Category Archives: Nissan

2017 Nissan Rogue SL Hybrid AWD

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2017 Nissan Rogue SL Hybrid AWD. It is, for me, a very strong contender in class because Nissan has been a favorite of mine for many years. The only bias I’m inclined to is to buy American. I like the Denali, but the Rogue is a Hybrid and the fuel economy gives it a decided edge. It also has a fantastic array of standard features for the money.

2017 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joseph Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2017 Nissan Armada Platinum 4WD. The last time I reviewed an Armada was in South Carolina for a golf outing with a group of friends. When you have 4 guys with luggage and golf bags you need a large vehicle. Armada fit the bill – just dandy.








Today the Armada remains large despite some who think no one should be allowed to drive such large cars… it just isn’t politically correct they tell me. Really, there are also some who think everyone should drive electric cars or at the very least “Green”. Time will bear out what is the most efficient mode of transportation. Who knows it may be ‘tele transporting and we won’t need cars at all. In any case, a free market is the best way to determine the matter best. Only few will choose the least efficient way to do anything.

As to Electric Technology I remind you that in 1903 electric cars performed as well as today’s electric cars. What does that tell you? Pursuing that technology appears a path going nowhere.

So, when you need a large vehicle I trust you will chose the best one for the need. And the next time I have a large group with golf clubs and luggage you can bet it won’t be in a Prius.

With 22 models of Nissan you should be able to find something that fits your want or need.

Opinion:

Everyone has one (an opinion), so voice yours – it’s your constitutional right in America and not so much everywhere else in the world. How’s that for UNIQUE, especially since America only represents 5% of the world population. God bless America. Go ahead, speak up, speak out – That’s my opinion. What’s yours?

General Information: It is assembled in Los Angeles, CA. Classification is Standard SUV. Cars from Nissan: Altima, Armada, Frontier, GT-R, JUKE, LEAF, Maxima, Murano, NV Cargo, NV Passenger, NV 200, Pathfinder, Quest, Rogue, Rogue Sport, Sentra, Titan, Titan XD, Versa Note, Versa Sedan, 370 Z Coupe and 370 Z Roadster.

Handling & Performance:

Special for a large car / SUV. It performed spectacularly during my “over-the-Crest” Test mountain curvy road route.

Styling:

Armada hasn’t changed much over the past years, and that is fine with me.

Fit and Finish:

Nice, very nice.

Cost:

You get what you pay for, so if you need a large SUV for lots of folks, kids, dogs, cats, soccer teams or golf buddies this Armada should be on your shopping list.

Conveniences and comfort:

If there is something else you can think of that you need in an automobile, like the kitchen sink I’m sure they can add it for you. Yep, if it had any more features you’d call it HOME.

Consumer Recommendations:

We all have our favorite car makers so perhaps the following information could be helpful. Oh, if you will be hauling 7 or 8 people buy LARGE – it will take as many as 7 cars off the road.

Recognized Competition:

Nissan Armada $62,000, Ford Expedition $62,000, Toyota Sequoia $63,000, Mercedes Benz GLS $68,000, Chevrolet Tahoe $63,000, Lincoln Navigator $65,000, Infiniti QX 80 $65,000.

Good News:
Beautiful handling, great safety features, a huge number of comfort and convenience features, competitive pricing, comfy and spacious.

Bad News:
Some will complain about the fuel economy.

Standard Equipment:

5.6 liter 390 HP V8 engine, 7-speed auto transmission, four wheel drive, 20” alloy wheels, Hill start assist, front, side and curtain airbags, LATCH system, 4-wheel ABS braking system, dynamic control, traction control, electronic brake force distribution, tire pressure monitor, security system, anti-theft system, distance control assist, forward emergency braking with predictive forward collision warning, land departure warning, and lane departure prevention, blind spot intervention and warning, back-up collision intervention, Leather seating with 8-way power driver seat with 2-way power lumbar support, heated and cooled front seats, power folding 60/40 3rd row seat, intelligent Key with memory and remote engine start, power tilt and telescopic steering column, smart cruise control, 13-speaker Bose audio system with AM/FM/SXM/ CD/MP3 and Aux input and 8” color display with Navigation, USB connection Port with iPod connectivity, Bluetooth hand-free phone system, family entertainment system with two 7” WVGA color displays and two wireless headphones, dual zone climate control, 12 volt power outlets, power windows, power sliding moonroof with front tilt and rear slide, front and rear sonar, ‘around view monitor with moving object detection, rain sensing wipers, auto on/off headlights, heated mirrors with memory, roof rails, side step rails, front fog lights, power liftgate, trailer brake controller, receiver hitch with 7-pin wiring harness.

Gas Stats:

$3.05/ Gal avg. October 8, 2017
www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

13 City and 18 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $59,990

2017 Nissan Rogue Compact SUV

Backstreet Cruizers

Aug 24, 31, 6pm to 8:30pm

Wilson Park, Milan, MI

TEST DRIVE

2017 Nissan Rogue Compact SUV

By Vince Bodiford

Driving the Nissan Rogue, it is easy to notice and appreciate many mid-year improvements on the already popular compact crossover SUV. Nissan’s top selling vehicle in the U.S, it received extensive enhancements for the 2017 model year – creating what Nissan says is the most efficient, convenient and confidence-inspiring Rogue ever. Now Rogue offers a number of additional enhancements for mid-year.

The major revisions to the second-generation Rogue are highlighted by updated styling, convenience, NVH refinements, technology and safety features. In addition, Rogue Hybrid, featuring the first-ever hybrid powertrain for Rogue, boosts estimated fuel economy to 33 city – an increase of up to seven mpg over non-hybrid Rogue models.

VEHICLE HIGHLIGHTS:

MSRP starting at $23,820

Offers: Active offers for August, see Nissan dealer for details.

2.5-liter EFI engine.

Xtronic Automatic Transmission

Fuel economy estimates range from 26-mpg city to 33-mpg highway.

Vehicle Highs: Improved fuel economy, larger cargo area and useful storage, improved interior.

Vehicle Lows: Would benefit from a bit more power, transmission is bit noisy on hard acceleration.

Vehicle Rivals: All compact crossover SUVs, especially Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV.

Exterior features include a new front end design with Nissan signature design cues, available Motion-Activated liftgate, and new available Safety Shield technologies such as Intelligent Cruise Control and Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection.

Among the interior enhancements found in the refreshed Rogue are a D-shaped steering wheel and leather-booted sport-mode shifter, and available heated steering wheel, memory for driver’s seats and mirror, and remote engine start. The result is a premium look and feel throughout the roomy Rogue cabin.

Adding a new sense of luxury to Rogue, the Platinum Reserve Interior Package is highlighted by premium tan leather-appointed seats with special quilted leather inserts. It is available on Rogue SL models only.

The new for this year is the Midnight Edition treatment that includes black 17-inch Midnight Edition aluminum-alloy wheels, black mirror caps and available Midnight Edition floor mats. It also adds black roof rails, black cross bars, black splash guards, rear bumper protector and illuminated kick plates.

Rogue offers optional 3-row/7-passenger seating, along with great passenger and cargo flexibility with its EZ Flex Seating System, and Divide-N-Hide Cargo System. The cargo system provides 18 adjustable variations between the cargo and occupant areas (two-row models) and creates a flat cargo area with the 2nd row seat folded down. When more space is needed for carrying taller or bulkier items, lowering the floor board creates a deeper cargo well.

The Rogue Hybrid utilizes Nissan’s Intelligent Dual Clutch system. It uses a compact Lithium-ion battery and electric motor to provide supplementary power through its one-motor/two-clutch system. The first of the two clutches is a dry clutch installed between the 4-cylinder engine and the electric motor. The system also includes an Idle Start/Stop system.

The Rogue Hybrid’s 2.0-liter engine and 30kW electric motor, connected to the advanced Xtronic transmission, produces fuel economy of up to 33 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined for front-wheel drive models.

The Rogue Hybrid has a net system horsepower rating of 176 hp. This compares to 170 horsepower for the standard Rogue model’s 2.5-liter internal combustion engine.

Both powertrains are matched with an Xtronic transmission with Sport and Eco Mode switches. Also standard are Vehicle Dynamic Control and 4-wheel disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System. The Rogue is available with an All-Wheel Drive system or front-wheel drive.

Available Rogue technology features include NissanConnectSM with Navigation, Mobile Apps, and Services, with 7.0-inch color touch-screen display, Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, SiriusXM Travel Link and SiriusXM Traffic Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, radar-based Blind Spot Warning and Intelligent Cruise Control, and Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection.

Rogue is offered in three well-equipped gasoline engine-equipped grade levels, and two for the hybrid. Rogue is assembled in Smyrna, Tennessee, Kyushu, Japan and Busan, Korea.

THE VERDICT

A bit more expensive than its rivals, the Rogue makes up for it in content and fresh styling. It is a strong contender in the compact import crossover SUV segment.

For more information, see your local Nissan dealer or visit NissanUSA.com

Test drive by Vince Bodiford.

2016 Nissan Rogue SV FWD SUV (1139)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Nissan Rogue SV FWD SUV. Up until recently the Rogue was built in Japan. Now it is built in Smyrna, TN where Nissan has cranked out more than 10 million vehicles. That is really smart of Nissan because America is the biggest market for them and American’s like to see off-shore companies employ workers here. But another reason for them to do more here is that, believe it or not, Japan is more expensive than the US.

Nissan divide and hide cargo is really slick and very cars today are as innovative. This surely doesn’t fit the name. While I’m thinking of it, let’s see what the name “Rogue” means:

  1. A dishonest or unprincipled man. E.g. “you are a rogue and an embezzler”
synonyms: scoundrelvillainmiscreantreprobaterascalgood-for-nothingne’er-do-well and wretch.
  1. An elephant or other large wild animal driven away or living apart from the herd and having savage or destructive tendencies.  e.g. “a rogue elephant”.

What’s in a name? One has to wonder what prompted the naming of this SUV. But it also means a man who causes trouble in a playful way. I like that definition better.

General Information: It is assembled in Smyrna, Tennessee. Classification is Small SUV’s. Cars from Nissan: 370 Z Coupe, 370Z Roadster, Altima, Altama Sedan,Armada, Cube, Frontier, GT-R, JUKE, LEAF, Maxima, Murano, Murano CrossCabriolet, NV Cargo, NV Passenger, NV200, Pathfinder, Pathfinder Hybrid, Quest, Rogue, Rogue Select, Sentra, Titan, Titan XD, Versa Note, Versa Sedan and Xterra..

Handling & Performance:

Very capable, comfortable car with good power considering the good mileage it gets. The size, for me, is perfect. It is easy to maneuver, park and in general handling is very good. It feels more like a midsize, to me even though it is classified as a “Small” SUV. The model I tested had 3rd row seating and I guess that made it seem larger.

Styling:

Pretty traditional SUV styling and for a ‘small’ SUV it is the only one in class to give the option of a 3rd Row Seat. That option is priced at $940.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Exceptionally good pricing all things considered.

Conveniences and comfort:

Nissan divide and hide cargo area is perhaps one of the most interesting features found in any manufacturers bag of tricks. It divides and stabilizes cargo in nearly 20 different configurations that are easy and quick to use. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJajzY_TMGQ is a link to a video of this feature. Nice.

Consumer Recommendations:

This Rogue should be one in the competition you test drive. Drive the Rogue first and for the money I believe you’ll return for a second look and buy it. Of those listed the Rogue is the only one to give a 7 seating capacity. All others seat 5.

Recognized Competition:

Nissan Rogue $25,000, Honda CR-V $33,000, Ford Escape $25,000, Mazda CX-5 $30,000, Toyota RAV-4 $32,000.

Good News:

Very good fuel economy, versatile seating and cargo use, well priced.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter inline 4-cylinder 170 hp engine, CVT – continuous variable transmission with sport and Eco modes, front wheel driver, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, 17” alloy wheels, hill start assist, 1,000 lb tow capacity, front, side and curtain airbags, LATCH child safety system, dynamic control, traction control, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, vehicle immobilizer system, security system, tire pressure monitor, 6-way power driver seat with power lumbar support, 40/20/40 folding and reclining seating, 60/40 sliding second row row seats, 5” color audio display, Sirius XM satellite radio, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system, USB connection port for iPod interface and other compatible devices, Bluetooth hands free phone system, streaming audio via Bluetooth, hands free text messaging assistant, 3 12-volt power points, rear view monitor, dual zone climate control, 2nd row seat a/c vents, Nissan divide and hide cargo, power door locks and windows, intellegent key with push button start, daytime running lights, auto on/off headlights and roof rails.

Gas Stats:

$2.95/ Gal avg. May 2, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

26 City and 33 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $24,590

2016 Nissan Murano SL FWD (1128)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Nissan Murano SL FWD SUV (Station Wagon). Overall it is, to me, a lovely quality mid-size wagon. It was a nice ride for the week with a lot of comfort and all the bells and whistles I consider to be important.

When I began driving seat belts were not even standard equipment, helmets were not required while riding my motorcycle. Some did install seat belts they bought at Pep Boys or Allied Auto Parts or even Sears. Some also wore helmets and I simply didn’t want to. I stopped riding my Harley and sold it when the law was passed that made my decision not to wear a helmet unholy and illegal. We all have choices. Guess I could have moved to Arizona where it was still ok to permit freedom and liberty of its citizens.

Opinion:

It is my opinion that ALL cars should be required to have Smart Cruise Control as standard equipment. Further if you entered a freeway you would be required to turn it on and set it for the speed of traffic to move in concert with all other cars on the road, or more specifically at the speed of traffic in each lane traveling in. I submit to you that it would provide as much as 50% more cars on the highway. Surely on those times where there is bumper to bumper traffic, or 100% saturation of the highway, the theory doesn’t apply. The reason why “Smart Cruise Control” would better utilize the roadway is that when all cars are on cruise with safe distances set into the computer the flow of traffic is far more efficient. I realize there are other considerations but those could be worked out.

With the advent of higher technology it changes the dynamics of driving on our higher speed highways. But it would eliminate those drivers who tend to be distracted and leave a hundred car lengths between them and the next car ahead of them. That inattentive driver is what causes road rage and radical maneuvering of the frustrated drivers who ARE paying attention. Thus the speed and distances between cars are safer in all respects. It eliminates erratic and dangerous and unnecessary lane changing.

I’d be interested in your comments, so please feel free to share. joe@atthewheel.com

General Information: It is assembled in // n/a. Classification is Mid-size Station Wagon. Cars from Nissan: Altima, Altima Sedan, Armada, Cube, Frontier, GT-R, Juke, LEAF, Maxima, Murano, Murano Cross Cabriolet, NV Cargo, NV Passenger, NV 200, Pathfinder, Pathfinder Hybrid, Quest, 370 Z Coupe, 370 Z Roadster.

Handling & Performance:

I like the mid-size in this segment. They are easier to maneuver around town and park. It has good power with its 260 horsepower V-6 engine.

Styling:

Some have told me they don’t like all the sharp angles and the rear end looks like it was in a rear collision. I don’t share their concern about that but let’s face it, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. . . a very personal view of design.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent.

Cost:

Competitive pricing in this segment with features I believe covers everything that is most important in today’s world.

Conveniences and comfort:

Wow – huge list of standard equipment. Most importantly, to me, is that the high tech features I consider most important are included. I look at it this way. We all get distracted and it only takes seconds to ruin your day. Smart things like “Crash Avoidance” are so advanced it will prevent large numbers of accidents. Coupled with “Blind Spot” alerts that work to prevent side collisions.

Consumer Recommendations:

The list is made up of all very nice automobiles that are priced much the same. I didn’t look at the features included in all in the list but it was clear to me that Nissan has included nearly every new and useful feature available.

Recognized Competition:

Nissan Murano $38,000, Cadillac SRX $39,000, Nissan Pathfinder $37,000, Hyundai Santa Fe $37,000, Honda Pilot $38,000, Kia Sorento $39,000, Lincoln MKX $39,000.

Good News:

Fair fuel economy and the same as all in class, nice ride and a quality build vehicle.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter V6 engine, continuously variable transmission, front wheel drive, 18” Aluminum alloy wheels, front, side and curtain airbags, driver knee air bag, LATCH system, 4-wheel ABS braking system, dynamic control, traction control, tire pressure monitor, security system, hill start assist, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, around view monitor, 8-way power driver seat with power lumbar support, 4-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, 60/40 split fold down rear seats, leather seating and leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, driver side memory for seat and mirrors, auto dimming inside mirror, 9-speaker BOSE audio system, AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA in dash changer, Ambient lighting, cruse control, Nissan Connect with Navigation and mobile apps,8” multi-Touch color monitor, SiriusXM satellite radio, with traffic and travel link, HD radio, front and rear USB connection ports, Bluetooth hands free phone system, streaming audio via Bluetooth, aux audio input jack, voice recognition for Nav and Audio, hands free text messaging assistant, 7” drive assist display, climate control with front and rear vents, intelligent key with push button ignition, remote engine start power windows with auto up / down and auto reverse feature, three 12 volt DC power outlets, auto on/off headlights, fog lights, heated mirrors with turn indicators and reverse tilt down, silver roof rails and power liftgate.

Gas Stats:

$2.65/ Gal avg. February 15, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

21 City and 28 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $36,950

2015 Nissan Versa (1053)

Overview:

This week I looked at the 2015 Nissan Versa SV Sedan. This is a great commuter for young families interested in economy and on a modest budget for transportation. It provides everything you need in a general transportation car. It only has 109 horsepower but it is surprising agile. It will keep up with traffic but not with great ease. But it will do it at 40 mpg and at a purchase price of about $12-15,000 that’s what I’m talking about. I can’t complain about what it doesn’t have but rather brag about what it does have. It has a great personality would scare some away, but don’t let that distract you. It may be just the right one for you.

Opinion:

Would someone tell me what it is with Honda drivers? Really, I am on the road a lot and since I write about cars I’m interested in trends and behavior of drivers. Without the driver the car is pretty sterile.

So I have observed before and revisit the fact that people who drive Honda cars are the fastest drivers on the highway. I suggest you watch for the phenomenon yourself. When a car zips around you look at the badge and you will see what I mean. Yep it’s another Honda.

Perhaps there is a CHP officer out there who can shed some light on my assertion since Honda drivers must account for up to 80% of all citations written based on what cars are speeding. Psychologists can add more to explain why they drive as they do. Ok, to remain balanced, Ford is a close second followed by Chevy and BMW. Next week I’ll be talking about the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and it too gets a lot of attention from the CHP. It’s a kid’s car and is way too fast for the uninitiated. It is nearly impossible to keep your speed down with turbocharged power and I had to rely on my cruise control as I would find myself going too fast.

General Information: It is assembled in // n/a. Classification is Compact. Cars from Nissan: Altima, Maxima, Versa, Sentra, Cube, Leaf, Pathfinder Hybrid, Z Coupe, roadster and GT-R, Murano, Juke, Rogue, Xterra, Armada, Quest, NV Passenger, Frontier and Titan.

Handling & Performance:
Great commuter and around town ease of handling. It won’t burn the tires off but it will get you there as efficiently as 40 mpg without the complexity and expense of Hybrid equipment. That to me makes more sense when you consider that same performance in a Hybrid will cost two to three times as much to purchase.

Styling:
Plain Jane styling might describe it adequately, but nice looking all the same. I always did prefer the girl next door.

Fit and Finish:
Very good for a car at this price point.

Cost:
Outstanding value to buy and to operate.

Conveniences and comfort:
I’ve tested cars at twice the money that didn’t have any more features found in this Versa.

Consumer Recommendations:
I’ve noted some close competitors and you owe it to yourself to test drive them all. My choices are Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Sonic in that order. I’d be interested in how you rank them after testing.

Recognized Competition:
Nissan Versa $16,000, Chevrolet Sonic $16,000, Ford Fiesta $16,000, Hyundai Accent $16,000, Kia Rio $14,000.

Good News:
Very well priced, outstanding fuel economy, decent interior room and good sized trunk.

Bad News:
Some will be turned off with 109 horsepower performance.

Standard Equipment:
1.6 liter 109 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, CVT auto transmission, front wheel drive, 4-wheel ABS front disc and rear drum brakes with EBD Electronic Brake force distribution and brake assist, 15” steeel wheels, front, side and curtain airbags, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), traction control, dynamic control, tire pressure monitor, 6-way manual adjustable driver seat and 4-way adjustable passenger seat, AM/FM/CD/Aux audio system with 4-speakers and USB/ iPod control, Bluetooth hands free phone system, Cruise control, steering wheel mounted audio controls, 60/40 split fold down rear seat, power door locks, trip computer, remote keyless entry with trunk release.

Gas Stats:
$3.55/ Gal avg. October 8, 2014
www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

31 City and 40 Highway MPG

Pricing:
MSRP $15,530

2013 Nissan Pathfinder PLT 4X4 SUV (998)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder PLT (Platinum) 4X4 SUV. Overall this new version of the Pathfinder receives great consumer approval which I can understand thoroughly.

In the early days of Pathfinder it was rather uninspiring other than it was intended to be a serious off road alternative. But over the years the off road component has become less important and is at best a perception of why you need an off road vehicle. In keeping with that reality the outer appearance has improved for image as a SUV Sport Utility Vehicle made for the family with seating for 7 in its three rows of seats.

Pathfinder’s name implies they are indeed an off road vehicle and held out the longest to adopt the crossover configuration. And that means it put lipstick and a new dress on to go to the ball. I don’t imply it is the “Bell of the Ball” but you’ll have to admit it is very good looking. And the redesign is quieter and roomier inside. It claims a major (25%) improvement in fuel economy as compared to the older model.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada n/a. It is assembled in Smyrna, TN. Classification is Small SUV. Cars from Nissan: Altima, Armada, cube, Frontier, GT-R, JUKE, LEAF, Maxima, Murano, NV Cargo, NV Passenger, NV200, Pathfinder, Quest, Rogue, Sentra, Titan, Versa, Versa Note, Xterra and Z.

Handling & Performance:

Excellent in all respects. I really enjoyed driving this Nissan.

Styling:

Crossover redesign gives it a modern day look for the hills of Beverly Hills.

Fit and Finish:

Stands out and clearly up to the competition.

Cost:

Very competitive with all and perhaps in some views most closely aligned with Traverse, Pilot and Durango.
Conveniences and comfort:
Outstanding array of features and conveniences. It is built into the pricing. And personally I could easily live without the Options packages noted here.

Consumer Recommendation:

Surely this will be at the top of the list of those to test drive unless you have a bias to a particular brand. But this Pathfinder is sure to turn your head and give you pause to reflect if Nissan might be a good move.

Recognized Competition:

Nissan Pathfinder $41,000, Acura MDX $43,000, Buick Enclave $38,000, Chevrolet Traverse $42,000, Dodge Durango $38,000, Honda Pilot $41,000, Mazda CX-9 $36,000, Subaru Tribeca $33,000, Toyota 4Runner $41,000, Toyota Highlander $39,000.

Good News:

Nice ride, nice looking and easy on the wallet or purse. Me, I don’t carry a purse but to each his own. Fuel economy is acceptable for a 7-passenger SUV.

Bad News:

Nothing jumped out at me so I didn’t want to spoil the date.

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter 200 Horsepower V6, Continuous Variable Transmission, Intuitive 4-wheel drive, 4-wheel vented ABS power disc brakes, electronic brake force distribution, 20” alloy wheels, front and side curtain airbags, LATCH child safety and rear door locks, vehicle dynamic control, traction control, immobilizer and security system, tire pressure monitor, 7-passenger seating, 3-rows leather seating with easy flex second row glide system, third row 50/50 split fold flat seating, 8-way power driver seat, 4-way power passenger seat, heated and cooled front seats, heated second row seats, power windows and locks, leather wrapped steering wheels and shift knob, memory for driver, intelligent key with push button start, Remote engine start, climate control, rear sonar system, HDD nav system with voice recognition, traffic and weather, Sirius XM radio, Bose audio with CD/USB and MP3 playback, Bluetooth streaming audio, and hands free phone, 8” color monitor, advanced drive assist display, 4 12-volt outlets and one 120v outlet, power liftgate, power mirrors, auto headlights, fog lights, stainless steel kick plates, tow hitch, roof rails.
Options: Platinum premium package with entertainment system with DVD 7”, headphones wireless remote control, rear headphone jacks and Dual panorama moon roof with tinted glass with rear sliding sun shade for about $2,300 .

Gas Stats:

$3.89 / Gal avg. October 1, 2013

www.fueleconomy.gov
For more information.

19 City and 25 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $40,770.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2013 – An Automotive Love Affair

2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 SL Sedan (965)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 SL Sedan. And as you may know, it was sold under the brand name Datsun until 1985. There are many reasons given for the name change including the story that when Nissan opened its first USA factory (to build Datsun cars) it was decidedly non-union, and many union workers began a campaign to “Boycott Datsun”. As an end run, Nissan changed the name from Datsun to Nissan. At that time Nissan was virtually unknown but Datsun owners had good memories of the cars and uninformed people didn’t associate Nissan with Datsun.

 

I was one of those Datsun owners who would agree there were good memories.

It is said the origins of the company began when DAT was formed in 1912 by Mr.’s Den, Aoyama and Takeuchi, who named their creation after their initials. They were built by the Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works, which changed its name in 1925 to DAT Automobile Works Ltd. The early DAT 41 had a 2300cc 20hp 4cyl engine.

Well they have come a long way to this very new Altima that sports a 270 horsepower engine that is smooth and quick at 5.7 seconds from zero to 60 mph. In the quarter mile it is 14.1 seconds. I can relate to that because an early day car I owned was a Corvette powered Model A which did the quarter mile in 13.25 seconds and made the cover of Hot Rod Magazine. Times have changed a lot with today’s NHRA quarter mile times at 4 seconds and well over 300 mph.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada n/a. It is assembled in Canton, OH U.S.A., Classification is Midsize. Cars from Nissan: Altima, Altima Hybrid, Armada, cube, Frontier, GT-R, JUKE, LEAF, Maxima, Murano, Murano CrossCabriolet, NV Cargo, NV Passenger, Pathfinder, Quest, Rogue, Sentra, Titan, Versa, Xterra and Z.

Handling & Performance:

Powerful with great acceleration, stable solid handling, and a nice ride overall.

Styling:

Some will say it is commonplace styling. I can’t argue with that comment made to me because all cars are computer designed. The computer only looks at the efficiency and maximum fuel economy through aerodynamics that give all cars a similar look. You know there are those designs that are wild and crazy looking, square boxes and worse but they give up a lot in the economics of operation.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

You get a lot for the MSRP and if you opt for all the options you can add only $1,000 to the price.

Conveniences and comfort:

Very good and surely it had all the features I would want on my car – even the Nav system I usually suggest you consider a portable version, but Nissan has priced the technology package realistically which includes a Nav system, Blind spot and Lane departure and Moving object detection warning systems. That I can agree to. I really liked the voice actuated Nav and it has a nice feature that view changes as you approach your next turn.

Consumer Recommendation:

In this line up it is unimaginable NOT to include the Altima in your buying decision. Nissan says it is “the most innovative Altima ever”. Well I don’t know about that, but it still remains at the top of my list in spite of the fact that Hyundai is one of my favorites.

Recognized Competition:

Nissan Altima $31,000, Buick LaCrosse $36,000, Chevrolet Malibu $27,000, Chrysler 300 $35,000, Dodge Charger $32,000, Ford Fusion $32,000, Honda Accord $33,000, Hyundai Sonata $28,000, Kia Optima $27,000, Mazda 6 $24,000, Mitsubishi Galant $24,000, Subaru Legacy $29,000, Toyota Camry $30,000.

Good News:

Great performer, comfortable sedan, good fuel economy, nice looking, nice Nav system and of course priced right.

Bad News:

The space for your hand to adjust the power seat is made narrow when the door is closed and a second thing is that the placement of the Cruise control buttons could be better. I hate to nit-pik but it bothered me. One thing I alerted the company about was a pulsating feel when the Cruise is engaged. I couldn’t make it out and it didn’t do it all the time. More later if I find the answer.

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter 270 horsepower V6 engine, continuous variable transmission, 18” aluminum Alloy wheels, front side and side curtain airbags, LATCH child safety system, 4-wheel power ABS disc brakes with brake force distribution, traction control, dynamic control, tire pressure monitor, security system with immobilizer system, power assist steering, 8-way power leather heated driver seat with lumbar support, heated leather wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, Bose premium audio with 9 speakers, 5” color audio display, SiriusXM satellite radio, USB connection with iPod connectivity, Bluetooth phone, climate control, rear A/C vents, remote keyless entry with engine start, push button ignition, power locks and windows, moon roof, visors with sliding rod extension, auto dimming mirror, 2-12 volt power outlets, auto headlights, fog lights, manual folding and heated outside mirrors with turn indicators.

Options you may consider: Navigation with 7” color display, blind spot warning, lane departure warning and moving object detection.

Gas Stats:

$4.21 / Gal avg.  Feb. 17, 2013

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

22 City and 31 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $30,080.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

The 2009 Nissan 370ZX

Overview:

This week we’re talking with Merkel Weiss an old associate about his opinion of the 2009 Nissan 370ZX, one of my favorite cars to drive. Ok, so he’s not all that old but you know what I mean. Herewith an automotive engineers view of the Z.

The other night my old friend Que Quan (Q) pulled up to my back yard in a new test car. There it was, silhouetted in the moonlight. This sleek red Nissan thing with giant 19 inch open-spoke silver wheels sat there as we looked on in mock reverence, usually reserved for an Aston Zagatto or the like.

It was the old car but more, and it was the old car but less. Here is my problem. I have at times liked the Z-car and at times not so much. The early 240Z was a nice car to look at and a reasonably well behaved car for its day. It was also one heck of a bargain – I remember the head of the Mechanical Engineering laboratory at Penn State where I was at grad school debating whether to buy the Vega GT or the 240Z. At that time the Datsun (Nissan today) was a bit of a risk because in 1970, nobody had any experience with the brand, especially with the inline 6 sports car shy of the Datsun 2000 which fell short of being a reliable car. Well, he bought the American car and although patriotic at the time, I never looked at him the same way. Driving the Vega had all the thrill and panache of driving a Trabant. Driving that Z-car on the other hand was a serious hoot. Sure they got fat and sloppy in the 70’s and 80’s but didn’t everything?

And so it was last night and this 370 thing sticks like epoxy. It is well behaved and suffers from none of the underdeveloped shortcomings of some of the earlier cars. It changes direction at the mere thought of it, and it has a nice compromise in ride to its prodigious grip. And when the grip runs out, this thing handles like it has some balance to it. Those famous 3 dials in your face and glowing atop the dash remind you constantly where you are. One could argue that not all the information conveyed by the 370s instruments is actually useful, but what the heck. It’s Japanese. The Western mind stretches but fails to comprehend the strangely oriented and only obtusely connected artifacts of the Asian sports car cockpit. And what’s with the mid-dash flap door that opens to a shallow shelf of rectangular configuration, useful for a hankie or maybe some loose soil? It should be lower in front of the 6-speed shifter and a bit deeper for the obligatory gloves.

The 1990s bought a 300ZX that I thought at the time to be the best ever and occasionally my mind wanders down that path again. Lovely to behold (no small thing for any Asian car) and in twin turbo V6 guise, this car was a real rocket ship. Together with the 4-wheel steering setup, gleaned from the all-too-short Mid 4 program, this car was a serious barrel of monkeys to drive, except that it was really buttoned down. Even the 2+2 version seemed to look properly proportioned, unlike the travesty that befell the Jaguar E-Type V12 2+2, when without any warning it turned from the perhaps finest looking sports car of all time into a pregnant guppy with wheels. Truly, the 300ZX was a milestone automobile.

In truth, the 370ZX may be a milestone car as well. There is some real driver feedback and not that it can read and write like an M3, the car has such high levels of grip that when it approaches the edge, you pretty much know that you’re out there on your own. And still the car’s stability control (4-wheel ABS activating as required to stabilize directionality) comes in to rescue you so long as you have not done something beyond Newtonian physics. If you only need 2 seats, you can live with this car very easily on a day to day basis, providing that you don’t have luggage to haul around bigger than a standard suitcase.

The 370ZX is not a pretty car, in my opinion, but it is very close. I say this as a critic because I very much want to like the way it looks; it is sooooo close. The 350ZX was a car that was aesthetically flamboyant. As such, it tends to get old a bit faster than other, more conservative buttoned-down shapes. But the 370 is really quite different, although closely related and easily identifiable, which I like. Along with the shorter wheelbase, the humpy roof line behind the windshield header that stretches out to an interminably long, flat fastback, punctuated by the big-butt Bertha rear bumper is now gone, replaced by a reasonably perfunctory and quite near attractive roofline.

Where the 350 was a collection of horizontal lines of the sports car, clashing with vertically oriented elements of trim like the front side markers/signals, door handles, and long amorphously stretchy headlights and taillights combined in a random if not pointless manner, the 370 seems to mostly fit into a horizontal theme. The 350s undercut along the bottom of the door has been smoothed out on the 370 and now we have a couple of thin bone lines in the rocker panel, much like a BMW E36. The rear window now has a nice shape to it. There is still not a whole lot of rear ¾ vision available, but to be fair the fat pillars dictated by side impact protection in a coupe rarely permit much these days. At least the trunk has a bit more storage space as a result of the elimination of that ridiculous cross brace, emblazoned with the big Z. That was just too close to the screaming chicken for me.

There is much to like with the car inside and out. The apparent quality of the materials used in the interior is hugely improved. The arm rests, interior door handles and wheel/instrument binnacle all seem to be ergonomic perfection. In contrast, the 6 foot + crowd will have some difficulty with the too-short bottom seat cushions and the barely adequate headroom. For the under 6 foot crowd, like my friend Q, I’d say jump on this car now while they are still dealing. This is about as engaging as sports cars get without having to pay the price of a Porsche and then being grateful for the opportunity. Huge Bridgestone RE050A tires, 245/40-19 front and 275/ 35-19 rear, and well sorted 4-wheel A-arm suspension, 0 – 60 in 5.2 seconds, 60 – 0 in 115 feet, and 18/26 mile per gallon EPA city/highway gives a lot for not so much dollars (list below $30K).

One more detail that needs mentioning is the brilliant shift rev-matching (SynchroRev Match) button above and to the right of the shifter. Engage the rev-matching and it is now near impossible to miss a shift, no matter how goofy you get. Go ahead and try but do not get yourself in trouble please. In all the years that we, the car enthusiasts have had manual transmissions, this is perhaps the most useful and meaningful execution I have ever seen. Now anyone can be Stig Blomquist or Michelle Mouton, dancing on the pedals and charging up that windy road. Life is good behind the wheel once again.

General Info:

Parts – n/a

Assembly – Japan

Class:  – Sport

Cars: – Altima, Altima Hybrid, Armada, Cube, Frontier, GT R, Maxima, Murano, Pathfinder, Quest, Rogue, Sentra, Titan, Versa, Xterra & Z

Recognized Competition:

Nissan 370ZX $30-42,000, Infiniti G Coupe $36-39,000,  Lotus Elise $47-55,000, Saturn Sky $28-34,000, Audi TT $35-48,000, Chevrolet Corvette $49-114,000, Pontiac Solstice $24-30,000, Honda S2000 $35-38,000, Mazda RX8 $26-32,000, Mercedes SLK $46-66,000,  Porsche Cayman $50-60,000, Porsche Boxster $47-57,000, BMW Z4 $46-62,000, 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe $22-31,000 and Ford Mustang $21-36,000.

Gas Stats:

$2.69/ Gal avg. July 24, ‘09

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

18 City and 26 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $30-42,000.

2012 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV (940)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2012 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV. If you had any question on the popularity of this segment of the market you can just look at the 24 competitors in the field below.

Not only is there a large field of competitors they are very similar in look because that’s what people want. Clean design, not controversial in styling and they all have pretty similar features. That’s what you want and that’s what manufacturers are delivering. This is a not a difficult decision and in fact this is a great time to venture out to a brand you may not have considered in the past. If you are a Ford or Chevy guy or gal or you lean to imports thinking they are better (which isn’t really true) you will want to seriously consider something different this time. I suspect most will likely stay with what they feel comfortable with. However this is a different time and a global manufacturing climate, so domestic cars have just as much chance of being built off shore as imports. And many imports are not imports at all as they may in fact be built in America.

What’s more, US made car companies are learning to compete with imports by employing less expensive labor in Mexico, or China and Korea. Thus they are more competitive in a dog eat dog world of car making. That is reflected in the close pricing you see below.

General Information:

It is assembled in Smyrna, TN. Classification is Midsize. Cars from Nissan: Altima, Altima Hybrid, Armada, Cube, Frontier, GT-R, JUKE, LEAF, Maxima, Murano,  Murano Cross Cabriolet, NV Cargo, NV Passenger, Pathfinder, Quest, Rogue, Sentra, Titan, Versa, Xterra and Z.

Handling & Performance:

For those who do not know what a Continuously Variable Transmission is, the simple explanation is that it does not have a fixed number of gear ratios like the older technology transmissions have. The noticeable difference is the absence of shifts that will be obvious when you drive it. CVT transmissions can change step-less-ly through an infinite number of effective gear ratios between maximum and minimum values. The flexibility of a CVT allows the drive shaft to maintain a constant angular velocity over a range of output velocities. That coupled with 290 horsepower makes this a smoothly powerful ride. Nice.

On another issue, steering is a little heavy for my liking, but better than too loose so it is a minor complaint.

Styling:

Pretty, with sharp bold lines that I like a lot.

Fit and Finish:

Very good luxury car detail work in and out.

Cost:

Nissan has always been competitive in price and this grouping is so close you should test drive as many as you can. This is the end of the model year and you are in the driver’s seat in buying as dealers want to clear inventory for the arriving 2013 models. Take advantage of that fact and don’t be afraid to bargain.

Conveniences and comfort:

Top notch entry-level luxury sedan. I particularly appreciate the Intelligent Key that you can leave in your pocket or purse for truly keyless everything….

Consumer Recommendation:

Looking at this market segment? You have a lot to choose from because it is such a popular class. . . right on the cusp of Luxury but at a price most of us can afford.

Recognized Competition:

Nissan Maxima $35,000, Acura TL $36,000, BMW 3-series $35,000, Buick LaCrosse $32,000, Buick Regal $32,000, Chevrolet Impala $26,000, Chevrolet Malibu $25,000, Chrysler 300 $28,000, Dodge Charger $27,000, Ford Fusion $25,000, Ford Taurus $25,000, Honda Accord $27,000, Hyundai Azera $32,000, Hyundai Sonata $24,000, Kia Optima $20,000, Lexus ES 350 $37,000, Lincoln MKS $43,000, Lincoln MKZ $35,000, Mazda 6 $30,000, Mercedes-Benz C-Class $35,000, Saab 9-3 $29,000, Subaru Legacy $26,000, Toyota Avalon $36,000, Volkswagen Passat $31,000, Volvo S60 $31,000.

 Good News:

Smooth, solid, well built, powerful, fair fuel economy for semi luxury class.

Bad News:

A little stiff steering.

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter 290 hp V6 engine, Continuously variable Transmission, 18” Alloy wheels, front, side and side curtain airbags, power ABS disc brakes with brake force distribution, traction control, vehicle dynamic control, tire pressure monitor, Latch child safety system, vehicle security system, 8-way power driver seat with lumbar and manual thigh support extension, 4-way power passenger seat, 60/40 split fold down rear bench seat, leather seats and steering wheel and shift knob, tilt and telescopic column, cruise control, wheel mounted controls, Bose Audio with 6-CD changer, MP3/ WMA CD playback with 9 speakers and XM satellite, Aux input audio jack, Bluetooth, trip computer, climate control, Intelligent Key with push button start/stop, power windows with one-touch up and down, power moon roof, auto headlights, visors with extensions power outside mirrors with turn signals and fog lights.

Gas Stats:

$4.03/ Gal avg. Sept. 18, 2012

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

19 City and 26 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $34,450.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2012 – An Automotive Love Affair