You know that Nissan commercial where the guy finds out that his wife is pregnant and he goes out to the driveway to stare lovingly at his impressive Nissan 370Z (2-seat sports car), lamenting the lack of a backseat for his baby-to-be? He then proceeds to stretch the vehicle into a new 2011 Maxima sedan. Presto! Problem solved! Of course, in reality it’s not quite this easy to make room for your expanding family. So, when I was invited to a media event in Manhattan to check out the brand new Nissan LEAF – I wondered, “could this amazing zero-emissions electric vehicle be an amazing zero-emissions family vehicle?” Then I proceeded to wonder “will everyone think I’m insane when I show up at Micky Mantle’s restaurant on Central Park South with a pile of carseats stacked on a Maclaren stroller (and with no kids in sight)?” I’m sure a few people unaffiliated with the Nissan event did wonder what the heck I was doing, in a crowded bar/restaurant, with all these carseats piled on a stroller but hey… this is Manhattan and we’re used to strange people and strange behavior, right?
Before I go into any details regarding my assessment of this vehicle’s capabilities to haul a family around town comfortably, I just have to gush a bit first about how amazing this new vehicle really is. I’m a typical jaded, native New Yorker and very few things in this world really blow me away. But learning about this new vehicle and all the possibilities surrounding the technology that it incorporates was nothing short of exhilarating. The Nissan people were also extremely knowledgeable overall (not just regarding this one particular product) and their energy and excitement regarding the LEAF was infectious.
Everywhere we went with this incredible vehicle, people stopped to talk and stare. From random pedestrians, to the doormen on Central Park South, to the guy driving the car-service Lincoln who pulled up next to us in traffic to announce that he had “reserved” a LEAF and was anxiously awaiting its arrival – this vehicle created a buzz everywhere it went! It was fun to be a part of that experience even if it was just for one afternoon.