And an update on the Leaf itself in the 3, or is it 4 months I've had it ?
Overall I'm very pleased with the car and like it a lot and there are only really two significant niggles with it, however they are both quite significant.
1) The suspension is pretty hard with limited travel and this is not helped by the 215/50/17 wheel size the Tekna comes with. The ride was "OK" with the original Dunlop tyres (pretty good on small bumps, bumpy on large bumps, but never harsh) however the stiff sidewall XL rated CrossClimate+ have pushed the ride into "too hard and crashy" territory, and while the tyre change was the final straw I feel the wheel size and stiff limited travel suspension is the main culprit - it was relying too much on a "soft" tyre to get acceptable ride quality.
In some ways I wish I'd just got a cheaper Acenta with the 205/55/16 wheel size as not only are there a lot more tyres available in that size and much cheaper, the ride would have probably been significantly better as well. Before buying I didn't really have any idea what the ride quality was going to be like for a Tekna or an Acenta as I'd never driven a Leaf. However I didn't anticipate a problem with ride quality as a common refrain I would hear from Leaf drivers is that they "ride like a blancmange" - often used in a pejorative way by those who are obviously looking for hard taught German handling...
But I'm here to tell you that these people could not have been more wrong and have obviously not driven a Citroen before let alone a hydraulic one!!!
The Leaf has what I would call stiff taught ride and handling, in fact it actually handles pretty darn well and rolls very little. But the ride is not soft in any way, certainly not with the wheels and tyres it has on it now.
So ride quality is a bit of a sore point with me at the moment. Of course there is nothing to stop me buying some Acenta wheels (and tyre pressure sensors grr) and putting the most comfortable riding summer tyres on it that I can find to use for 8 months of the year, but that's a lot of additional expense that I hadn't anticipated, so I'm on the fence at the moment.
2) The drivers seat is just not very comfortable and is still causing me problems as I try to find the right combination of padding/covers. No, it's nowhere near as bad as the hard, flat, narrow, zero bolstered seat in the Ion which is simply the worst seat I've ever sat in in any car in my life, (totally unusable without a large foam cushion, and even then causing me continuous back strain - one reason I sold the car!) but it has a major design flaw.
The backrest is actually pretty good - just the right amount of bolstering to stop you sliding in the corners, a little bit of lumbar support, can't really complain about the backrest. But the base is just idiotically designed. It's very narrow towards the hinge point, certainly narrower than my bum
as it is trying to avoid two large plastic boxes. Also the side bolsters on the base are too vertical, too tall and pointy and too hard.
Essentially when I sit in the unadorned seat these side bolsters dig painfully into the sides of my bum and it is very unpleasant. If you're someone with a slightly narrower bum that can fit between the pointy bolsters you're probably fine and will find the seat perfectly comfortable. But for those of us with a wider bum it is just not tolerable. Bolsters should be much flatter, softer and wider so those of us who do spill onto the bolsters a bit
don't find it uncomfortable. The bolsters in the Xantia leather seats are perfectly comfortable for me for example even though I'm well onto the bolsters.
In an effort to improve it I've tried a full seat cover but decided I didn't like the backrest being covered as that made the backrest less
comfortable, now I've cut out a specially shaped piece of rubber Yoga mat to essentially "fill in" most of the middle part of the seat and raise it up a bit relative to the tips of the bolster, (and then a cover over the top of that) and this is much more comfortable however still not ideal.
The other problem the base has - like so many cars with manual seats - is no adjustment of the tilt angle of the base to tilt it back a bit. Unlike the Ion whose base was completely horizontal (eg, awful) it does have some natural back tilt, however it is not quite enough for me due to long legs and is not adjustable like it is on the Xanita. This means my legs are not supported by the front of the seat putting a lot of pressure on my spine and buttocks.
There is a seat height adjustment but again, like most cars with manual seats it is designed back to front - when you raise the seat it raises more at the rear than the front, causing the seat tilt to get even further away from where you need it to be. Having the seat base not tilt back enough leads to a problem called "submarining" where you essentially keep sliding forward in the seat slightly due to no thigh support and this is quite unpleasant as well.
So I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the seat. I can't understand how cars can be made with so little thought on something as important as the drivers seat. Am I just spoilt by the seats in the Xantia or do a lot of modern cars just have poorly thought out seats ? Are they designed with slightly smaller Asian bodies in mind and not tested properly on lanky Europeans ???
Other than the ride quality on the large wheels and CrossClimates and drivers seat design I can't really find much to complain about the car and lots to like.
Besides those two points it is actually a very comfortable and well equipped car certainly compared to the Ion. The heat pump heater is great, very efficient and quick, heated steering wheel and seats including the rear seats, it's well insulated and quiet at speed, the motor is smooth and near silent, it handles and corners well and the steering feels very nice (not notchy like the Ion) it could probably do with a bit more poke at higher speeds but hey, it is only 80kW in a 1535Kg car... it's not quick but its fast enough.
The charge timer and climate control timer are great - I plug it in at night and a timer defers charging until the small hours of the morning, then the climate timer comes on and defrosts the car automatically just in time for to leave for work. So we get into a fully charged, warm defrosted car every morning, no scraping, no waiting for the heater to produce heat, no fogging up with breath as we're trying to leave. I can also use the remote climate control from my phone to defrost the car before I leave work. Instead of dreading another winter in the Ion I feel like I'm fully armed and ready to take it on in comfort!
Range has been pretty good - on the daily commute in summer it looks like it will manage about 115 miles, in the coldest weather we've had so far (about 4C) it is still managing around 100 miles although I'm sure it will drop a bit more in sub zero conditions if we make full use of the heater. This compares to about 55 miles in the Ion at best in summer and barely 35 in winter, driving carefully. So nearly 3x the range in winter by the looks of it.
The heater in the Ion reduced the range in near freezing conditions by around 40% - we haven't had 0C yet but so far the most range loss I've seen in cold weather at 4C is around 15%, which I put down to a combination of plugged-in preheating, (the initial warm up is not counted since its coming straight from the wall) heat pump efficiencies, (although even the resistance heater is more efficient than the one in the Ion) and much better insulation. As mentioned a while back I discovered the doors are all lined with thick carpet underfelt vs the hollow empty doors in the Ion.
As far as longer trips go - the 100 mile range is a little bit awkward in that the longer trips we want to do like to the beach can almost
but not quite be comfortably made without a quick stop to charge for the return trip. (I'd probably make it without the charge but wouldn't want to chance it)
Fortunately it charges very fast. It will go from 30% to 80% in under 20 minutes on a rapid charger and will hold the full 45kW charge rate right up to 80% and still be doing about 30kW at 90%. So it charges way, way faster than the Ion did, in terms of miles added per minute charging, probably more than twice as fast. So it means longer return trips in the ~120 mile range are a piece of cake as you can stop once on the first half of the return trip for say 10 minutes and get yourself a comfortable 40+ mile buffer for the remainder of the trip on a 120 mile round trip.
Not quite as convenient as petrol or an EV with a 200+ mile range of course, (where you wouldn't need to stop to charge en-route at all) but if the Xantia were to go Ker splat tomorrow and we still had the Ion we'd be seriously restricted in where we could go and what we could do due to its small size, the very short range and slow charging it had, whereas the Leaf will do most longer trips the Xantia would albeit with some minor inconvenience planning for the occasional charging stop. (Partly made up for by the cost of the trip being dramatically less than petrol!)
The boot is slightly larger than the Xantia with the seats up so unless you're carting stuff around with the seats folded down (where it doesn't do so well) it can handle just as much luggage for trips as well. So if the Xantia did die we're in a pretty good situation now compared to what we were a few months ago and I doubt that I would even buy another combustion car to replace it as we simply don't make the long cross country trips that would warrant it - pretty much all our day trips top out at around 120 miles return which is easily doable with either charging at the half way destination or a quick top up on the way home.
Now that we have the Leaf I keep the Xantia not so much because I still need a Petrol car (I really don't) but because I like the Xantia as a car - ride, handling etc and enjoy driving it. Also it has a bit of nostalgia for me.