Wikipedia defines a “backronym” as “a specially constructed acronym created to fit an existing word. For example, NASA named its space station treadmill the Combined Operational Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT) after Stephen Colbert. The backronym was a lighthearted compromise in recognition of the comedian’s ability to sway NASA’s online vote for the naming of an ISS module.”

Perhaps Nissan should take a page out of NASA’s book…

Instead of “Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family” car (the LEfAF, apparently), I think Green Operational Regenerative Energymobile (the GORE) or the Clean Low Orbit Original New Energy mobilitY, erm, solution (the CLOONEYs) could work, because name recognition sells. Never mind the fact that Leaf is a great name for an environmentally friendly electric car (because nature!), the notion that Nissan wants to earn an all caps LEAF at every mention seems a bit greedy for a company making a concerted effort to lower its footprint and make the world a better place.

To this day, Nissan is the only company ever to send me out to do manual labour on a volunteer project for an automotive event, and I love them for it. However, only one other automotive writer showed. Perhaps it had something to do with the Nissan Titan they were demonstrating, umpteen years into its product cycle. That is not their only charity endeavour, as Nissan Canada (and globally) is also actively engaged in Habitat for Humanity and other charitable causes.

Why am I discussing charitable causes in a Nissan Leaf review? Well, as much as I hate to say it, the LEfAF Leaf is a bit of a charity case, but it is also reflective of Nissan’s efforts to make the world a better place. I’m sure corporate profits and tax exemptions for charity have nothing to do with it. Anyhow, the Leaf was the first affordable mainstream mass-market electric vehicle in North America, and competes mainly with California-specials built only to satisfy California legislation requiring manufacturers to sell X number of fully electric vehicles (EVs) in order to continue selling cars in California. It remains the only widely available electric vehicle riding on a dedicated EV platform accessible to average buyers. The Tesla is still just far too expensive for most families.

Like the original Prius, Nissan is surely taking a bath on every Leaf they sell, now priced as low as $31,798 for the base S model (ironic?), with such notable features as 16-inch steelies, spoiler and underbody aerodynamic panels, intelligent key, Bluetooth, cruise control, back-up camera, heated front and rear seats, heated leather steering wheel, AM/FM/CD four-speaker stereo with USB connection. That is not half bad for equipment level compared to some hatchbacks that end up at a similar price point, and very competitive in Ontario and Quebec where you can still collect up to $8,500 in rebates through government subsidies. At that reduced price, you’re comparing it with the Kia Forte5 EX AT, VW Golf 1.8T Comfortline Auto or TDI Trendline, or Mazda3 GS Auto.

2015 Nissan LEAF2015 Nissan LEAF wheel2015 Nissan LEAF dashvborad
2015 Nissan LEAF, wheel, dashvborad. Click image to enlarge
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