourself.
     
  14. WannabeOwner

    WannabeOwner Active Member

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    Biggest problem I have with any of these advanced driver aids (TACC, AP, etc.) is knowing whether they are engaged or not. I find that I think I have one engaged, when I don't (the reverse is not a problem, if I think I am driving, but AP is, then if I "drive" I take over from AP, so that's OK)

    I find the AP BEEP (Engage / Disengage) helpful in that regard. I've not tried anything else (other than the rubbish VW race-up-behind-jump-on-the-brakes-at-last-moment TACC) so can't comment other than to say the way you describe it of car silently? resuming driving maybe a mile or two down the road when road markings improve would bother me as when it, say, loses lane markings, or I had disabled it, I might (as described above) think it was engaged when it wasn't.

    This, of course, is a problem whilst we have mixed-systems, which only goes away when there is no longer any need for the "mix" :)

    Too many buttons! When I was taught to drive I was expected to be able to select any function without taking my eyes off the road. Probably only a half dozen, or so, "functions" then of course!

    All that lot (Tesla too ...) should be voice-activatable ...
     
  15. dmode

    dmode Member

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    Will the Leaf's systems get over the air updates ? The Leaf sounds tempting for a second commuter car, but I don't like all those buttons and don't want to get stuck with a system which doesn't improve with time
     
  16. NerdUno

    NerdUno Member

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    You get a BIG GREEN ICON on the dashboard together with GREEN LANE MARKERS AND CAR ICONS plus a bong when ProPilot is activated. You get a bing and the BIG GREEN stuff disappears whenever ProPilot is deactivated. Very similar to the Tesla approach except it reactivates on its own unless you intentionally disable it. Not sure how it could be much more intuitive.

    [​IMG]

    As for buttons, some of us prefer a button for volume control of the radio and buttons to adjust air conditioning. Others like the Windows approach of drilling down through layer after layer of choices on a display to do things you could do with a button without taking your eyes off the road. To each his own. ;)
     
  17. NerdUno

    NerdUno Member

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    The new Nissan vehicles connect to Nissan over WiFi connected to the hotspot on your phone or in your garage. Hasn't been much information yet about what it will be used for. Nissan dealerships obviously can update the firmware whenever you have the car serviced.
     
  18. Electroman

    Electroman Active Member

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    I haven't checked out the Pro-Pilot, but the new Leaf drives amazingly well, smooth and zippy and most of all I love the higher seating. Kind of almost a cross over SUV. Two of my friends cancelled their M3 reservations and leased the new Leaf.

    The range is 150 miles and I am guessing that means 120 miles on the highway comfortably and 100 miles during cold winter days. Not bad at all for a city car, and it cost them $400/month lease for 36 months.
     

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