By on October 30, 2015

174

When I arrived at the Emerald Aisle at LAX on Wednesday, I had a slight moment of excitement when I saw a low-mileage Nissan 370Z coupe resting comfortably in the far corner of the Executive area. You see, I very nearly bought a Z back in 2005, and the car has always held a special interest for me. Back then, the Mazda RX-8 and the Nissan 350Z held quite a grip on the young American car culture—the Z was the official ride of Drift King in The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift (a fine and underrated film, in the opinion of your author). I tried to talk my father into buying a 350Z convertible a couple of years later, and I nearly succeeded, too, until his wife got a look at it and declared it to be “impractical.”

So I sauntered over as casually as possible, so as not to alert my fellow National customers to the presence of the Z on the lot, and quickly threw my bags in the back. “Aha,” I thought. “I won the Rental Car Lottery today!”

Then I started to drive it.

The seven-speed automatic transmission felt clunky and forever inbetween gears. The six-cylinder VQ motor sounded like it was being simultaneously strangled and flogged with a Cat O’ Nine Tails. There wasn’t a seating position that I could find that even resembled comfort. The stereo’s display looked like it was straight out of a Tandy tape deck, and the sound it put forth was sonically wretched. It was decently quick, but any similarly priced Mustang or Camaro would look better, sound better, and be at least competitive in a straight line with the woefully outdated Z.

In other words, I hated it. I got so bizarrely angry about my decision that I promptly drove it to the Hustler Casino on the edge of Compton and parked it conspicuously in the back of the lot in the hopes that somebody might steal it, and then National would be forced to deliver another car to me. Like, any other car.

It occurred to me as I drove it to Auto Club Speedway today with my good friend Matt Farah, who alternately described the sound of the the VQ as “rough” and “worse than a GM 3800” as he squirmed uncomfortably in the passenger seat, that Nissan, the company who used to make things that kids actually put on their walls as aspirational dreams, doesn’t manufacture a single, solitary car that anybody would consider to be the best or most desirable car in its class. Not one.

What is Nissan good at? Who are they? What’s their brand identity? I’m not sure anybody knows these answers. At this point, one could make a solid case that Nissan’s best car is…the Leaf. Ouchies.

In each segment in which Nissan competes, they are no better than a third option, and in most cases, they’re worse than that. Versa? Pretty sure I’d rather have a Fiesta or a Fit. Sentra…wait, they still make the Sentra? No kidding. Huh. Hard to make a case for it against any of the cars in the segment. The Altima is the official vehicle of people who say things like “I need a car but I don’t like cars or really know anything about them but I just wrecked mine so I need to replace it with something.” Would anybody actually pick a Maxima over a V6 Impala? The trucks are okay, but they’re such also-rans in the segment that I sometimes forget that they exist. The CUVs are setting new standards, but only for being completely and utterly forgettable. The GT-R sells in such low numbers as to be statistically insignificant.

And the Z. The spiritual successor to some truly great cars, it now just feels old and forgotten. Seriously — go back and watch Tokyo Drift and tell me that you didn’t want a Z when you saw that film. Now? According to our own Tim Cain, only about 6,000 people have bought a Z in 2015 so far. Compare that to the Camaro — another car that came out only a year after the 370Z, has been aging badly, and is finally getting a replacement — which has sold over 60,000 units. The Z, as it stands today, is no longer a relevant car in the marketplace.

Now, here’s the question: Does the completely ho-hum nature of their lineup even matter? I can make an argument that it doesn’t — or at least, it’s not doing them much harm. Nissan’s year-over-year growth is actually decent. They do face a growing threat from Hyundai-Kia in their quest to hold onto the number six spot in the U.S. market, but their position in the marketplace seems stable.

But, it does make me sad. As a 16-year-old boy in 1994, I lusted after a Nissan Sentra SE-R in the worst way. I watched friends of mine drive NX 2000s, and I was pea green with envy. I used to love rolling up to school in my dad’s ’87 Maxima as a child. And the Z32 300Zx? Well, that was just about as good as it got.

I have a friend who loves Nissan. However, as much as he adores the brand, he, too, has admitted to me that they don’t have a single class-leading car. He was excited, however, when I posted a picture of my rental Z to my Facebook wall earlier this week. “Would be interested to know your thoughts,” he posted.

You want to know my thoughts? Here are my thoughts. The car is awful. I’m sure that a manual transmission would have helped, but it wouldn’t have helped nearly enough.

Let me go on. The brand is terrible. I wouldn’t buy anything they sell, and I honestly can’t recommend that anybody else does, either. No, they don’t sell bad cars. They just don’t sell any good ones. I’d honestly be surprised if anybody even makes a Nissan poster in 2015, and I’d be even more surprised if any tweens asked for one for their bedroom walls.

In closing, allow me to paraphrase the great lyricist, Everclear, here. Nissan, it’s time to pack it up. Nobody is fooled by your RACE CAR ALTIMA OMG WOW commericals. You don’t have a brand.  You don’t have an image. You don’t have a halo car. You’ve got bland, boring cars.

Are you going to do anything about it? For the sake of your fans, shouldn’t you?

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267 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: Nissan Doesn’t Make A Single Car You Want To Buy...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Fantastic rant… is this the beginning of the Barkathon?

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Pope, are you going to let him get away with disparaging the 3800!?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        You know I caught that, although it was not Bark who blasphemed. Mr. Farah might wake up one day in the midst of a new Crusade. Although I must give him props for this excellent Fox Mustang SSP:

        https://www.wheelwell.com/profile/54a87c441b035a475a2f2d8c/vehicles/54b463058e739ea2679c7484/specs/

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      I agree absolutely and add Infiniti, which only sells w/ huge discounts.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Bark lays Nissan’s miserable, shoddy, cheesy/tacky, of dubious quality & of-horrendous-anesthetics would to bare…

      …and I like it.

      The one big ‘attaboy I’ll give Nissan is for offering naturally aspirated (and generally very reliable) V6 and V8 engines in many of their vehicles, but the low rent interior materials, awful, warted-up exterior elements, and especially, CVT transmissions manage to offset that lone strand of goodness.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        And timing chains! They’ll give you a chain at times when others force a belt service on you.

        -Looking at you, Germans.-

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          And admittedly, Honda. (J-series V6s.)

          Just gotta budget for that and a water pump. Fortunately, that usually goes by miles, and not necessarily time.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It costs so much though! A $1200 service every 60k miles is not negligible. And I think VW makes you do it at 45, on some models.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Corey, most t-belt replacement intervals went to 90 and even 105k intervals quite a while ago, since the late 90s I reckon. I used to fawn over chains until I realized just how many chain equipped cars run into tensioner wear and chain stretch issues. At that point you’re in quite a bit more time and expense than a belt and water pump replacement. Now, a well engineered modern chain with good nah characteristics is ideal, and I like that my civic is equipped as such, but it doesn’t worry me that my 4runner has a belt. With my brother’s very fair rates and how accessible the belt is on that longitudinal truck, the expense is no more than maybe $300 with parts. Now, dealership rates on something with a transverse engine might be a good amount more.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            If anything, chains have been getting worse, and belts have been getting better, to the point where a timing belt engine is often the smarter option.

            Chains have been getting worse because of low-noise/low-drag designs. It’s easy enough to build a chain system that will last the life of the engine, but people complain that the engine isn’t quiet and “sophisticated” enough.
            If you think a timing belt service is expensive, you should price-out a chain replacement, including idlers, followers and tensioners.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            They have I believe anyway, worked the issues out of the chains on all of the VQ motors. The Frontier had problems with the tensioner that were fixed around 2012

      • 0 avatar
        PandaBear

        Ah yes, the CVT. I would have at least walked into the dealer to test drive something early this year if they didn’t put them on every single 4 cylinder car.

      • 0 avatar
        mechaman

        I see we agree on their hideous ‘styling’. It’s been a LONG time since I loved a Nissan – my first car was a 510. Nothing since then..

    • 0 avatar
      caruso81

      Nailed it. That first impression sums up everything about that car. I spent 3 years in a 370Z. Every time I walked up to that car in a parking lot, I loved it…right until the moment I sat down and started to drive it. It was a beating on every level, not to mention having the sight lines of a Lamborghini with about 5% of the driving experience. The thing is, it’s such a cartoon character of a car, and that makes you desperate to love it. Which why it is such a profound disappointment after the first 20 minutes of your first drive.

      The only thing that leaves me a touch nostalgic is the fact that I replaced it with The Worst Car Ever Made™, a Fiat 500 Abarth. One of my criteria for how much I like a car is how long it takes me to start building my next car on the web sites. Two months. Seriously, run away from that car. There are no Italian supermodels at the end of your Abarth, only a ruined spine and 2500 pounds of annoyances and terrible build quality.

      I really need to get better at picking cars.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @Carus81 – have to disagree on the Abarth. I’ve had mine since February and have put 16k miles on it and I love it. It’s not as nice as my previous car, a BMW e46 zhp, but nothing ever will be. I have found this car a blast to drive and have had no comfort issues, and I take it on regular road trips between Orlando and Jacksonville. Mine has the sport seats and the upgraded wheels and I’ve been surprised at how plush the ride is on the highway. As far as build quality goes, it still feels the same as it did when I bought it. I’ve had one issue – turbo needed replacement, covered under warranty. Dealer believes there was an issue in the first batch of cars (2012s to early 2013s). My sign that I like the car? How grateful I am to get it back after it’s away for service. In this case, I was very excited.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          If getting your car back from service provides you with excitement, then based on what I have seen so far about them, yours should provide you with plenty of excitement in the months and years to come.

          A small problem with the turbos that only lasted from the beginning of production on into the early part of the next model year? I’d be wondering what else is lurking. How long is the powertrain warranty on those things, anyway?

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @VolandoBajo – we shall see. I’m putting close to 2k miles a month on mine (am at 41k miles right now) so if it’s going to be a problem, I’m sure I’ll know soon and regularly. One problem in 15k miles is a pretty good record IMNHO. I believe they come standard with a 4yr/48k bumper to bumper warranty which is actually slightly better than the standard 3yr/36k found on most mainstream cars. I bought the lifetime bumper to bumper warranty on mine so it’s not something I”m particularly concerned with. I was actually impressed with the cost to replace the turbo. It would’ve only been $900 out the door at the dealer which seems pretty reasonable for a turbo replacement. I haven’t kept track of what they’ve had to do, but my parents have a 2012 500C with probably 110k-120k miles on it and they say it’s been reliable for them.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          @tjh8402 Don’t forget that the warranty cost to repair is probably not the same cost you would pay if it was out of warranty. And as a 2nd owner of a Panther, one that is coming up on 200K miles, not exploding between the end of warranty and 100K miles isn’t particularly impressive.

          I do wish you good luck with yours, and they do give the appearance of a sporty little econo-box, reminiscent of the Road & Track Cyclops, featured in their April editions.

          I hope Jack will use his new-found clout at R&T to try to get them to resurrect those great Cyclops reviews.

          But mostly from hearing from friends who have ventured into Fiat territory, I have heard more sad stories than happy ones. Though I will admit that they made some nice-looking cars over the years…but I made more than one friend among Fiat owners with just a small toolbox, a VOMeter, and some basic circuit theory. As a former Jaguar (old British era) and former Norton motorcycle owner, I was well-prepared for many of the routine Fiat problems of the past.

          But like I said, I hope your luck and your happiness continues, and that you find more excitement from driving that Fiat Abarth than you find from anticipating its return from the shop one more time.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    GTR…….?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      It’s imaginary.

      • 0 avatar
        Pig_Iron

        GTR pfft… who would want that when you could get a Micra?

      • 0 avatar

        No, I actually drove one once. Toughest thing I ever did was give it back. Useless for real world driving but an E ticket for point to point shots.

        I got lucky twice at the rental counter with VQ engines…once in Montana where I got an FX30 for being nice to an overworked rental person. That time I got 20 mpg but at 80 + mph. I liked the FX and the engine.

        More recent, after a two hour wait for a car, got a Q50 battlefield promotion and spent a week with that. This was an oddball base model with the hydraulic steering and nothing to fill the two huge screens in the dash, but the engine and trans were again seamless. I’d have tightened up the shocks just a notch but the rest of the car was a great effort, engine included.

        They blew it in the Z ? It was decent in two very different applications.

        Last Z I drove was a 280ZX……

        No, nothing normal Nissan, sorry. The GT-R is like a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO. It exists to annoy you, showing that someone in the company DOES get it, but that those folks are buried under layers of marketing and accounting. Acura has this syndrome too, but they don’t have a niche car. I can buy a GT-R, but not the nsx…..

    • 0 avatar
      bludragon

      Having driven a range of Nissan rentals, from subcompact Versa through midsized Altima to truck Frontier and minivan Quest, I could not agree more. On paper they seem to tick all the boxes. In reality I would rank every one in the middle of their class.

      What about the GT-R? Admittedly I think I would choose something else in that category as well, but a case could be made for that one.

      Then there is infiniti. I have not driven any, but having experienced BMW reliability I would be willing to give one a try.

      Renault however. If I was in europe and looking for a hot hatch, a RenaultSport Megane 275 Trophy would be first on my list of cars to test drive.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Mazda makes shabby, cheap, disposable crap.

        Buyers are under the illusion they’re getting Japanese reliability for less. In fact, they’re getting a winning combination of French reliability and Japanese driving fun. When your French CEO is nicknamed “Le Cost Cutter,” independent surveys prove that suppliers of major components respect Toyota and Honda but despise dealing with you, and you’re selling cars with hatchbacks made of shatterprone plastic, I don’t want to give you my money.

        I loved my 4DSC. A beautifully built car with premium components throughout. How far they’ve fallen.

    • 0 avatar
      3XC

      Yeah, he had me up to “They don’t have a halo car.” A mainstream, large market automaker built a spectacular, AWD, 500+ HP leviathan of a car, took it to the Nurburgring, and ran a 7:32 lap. So it’s not a halo car because they sell in low volume? Since when does sales volume have anything to do with qualifying as a halo car?

      In this and every universe, a 7:32 lap and the nickname “Godzilla” gets you onto posters. Ask some 14 year old budding car enthusiasts whether they want a GT-R or its staid looking European equivalent. The take rate would go 70/30 in favor of the Nissan.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        A guy at church is on his 2nd Godzilla.

        12 seconds at 12x at the strip, and is as docile as can be around town.

        His new one is just broken in, and it was clear that improvements were made. (DCT feels even closer to a normal automatic, with a touch more slip if you let off the gas, in order to let the car “crawl.”)

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Theyll void your warranty if you use the launch control, or turn the traction control off.

      Based on forum searches their transmissions dont hold up well either.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    If I’m lucky I will replace my 2007 Altima with a 2009 in a few years.

    Why? Because V6 stick shift sedan.

    Do I secretly wish it was a Camry or Accord with a V6 and manual? Sometimes for sure.

    Does Infiniti count? At least up to 2014 they made a car or two I’d own.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Sure, but do they make any car you’d rather own than other cars you could get for the same money?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That’s why you get an Infiniti used. It’s not good when you’re shopping them new on the lot when you throw it against a Lexus. But when your 3-year old Lexus is 28k, and the Infiniti equivalent (or one a size class up) is 22k – it’s a lot easier to look at them.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Used Cadillacs vs. Used Infinities in DeadWeight’s Haunted Steel Cage Depreciation Curve from He!! Deathmatch tomorrow at 11:20 pm (ask your local cable/satellite TV provider about this Halloween Pay Per View Spectacular Special Event).

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Even a 10 year old Infiniti has nicer gauges and interior than a new Cadillac!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Infiniti wins out but not by much. It will also win the “Dude, will my car still run in five years?” series.

          • 0 avatar
            chrishs2000

            Seriously. I was shocked to see 6MT ATS’s in Detroit Metro for 15k with less than 50k miles. They still have a huuuuuge residual value issue, I can’t believe how they can offer competitive lease rates.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @chrishs2000

            Its a big problem for GM and for all of DW’s venom he is right. I suspect GM is losing money on their ATS and possibly CTS leasing programs. I could prove it if someone gave their lease terms and ATP for their MY13 or 14.

            I truly wish GM was putting a trustworthy motor in those ATS models because then they would be a half decent used buy like most older GM (good motor, sh*tty car).

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            Infiniti also holds the title for the only car I can think of that has a dashboard that tilts with the steering wheel. Why????

            ——–

            I’ve thought that Lincoln wins the “How much modern luxury car can you buy for the cost of a Suzuki” series. I don’t know if they depreciate quite as quickly as Cadillacs, but they still fall like a lead rock.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Ahhh… used Infiniti shopping. Can’t wait to buy my wife a 2016 QX50 after some other sucker makes sure I can get it for less than a new stripper CR-V.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Screw that man, I’m gonna watch WCW Halloween Havoc.

            Hulk Hogan vs the Yetay!

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Fair question! And I guess the answer is no.

        I think the Z is a beautiful sports (sporty) car, but if I could only buy one car it would still be an Accord coupe. I would also pick a Mustang over a Z *today* because of the back seats. Stepdaughters are 5’0″ and 5’2″ so they’d actually ride comfortably.

        When the nest is empty in a few years, I’d still get the Mustang first sadly, because according to Nissan the next “Z” will probably be a FWD, turbo-4, CVT crossover. Gawd knows we don’t have enough of them on the road already.

    • 0 avatar
      catachanninja

      I straight up couldn’t find that combo when I went shopping. I’m super happy with my ’10 altima even with the cvt. I think Steven Lang summed it best as a sporty alternative to the Camry or Accord, the Mazda 6 just feels gutless when I drive it. I live in the north and really don’t feel comfortable with rwd in the winter.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        THe Accord handles far better and is faster too. Its CVT is vastly superior to Nissan’s. The Altima is a sporty alternative to not much.

        An earlier article here noted that TTAC readers drive Accords more than any other vehicle. The Altima is really at the bottom of its class.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          2010 Altima. 2010. He’s describing this car:

          http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2008-nissan-altima-25s-page-7

          Things changed in 2013 when the Altima became worse and the Accord better.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Agree, but at least Mazda haven`t needed to go the CVT route to get great real world fuel economy.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Agree with what? This?

            http://www.edmunds.com/mazda/6/2014/comparison-test.html

            You’ll appreciate this quote, but thornmark won’t:

            “Out on public roads, where you almost never invoke a stability control system, the Mazda 6 is in another world. And a fine world it is. The suspension feels properly snubbed down, yet there’s plenty of damping for bumps. The precise steering makes it a joy to flick through corners. In contrast, the floppier, loose-steering Accord is more a chore than a pleasure in this setting. The Altima strikes a nice balance between the two, not as tied down as the 6 but with steering that offers significantly more feedback than the Accord.”

    • 0 avatar
      chrishs2000

      As though Altima is the only sedan with a stick? It doesn’t even have a very good stick. Or a good anything really. They’re cheap I guess.

      Acura TSX or TL. Civic Si. 06-07 Accord V6. Audi A4. BMW 3 or 5. Cadillac ATS or CTS. Infiniti G35. WRX. There are many good choices out there.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        I’m too big for the Civic and the K24, while nice, is no V6.

        I will never own another mid-2000s Acura or Accord. One of my top 3 rules is “if the factory radio is garbage, it HAS to be replaceable.” Those radios suck and are integrated with the damn HVAC system. I made that mistake once (2006 TSX) and never again. The Kenwood/Alpine/JL system I put in my Altima will destroy >99% of all factory systems out there, and I can put in a new radio any time I wish. That’s an intangible money can’t buy.

        Double DIN for the win!

  • avatar
    319583076

    I agree with Bark 100%. Nissan’s product may be unremarkable, but their cringe-worthy, segregationist ad campaign for the Maxima sure isn’t!

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      Thought I was the only one that noticed.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Are you referring to the Maxima ad with song by Whiz Khaliflower or some such singer? Where the guy charges home to his perfect upper-middle nuclear family?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          They have to market the Max to the upper-middle, because the Altima has the lower end and credit challenged market covered already. The Max has to appear “aspirational.”

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I’d just like to know what’s “segregationist” about a black family wanting to have a nice life, too.

            Either I’ve got the wrong ad or there’s some seriously sick patronization lurking behind that charge.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          In the US, Nissan is running an ad called “Day and Night” AND an ad called “Joyride” during the same television programs – sometimes during the same commercial breaks. You can find these videos under Nissan’s Youtube channel.

          The kicker is, I also ran across the “Day and Night” ad on nissancanada’s Youtube channel. Watch this version and see if you notice anything.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The Canadian version is a better iteration of the same stupid commercial with fewer cuts.

            Canadian version/419 views.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Are you referring to the black guy’s drive and destination being overwhelmingly urban versus the white guy’s resembling an Alex Dykes test drive from and back to a suburban house?

            Youse kin git all SJW, I ain’t touchin’ it.

          • 0 avatar
            wrxtasy

            to be completely fair, a lot of car companies do this. Lexus is running the same type of campaign- they have a “white guy” version of their IS commercials (THE POWER OF THE FOOT and its awful) and a “black guy” version of the commercial where he’s driving around some urban environment with attractive, biracial women. and MB does that whole “ambiguous race” thing where they select people that have features from two different races so the viewer simply sees what they wanna see. I wouldnt call it segregationist- i would call it smart.

            i would think the only reason the nissan ones stand out is because they are both awful, miserable piece of sh!t commercials an undergrad film student could have cranked out with a camera phone and an 80s keyboard.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It’s common in radio ads too. They know who they’re selling to, and select a voice actor/presenter of the correct dialect/race.

            It’s why the guy doing the voice for the Boost Mobile ad is always clearly black, and there’s rap tunes in the background.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I hate marketeers, their end goal is to just f*** with your mind in order for you to buy more stuff you don’t need.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Re:radio ads

            I can only take a wild guess who the Rim Tyme ads are trying to attract, going off the guy’s voice and pseudo rap jingle “you need some rims fo’ ya ride? Call Rim Tyme!!” (Repeat 2x)

            Hearing these ads for Installment plans for awful gaudy rims is cringeworthy. Seeing the old delta royales and caprices rolling down the street on old steelies but with a 6+ inch lift in preparation for said installment plan wheels is even worse.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Johann de Nysschen at both Infinity and, now, Cadillac…

      …coincidence/correlation or causation?

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    As a former owner of a 2013 Altima, I agree with your rant. The seats were great and it rode OK, but everything else sucked about it.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    I always found that Nissan is perfect to build a case for consolidation. So is Infiniti. So is Lincoln.

  • avatar
    maxxcool7421

    /snort/ the Versa sells 3x as many …

    http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html

  • avatar
    Drew8MR

    I DD a 99 Altima still. Caveat, my commute is 9 miles on surface streets and the car was free (and not my only car). I think about upgrading pretty frequently to a FiST or something similar but then I think why pay an extra $350 a month for a better 45 minutes? And not like I would drive it much otherwise, my wife is a smoker and coffee drinker, so she won’t ride in my cars anyway because she can’t do either.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      Wow. Do you happen to sell women’s shoes in a suburb of Chicago, subscribe to Big’uns, and still brag about the four touchdowns you scored in a single game?

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      It’s a ’99 Altima and it was free.

      Is some spilled coffee going to destroy it?

      (I mean, with you on the smoking, but … it’s not a pristine Porsche or an S-Class.

      It won’t be hurt by a potential coffee splash.)

      • 0 avatar
        Drew8MR

        No,clearly that would apply to a leased FiST. My post made more sense before my incompetence lost a whole paragraph.. Anyway, I said the Altima was perfectly adequate and functionally invisible for what I use it for, but the only 2 cars I’ve owned that were less involving were a 85 Escort 4 door auto and an 85 Jetta auto. But I have taken it on 2 5k plus mile roadtrips and it was totally fine.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Little hyperbolic, no?

    I agree that Nissan’s lineup is silly, but for $30K the 370Z is a slamming deal for a sports car that doesn’t have to hang its hat on BS like “purity”. It’s a terrible street car (which is why I sold my 350), but for a fun or track car there’s no way I would get a base Camaro or Miata over it.

    And even with the rest of Nissan’s lineup, OK, none of the cars are excellent, but they are at least competitive. Only place they really get washed is in driving dynamics/fun, which 99.9999999999999999% of the population doesn’t care about anyway. For the average dude off the street, what is the difference between a Sentra, Corolla, Civic, Focus, etc? Not much if anything. You put it in D and it goes. Actually the Focus might be the worst of that bunch with its lunchbox transmission. So this rant is a little misplaced IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “For the average dude off the street, what is the difference between a Sentra, Corolla, Civic, Focus, etc?”

      They will find out when they go to trade or sell it.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Intellichoice says ~$1K over the course of 5 years compared to the average car in its segment. And I will bet the Sentra costs less with the same equipment.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The Sentra certainly has cost going for it. My dad just leased a Sentra S(something) for so cheap I barely believe it.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Off topic, but I can get into a 24 month Chrysler 300S AWD lease for $188/month, $0 down, sign & drive, and they’ll even throw in an extra 3,000 miles per year for free w/out mileage overage penalty (15,000 miles per year).

            This, for an excellent riding, Pentastar V6 proven, quiet, comfortable, roomy, solid, and even, dare I say, luxurious AWD sled that can handle Michigan’s moonscape-like roads with aplomb, that stickers at $38,xxx.

            Three problems:

            1) I still love my current, 10 year and 1 month old, meticulously maintained whip;

            2) I really don’t do leases;

            3) (There was another one, but I took a lot of cold medicine today and am blanking)

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I’m a big fan of the 200S AWD. You get A LOT of car for the money.

            But I’m not sure about jumping from one sh!t domestic sedan into potentially another. :-/

            Fool me once…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @dave

            Abysmal resale on the 200 after year one, yes you can get into one just get the CPO.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            DW-

            The Sentra is $115-$120 a month including taxes.

            Also, I am not a huge fan of the 200. I haven’t liked the rentals I’ve had, and I don’t like how Chryslers wear. Lease may be fine, but I wouldn’t own one past 2-3 years. I wouldn’t trade my C-Max for a disposable 200.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            300 – not 200, guys.

            I wouldn’t touch a 200 at any price (YMMV) even with Sergio’s schwance.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            300 screams “carjack me” in certain regions.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            DW, sometimes the lease deals are just too good to ignore, and a 300S at $188 with 0 CCR is in that category. Usually it’s BMW doing things like that. If you like the 300, go for it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I still might not bite but that is approaching free at zero down/188mo.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Actually just screwing around in MMR I see the MY12 Sentra SR and Civic LX trade +/- $500 of each other. But I don’t understand the Nissan trims, is S the base trim or is S the equivalent of LX in Honda (DX being “base”)? Nissan S to LX shows a near 2K difference to Honda but is similar to DX (although there are very few DXs listed vs many “S”).

          Honda to my recollection goes DX, LX, EX, EX-L, and the sport trim if available (Si for civic). For Sentra MMR lists a “sedan”, then S, SR, SL, SE-R, and SE-R Spec V.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            DX has since disappeared, but it was still on the Civic in 2012. The Sentra S is closer to the LX in equipment, though.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thank you! So the MY12 Sentra S trades nearly 2K less than the MY12 Civic LX and proves my earlier point on learning lessons on trade.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      “for $30K the 370Z is a slamming deal”

      Not really. For not much more money, you can get a Mustang GT or Camaro SS. The $2000-$3000 extra is worth it for the step up into a V8 pony car.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        It’s more like $4K for the Mustang GT, and even more for the SS, and that doesn’t even account for discounts. Dealerships can’t wait to unload Zs right now, they aren’t moving.

        Plus while the SS is indeed a beast, the Mustang GT is not…. despite being down ~100HP, the Z is just a hair slower in a straight line. It’s also obviously like 600lbs lighter than both, and IMO is overall more practical. Yes they have back seats, but when I had my Z I needed a trunk way more than I needed back seats. The Z trunk sucked but the hatch made it less painful. Compare that to the pathetic trunk and opening of the SS for example. Z was also awesome in the city to park. Camaro and Mustang are about the size of an old 5 series. Z also has much better visibility, which is saying a lot.

        Unless you absolutely need a V8 and back seat IMO the value isn’t there.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I would say that the base Z is not comparable to the base Mustang GT. You’d have to get into the Sport version of the Z to get things like LSD and upgraded brakes that are standard on the GT. Plus, the Mustang has a better interior now. Ford is also able to punch below the Z with the 2.3T Mustang. While not as fast, you can get a 2.3T Mustang with the performance package for under $27K right now.

          Plus, people want a V8 and a back seat. Most don’t care how fast it goes around the track. If Nissan doesn’t figure something out, they will be even farther back once the new Camaro drops and the Mustang gets engine updates.

          I don’t hate the Z. I just found it extremely uncomfortable to drive. I thought it was fun to drive, it just hurt me.

        • 0 avatar
          johnny_5.0

          I wouldn’t really call a ~5+ mph trap deficit, a half second behind to 60, and more than that through the quarter a “hair” slower.

          And where does $4K come from? I’m seeing a $2,480 difference in price base to base including destination. The GT is actually $1,100 *cheaper* than a Z with a LSD.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Talk about hyperbolic!

      “Only place they really get washed is in driving dynamics/fun, which 99.9999999999999999% of the population doesn’t care about anyway.”

      If we’re interested in rational discussion – let’s say enthusiasts are 1 in 1,000, which makes the percentage of non-enthusiasts 99.9%. Which is probably still conservative, especially when it comes to the thorny debate regarding whether or not someone who likes cars “…grounded to the ground.” does or does not belong to the enthusiast cabal.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I test drove a 370Z when I was looking at sports cars. It as nowhere near as fun as a Miata, especially the club or gt. The driver being equal, the Miata would also spank it on a track. A V6 Mustang is also a better option. As is written below, the Z was ok when released, but was left behind years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        Miata is a fun car. Love ’em! But, if you think with equal drivers a Miata will spank a Z you’re mistaken unless you’re speaking of an auto-x or a track similar to the one Mini devised to foil Porsche.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Fun is subjective. Speed around a track though, is not. I don’t think there has ever been a track competition where a stock Miata even came close to a stock Z, let alone “spanked” it.

        Z is everything the Miata isn’t…. heavy, brutal, crude, but also luxurious, grippy and fast. It’s different enough that you can’t say one is better or worse than the other. They are almost not even comparable.

        V6 Mustang was not better at its peak and it’s definitely not now. You seem to have a grudge with the Z that keeps you from being objective about it.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          If you think the Z is luxurious, you really need to look up the definition of the word. But otherwise I mostly agree with you on the performance comparison to a Miata, but I agree with Bark overall. Nissan makes crap rental cars and that is about it.

          I’d still rather have any Miata over any 350/370Z.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    Let me preface: I own a 2008 G37S coupe with the Manual.

    Agree with you about the Altima, I drove a rental in 2013. What a terrible car. The 2.5 is coarse, slow, and sounds bad. Brake pedal feel was setup wrong, and the steering was horrendous.

    Anyways, I wanted to talk about the 370Z. When this car first came out (the 370Z), this is what was available:

    1.) No Camaro
    2.) V6 Mustang had about 210HP
    3.) Mustang GT had 300HP and an awful interior from the S197 platform.
    4.) Genesis coupe eventually with that horrible 2.0 engine (I drove an R-Spec) and the 3.8 V6.

    I have not driven a 370Z, but I have driven my fair share of Infiniti platform cars and I just do not understand the hatred for the 3.7L VQ engine. I feel like in the age of econo box and bland appliance cars the 3.7 is one of the few motors left with “character” in its sound. Is it as smooth as BMW’s straight 6? Nope, but it will definitely win on reliability and costs to maintain.

    I think you are in Louisville, I am too. I invite you to drive my car anytime. No mods other than an axleback and wider tires. I’m running 245/45/18s on all 4 corners with Hankook V12s so the grip is decent.

    In the dealer provided cars I have driven with the seven speed auto it is okay. I can definitely understand your hatred of the gearbox in a car like this.

    Guess I’m just trying to say: “Not all Nissan cars are bad.” They just need major updating. If the Q60 Coupe sucks then I have lost faith in the Nissan brand.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      As a Z owner I agree with this assessment. When the 350Z and the 370Z first came out they were excellent, pure sports cars, however in the HP wars they are fallen behind. Turbo Mustangs will out run them at the drag strip. These recent Z interiors have always been terrible (my ’03 rattles like a spray paint can) and the suspension will crack teeth. The engine, while rough, puts out plenty of torque while returning decent mileage: I get 24 mpg in mixed driving 70 highway / 30 city. The car really shines on track once you fix the weak brakes. The manual has a heavy clutch but a short throw with a rifle-bolt like feel I love. The seating position is great with a low dash and a smooth hood that drops away. I’ve been in the new Mustang and the visibility of my Z is so much better out front its not even funny. The sides and back view from both cars is about the same, which is to say “terrible” until you compare against the Camaro which is tank like. I love the versatility of the hatchback even with the stupid strut brace blocking you from loading certain objects.

      At this point the Z is the choice for those that want something different. Its nearest competitor is really the Genesis. Just this AM as I powered thru a corner on the way to work in my ’03 I realized I basically own a 3/4 ‘Vette. The Z is like an FR-S but with usable power. Unfortunately it needs it because the Z’s bones are a bit too heavy.

      Would I buy a new Z? No… but if you can find one that hasn’t riced to death (due to that Fast N Furious nonsense) they are a steal. So for used Miata money I’ve got a track weapon that can still manage daily driver duty as long as you don’t mind the stiff ride and harsh-ish engine. Like the above post I actually find the rough engine has character, it FEELS great to rev her up and snap thru the gears. I’m kind of glad people don’t like the Z, this way I get to drive an uncommon vehicle in a sea of over sized and over styled pony cars.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m not really interested in a Z but really its the only Nissan branded product since about 2005 worth a look.

      • 0 avatar
        SomeGuy

        Well said. I would NOT ever suggest a new Z due to the age of the platform; however, I would say used those cars are great deals.

        Tires, oil cooler, track pads, and fluid and you will hurt a lot of feelings on the track for a pretty reasonable price without the maintenance worries.

        I just feel like this is a Motortrend style of an opinion change. I would wager when the Z first came out many were praising its unique engine sound, great power output from “just 3.7L” and high RPMs.

        On a recent Autoblog podcast one of the lead editors called the 370Z “lousy.” I just don’t believe that in 2007/08 when that car came out ANYONE called it that.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Thanks. Such people are spoiled. Despite the model/platform issues if Nissan offered say 5K on Z to offload the last MY or whatever, I’d say its a buy (if you buy new). It strikes me some auto journalists are dumbstruck by ZOMG 3cyl 150bhp TURBO wheeeeeee and its like there is SO much more to it as you point out. Aftermarket support and cost are a big factor in a model such as the Z, and the fact you can actually modify it sets is apart from something like Versa. I remember in my youth people with their J-bodies, N-bodies, and early Civics so excited when the added a K&N intake, as if it really mattered much in the grand scheme. Wrong wheel drive only allows so much in terms of meaningful modifications. Sure I have seen the riced out Hondas and their massive horsepower, the platform wasn’t built for it no matter what they think. In my experience there is world of difference between Z and Sentra/Versa owners, even if neither does up the car much. I’ll take the Z thanks.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Bark wanted clicks and he got them.

    • 0 avatar
      jfranci3

      3.7 hatred – Go drive a similar era Ford v6 auto. SO MUCH more enguaging and responsive. Power maybe 30hp less, but you’d think the Nissan was a 2.0 4cyl if you drove them back to back.

      • 0 avatar
        SomeGuy

        Dude I drove a 4.0L Mustang S197 manual. It was a turd and the motor is straight out of a Ford Ranger.

        EDIT: The 4.0L was in older Rangers, before they went to the 3.0L.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          You might need to edit that again. The 3.0 and 4.0 were both offered for many years. The 3.0 was a nice step above the I-4 with decent mileage, and the 4.0 was another step up the ladder. One didnt replace the other, they were both on the options list since the early 1990s.

          The SOHC 4.0L was not the world’s greatest engine, but at least it was a step in the right direction from the terrible 3.8L (or 3.9L in 04).

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I’ve always been amazed by the paltry amount of horsepower Ford got out of the SOHC 4.0. Toyota and Nissan both got quite a bit more from their OHC 4.0 truck motors and 210 horsepower was right on par with the smaller Chrysler 3.7 engine.

          • 0 avatar
            01 ZX3

            The 4.0 was a Cologne OHV that was retrofitted for the SOHC heads so it was kind of a compromised design.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “The six-cylinder VQ motor sounded like it was being simultaneously strangled and flogged with a Cat O’ Nine Tails.”

    Bertel?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I think that the VQ just sounds like a paint can full of marbles being mixed in the paint shaker.

      • 0 avatar

        The VQ sounds like auto-tuned flatulence.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        It is certainly not refined. Vibration at idle was pretty bad on the G37 I tried. A bit of a drinking problem, too. But it’s strong and flings that G around nicely. I found it very likable despite the noise because it seemed to fit the slightly rougher character of the car. But then, I drive a 5 cylinder VW and a 2.5 Altima, so my standards for engine refinement are fairly low.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          They do drink a lot, I agree. But the vibration at idle sounds like something was wrong with it, engine mounts perhaps?

          Mine’s (3.5) quite smooth at idle, no vibrations at all.

          • 0 avatar
            SomeGuy

            Corey, people act like motor is a V-Twin out of a Harley. It isn’t that bad.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I dunno who’s making these ultra smooth V6 engines attached to RWD and AWD vehicles they’re comparing it to.

            Lexus I suppose, with the GS. That’s about the only one I can think of. 3800 wasn’t too smooth (apparently, as above), and nobody else touches RWD/AWD and V6 these days. Cept Mercedes. Throw them in there too. But an Infiniti or Nissan is quite a lower price point.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “Lexus, I suppose”

            Yep, Lexus. I hopped in an IS250 right after the G37 and the NVH difference was immense. As was interior fit and finish. But then so were the differences in power and steering feel, so I’d take the G37 all day every day.

            Haven’t tried the IS/GS350 but reviews suggest the NVH contrast would hold.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Never driven the newer (07+?) IS250, but I thought I read it was m’eh. True or false?

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            28,
            This was a 2014 spindle grill. I haven’t driven the departed 2007 generation. My experience in the $35-40K entry lux semi-sport sedan segment is pretty shallow, so take with an appropriate grain of salt:

            The 2014 stood out in driver seat comfort and overall refinement. Interior materials were nicer in person than photos. I’m not a track rat, but to me the steering was responsive, precise, lacked feel, and was paired with a pretty responsive and willing chassis. The backseat is usable now, I’m 6 feet tall and can sit behind myself without knees hitting the front seats.

            The 2.5 engine made the car “meh”. Very smooth, very refined, but as gutless as its reputation suggests, especially below 4K rpm. The IS is too heavy for that motor. The 350 probably transforms the car, maybe the new turbo will as well.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks man. I feel like if I am going Lexus and its not some old ass model I want to go GS or LS but the IS sounds like it might be good in 350 or turbo guise. If the car is perfect but drives like its towing a anvil that’s gonna get on my nerves.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Latest gen IS (’14+) highly recommended if you can deal with the small back seat. Feels almost like an older Toyota — light on its feet, very agile. Interior is nice; it was very meh in the ’06-’13 version. The 250 is only fun if you’re willing to pretend you’re driving an old del Sol VTEC and keep the revs in the stratosphere. Haven’t driven the 350 but that engine is solid in every car I’ve driven with it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Does the new 350 use the 3.5 mill used in other Lexus products?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            It’s the 2GR-FSE, same as the GS350 and RC350 (and the last gen IS350). It’s also a very close relative of the 2GR-FE used in Camry/Avalon/ES, just adding D4S (dual fuel injection) and adapted to longitudinal layout. It’s just about indestructible — Toyota has had a VERY good run with all of the engines it designed in the mid-2000s.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Nice. I seem to recall the IS used to carry a much smaller V6 which was lacking (2.5 I think).

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I test drove a 2009 IS250 6MT prior to looking new and buying the Verano. I liked the look, but the interior was small, and it felt slow as hell.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Go look now, the Verano is hasta la vista right?

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Nobody else makes a V-6/RWD? So the Mustang, 300, Charger, Challenger and Camaro dont exist? Not to mention the ATS and CTS, dont they offer a V-6?

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Try what, 28? I didnt like my IS250 experience and no stick in the 350.

            As for the Verano, Ill be keeping it to the end of the lease, with a supercharged warranty and complimentary OnStar through lease end, at which time it goes back to GM. Would have preferred a buyback, but theres no way to compel that in Canada short of a lawsuit. This way, we might be inconvenienced but not out if pocket for any future breakdowns.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Oh I didn’t realize there was no stick in the IS V6. Yeah that’s kinda lame in your pseudo sport sedan. Next I’m gonna here there is no stick in the RC-F.

            You know you do have a rareity on your hands, from what I remember you have the only Verano Turbo 6spd in Canada do you not? So there are people literally cursing you personally. Why couldn’t Dave have just gotten the auto? They say to each other as they try to solve the obvious design flaws in the car they sold you.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            As far as I can find, only the RWD IS250 of the 05-13 model years was available with a stick. AWD IS350? Auto only.

            Regarding the Verano, the stat I was given at the time I ordered my car in January 2014 was that I had the only factory ordered 2014 MT Verano in Canada so far for 2014. So, I’m pretty certain that at this point there are probably a few dozen plying the asphalt of this fair country.

            That said, I’m pretty sure you are right. I think an auto Verano T would have had almost none of the problems I have had. The last major repair that I had was they replaced the dual mass flywheel, and its been like…golly gee gosh, like a whole 7 weeks without incident. GM’s engineering support team finally decided that it might be causing excess vibrations, because they finally noticed that most of the sensors around the transmission were failing or throwing erroneous codes and data (such as the speed sensor reporting the car doing 20kph at idle). The only reason the thought of this is that apparently the Cruze also has a dual mass flywheel, and they were able to search Cruze warranty cases, because the MT Verano has no library.

            As I mentioned in the Sonic thread, I will be keeping the car 2.5 years till the lease end. So, window shopping only for now.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    Someone forgot about the Juke. Didn’t even mention it, wow.

    • 0 avatar
      k9H20

      That was my first thought too. I know the Juke is polarizing, but it definitely stands apart from the segment. In fact, it pretty much IS the segment of affordable sport CUVs. That said, the rest of the lineup is pretty much meh.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Agreed. The Juke isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s sort of in a class by itself. Versa isn’t a great car, but it wins the “most space for the least money” prize, which is something.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I’ve hated Nissan since about 1990. I’ve had a job where Nissan’s haphazard existence was the bane of my own. As far as I’m concerned, for the past several years all Nissan has amounted to is a way to sell Renaults to people who might know better than to buy one. That being said, I drove a Nissan Rogue the other day. I expected it to be awful, but it was so much better than the Ford Edge Sport I’d recently driven that it changed my perspective.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      >>all Nissan has amounted to is a way to sell Renaults to people who might know better than to buy one.<<

      Great line. Renault bailed out Nissan and later, the French government bailed out Renault.

  • avatar
    make_light

    It’s too bad, because I feel like 10 years ago, Nissan offered some of the sportiest entries in the classes it competes. The upcoming refreshed Altima might be decent, if the under-the-skin changes are as extensive as they sound. And the new Murano is definitely good at what it does. And I’d take a Pathfinder over a Highlander/Pilot any day. Otherwise most Nissan’s are kind of lackluster.
    Actually I really wish the second-gen Pathfinder had a modern successor. It would be the perfect car for me- rugged, not too big, not too expensive- I’d be first in line if that kind of vehicle was on the market today.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    My first car was a 96 Altima, and my second was an 02 Xterra. Nissan holds a special place in my heart as a result. Enough that I was even entertaining the thought of replacing my S2000 with a 370Z in a couple years.

    Everything about the Z looks good on paper but every person I’ve talked to has nothing but bad things to say about it. A coworker of mine who had owned one said if I got rid of the S2k for one I would regret it every day after the first week of ownership, that it was that bad.

    I have to say, I agree with bark. They don’t do anything well, just a whole bunch of barely good enough. They’re the Japanese Dodge, minus the hellcat/hemi factor.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      My first new car was a ’95 Altima – the 1st gen that looked like a shrunken Infiniti J30 – it was fun, had a stick and had a great interior for a $16k car.

      Nissan hasn’t made anything like that since.

      The days of the Maxima and the real 4DSC and the 300ZX looking uber cool are long gone. It’s disappointing as that Nissan seemed to be developing into a poor man’s BMW.

      Now they’re styling makes it seems like someone had a seizure was responsible and interiors are just…. odd.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      “They’re the Japanese Dodge”

      I would agree, although I would suggest that they are similar to the pre-FCA Cerberus era Dodge – most current Dodge products are at least class competitive.

      Their mode of operation seems similar to Cerberus era Dodge as well: have an uncompetitive product line, but achieve decent volume by cutting prices and offering subvented financing to credit criminals…

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      If you are OK with an S2000 I think you will really like the Z. It’s very different though. The cars definitely have different strengths.

      S2000 has better controls… the shifter, clutch, and steering all feel way better. That is admittedly pretty big. S2K is also much better as a convertible… I would not get a Z convertible at all. They both handle equally well but in different ways IMO… S2K is very precise where as the Z is kind of brutal. But it grips and grips. And IMO the Z has a much better engine for everyday driving. Lot of folks say the VQ sounds awful…. they do, from the outside. From the inside they sound great. Z is more practical too, especially since they figured out how to brace the rear struts without that silly bar.

      I don’t know what problems your friends had but I would at least take one out for a test drive. I had a 350Z and drove a buddy’s AP1 a lot…. AP1 definitely had its merits but I found the Z much more satisfying and street friendly.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        Well, I was thinking the Z route because I was wanting more power, and I thought it would ultimately end up as a better DD. I figure then throw a little bit of money taking care of it’s cooling issues on track (brake ducts, oil cooler) and I’d be set.

        Short tails, aka muffler delete would also be a consideration. The VQ might not sound great in stock form, but with short tails it sounds almost like an exotic, while still maintaining reasonable noise levels under part throttle since the cats and resonators are still there.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I would say it sounds like an exotic outright with mods…. it revs to 7.5! And yea, lopping ~1-1.5K off your top gear 80 MPH rpms is nice. Both cars are kind of annoying to DD though… S2K controls have the lightness of a Civic, but the powerband requires so much focus. Flip size the Z engine is a stump puller with top end rip, but steering and shifting can be a workout. At the limit the AP1 and Z both kind of sap confidence… AP1 is light and feelsome but twitchy, Z is vague but grippy and stable. Interesting contrast and worth looking at both ways.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      My father used to say that Nissan is Japanese for Pontiac, or words to that effect.

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        Was that before Pontiac had effectively died? The one thing that used to be true about Nissan (at least era 10+ years ago that Bark presumably wants them to get back to) was a willingness to:

        1. Sell some displacement. No V8s (but look at what you had to buy from Pontiac before they would sell you a pushrod [read cheap to build] V8.
        2. Sell you the engine you want. Either the VE or the VQ depending on the era. For pretty much everything but the Sentra, they would sell you it. Compare that to the others on Ward’s “10 best engine” list: you pretty much could only buy them on specific trims of specific models.

        Once the horsepower wars put enough juice in even the V6 Camry to not care about such things, Nissan’s “death” was certain.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I agree with most of this. Nissan doesn’t interest me in anyway. My buddy has a loaded 07 Altima 3.5SE, its a sharp looking car and nice to drive, but the current Altima is just blah. And also Meh. The Maxima and Murano look like they lost their epipens.

    I actually like the look of the new Sentra, but its boring. Drop the 1.6T, AWD and a 6MT (Juke powertrain) and have the baddest SER Spec V ever!

    I should also mention, I find the current Pathfinder and Rogue to be at least aesthetically not too bad, they’ve managed to keep the beltlines reasonable.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I do not understand the Altima 3.5 SE or SE-R (I think that exist/ed) when compared to the Maxima, because you end up paying about the same (and a big fuel penalty) for something with a much worse interior.

      And that’s saying something, because the Maxima interior isn’t great anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        The thing I love about my 3.5SE is that cloth seats were an option! I am SO glad I don’t have leather. That car turns 9 years in January and the seats are still in great condition.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        I do not understand the Maxima when compared to Altima 3.5SE. Since 2002, the Altima is much better looking than the Maxima, you can get all of the go, much better looks, and most of the toys and only need to accept a slightly harder plastic interior, for much less upfront cost.

        I think an argument can be made for both sides.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Well someone must buy them, my neighbor is on his 6 maxima , he loves them, I think there are plenty of good choices at Nissan, Ford does not make any thing I would buy but you seem to love your Fords, to each their own.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      Which choices can you confidently say are better than someone’s alternatives for similar money? Would you really want a V6 Altima vs. a V6 Accord? Since this is a site for enthusiasts, which Nissan could I reasonably be expected to choose over the following cars?

      Fiesta ST
      Focus ST
      Mustang GT/GT350
      F150
      Explorer Sport
      Edge Sport

      Hell I’d take an ugly Taurus SHO over a Platinum Maxima. At least the SHO has an interesting powertrain. The only Nissans I like beyond the beastly GT-R all wear Infiniti badges. The Q50 is still a great deal in lower trims, and I’ll always have a soft spot for the FX…I mean QX70.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      What you “think” and what is reality are two very different things.

      He never said that their cars are awful, just that there is nothing outstanding about them. They seem like theyre trying to be all things to all people, but end up making a bunch of middling also-ran cars that dont compare well with others in their class. Your friend bought 6 Maxipads and loves them? Wonderful. Some people loved the Dodge Avenger, that doesnt make it a good car.

      Ford’s vehicles are very compeditive, many rank at or near the top of their class. The driving experience you get in a Fiesta or Fusion is many times better than a Versa or Altima. People who dont understand DCTs love to complain about the Focus, but its still miles ahead of the Sentra. The Mustang has everything the Z lacks now. The Titan was due for replacement 6 years ago. Every other full size truck has been redesigned at least twice since the Titan came out, and theyre just now getting around to revamping it. Pathetic. The Frontier is also very outdated, and their full size vans are terrible compared to Transit. My local FedEx driver was in a Nissan van until it was replaced with a Transit a year or so ago. She said the difference in the way they drive and the Mpg they get is like night and day.

      There is really no reason to consider a Nissan unless you hate cars, hate car shopping, and decided to get one simply because the Nissan dealer was closest to your house.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    Nissan Rogue: One of the best Compact CUVs in terms of comfort and room, especially in the higher trims.

    Nissan Juke: Still funky and fun.

    The rest of Nissan’s line up? Meh.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      I walked into the dealer test driving a Leaf and looked at the Juke in the showroom, and the interior is in the Holy Poop grade of bad.

      Ceiling lights that were not fixed to the roof but just hanging on the liner. In about 8 years it would have fallen down…

      Oh yeah, it is made in Japan too. So don’t blame it on “It’s American and Japanese don’t build that kind of junk back home”.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    My dad’s ’07 350Z must be a totally different car, then. Which, I suppose to some extent it is – different engine (I don’t know how different), 6MT, and as much as I detest Bose as a company, the sound system in the Z with their label on it is pretty damned good. At least for when you don’t want to listen to the engine, which sounds awesome.

    Did they ruin it all so thoroughly?

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Talk about different tastes… the thing I hate the MOST about my 350Z is that BOSE system. Its literally the first thing I replaced. I blame it on the feedback microphone that attempts to adjust the bass level on the factory 10″ sub to compensate for car’s loud nature – and sadly it just doesn’t work. Then again I am bit of an audio nut so for most people maybe its fine.

      The newer 3.7 engine has more HP but less TQ, I don’t think either are as bad as this review makes them seem. They pull strong but do have a “character”. I’ve heard plenty of people complain about the droning sounding exhaust. Compared to a V8 I can understand that but I think it snarls nicely.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        “Talk about different tastes… the thing I hate the MOST about my 350Z is that BOSE system.”

        I should qualify my praise, I suppose. First, I was comparing it to the mid-level system in my $20k Sonata, which, while adequate, is… well, adequate, a bit.

        Second, I happened to be listening to music that suited the Bose system’s weakness – ie, bassiness. For anything but the big-room trance I was listening to it might well be crap, and even for that it certainly didn’t measure up to the H/K system plus sub in my old 9-5. But my bar for being impressed by a factory sound system in a 2007-vintage car is fairly low, and my bar for being impressed by Bose is fairly low, so on that count it performed admirably.

        I produce EDM myself so I’m not an idiot when it comes to audio quality, but for a lot of purposes I think the Bose in the 350 isn’t bad. And it certainly isn’t as awful as the one Bark described in the car he drove.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I found that replacing the head unit in my 350Z actually helped a little bit. But the stock system in my wife’s 07 Rabbit and this rental Golf I have now blow it out of the water, largely due to the fact that they aren’t inundated with tire roar, but also due to what seems like better speaker design and amplification.

  • avatar
    NN

    Our 2013 Quest is awesome…maybe not objectively leader in the class but quirky JDM uber smooth should-be-an-Infinti van that at least is a little bit interesting in a boring segment. When we bought it, I realized that it was the only Nissan I liked at all, everything else on their lot seems developed for the subprime customer or rental fodder.

    That said, the dealership is regularly as busy as any dealer I’ve ever seen. They’re doing good business, but long term, becoming the new Mitsubishi or Chrysler isn’t going to do them any favors with their reputation.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      The Quest is probably the only vehicle I find interesting from Nissan, now that the Cube is gone. If I had to have a minivan, and a Ford Transit Connect extended length wasnt big enough, the only two I would consider would be the Honda and the Quest. I like its avant-grade styling, and (very unusual for a minivan) the rear in particular is great in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The big giant elephant in the room with the current Quest is crash test ratings, where it did more poorly than any other van available on the market in the US.

        For that reason, I’d never recommend one to anybody.

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          The Quest is an absolute death trap compared to the Odyssey or the Sienna or even the Chrysler/Dodges. The Quest small overlap crash test video is horrifying. The small savings would not be worth putting one’s family at risk. Ugh.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    They’ll finance anyone, end of story. As to whether they are the next Mitsubishi or the next Chevrolet, stay tuned.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      ^This. Mitsubishi, Chevrolet, and Nissan have historically been the choice of consumers who couldn’t get financing to buy anything else, and their products reflect this business model.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Correction Mitsubishi, Dodge, Kia and Nissan. The majority of today’s Chevy models blow Nissan’s lineup out of the water starting with the new Camaro. Even the not so hot current Malibu is a better driving car than the Altima and the Impala is worlds better than the Maxima. And lets not forget there trucks and SUV’s.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        I can go along with leaving Chevy out of that line-up. GM does at least seem to be trying to dig themselves out of the hole they dug of selling nothing but rental/fleet specials that only the most indigent civilians will buy. Most reviews seem to verify that the Cruze is a whole lot better than the craptacular Cavalier and Cobalt that preceded it.

        Likewise, Kia (and, by default, Hyundai) seem to be trying hard to move above the mediocre stuff sold by Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Dodge to those whose credit scores prevent them from affording anything better.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I guess I’ll be the first pragmatist and voice of reason in this big “enthusiast” echo-chamber.

    Nissan sells relatively reliable, very efficient, and very roomy cars at very good prices and easy financing terms. That’s all you need to know. No need to preach to the plebs, they’re obviously on to something you are oblivious to.

    Versa: $10-12k gets you a brand new, extremely reliable sedan that gets 35-40mpg in the real world, has ample rear seat room for full grown adults (and more importantly child seats), and has a 15cu ft trunk to boot.

    Sentra: $13-14k gets you all of the strengths of the Versa with some more shoulder room, a nicer, quieter interior, and more power. A coworker on a budget picked up a lower-trim “S” as a commuter to replace a 17mpg WJ Grand Cherokee that was falling apart and has been very happy with the 38+ mpg during his commuting and being able to easily fit two child seats in the back.

    Altima: $18-19k, more of the same as far as the other two smaller Nissans, now with fantastically comfortable seats. Again, a jump in comfort and NVH control over the compact Sentra. Arguably the highest observed MPG in the 4 cylinder model out of the entire crop of current midsize cars.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The Altima is also VERY large/roomy for the price point when you throw it against a Camry.

      The Accord is more refined, so I put it a little bit above – and put it against the Avalon when it’s well-equipped.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      You are right on their price position. Everybody started gearing up for austerity cars around 09 but then quickly changed strategy in the face of ford, hyundai/kia and gm quality improvements (imo, there’s clearly room for a debate there). Nissan never made that second correction. Their whole strategy is to occupy the bottom feeder market position.

      On the other hand Toyota and some others (mainstream Subarus, cough) also aim to be appliances but do so without overtly sucking. If Nissan had leadership that could identify, nevermind produce, at least some potential charm in their cheap products they might be setting themselves up for future growth. But no, worst in industry driving experience, poor build quality and poor reliability have all been accepted by their leadership as necessary consequences of their price position.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I don’t follow the “poor build quality and poor reliability” angle. The CVTs seem to be past their initial troubled phase in the lighter models (the sedans and Rogue), the only issues that have been cropping up in the CVTs are in the pathfinders and quests from what I’ve recently heard.

        My understanding is that Altimas aren’t terrible cars to drive either, a bit sportier steering than a Camry, well sorted handling. It isn’t quite as refined as a Toyota’s or Honda’s powertrain, but no worse than the rest of the midsize class.

        • 0 avatar

          Can’t really agree with the sportier handling thing I had a camry rental and Altima rental back this spring. The Altima was far and away the more boring car I was actually annoyed by it. And I, in the past have generally liked Nissans.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Nissan Altimas are truly bad vehicles; they are like Mitsubishi Galants, only with marginally better interiors, and similar NVH.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          “sportier than a Camry”

          Really? Thats all you got? There are Buicks that are sportier than Camry. I think my sofa is sportier than Camry…or at least it isnt as ugly.

          Thats like saying the car is faster than a Peterbilt towing a church uphill. Or that it gets better MPG than a Boeing 777. Easier to park than a garbage truck. Smoother idle than a Craftsman lawnmower. Roomier than a del Sol. Cheaper than a Phantom Drophead. More luxurious than a Suzuki Reno. Better in snow/ice than a Shelby Mustang with inoperative traction control and a sticky throttle.
          Those arent huge mountains to climb.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/review-toyota-camry-se-2-5l-track-tested/

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/last-look-2014-camry-se/

    • 0 avatar
      jfranci3

      Every Versa I’ve rented had a seat like grandpas old recliner and the interior was falling apart at 30k miles.

      Sentra, Altima are fine cars but don’t stand out.

      Pathfinder and Fontier worth buying

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      I think you nailed it…other than, IIRC the awesome seats are not available in the base-trim Altima.

      And about those CVTs. I rented a Fusion 2.5 liter for a long highway trip, and an Altima 2.5 liter for the same long trip back. The Fusion’s conventional automatic was neither responsive nor economical; it kinda ruins the car. The Altima 2.5’s CVT provided responsive acceleration and phenomenal highway MPG; it kinda rescues the car.

  • avatar
    DAC17

    Great column. I’ve owned at least 80 cars over my lifetime; 1 Nissan, a 300ZX when they first came out circa 1990. Recently, there us not one of their models that I even read about. GM and Ford have thoroughly spanked them with their choices. Let’s see…new Fusion v. Altima…that’s close. Or not.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    The 2007-2012 Altima was a decent car. It placed well in reviews ranging from C&D to CR, and was one of the quickest and more engaging entrants. The 2013 seems to have lost that charm. The 2007 Versa was a plush little cruiser that did the “big little car” thing well. The trucks were fine a decade ago.

    The current lineup looks unremarkable. Being second fiddle to Honda and Toyota is a difficult position, and Nissan’s strategy seems to hinge on being the cut rate version of those rather than a unique brand like Subaru and Mazda. But then, they sell far more than Subaru or Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      A ex-rental 2011 Sentra at a cut rate price was second runner up when I was car shopping in early 2013, before I ended up with my Civic. My impressions were that the Megane platform-mate “frenchness” rubbed off on that generation Sentra in all of the right ways: comfortable, roomy interior and a well tuned ride that emphasized eliminating impact harshness. With the older 2.0L engine, there was enough torque for the CVT to keep the revs low most of the time and minimize any negative “straining” sounds from the drivetrain. Interior was a tad cheap in terms of the dash, but part of that was simply the ex-rental I drove had scratches on it, a better kept one I’d have taken fewer issues with. I could have gotten the Sentra for about $11,000 with about 30k miles, I ended up paying $15k for my Civic with 11k miles and better non-rental condition.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I kind of like the blocky, angular look of that gen of Sentra, better than the blobular dolled-up current one. If I recall, that Sentra also had an enormous glovebox, similar to the tablet-swallowing one in our Altima. Stuff like that matters when using a family sedan as a family sedan.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    This is the best thing I have ever read in TTAC.

    I hate Nissan. Not just because they make boring cars, but because their marketing refuses to admit that they’re boring cars. The Altima makes me angry, because they’re plastic POSs that Nissan thinks it can sell by airing commercials where people are amazed by the amazing styling of a Nissan Altima. The Maxima makes me angry, because it’s an over-height FWD sedan with a CVT that looks like a thwomp, that (based on my rental car experience) might be the most un-sporting sedan currently on sale (seriously, I’ve had more engaging driving experiences in a Chevy 1500), and that Nissan still insists on arguing is a sports sedan just like those Maximas were 30 years ago. The rental Sentra I ended up with when some dipshit backed into my car and it had to go to the shop for a week was literally the worst car I’ve ever driven. The fact that Nissan still sells the “Rogue Select,” which is probably older than me at this stage, should insult every single American.

    And don’t get me started on Nissan drivers. Actually I have nothing against Z drivers, but for years, because Nissan massively discounted the Altima, it was basically the cheapest car you could get with a V6, and I swear that every flat brimmed baseball hat-wearing asshole in the tristate region bought it when he got his first job working construction and drove it at 105mph weaving down I-95 and causing other cars to get into accidents (this happened in front of me _twice_).

    But what makes me angriest of all is that _they still sell their crappy cars_. Nissan sold 188,000 Rogues through August 2015, while Mazda had sold only 73,000 CX-5s. I hate Nissan because Nissan made a bet that they could still sell a zillion cars to Americans without actually making those cars any good, and we proved them right.

    Fuck Nissan.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “The fact that Nissan still sells the “Rogue Select,” which is probably older than me at this stage…”

      Well, I don’t want to accuse you of ranting and writing like someone born after 2008, but…

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Preach it. It’s obvious that no other car company cares so little about the quality of their product as Nissan.

      They make those numbers through insanely aggressive dealer sales strategies. Leases you can’t ignore and inventory so channel stuffed that the dealer network literally has no incentive to do anything other than sell at the lowest price at all times.

    • 0 avatar

      Have to second the opinion on the Sentra. Had one for a day through ZipCar, and likely the absolute worst vehicle I have ever driven. My only experience with a CVT, and seriously, how do people put up with that? Press the gas pedal and you get 99% noise, 1% acceleration. Also, bizarre bouncy seats that were comically un-supportive and uncomfortable, and an interior that generally was a horror show of gray plastic. I’m amazed that they sell any of those pieces of garbage, and compared to either the Fiesta or Focus (both of which we’ve had in our household) it’s like visiting another planet.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “This is the best thing I have ever read in TTAC.”

      This is one of the best posts I have read on TTAC. Much like GM, the real Nissan died after the “financial difficulties” and Renault Alliance in 1999 and the generations of product since reflect it.

      Oh I forgot to add, NIssan as a brand has degenerated into the sh*tbag marque of choice since about 2006, which is what happens by playing fast and loose with financing. Now with Dodge (as a brand) attempting to be somewhat serious, and Mitsubishi’s lineup reduced to three real models (or two if you think a Mirage isn’t there), Nissan is sopping up all of those FICO 500s. The next car new(er) car that hits you without insurance will probably be a Nissan product.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Real Car Guy Passion!

      “Stop buying sh*t I hate! F*cking sheeple!”

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Ooh we were at LAX the same day! I departed the city of smog, bad roads, and traffic jams the same day you arrived.

    Lots of pretty things there, they’re just miles apart and cost a lot to be around.

    Nice to see all the old 80’s and 90’s iron without rust still kicking around though. Never seen so many 94 Camrys and 99 Monteros all on the same day – and gen 1 Explorers in pristine condition.

  • avatar

    Car companies don’t build cars for fans, because the bulk of buyers just want something that gets them to work and the grocery store comfortably and doesn’t break down too often.

    FWIW, I own a 2012 Pathfinder. I wanted a BOF SUV, and with the huge amount of discounts it was basically a 4Runner for 25% off. Would I buy another Nissan product? Probably not. But I’m also not the target audience, because people who like BOF SUV’s is a tiny niche.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Don’t you find the Pathfinder’s interior quite awful, squeaky, poorly assembled? Are you a fan of the tippy-truck ride quality and bouncyness? The 4.0 V6 that drinks like a V8 and manages to go RAWR at the slightest throttle tip? Wind noise from the seals all over the place? Uncomfortable seats?

      I really hate my mom’s 09.

      • 0 avatar
        carr1on

        I lease a 2013 Pathfinder base model. It was heavily discounted and the lease rate from Nissan was too ridiculous to pass up. I needed a large SUV to pull a trailer full of motorcycles and storage enough to last a long weekend for my family.

        Other than a base model stereo that looks like it came from a late-80’s Cadillac, with the largest screen pixels I’ve seen, it is pretty good. Gas mileage averages 18MPG combined.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Not gonna lie, I found myself looking at Pathfinders of this era despite your poor opinion of them Corey, after becoming frustrated with used 4Runner prices. A full-lux LE doesn’t look like too terrible of a place to spend time in, atleast from the photos…

        • 0 avatar

          gtemnykh,

          I think if you like the ride and handling of your 4 runner you will be fine in a pathfinder I think Corey is a little spoiled by his Daily Drivers. I found the pathfinder similar to most body on frame SUV’s to drive. The interior is a little worse then a 4runner but for the price spread on a used one I would consider them. I knew a few women who used them as a tow trucks for their horses seemed to be fine even loaded up with a 2 horses in a trailer. One was a v8 the other a 6.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Except for the Rogue and Versa, Dodge class cars.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Not when it comes to reliability. Go talk to some independent mechanics and see what they say, I’m fairly certain the answer will be unanimous, and it won’t be in the Chryslers’ favor.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        There is a reason Fiat/Chrysler products consistently rank at or near the bottom of every quality or initial quality survey the last umpteen years. I honestly can’t say i know a single current owner that hasn’t had multiple things go wrong both inside and outside of the basic 3/36 warranty period on there Jeep Compasses, Rams, 200’s, 300’s, Chargers etc.

  • avatar

    Nissan GT-R is the only thing Nissan makes that I’d buy and at it’s price – I’d rather have a TESLA Model S.

    The Maxima is a CVT-driven Front-Wheel-Drive- UGY-soul-less econobox.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Speaking of Nissan, I saw the cutest damn thing in my barber shop lot this morning.

    Someone had a little Sentra all murdered-out black including black plastic caps over the steelies. Looked like factory or dealership, very complete with black door handles and all insignia.

    It was like, “Ooahh… the Littlest Meth Dealer!”

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Nissan has replaced GM in a lot of ways. Their entire product line up seems geared to the rental car fleet. When retired from said service they make a for a reasonable value on the second hand market, a car for the masses who care very little for driving dynamics, fit and finish etc.

    For those whose primary concern is that their car makes it where they need to go and does not completely embarras them, a used Nissan is a great value. I can not figure out how anyone shops them new, whichever segment, and comes way thinking the Nissan represents the best value for their dollar.

    In the 90’s I think most new Buick centuries but were delivered directly to rental co’s. I tend to believe the same is true for Altima’s.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I drive through the eastern DC sprawl on the way to work – Suitland, Capital Heights, etc. It’s a fairly rough area. It is fairly telling that the most common cars I see are generally 3-5 year old Altimas.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        I suspect that proves my point, used Altima’s are great fodder for the sub prime market. Can be bought back of book and retailed with some down stroke and financed at a sub prime bank at 90% of wholesale book.

        The same market the impala, Taurus, Malibu, and century used to cater to.

  • avatar
    Type44

    Agree 100%, but this is like when GM was going bankrupt- “they don’t make cars that people want to buy” was what I heard over and over, yet they were #1 in sales. Certainly possible that you’re unprofitable but I don’t see how they need to make more desirable cars when they already sell more than anyone else… Anyway, I’m mystified at Nissan’s success of late. There are a lot of shlubs in this world, who like to compromise, is my best explanation. The Pathfinder is infuriating. MPG of a truck, towing ability of a Corolla, and once you stuff Jayden, Hayden, and Kayden in back, there’s no room for a bag of groceries. Yet the balding, put-upon shlubs keep shrugging their polo-shirted shoulders and buying them because it’s not a minivan.

    Isn’t it? Looks like one to me!

  • avatar
    GST

    Nissan Rogue. Rented one last week in Arizona for a full week of vacation driving, about 500 miles. Really liked everything about this vehicle except the straight line steering. Would keep me from buying it. Otherwise, really good. Kinda liked the CVT watching the revs run up and down.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    As a kid I had Nissan Z32 toys, I couldnt care about the rest of their dull line-up. Even now I havent desired an old automatic seatbelt Maxima.

    Theyve gone from making rusty bland wagons to making budget Toyotas, but with somehow cheaper styling.

    Then theres the Juke, great job zapping away any Cuv merits Nissan! These are so unique everyone buys them in gray!

    Then theres the Infiniti G35, the next Integra, the coupe for Rice guys. You really get to hear the VQ with these rides!

  • avatar
    statikboy

    “In each segment in which Nissan competes”

    You forgot to put quotation marks around “competes”.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Nissan’s “as exciting as a Toyota but without the reliability” strategy has left them with a lineup that has very little for anyone that cares about cars. The surprising thing is that it has been a successful strategy in terms of business outcomes – they have increased sales and are profitable.

  • avatar
    awagliar

    Confessions of a Datsun/Nissan fanboi.

    My first car was a hand-me-down Datsun 510, though regrettably not one of the early ’70s models. Before too long I upgraded to a 260Z, the first in a succession of Zcars. I’ve had one of each generation from S30 to Z32 including a ’78 black pearl and an ’88 shiro special. I’ve DD’ed a ’95 300ZX TT for the last 15 years. I haven’t been Z-less since 1990. So yeah, I’m a little biased.

    But I’m nearing my self-imposed limit of 300K miles — 5K to go — and I am a bit saddened that my next car will not be a Z. I never cared much for the styling of the 350Z; it got modern, but my tastes didn’t. Subjectively, I felt the 370Z improved on that a little bit, but not enough. I’ve spent a little time in both and though I didn’t find them as unequivocally objectionable as Bark did, there was nothing to compel me to give up on my 300ZX. And with no replacement model in the pipeline (I will not acknowledge the existence of that Gripz travesty), I will have to expand my horizons, step out of my box, and look elsewhere.

    The rest of Nissan’s lineup doesn’t interest me, but that’s always been the case as I’m not a sedan/CUV guy .. with the exception of a certain pewter ’87 Maxima SE 5MT that got a delivery van unceremoniously shoved up its ass years ago.

    I wonder if Carlos Ghosn will revoke my fanclub membership card?

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Nissan is at a crossroad with the Z again. They either need to go small and light, tighten the focus like the FR-S or Miata. Otherwise go big with twin-turbos (GT-R) and attack the V8 Mustang. In its current form the 350/370Z sits in this odd middle ground which explains its lack of fans and sales. To me the 370Z was bit of sell out, they replaced one of the triple gauges with of all things a digital clock. Oh just what I need in my sports car. We are talking about a clock readout that looks just like the clock radio in your local airport’s Hampton Inn.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I suspect they crunched the numbers and discovered the billion to develop a new Z would not be made up by the profit per example sold over X period. In the Nissan-Renault Alliance, keeping your brand relevant or interesting in a sea of bland is not cost effective so they ditched it.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Maybe once Nissan releases the Cummins powered Titan they might actually have a truck worth selling.

    That big “C” on the fender saved Dodge trucks from oblivion.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      I think the problem for the new Titan, Cummins power or not, is this strategy to straddle between 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton. I really don’t think there are a whole lot of customers who feel that a 1/2 is not quite enough, but a 3/4 ton is way too much in the capability department. This is especially true in light of the trend to make the 1/2 truck much more capable than ever before.

      The only one who kind of went the other direction and effectively acknowledged that 1/2 trucks are often used as commuter cars is Ram, with their coil-spring rear suspension and lower payload/tow ratings.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    LOVE the snark on the race car Altima commercial.
    Nissan ads with the fwd cars doing e-brake simulated hooning are pathetic.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      The last Altimas I saw race could barely compete in their class against Civics and Golfs. One Altima was dead last while the others broke long before the finish.

      I think they had VQs in them too.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Nissan is the Japanese Chrysler without the cool Hemis. A subprime automaker.

    I actually used to be a fan, but they clearly decided to go in a different direction.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      Except Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram have a number of competitive vehicles (300, minivans, Charger, Challenger, Durango, Grand Cherokee, 1500/2500/3500) where Nissan has few to none.

  • avatar
    trackratmk1

    I was having a nice day until I was bothered enough to comment!

    Agreed on all points about the Nissan brand being the automotive brand equivalent of a lazy eye.

    But with the 370Z, I think your profuse hatred for Nissan has colored your opinion. The 350Z was a great benchmark for performance RWD cars. They had a plastic fantastic interior but great driving dynamics, which is well known by dorifto bros and NASA Spec-350 guys alike. When the 370Z came out, it kept a short wheelbase and torquey motor, added horsepower via displacement, added LIGHTNESS (on some models) and added quality interior materials.

    Sorry but what performance car enthusiast gives a damn about an LCD clock and radio display?

    The car has a 7500rpm (!!!) N/A V6 with plenty of balls, weighted, direct, precise steering AND gearbox, and predictable handling. And a LSD. It has every single hallmark character trait of a great performance car and looks more expensive than it was. Except for the brakes. Those still sucked (fade issues).

    Still, it’s a shame you didn’t get a performance pack equipped car with a manual gearbox. I’ve driven Coyote motor Mustangs and they’re great, but a GT doesn’t handle like a 370 does. It’s a hardcore sports car while the Stang is… a GT car. Mustang GTs don’t even start below 35k.

    For not much more than 30k, a 330+hp RWD go kart doesn’t have to be refined. It just has to be fun. Pre-facelift especially, they were a screaming deal, and I bet in 10 years, the used market will reflect that.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      I think making the LSD standard in the base model would help its tweener status. The price isn’t bad after they cut it down by several grand a few years ago. But the leap to a faster/more practical GT isn’t really that far.

      370Z: $30,815
      370Z Sport (LSD): $34,395

      Mustang GT: $33,295

      Those prices all include destination. As you accurately said, the Mustang isn’t a sports car. It’s still relatively big and nose heavy. But the market has clearly spoken. The Z needs serious updating or even better pricing.

      • 0 avatar
        trackratmk1

        Oh absolutely market has spoken. Just remember that the buying habits of the general public rarely reflect purchases of the best cars (other Nissan volume models are perfect case studies in what NOT to buy, yet sell in solid numbers anyway).

        As another poster said, trying to please auto enthusiasts would bankrupt many manufacturers. The 370 was way too hardcore and totally impractical to most people. I loved it.

        Just a footnote to pricing, an apples to apples comparison would include Perf Pack on a Stang, so you’re looking at $35,420 + destination.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The Versa is best in class for interior space, and it’s not close. If you want cheap cubes (which is totally legit) it’s the best car currently on the market.

    The new Murano is one of the better entries in the (small) premium two-row CUV class. It’s got Nissan’s best interior.

    And… that’s about it. Altima and Rogue are semi-competitive in their classes but don’t stand out. Nothing else is even really competitive at this point.

  • avatar
    jfranci3

    I rented a 350z to drive up the Cali coast. Like you I arrived at Hertz to find a Camry in my stall and talked my way into to 350z for the LA to SF trip.

    I HATED IT. How can you HATE a two door sports car you drove up the California coast? Terrible throttle response, terrible handling. Knowing what I know now, I would have taken the Camry as I’ve had a number of great drives in SE trimmed cars. I’m not sure if it was a tank of 87gas that dulled the 350z’s powertrain, bad throttle mapping, inaccessible power (eg v8 fwd Impala), or it’s just a dud.

    • 0 avatar

      The Q50 I drove up the CA coast, my rental upgrade, was smooth, powerful. The other folks in the car liked it too, comfy, well appointed interior. The engine made lots of fun power, and if I shut off all the nannies I could drive like a teenager and make black stripes on the pavement. When driven normally, it was very smooth and the transmission shifted well. I did end up leaving it in sport for marginally faster shifting and more responsive throttle.

      I get that Infiniti isn’t Nissan. I have a special place of hatred for the Rogue, as it is most often seen cluelessly blocking or otherwise bollixing up traffic….always a Rogue.

      The Altima 3.5 vs the Maxima is a car designed for upselling in the dealership. I’ve seen quite a few 3.5 sold to folks who put stuffed animals* on the back deck…..clearly not performance buyers.

      As far as the Maxima goes, at one spot years ago, they sorta took aim at BMW. Since then, I have NO idea what it means, or who it is aimed at, or what drugs the designers are taking and need to adjust.

      *If you never drive hard enough to dislodge them……

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    I think the lack of reliability is being exaggerated. I had two Q45’s that went to 200K without issues. In 2004 I bought a new Nissan Titan. Eleven years and 150,000 miles later I have replaced the tires and battery twice. Thats it…..nothing has ever failed, AC is still cold, all electronics work, and the cab is still tight. I have done three upgrades….replaced the original 12″ front brakes with the 14″ when they became available came in ’08, at 100K replaced the original Ranchos with Bilsteins, and added airbags to the rear suspension so I can carry heavy loads. Ive owned every brand of truck…Toyota, Ford, Chevy/GMC, Dodge, and International. The Titan has been the most reliable by far, and with the factory tow, off road, and utility bed packages I have on mine it has been the most useful as well.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The problem with your assertion here, is that you haven’t actually owned a Nissan to comment on reliability. You had two JDM Presidents, and a Titan truck.

      None of those are Nissan passenger cars in the American sense.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      That’s awesome reliability. I’m surprised they can keep the Titan line going at the sales volume they have. Don’t they sell in a month what Ford does per day?

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        Last year Ford sold 2090 F150’s per day, and Nissan sold around 1200 Titans per month. They can keep the line open because they also make the nv work van and altima at the same plant

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    New Nissans sure are ugly.

    But what do I know, I can’t even afford an old used Pathfinder.

  • avatar
    talkstoanimals

    I couldn’t agree more with the premise of Bark’s rant. I used to love Nissans – they used to offer some of the more interesting cars in various categories in the ’80s and 90s, and my family owned several of their cars in the past. But since roughly ’96ish, it’s been downhill sledding. There were occasional bright spots after that – to whit I had an ’04 Titan that was terrific in it’s day and that I really enjoyed (until it became impractical for urban life), and my brother had a G37 that he loved and that was dead reliable for the 7 years he drove it. But he and his wife have been thoroughly unimpressed by their ’13 Pathfinder, which chewed through several CVTs until it finally got sorted. I looked at a 370Z back in ’10, but found it so junky and cheap that I opted for a 135i instead. When the time came for my brother to replace his beloved G37 a few weeks ago, try as he might he couldn’t find a compelling reason to buy a Q50 or a Maxima as a replacement and instead bought a 335i. In short, Nissan doesn’t currently offer anything that makes a compelling case for ownership. It’s not that their cars are bad – they’re just meh. Pretty much every category is covered by a more interesting and/or reliable alternative from another manufacturer. Very sad…

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Nothing like thinking you’ve won the rental car lottery to find you ended up with a POS.

    Been there, done that, it sucks.

    The Z-car is a zombie at this point, an ignored uncompetitive shell of it’s former self. I’d rather have a Genesis Coupe with the 3.8, and I don’t even like the Genesis coupe.

  • avatar
    stroker49

    Ugly and boring but worse, they share a lot of components with Renault so they are not even good any more!

    • 0 avatar
      hgrunt

      Been watching some top gear, haven’t we?

      In Europe they might have a few Renault parts in them, for some reason or another. The car is unequivocally Nissan, though.

  • avatar
    TheBlueSoap

    Nissan Micra and Nissan Juke and Nissan Cube. These were the only Nissans we were looking at. Settled on a 2013 Juke SL AWD. Have had it about 2 months now and truly enjoying it.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Sweet murdering deathmarch rant! More than I hoped for. Barkathon!

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    When enthusiasts become a significant percentage of sales, Nissan will pay attention to them. The market isn’t there. We’re luck to have any sporty cars.
    Nissan should totally make their own BRZ… and have them languish on dealer lots.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I drove Nissans when I worked for them. I’ve always thought them as a the Japanese Pontiac. Since then they went all CVT and I lost interest.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    From the article; “What is Nissan good at?”

    Nissan do make some great pickups like the new Navara. This is a worthy vehicle to have. It’s that good MB wants a piece of the action.

    The Patrol is another fantastic Nissan product. I would definitely want one.

    The ISV Cummins powered Titan I would also dearly love to own.

    So, Nissan do make some great vehicles.

    I must also state that since Renault had their finger in the Nissan pie, Nissan has not been what Nissan used to be.

    Maybe Renault should offer Nissan more independence to create.

  • avatar

    Hmm current Nissans?

    frontier
    titan
    That may be about it for what I would buy but I would like to try the new Max.
    I do like a number of Infiniti models thou.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    Except for a very few, really expensive cars, there isn’t anything made in Japan that even slightly interests me. My sister though, who is a total Nissan fan, is about to buy another Altima. Snore. I bet it’s silver, too.

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    BaArk’s Bites.

    “When a man bites a dog, that’s news.”

    And when Bark bites, you can take it to the bank.

    Glad you aren’t afraid to give Nissan some well-deserved corporal punishment. I’ll even overlook the “ouchies” for that…not that obtrusive to begin with. And it really does capture the feeling of that kind of experience.

    I’m only surprised that the Z-car mafia hasn’t been out in droves…perhaps because even they know that they don’t have much ammo to back up their counterattacks, I would guess.

    Well done. And if you want some laughs at a certain self-ordained eagle’s expense, Bark, check out his whine about being dethroned from Toyota and BMW press cars back in an old TTAC April Fool’s Day article…back in 2012, when I think he was still just a public health inspector and not an eagle-class marketing director.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/author/peter-dushenski/

    I guess he thinks that made him on a par with Jack, and now you. Though of course, since then he has ascended to his self-appointed throne as an eagle ruling over all of us worms.

    You HAVE to look it up…but it will make you snort coffee out of your nose if you are having a cup when you read it. Otherwise, it will just be a whole lot of SMH & WTFO.

    But I promise you, you will get enough S&G out of it to make it worth doing so.

    Warn your brother to watch out for him, though. I found another site where he was flogging Bitcoins, and he claimed that their value had gone up 8000% one recent year. Perhaps in his mind…no such thing, or anything like it on a couple of FX sites. Jack thinks he likes to conduct what he (the other guy) considers interesting social experiments. Last guy who experimented like that and got famous was named Bernie, if you get my drift.

    (Since about 2011 the curve of Bitcoin vs. US $ looks like a downhill cliff, with a few small rockpiles on the way down. But if you are ever in Edmonton, he will take you to one of his curtain and bitcoin customers, where they will gladly sell you a card for $55.55 (presumable Canadian) that enables you to buy $50 (also presumably Canadian) with it. How about those Canadian businessman, yeah, hey? I saw it all on the Internet, so it must be true. ;-) ).

  • avatar
    ccode81

    3.7liter 2 seater doesn’t sell to Nissan’s client base out side of US, and this car came out when USD/JPY was 100 arround, yet still built to make profit, guess how cheap it is under the shell.
    I’ve recently killed time on Japanese tuner’s blog of Z33/34 specialist, it basically says anything touching driver’s body has to be swaped (recaro / momo), brakes and rubber bushes has to replaced with upgraded parts with better material, cooling system needs to be beefed up, spending total amount of buying Cayman, it transforms into a decent car.

  • avatar
    yakapo

    In the early 90’s the twin turbo 300z was in my opinion one of the best cars in its class. Also the 4th gen maxima in the mid 90’s had a lot more pep than the other import sedans. Nowadays it takes a lot to compete in any class.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    Nissan, the company that cut the nuts off the Pathfinder because they don’t want to compete with 4Runner, are dropping the Xterra because offroading lifestyle is no longer their “thing”. Worst off all they come out with the IDX concept, talk it up, get people interested, but don’t have the balls to move forward (french influence?). Get stuffed Nissan!

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Nissan still sells vehicles. Just not to people who know better.

      It can be argued that Toyota “…Doesn’t Make A Single Car You Want To Buy…” but they, too, sell to a group that believes.

  • avatar
    pb35

    Me and the wife passed a 2004 G35x back and forth for 8 years (purchased new). It was ok for the time, reliability was average (esp for a Japanese car) but it rode well and was quick enough to be fun.

    The party was over when I put an aftermarket Stillen exhaust on it because I backed into a low wall one late evening and trashed the stock muffler. Whatever HP gains were promised were overridden by the most horrible, annoying, headache inducing sound ever to come from a V6 engine. It was so bad my wife wouldn’t drive it anymore so I dumped it with 70k in 2012 for a Hemi Charger R/T (so I’m enjoying these Nissan/Dodge comparisons). They gave me $9500 for it and had it wholesaled in about 5 minutes because it was spotless.

    I just traded my 2012 R/T for a 2015 SRT 392 and am pretty pleased with FCA build kwality. I probably won’t ever own a Nissan again. Too many other cars to drive. Oh and I just got back from a weekend getaway in Detroit where I rented a Camaro SS. Had a blast with it but realized I’m too old for a Camaro now.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “… realized I’m too old for a Camaro now.”

      You’re never too old.

      A recently-widowed 70-something I know who lost his wife to cancer, bought a 2015 Corvette (automatic) in Look-At-Me-Bright-Yellow, and is driving across the country in it, visiting friends and relatives before he cashes in and kicks the bucket.

      You’re never too old. It may not be practical, and you may need help getting in/out of it, but you’re never to old.

      • 0 avatar
        pb35

        I’m 48 now and owned an IROC in the 90s so I was surprised to learn the 2015 had the same seat belt that cuts into your neck. There was nowhere to put my left knee. It even smelled like my 86, it was eerie.

        I was doing fine hooning the hell out of it until I returned it to the airport at 6am Sunday morning and banged my head getting out of it for the last time. The rental agent asked if the car was ok and I was “yeah, BANG it was great!”

        I can totally see myself doing that at 70. Perhaps you’re right.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          If a person lives to be 70, they may find that their priorities change. Wants vs needs, and all that bloody rot.

          I don’t have a sportscar body anymore, but I do like the finer things. I look upon them as a reward for a lifetime of hard work, and living this long.

          If I could afford an LS460……

          • 0 avatar
            TOTitan

            Im 63 and my current fun ride is a BMW 335d. It looks like just another 3 series but it will easily outrun most cars, has big brakes, handles like its on rails..all while averaging 32 mpg. Its the best of both worlds.

            Before someone mentions the CBU problem, mine has 86,000 miles with no issues. The trick with this engine is to not use it for short in town trips, and use an additive to keep the injectors as clean as possible. We use a 16 sportwagen tsi for running errands.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    Bark, you are so so wrong. A manual would only make the experience worse. Yep, heavy clutch, bad engagement, and lets the engine make ever worse noises when reved higher then the auto allows. Love the looks, bought a Merc.

  • avatar
    CGHill

    The VQ, I submit, was at its best in smaller displacements: the 3.0 bolted into my ’00 I30, even after 160,000 miles, is smoother than the inside of Monica Bellucci’s dressing gown. And of all the G variants, the one I liked the best was the G25: despite the pony deficit, the 2.5 was slick, and it seemed better matched to the seven-speed automatic than did its more powerful sisters.

    Brother Jack once said that Nissan should pull the hamburger off the Maxima and sell it as an Infiniti, where at least it has a chance of justifying its price. If they also yanked the CVT, I’d even consider buying one.

  • avatar
    RELove

    I wonder at skills of Nissan’s marketing department when they base an ad on a Dad and son “racing” a school bus in one of their ads ,and appear quite satisfied beating a bus making multiple stops.

    Of course, there must be some success to their marketing – whenever I see some idiot racing down the highway, 20 over, cutting in and out of traffic, it’s usually an Altima.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Great article Bark! My last ownership experience with Nissan was my Nissan King Cab SE-V6. Great “truck”, and it ran hard and long last 200k miles before it shipped off to South America.

    I agree the Leaf is one of their few cars that cross any line of class-leading; I would add the Juke because of its styling edge, and maybe the Versa hatchback because of the outstanding room/value relationship. Last year I rented an Altima for 10 days that was serviceable enough – excellent gas mileage, ok comfort – but it wasn’t a top trim.

    CR has mentioned the new Pathfinder as one of the most unreliable vehicles as reported by owners – that has to be a concern for Nissan.

    Personally I wouldn’t mind an FX35 or M35 hybrid or whatever they call those now. Whoever convinced Infiniti they needed to change their model name scheme should be shot…

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I too was irritated with the Maxima ad campaign with the tagline at the end about leasing for $299 a “mumph”. I made the mistake of logging into the website for our newest Nissan dealership, Clay Cooley on Colerain Avenue and sending a rather caustic message via their “contact us” page. Assuming I’d hear from some management type, I have been amazed to get calls from chipper young women, twice a day for the past week, asking if I was ready to come in and buy a car?!? Did they not read my message? I have told several of these phone bank chickies that I’d sooner die than buy a Nissan, and the ad campaign really chaps my ass…one of them yesterday told me they don’t read the message on the contact screen, they just grab the phone number and start dialing. I told her they should stop calling, because I’m not buying…6 minutes later, another one called…it’s becoming a game with me to see how many times these nitwits call me. And don’t get me started on Clay Cooley…he can’t say “exceptional” so in his TV ads he talks about what sounds like a “sexual” experience at Clay Cooley Nissan…crimany.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I’d love to get behind the wheel of a 370z to see if I agree with your impressions. I’ve driven the G37 generation that shared it’s platform with the current 7 and thought it was a great car – automatic and VQ included. If it was still being made instead of the current Q50, I’d say it was the best car in it’s class (has real steering, N/A six cylinder, and a proper manual). When I was shopping for my last car, I thought it was no contest comparing e46 to first gen G35 (bought the e46), but had I decided to go newer, it would’ve been a tough competition between an e90 and a G37 – I could easily see buying one or the other. All that to say I would’ve hoped the 370z drove like that G37 only feeling sportier. With the turbo boxster and cayman on their way, the 370z is about to be the last of a dying breed – the normally aspirated six cylinder sports car. Very sad. It’s been the only affordable one on the market for a long time. It sure looks good though. I think the current generation is aging very well.

  • avatar
    ArialATOMV8

    The 90s are over unfortinetly. When you think about it, how many Pure JDM cars are left? FRS/BRZ, STI, and that’s it. The Evo’s gone, Honda’s civic is not as cool as it used to be, The 370Z is not made well, and, brands like Toyota and SUbary have 1 fun car, the BRZ/FRS/GT86!

    Just like some of the others,Nissan has lost it’s way in the US Market. They have abused there cars giving redesigns to “boring” cars like the Altima, Maxima, Sentra, Rogue, Pathfinder and, come up with crap like the Juke and the Murano Crosscalibrolet!

    Meanwhile the 370Z and the GT-R need a redesign! and, due to the lack of restyling, the X-Terra is dead.
    I miss those early days of Rice em till they drop!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You’ve got to think a little more before you say these things. The FRS and BRZ were designed largely in Europe and built with the US market in mind.

      Define “pure JDM.” Does that mean cars which were originally for the Japanese market, but were trimmed-up and made LHD to sell here?

      LS
      GS
      Q70/M37
      QX80

      While you’re thinking further on your points, make sure what you’re saying makes sense.

  • avatar

    Bark posted a good rant, but a lot of it was merely his opinion.

    For example, take Leaf. It’s absolutely class-leading, until Tesla produces that $30k car they keep promising.

    Comparing Z with Mustang in Camaro? Puleeeeze. Not even close, unless we’re talking pure track times. I sat in both of those barges and their only advantage is the girdth great enough to accomodate Michael Moore or a gigantic V8 engine. I can see myself driving a Z but not one of those.

    Picking a GM car over Maxima? Are you insane?

    The rant is full of these things that are merely Bark’s opinions about preferences. It’s also full of omissions that would, well, introduce some dissonant into the narrative. Like, for instance, Juke.

    The real problem for Nissan is the future where Rogue has to replace Cube.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Bark is essentially correct in his assessment of the decline of the marque Nissan. There may be some few instances of things that go against the generalization that Bark proposes. But taken as a whole, the marque really does not have much to offer, especially when you think back to what it used to be.

      One of Bark’s strengths as a writer is his willingness to take a strong, and at times controversial stance, and then to do a pretty good job of defending it against any and all counter-assaults. However, it can also be seen as one of his weaknesses, as by taking on the largest and broadest assertion possible, he leaves himself open to multiple nit-picking counters.

      When I have disagreed with Bark, in retrospect I can see that it was over some detail that in the grand scheme of things, was not his central point. But there are too few people willing to make and defend broad general assertions, instead of hedging them with multiple exceptions.

      Making those more sweeping generalizations often leads to more reader involvement, if only because it offers a broader target surface for rebuttals. But to the extent that promoting reader involvement is a good thing, we shouldn’t be surprised to see Bark promoting it via this approach.

      Still, at times I, and apparently some other readers, find this tactic annoying. My only two real nits that I picked with Bark were first, his insistence (in an otherwise well presented argument that was basically an update of John Molloy’s “Dress for Success” books), that three button men’s business suits were an anachronism, and that one should only wear two button suits these days. This in spite of the fact that while his observation might be true in the circles that he travels in, there are other centers of business power where the three button suit not only survives, but may in fact be preferred.

      A big fault in his article? Hardly…but an inevitable side effect of making a sweeping generalization that wasn’t necessary for the central idea of his article? Definitely. So I debated the point, and contributed to his click counts, probably both directly and indirectly.

      Ditto his choice of a word that the Urban Dictionary clearly labels as almost exclusively Valley-speak, the exclusive domain of teenage and early twenties girls in the Valley area of SoCal. It was used in an otherwise excellent article about his planned trip to test the new Mustang.

      The overall article was an excellent writeup. And he stands in the shadow of an older brother who is one of the best automotive writers of our generation, yet he still manages to have his own style, and to do well with it. But a bit of Valley-speak just didn’t seem to fit with the overall tone of the article. This really doesn’t illustrate my point as well, but my basic point is that as an integral part of his style, he is willing to do just a little bit extra, that makes the article stand out just a bit more. And sometimes that seems to some to be a fail in an otherwise more than merely good piece of writing.

      So I was not surprised to see Bark jump feet first onto Nissan as a whole. Could he have made a good article about Nissan while being a bit more selective as to the vehicles he dislikes? Certainly. But then it would also have looked like he just thought he had gotten a couple of “weak sister” offerings in Nissan’s lineup, when he really feels that they have almost entirely lost their compass.

      And as a central thesis, this is almost certainly true. Yet it also is so broad brush that it makes it easy to pick and choose a few counter examples that may or may not work, depending on your taste.

      So to my way of thinking/seeing things, this is just classical Bark, both his strengths and what I feel might be considered his weakness as a writer. Yet I will freely admit that in order for him to pursue what is likely a unique stylistic strength for him, he must often fill in with items that at least admit counter attacks, and in some cases, almost seem to call out for them, at least among some of his audience.

      So in toto (sorry, Bark, you aren’t going to get me to say “totes” here ;-) ), this is Bark being not just a good writer, but uniquely Bark as a writer, IMNERHO. But it is better to take the weaknesses exposed by his strong broad positions, than it would be to have him waffle around his central point like a bad lawyer writing a poor contract, full of weasel words and clauses.

      Cause it ain’t gonna be Bark, if he doesn’t sometimes swing for the fences.

      If you want a lot of nuances, there are plenty of places you can go. But if you want to know what the writer really thinks, without a lot of waffling, you will get it in a Bark article. Sort of like Tabasco sause…you will know it when you taste it, and if you like it, you will know when you have consumed the real thing.

      And I, for one, am willing to put up with (or perhaps argue with), the occasional assertion that seems to go above and beyond the main thesis, in order to know how a knowledgeable driver and writer truly feels about the cars he drives and reviews.

      A thousand “totes” and a hundred perhaps incorrect, or too narrowly scoped, style tips any day, over yet another weak, carefully crafted so as not to offend, car review. So according to my calculation, Bark, you are still good for at least 999 more “totes” and 99 more fashion assertions.

      In fact, when I see them in the light of Bark’s overall style and quality of work, they are really nits. Though I still think it is an error to tell a young man aspiring to rise in business that his boss is lame for still wearing archaic three button suits, I can and will tolerate a fair amount of slang usage, in order to get a “real Bark” article, rather than yet another cookie cutter auto industry article.

      So mea culpa, Bark. Keep on wearing only two button suits, as I am sure you will, and I will keep on wearing both two and three button suits, when and if I still need to in my area of endeavor.

      And if you find that Valley-speak has crept into common enough usage in your flyover territory, or wherever, go right ahead, because generally I am opposed to too many grammar and style prescriptions in writing, anyway.

      And no, I don’t think picking a GM car over a Maxima is insane, either. Depends on what series of Maxima, and what GM car. It is definitely NOT true that Maxima >> GM car for all values of GM car and all iterations of Maxima.

      “He dicho”…pronounced “Hay deecho”, and meaning, “I have spoken”, or “That’s all I’ve got”, a famous Cantinflas line, after he has said what he had to say, and then exits off the podium.

      FWIW, I knew that your taking on the entire Nissan lineup would end up stirring up a sh!t storm, but it was good to see the pot stirred that way…it was due.

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    Lets not forget that Nissan is the only japanesee automaker that still tries to produce sporty-cars ..

    Both 370Z and GTR are unique and oryginal ..

    Especially GTR is quite cool car ((very fast and..easy to navigate even though it/s big and heavy .. and .. front/face ugly > it should look more like that one >)

    http://img10.deviantart.net/4d54/i/2006/178/5/8/nissan_skyline_concepts_by_iacoski.jpg

    If they’ll succesfully refresh GTR and Z .. and add sth like that to the party ..

    http://www.autotribute.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Nissan-IDx-Nismo-Concept.jpg

    .. they would have a really unique sporty-department lineup ..

  • avatar
    svan

    This is entirely true. There isn’t a single Nissan I’m interested in. I used to think the Sentra SE-R was interesting, and the Z’s have always have been an object of desire. But nowadays? Not a chance. Infiniti lost the plot for this well-off 42 yo male car lover years ago.

    Except, of course, the GT-R. If I was looking for a 50-80k track toy, that would be right at the top of my list, but likely nostalgia would win and I’d get a nice clean older NSX and take a few trips of a lifetime with the money I “save”.


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  • pprj: I tried the T6. No thanks. He car needs a better engine. This small 2 liters 4 cylinder is not good enough,...
  • Maymar: Isn’t that what they meant, that every vehicle they build will be somewhere between hybrid and full...
  • Ronnie Schreiber: I wonder if you could work out synergies betweeen a Lyft/Uber type ride service and a grocery...
  • akear: The 200 is better than anything GM is offering today. GM – what a disgrace!
  • akear: I saw a really cheap 200 with the tigershark engine in a local add. It would make a good second car for some...

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