How to change the set distance to the vehicle ahead on the Nissan Leaf

2 min read

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is equipped with intelligent cruise control, or ICC. Not every specification has it, so check your owner’s manual to make sure.
This page will show you how to adjust the set distance to the car ahead using ICC on the Nissan Leaf. It’s important to know so you can stay safe while taking advantage of these luxurious features.

What is Intelligent Cruise Control?

You’ll be familiar with standard cruise control. It’s a basic onboard program found in all sorts of cars, used to maintain a near-constant speed. Cruise control is helpful for long highway journeys but shouldn’t be used for city driving.
Intelligent Cruise Control is one of many semi-self-driving developments in recent years. Using sensors on the car, it measures the distance to the vehicle in front. If this gap becomes too small, it’ll adjust your Nissan Leaf’s speed accordingly. This prevents you from running into the back of the other car.
When the road ahead is clear, ICC functions the same way as regular cruise control. It simply maintains a constant speed.
If your Nissan Leaf comes equipped with Intelligent Cruise Control, it has two modes. These are:

  • Vehicle-to-vehicle distance control mode
  • Conventional (fixed speed) cruise control mode

How to select a cruise control mode on the Nissan Leaf

  • Press the ICC button to activate one of the two modes.
    • Tap the button to activate the vehicle-to-vehicle distance control mode.
    • Press and hold the button for 1.5 seconds to choose the conventional cruise control mode.

If you change your mind about which mode you want active, you’ll need to turn the system off and restart it.

  • Press the ICC button again to turn the system off.
  • Press the ICC button once more to restart it.
  • Follow the earlier steps to choose which mode you want.

How to change the distance to the car ahead using vehicle-to-vehicle ICC mode

The ICC system will automatically hold your car a certain distance from the one in front. That’s dependent on a few conditions mentioned further down this page. When a slower vehicle is detected, your Leaf is slowed down to match its speed.
Here’s how to change the set distance you’ll follow that car at:

  1. Activate ICC, selecting vehicle-to-vehicle distance control mode. The vehicle-to-vehicle icon will come on. It will be gray.
  2. Set your desired speed. The icon will then turn green.
  3. You’ll see another switch by the RES, CANCEL, and SET buttons. It looks like the back of a car with three horizontal lines under it. This is what controls the distance to the vehicle ahead.
    • Tap this switch. This cycles the set distance between three settings:
      • Long
      • Middle
      • Short
    • On the display, you’ll see the number of lines between the bottom of the icon and the “car” image increase/decrease. The more lines there are, the further away you’ll travel.
      • The faster you travel, the greater the distance between you and the other car for each setting.
  4. The icon looks different depending on whether the ICC detects a vehicle ahead:
    • When a vehicle is detected, you’ll see an image of a car above the lines.
    • When no car is detected, the space above the lines will be empty. 

Approach warning

If the distance to the vehicle in front decreases quickly, the system will alert you to the danger.

  • It’ll sound a warning chime.
  • The indicator will blink.

When this happens, ensure you react to the situation. This may involve pressing the brake hard or taking evasive maneuvers with your steering wheel.
In some situations, the system might not recognize the danger in time – for example, if a car cuts in front of you.

Override the set distance on vehicle-to-vehicle cruise control

The cruise control system (whichever it is) will be temporarily overridden whenever you press the accelerator pedal. If you press the pedal when traveling behind another car, you will get closer.
When you need to overtake, don’t be afraid to speed up. You can settle back down to the set speed once you pass the car. Release the pedal, and the cruise control will take over once again.

Always stay alert when using the Nissan Leaf’s vehicle-to-vehicle ICC

Cruise control is a great tool. Intelligent Cruise Control takes it one step further, helping freeways maintain a smooth traffic flow. However, it’s not a self-driving system. You shouldn’t ever rely on it – the car can only control up to 40% of the braking. When using the ICC system, always stay alert and aware of what’s happening around you.
The Intelligent Cruise Control might not function properly if:

  • Someone cuts in front of you
  • The radar sensor gets blocked
  • In adverse weather conditions
  • On small, narrow, and/or bendy roads
  • And more

If the icon turns yellow, the system is malfunctioning. You should immediately turn it off and head to a Nissan dealership for inspection.

Here’s a snapshot from the owner’s manual:

By Ben Kitchen Ben is a qualified car mechanic with experience working in the industry. He now works as an automotive author, writing about all things vehicle-related. He’s excited about the potential held by electric cars of all shapes, sizes, and types.

Ben Kitchen Ben is a qualified car mechanic with experience working in the industry. He now works as an automotive author, writing about all things vehicle-related. He’s excited about the potential held by electric cars of all shapes, sizes, and types.

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