Following the Bob Lutz talk at the Woodward Dream Cruise / Chevrolet Centennial Celebration, my wife and I got into our Volt and drove to Dearborn, deep in Ford country, where Nissan had scheduled a drive event for the Leaf. We had our 11:30 appointment set, and Nissan was probably clueless about the Woodward Cruise going on when they scheduled the event.
When we arrived, the event was sparsely attended, with more Leafs (about 6-8) than people (3) lined up to drive them. We first got the sales pitch. More things are within a 100 mile round trip (assuming you get 100 miles range) than you realize. If you go on longer trips, you should rent a car. (Some very smart people I know do this with any car, to save the wear and mileage on their own car). We were told that running the climate control reduces the range by 10%, although I've seen photos online of the Nissan display showing " minus 20 miles" range if the A/C is turned on.
We got into the Leaf with 84 miles showing on the range display. After driving a short distance on Village Drive to the Greenfield Village entrance, we turned around and went back to the Automotive Hall of Fame lot where Nissan had the display. From Mapquest, I would estimate it at 8,500 feet (about 1.5 miles). The range display had dropped to 81 - I had turned the A/C on, both for my comfort and would see what it would do to the range.
After we turned from Village Drive with it's 25 MPH speed limit onto Oakman, the tour guide told me to floor it and get up to 45 MPH (in a 40 zone). It was quiet and got up to 45 in the short distance, but was no different than the Volt, and not as responsive as sport mode.
The shifter was not intuitive. The tour guide told me to "pull it toward you, then back". I did that and nothing happened. What she should have said was to pull it toward me, then rearward. After we were done driving and I had unbuckled my seat belt, I also noticed a red telltale with an exclamation point inside a triangle that was illuminated. I remember reading the Leaf Owners manual from a link at GM-Volt (http://www.nissanusa.com/content/dam/nissan/pdf/techpubs/leaf/2011/2011-leaf-owner-manual.pdf) , and I thought it was the EV system warning light (pg. 2-16), but I had confused it with the red master warning light (2-17). This red light comes on to tell you that another red warning light (the seat belt light in this case) is on - to me, it seems redundant and unnecessary. It is also confusing, particularly in light of pg 2-13, which talks about the EV system warning light and master warning light together, and it tells you to "immediately stop the vehicle in a safe place". (They also warn you that if you somehow swallow the tire sealant - goop - used in place of a spare tire, to drink a lot of water and immediately seek medical attention)
I asked the person answering questions what the red light with the triangle and "!" meant. He immediately wrote it off as low tire pressure. When I mentioned that the ISO standard symbol shows a tire, he immediately (and arrogantly) said that the Leaf sets a standard of its own, and the standard symbols do not apply to it.
My wife was less than impressed with the quality of the seats and instrument panel materials compared to our Volt, and noticed the storage area in the back is not flat.
Maybe I am biased toward loving my Volt (I admit I am), but my wife and I left the Nissan Leaf event less than impressed - particularly in comparison to how Chevy handled to Woodward Cruise event.