“I’ve never driven an automatic before, and I don’t want to!”, said my wife, “I like to be in control of the car properly”.
Joanna, my wife, is a confident driver. She likes cars – for our wedding, she drove herself to the registry office in a 4×4 with 35″ tyres (in heels). Being brought up in a Baltic climate, she has no problem with driving in snow, and having lived in the city, reverse/parallel parking is not an issue.
However, the lack of a clutch pedal has filled her with such dread, to the point that despite me driving a fully automatic LEAF for over 6 months, she has refused to drive it… Until now.
Her curiosity has grown over recent weeks, and with me swapping into a top-of-the-range LEAF Tekna a few days ago, the allure of a heated steering wheel on a cold winter’s day has finally tipped the balance.
Joanna: “Can I have a go then?”
J: “You promise not to complain about my driving?”
M: “Of course not!” (Having sat as a passenger on a number of test drives with other members of the public, I am now of the opinion that my wife is easily in the top 10% of drivers in the local area)
So I explained the controls, and within a minute or so, she was piloting us down the local country lanes.
J: “Hey, it’s really nice to drive”, “It feels really smooth, really controlled”
We carried on along the drystone-wall-lined lanes for a few more miles, as her confidence increased.
J: “So this is in D & Eco at the moment, right?”
M: “Yep. Do you want to try it in B-Mode?”
J: “Sure”… (engages B mode)… “Oh, hey, that’s cool. You can really feel it slowing down when you ease off the accelerator. You don’t even really need to press the brake pedal.”
M: “How about you take it out of Eco mode? Press the green button on the steering wheel”
(This has a similar effect to engaging Warp Factor 5 on the Starship Enterprise. My wife has taken on the driving prowess of Juha Kankkunen, and the horizon is quickly approaching…)
J: “It’s like a sports car. Wow, I really like it!”
For the rest of the day, I was relegated to the passenger seat. When we finally returned home, my wife was sold on the LEAF.
J: “I want one. It’s awesome. It’s so easy to drive, and the stereo is brilliant” (The Tekna’s specification includes a Bose sound system, with subwoofer). “It would be so much better for my commute into Bradford city centre, the queues wouldn’t be a problem, and I’m loving the heated seats!”
It looks like we might be becoming a two-EV household very soon!