The autonomous driving experience has been, up until recently, an expensive technology reserved for luxury cars. Among others, Nissan is working to bring partial autonomous driving to lower-priced machines. Nissan’s ProPilot Assist is part of a technology package that cost just $650 on our long-term Leaf. That’s a ridiculously good deal. The Leaf’s tech package also includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, intelligent lane intervention, an electronic parking brake and high beam assist. ProPilot Assist is also available on the Nissan Rogue as well as Infiniti’s new QX50 crossover.
Okay, so ProPilot is cheap and available (like me when I was single) but is it any good? To find out we decided to give the ProPilot a workout from Los Angeles to San Diego. Why San Diego? Aside from simply being a destination within reach the Leaf’s driving range, San Diego was the location Nissan chose to launch its new Kicks entry-level crossover, and we were on the schedule to test drive it. The event headquarters was a hotel in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter with a charging station in its parking garage, so I could plug the Leaf in overnight and have a full charge for my drive home. Perfect.
ProPilot aims to ease the monotony and frustration of a typical freeway commute, and no other freeway in the free world will redline your temper quicker than I-405 in Los Angeles. There’s always traffic. And the I-5 freeway, which links southern Orange County to San Diego is no slouch in that department either. The 130-mile drive from LA to San Diego can easily suck more than 3 hours from your life. So, if there ever was a time we’d like to let the car do some of the driving—this would be it.
Read more: AutoWeek