The Truth About Cars » Nissan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:00:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Nissan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/nissan/ New York 2014: 2015 Nissan Murano Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-nissan-murano-revealed-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-nissan-murano-revealed-2/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:52:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=800586 2015-Nissan-Murano-10

The 2015 Nissan Murano showed off its new looks before the world at the 2014 New York Auto Show, and brought some improvements to the table, as well.

The Murano has a 3.5-liter V6 putting 260 horsepower to the front or all four corners through its CVT, weighs 130 pounds less than the outgoing Murano, and should match said crossover in fuel economy at around 18 city/24 highway.

Outside, the crossover boasts Nissan’s new design language, including “boomerang” head- and tail lamps, while the inside proclaims 60 percent less stitching in the upholstery and an infotainment system featuring 11 Bose speakers.

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Nissan, Daimler Working On Mexican Assembly For Luxury Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/nissan-daimler-working-on-mexican-assembly-for-luxury-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/nissan-daimler-working-on-mexican-assembly-for-luxury-cars/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 10:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=778985 Infiniti-Q30-1

The need for economies of scale in the automotive industry is driving some interesting events. The latest, a reported joint venture between Nissan and Daimler, is yet another step for the two companies, which has seen the Renault-Nissan alliance enter into, well, an alliance, to share costs relating to R&D and manufacturing.

Reuters is reporting that the two auto makers have signed a memorandum of understanding to build a factory in Mexico that will produce the Mercedes-Benz GLA, as well as an all-new Infiniti car.

The new car is likely the upcoming Q30 compact, which will use the Mercedes-Benz front-drive architecture that underpins the GLA and its CLA twin, as well as the Mercedes-Benz A and B Class compact hatches. The front-drive architecture has been wildly successful for Mercedes-Benz, and letting Infiniti utilize it will only ease some of the financial burden required for an all-new architecture, with both marques sharing some of the manufacturing costs.

Damiler and Renault-Nissan’s most recent collaboration was the just unveiled Renault Twingo, which will share a platform with the upcoming next-generation Smart cars. This sort of collaboration is a harbinger of things to come as competition in the auto world gets increasingly fierce, and the need for scale becomes a bigger requirement for profitability.

 

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Japanese Automakers Find New Export Base, Opportunity In Mexico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/japanese-automakers-find-new-export-base-opportunity-in-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/japanese-automakers-find-new-export-base-opportunity-in-mexico/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 14:45:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=769626 Mazda3s Loading Onto Three-Tiered Train Car

Within four months of each other, Honda, Mazda and Nissan have opened new factories in Mexico, taking advantage of the opportunities within the nation’s automotive industry to grow a new export base into the United States, Latin America and Europe while also gaining ground in the rapidly expanding local market, all in direct challenge to the Detroit Three and other automakers on both sides of the border.

Automotive News reports Mexico will become the No. 1 exporting nation to the U.S. by 2015 at the earliest in large part due to the 605,000 units per year added by the three Japanese automakers. Meanwhile, Toyota will begin production in 2015 at Mazda’s newly opened Salamanca plant prior to deciding whether or not to build a new factory of their own. Nissan’s premium brand, Infiniti, may also set-up shop in Mexico.

In turn, the Japanese will see benefits from the move, from mitigating losses from a weaker yen in exports from home and greater profit due to cheap labor, to no tariffs on exports to the U.S. due to the North American Free Trade Agreement and improved product availability resulting from shorter distances between markets.

Speaking of free-trade agreements, Japanese automakers will also have access to some 44 countries and up to 40 million sales annually as a result of Mexico’s many agreements, allowing them to take on competitors in Latin America and Europe.

Finally, the Japanese have taken market share away from the Detroit Three in Mexico’s own automotive market, holding a collective 42 percent over Detroit’s 35 percent in 2013, when just four years earlier Detroit dominated with 57 percent of the market over Japan’s 23 percent.

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Geneva 2014: Nissan Juke http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-nissan-juke/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-nissan-juke/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 16:15:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=765185 Nissan-Juke-01

The big news for the Nissan Juke is what you can’t see: according to them, Nissan claims that the cargo area is 40 percent larger on front-wheel drive models, now up to 12.5 feet. World markets also get a new 1.2L turbo 4-cylinder engine. I’m just hoping they’ll finally give us an all-wheel drive 6MT version. I’m glad it’s still weird.

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Geneva 2014: Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Gets A GT-R Heart Transplant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-infiniti-q50-eau-rouge-gets-a-gt-r-heart-transplant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-infiniti-q50-eau-rouge-gets-a-gt-r-heart-transplant/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 16:04:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=763465 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge roars into life

Just as the B&B suspected, the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge is indeed powered by a twin-turbo V6, and it comes from the Nissan GT-R. With all-wheel drive and a 7-speed gearbox (of an unspecified nature), the Eau Rouge should blast to 60 mph in under 4 seconds. Can’t outshine its big brother, can it?

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Booming Van Sales Driven By Small Business http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/booming-van-sales-driven-by-small-business/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/booming-van-sales-driven-by-small-business/#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2014 15:25:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=757265 Florist Vans

In a sign the broader economy is on an upswing, small business owners who use commercial vans in their business are replacing their aging equipment with new vans, fueling a boom not seen since the start of the Great Recession.

USA Today reports as small businesses begin to invest in their companies once more — and with borrowing on the rise with loosened credit now available — commercial van sales rose to over 40 percent since 2010. The winter weather failed to put a dent in sales, rising 9 percent in January as auto sales fell 3 percent in the same period. IHS Automotive, in particular, expects sales to grow 27 percent overall between 2013 and 2015, with over 400,000 units leaving the lot for the wrap shop annually.

Though the commercial van market has been dominated by Ford, Mercedes-Benz and General Motors, more automakers are entering the market with offerings of their own, such as Nissan’s NV series and Ram’s minivan-based Cargo Van. As a result, total small van sales — such as the Ford Transit Connect and Nissan NV200 — were over 53,000 units in 2013, while 259,000 large vans were sold in the same period.

More vans are expected to enter the market this year, including the Nissan NV200-based Chevrolet City Express and Fiat Doblo-based Ram ProMaster City.

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Diaz Promises Profitable Share Gains, More Competitive Titan For Nissan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/diaz-promises-profitable-share-gains-more-competitive-titan-for-nissan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/diaz-promises-profitable-share-gains-more-competitive-titan-for-nissan/#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2014 15:20:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=757121 Fred Diaz with Cummins Diesel For Nissan Titan

Nissan North America sales boss Fred Diaz expects his employer will gain more mind and market share in 2014 in the run-up to the 2016 Titan’s debut in showrooms, a truck promised to be more competitive than the current model.

Automotive News and WardsAuto report Nissan’s market share in 2013 nudged upward to 8 percent from 2012′s 7.9 percent share. Meanwhile, January 2014 sales rose 12 percent while overall industry sales fell 3 percent, and slashed sticker prices on a number of Nissan’s most popular models helped to to lower incentives by $375 while raising average transaction prices to $95 per unit sold.

Finally, Diaz himself met with the dealer advisory board monthly, as well as held discussions with all 1,167 dealerships in the United States, to learn about and adopt necessary product changes needed to bring more profits back to his employer.

One of the products in question is the 2016 Titan, where Diaz took those suggestions to heart during his visit to Nissan’s design studio in La Jolla, Calif.:

I was pleasantly surprised, but I also saw some things that could be improved significantly. No doubt I hurt some feelings and stepped on a few toes. I was pretty tough with the suggestions I made. We just needed to do a few things with the lines and the front of the vehicle.

The upcoming Titan is expected to match 90 percent of the competition’s various features and configurations in terms of cabs and engines, including a Cummins 5-liter turbodiesel V8. Nissan is also betting on the all-American soul that the newly designed pickup will bring to the table, having been engineered in Farmington Hills, Mich, designed in California, and assembled in Canton, Miss. with the aforementioned Cummins coming down from Columbus, Ind.

Diaz expects his employer will source 85 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. to come from plants in the U.S. and Mexico. Nissan is also in the early stages of revamping its ordering system so dealers can order and receive inventory at a faster clip than current.

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Is The Nissan LEAF Worth The Green? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/is-the-nissan-leaf-worth-the-green/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/is-the-nissan-leaf-worth-the-green/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=754225 Click here to view the embedded video.

What happens when the subsidy is over?

This is a question that I tried to study in depth about a month ago when one of my friends had a 10 year old Toyota Prius that had seemingly lost it’s battery.

It turned out that he didn’t need a new car, or a new battery. A stray rodent had inflicted minimal harm to the wiring and his temporary search for a new ride quickly came and went.

However, I did some deep drilling for him one evening since his question was one with more unknowns than the typical car purchase. He wanted a LEAF, new our used, as his next car.

What shocked the hell out of me is that the numbers may indeed work… new or used.

The word may is a key operative term here…

Before I delve into the deep ocean blue of numbers crunching, let me offer each of you three (four!) simple questions.

1. Do you live in one of those wonderful states that offers a $5000 state subsidy for buying a LEAF?

2. Does your income enable you to make use of all the federal and state tax credits? And do you have excellent credit?

3. Are you willing to deal with an electric car that will be losing about 20% to 25% of it’s range by the time it reaches 100,000 miles.

Click here to view the embedded video.

If you answered no to any one of these (four!) three questions,  then do not buy the LEAF under any circumstances unless you are willing to “invest” in the electric technology that powers it.

So as for those 10% of you who are left (no it’s 5% you cheating used car selling bastard!), let’s go a bit deeper.

If you are only looking for a short-term deal and pure numbers are guiding your decision, then lease. The numbers between a two year lease and a three year lease change based on whatever special packages and bogus fees are ordained by the local dealership. These will likely include a $595 acquisition fee, a $395 disposition fee, a $250 documentation fee (this is an estimate based on TrueCar data for all 50 states), and about $2000 worth in states taxes, title transaction costs, registration costs, and the two lukewarm sodas you get to drink while the general manager of the dealership gets to plan for a weekend run to Vegas thanks to all the fake expenses he gets to collect.

Not to worry though, because the deal also enables you to screw take advantage of every subsidy known to these electric car programs. Federal Tax Credits. State Tax Credits. Possible Charging System Subsidies. Lower Rates For Your Electric Usage. HOV Lane Stickers. Truth be told, buying a Nissan LEAF is the closest most individuals will ever get to enjoying the benefits of becoming their very own large corporation. All these credits amount to over $13,000 in real world cost and to top it all off, you get to thumb your nose at the oil companies.

Once you throw auto insurance to the mix,  your real world costs on an annual basis will likely run around $360 a month, or just $12.00 a day, and that includes everything. Fuel, Insurance, Maintenance Costs, Tax Credit Reductions… it’s a steal of a deal in every sense of the term if you can pass through all the hoops and ignore the monetary flesh wounds of your fellow Americans who now pay $25 a day according to the American Automobile Association.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Typical car owner losing vital limbs thanks to the lobbying efforts of the Nissan Motor Company

The spreadsheet doesn’t publish well at a site like TTAC. But long story short, I was a financial analyst my first two years out of college and I’m happy to share it with anyone who has a remote interest in all the numbers. Feel free to email at steve.lang@thetruthaboutcars.com.

Now as for the buying side, there were four (three!) unusual findings.

1. The running costs of a LEAF, if you opt for the $100 a month battery guarantee, is roughly equivalent to a 10 year old Nissan Sentra.

2. Insurance costs between a LEAF and that Sentra worked out to only about a 13% difference. $1132 for the LEAF vs $1010 for the Sentra according to my insurer, USAA.

3. If you avoid the dealership’s service department like the plague and buy a $5 turkey baster for your brake fluid servicing, the LEAF will likely be cheaper to operate than a 10 year old beater Sentra.

Click here to view the embedded video.

There is one area of variance that came into play in my calculations. Battery life and the climate’s impact on it.

If you live in an area with searing heat and unusually cold winters, say, like Atlanta these last few months, your battery pack will likely wear out a bit faster than the owner who enjoys a constant mild temperature year round.  Once you or Nissan decide to discontinue the battery program, you may be living on borrowed time. So you have to figure out at what point you are willing to make that trade.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Then again, you may find in the near future that replacement parts are cheap enough elsewhere, and that this battery lease program will not be needed going forward. As a long-time owner of a 1st gen Insight and the first two generations of the Prius, I can attest to that outcome coming true more often than not.

So if it were my money, or the money subsidized to me by my fellow Americans, I would recommend the following.

1. If you buy the LEAF new, opt for the battery replacement program right before the vehicle hits the 5 year / 60,000 mark.

2. Replace the pack after the first go round, which will likely offer increased range and longevity, and then stop paying for the battery lease program.

3. Start prospecting for replacement parts if you absolutely do plan on keeping the LEAF past the 12 to 15 year mark.

A one to two year old Nissan LEAF is right now running the gamut of between $16,000 for a non-CPO LEAF with about 35,000 miles, to $22,000 for one that has less than 10,000 miles and is eligible for Nissan’s Certified Pre-Owned program.

That’s quite a range. However, it comes down to this.

A LEAF costs about as much to operate as a 10 year old Sentra that has 120,000 miles. I spent an insane amount of time trying to figure this out, and now that I finally have done so, I’m going to let my fellow enthusiasts buy a 1st gen Miata and forget they ever read this tome to automotive androgyny.

Click here to view the embedded video.

THE END…

 

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Nissan To Drop Versa Sedan In Canada As Micra Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/nissan-to-drop-versa-sedan-in-canada-as-micra-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/nissan-to-drop-versa-sedan-in-canada-as-micra-debuts/#comments Mon, 24 Feb 2014 18:45:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=752905 450x298xMicra-14-450x298.jpg.pagespeed.ic.DYLxdk25LH

The Canada-only Nissan Micra debuts in April, with Nissan hoping to pick up overall market share in The Great White North. But Automotive News reports that one casualty of the Micra’s introduction will be the Versa Sedan – hardly a surprise when both compete at the absolute low end of the market.

While the Versa Note will still be sold in Canada, the Sedan will be dropped according to Nissan Canada spokesman Didier Marsaud. Citing Nissan’s three subcompact entries, Marsaud told TTAC

“The Nissan Micra has been extensively tailored for Canadians and specifically to complement the Versa Note in Nissan Canada’s product lineup.  We decided that it is best to focus Nissan Canada and our Dealers’ attention on Versa Note and Micra.  As a result, we made the decision to discontinue selling Versa Sedan in Canada after the 14 Model Year.”

Removing the Versa sedan also gives the Sentra some breathing room, with the Sentra outselling the entire Versa lineup by a couple thousand units in 2013.

 

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2014 Nissan Micra In Detail http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/2014-nissan-micra-in-detail/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/2014-nissan-micra-in-detail/#comments Fri, 14 Feb 2014 16:59:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=741577 Micra (14)

 

At the Canadian International Auto Show, Nissan debuted their Canadian-only Micra, an A-Segment car that takes up the Kia Rio’s one-time mantle of being the sole new car available for less than $10,000. At the show, we learned a few things about the Micra.

While the Micra uses the Versa’s 1.6L 109-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, it won’t get a CVT, but will offer a choice of a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. With the Micra weighing about 2100 lbs, it should feel nimble, but acceleration will be leisurely, given that its power to weight ratio is similar to an original Miata.

According to Nissan, the Micra has been localized for Canada with features like a rear heating duct in the floor, large, heated mirrors and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The crash structures have also been re-designed to meet Canadian vehicle standards, which are more nearly identical to American regulations. For a vehicle market of roughly 1 million units, this seems like an expensive undertaking. But evidently, Nissan feels that there’s some value in doing this for a product that competes in a traditionally unprofitable segment.

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Review: 2014 Nissan Versa Note (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/review-2014-nissan-versa-note-with-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/review-2014-nissan-versa-note-with-video/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=728514 2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior

Making a “cheap” car is a tried and true formula for most auto makers. Making a car with a low sticker and a solid value proposition is tough. Not only do you have to keep the starting price low, but you have to worry about fuel economy, maintenance, insurance and everything that goes into an ownership experience. Reviewing cars that focus heavily on value is even trickier. Indeed a number of buff-book journalists were offended by the Versa Sedan’s plastics, lack of features and small engine. My response was simple: what do you expect of the cheapest car in America? Trouble is, the Versa Note isn’t the cheapest hatchback in America, so this review is about that elusive quality: value.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

Let’s be frank, the last Versa hatchback to grace our shores was strange looking. This is because Nissan sent us the Japanese market “Tiida” hatchback, while Europeans got the related, but more attractive, Nissan Note. 2014 brings a change, with Nissan aligning America with the redesigned Note from Europe. Meanwhile China and other countries get a redesigned Tiida. (Check out the picture below.) Nissan decided that there was value in the Versa brand so the final product was dubbed the “Versa Note.”

2014 Nissan Tiida Hatchback, Picture Courtesy of NissanI must admit that the product shuffle strikes me as a mixed bag. While the outgoing Versa hatch was undeniably dowdy, I find the new Tiida (above) downright sexy for a small car. The Versa Note? “Note” so much. Nissan tells us the Note is all about practicality, and the math is simple: the squarer the hatch, the more stuff you can jam inside. Thankfully Nissan included a few swoopy door stampings to prevent any 1980s flashbacks, but the resulting design obviously prioritized function over form. At 66 inches wide and 60 inches tall, the Note looks doesn’t just look square from the side, but from the front and rear as well. Proportions like these are hard to avoid with a small hatchback but the Versa’s horizontal grille helps detract from it in a way that the Spark’s tall grille amplifies the effect. When it comes to looks, the Rio and the Fiesta win the beauty pageant.

While the Versa continues to hold the title of “least expensive car in America”, the Chevrolet Spark ($12,995), Smart ($13,240) and Mitsubishi Mirage ($13,790) and Kia Rio 5-door ($13,800)  all ring in below the Note’s $13,990 starting price. For those of you counting, that’s a whopping $2,000 (or 17%)  bump over the Versa sedan. I’m going to cross the Smart car off the list  because it’s a two-seat hatch, and we can call the Mirage and Rio near ties in starting price, but the Spark is a decent $1,000 discount. Since this review is all about value at the bottom of the automotive food chain, I’m not going to cover the more expensive options in this segment.

2014 Nissan Versa Note Interior-001

Interior

Despite the price bump from the Versa Sedan, the Note’s interior is nearly identical. The same hard plastic dashboard, thin headliner and minimalist controls are all cast in the same shade of black. The only notable changes versus the sedan are a steering wheel lifted from the Sentra, and standard folding rear seats. Jumping up to the $15,990 SV trim buys you nicer seat and headliner fabric, but the rest of the interior remains the same. The discount interior is something that doesn’t bother me in the Versa sedan, but the Note is two-grand more. At this price the Rio is made from nicer materials for slightly less and the Fiesta’s classier cabin is a scant $110 more. Materials tie with the Chevy Spark which is great for the Chevy but not so good for the Nissan. Meanwhile the Mitsubishi looks dated both inside and out with the most discount cabin I have seen in a long time.

Base shoppers will find standard air conditioning, 60/40 folding rear seats and sun-visors that extend, but notably missing from the starting price are power windows, power door locks, vanity mirrors and rear cup holders. This is where I say: “what did you expect?” After all, the Spark and Rio don’t offer all the goodies in their base models either. Here comes that pesky “value” proposition again however: the Spark is cheaper so the lower level of equipment seems more appropriate. If that’s not enough of a value proposition, consider this, for $50 less than a base Versa you can get a Spark with all those missing features plus cruise control.

Nissan tells us the bulk of Note volume is the $15,990 SV model which adds a “2-speed CVT,” cruise control, armrest for the driver, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and some Bluetooth love. Trouble is, that Spark gives you all that and a 7-inch touchscreen nav system for less. $995 less to be exact.

2014 Nissan Versa Note Interior-007

Front seat comfort proved good around town, but I found the lack of lumbar support a problem on longer trips. Cushioning is firm but comfortable and the range of motion in the 6-way manual seats is average for this segment. Sadly Nissan doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel in the Note like many of the competitors do. I didn’t notice this problem with the Versa sedan, but the Note I had for a week suffered from a footwell that barely fit my size 11 shoes. If you have bigger feet you may have difficulty wedging your footwear in.

The big selling point for this sub-compact is, oddly enough, the back seat. Although sitting three abreast in the rear is a cozy affair due to the car’s width, rear leg room is simply amazing. You’ll find 7 inches more rear legroom than the Rio making it possible, and relatively comfortable, for a quartet of six-foot-five guys on a road trip. No other hatch even comes close to the Note’s rear seat numbers which are just 1/10th lower than a Jaguar XJ. Because the Spark is the narrowest of the group by several inches, it only has two seats in the rear. The Mirage claims to seat five, but if the Note is “cozy,” the narrower Mitsubishi is downright cramped. Thanks to the tall body, the Versa also delivers more headroom than the competition without the rear seats riding on the ground. Cargo volume grows 30% from the Versa sedan to 21 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 38 with the rear seats folded.

2014 Nissan Versa Note NissanConnect -002

Infotainment

Base shoppers get a simple head unit with a CD-player, aux input and four speakers. Here again the Spark beats Nissan to the value game. The base Spark is just as basic, but for the same price as a base Note, Chevy sells you a 7-inch touchscreen, USB integration, 6 speakers, XM Satellite radio, smartphone integration with smartphone-based navigation and OnStar. Getting to this level of technology in the Note will set you back $18,140 and Nissan doesn’t have an OnStar alternative for the Note at any price.

The Note that Nissan lent me for a week was the fully-loaded SL model. This meant I had the NissanConnect system you see above along with an all-around camera system. This low-cost system, also found on Sentra and NV200, is one of my favorite systems on the market. The interface is simple, easy to navigate and intuitive. The latest software builds on their old “low-cost navigation” unit by adding streaming media, smartphone and Google data services. The touchscreen also integrates with the Note’s available around view camera which gives you a bird’s-eye view while parking. Although I found the low-res images lacked in detail, it did help keep the Note scratch-free in tricky parking situations. Now for the fly in the ointment. Nissan puts this head unit in an $800 bundle with the fancy camera system and requires that you also have the $540 package that includes rear seat cup holders and a two-stage load floor in the back. The total cost is $1,340 or a nearly 10% bump in MSRP.

2014 Nissan Versa Note Engine 1.6L

Drivetrain

Like the sedan, the Note gets a 1.6L four-cylinder engine featuring variable valve timing and twin injectors per cylinder to deliver 109HP at 6,000 RPM and 107 lb-ft of twist at 4,400 RPM. This is a reduction of 13 horses compared to the 1.8L engine in the old Versa hatch which seems like a valid trade for improved efficiency. Base S models get a 5-speed manual, but if you want to make the most of the small engine, you’ll want Nissan’s CVT with a twist. The Versa CVT uses a two-speed planetary gearset after the CVT belt/cone unit. This extends the ratio spread to that of a conventional 7-speed auto. When starting out, the CVT is at its lowest ratio and the planetary is in “low.” Once the CVT reaches a high ratio, the planetary gearset switches to high allowing the CVT to reset to a lower ratio as you continue to accelerate. This improves low-end grunt, top-end fuel economy and allows the CVT to “downshift” faster than a traditional CVT by shifting the planetary gearset to “low” rather than adjusting the belt. Meanwhile the Spark and Mirage use a conventional “single range” CVT. (GM swapped out the old 4-speed for 2014.)

Thanks to a curb weight that is only 25 lbs heavier than the sedan (300lbs lighter than the 2012 hatch) and active grille shutters, fuel economy has jumped to a lofty 31/40/35 MPG  (city/highway/combined) with the CVT and a less spectacular 27/36 with the manual. While 109 horsepower sounds less than exciting, consider that the Spark’s 1.2L engine delivers just 84 and the Mirage’s rough 3-cylinder is down another 10 ponies.

2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior-006

Drive

Thanks to a relatively long 102-inch wheelbase, the Note rides more like a mid-size sedan than the Spark or the Mirage. The difference is most notable out on the open highway where the Spark and Mirage “bob around” on washboard pavement. I wouldn’t describe the Note as “refined” in the general sense, but compared to the lower cost entries the Note holds its own. Even when compared with the Kia Rio and the Chevy Sonic, the Versa has a well-engineered feel out on the road. This is where I have to repeat: “keep your expectations priced at $13,990.”

Nissan decided to fit low rolling resistance tires to the Note which help bump fuel economy to a 35 MPG combined score. While the Note manages to out handle the Mirage, the Rio, Fiesta and Sonic whip the Note’s bottom on winding mountain roads. The Spark strikes a middle ground between the Rio and the Note. The electric power steering is accurate but numb. Acceleration is lazy but thanks to the deeper ratios in Nissan’s CVT it easily beats the Spark or the Mirage to highway speeds. Nissan spent considerable time injecting more sound insulating foam in every nook and cranny making this the quietest Versa ever at 70dB.

2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior-008

The Note managed a surprising 38.8 MPG during my 761 mile week with the “wee hatch,” as my neighbor called it. The high mileage numbers are largely thanks to the light curb weight, low rolling resistance tires and Nissan’s CVT which allows the Note’s tiny engine to barely spin at highway speeds. Although the Spark has the same EPA rating, I averaged 2 MPG less the last time I was in one. TTAC has yet to test a Mirage, so I’ll have to defer to the EPA’s 40 MPG average.

Being the cheap guy that I am, the more I cross-shopped the Note and the Spark, the less “value” I found in the little Nissan. The Note isn’t without its charms. The huge back seat and enormous cargo hold make it by far the most practical small hatch in America, the problem is all down to value. If you want sporty or luxury, buy the Fiesta but the best value in this compact segment is the Spark. It’s low $12,170 price tag rivals Nissan’s Versa sedan for the least expensive car but the $14,765 “1LT” with the manual is where the value is to be had. Priced several grand less than a comparable Note, the Spark beats Nissan at their own game. Minus one seat.

 

Nissan provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 3.39 Seconds

0-60: 9.13 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 17.08 Seconds @ 81.4 MPH

Average observed fuel economy: 38.8 MPG over 761 Miles

Cabin noise at 50 MPH: 70 dB

2014 Nissan Versa Note Engine 1.6L 2014 Nissan Versa Note Engine 1.6L-001 2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior 2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior-001 2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior-002 2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior-003 2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior-004 2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior-005 2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior-006 2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior-007 2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior-008 2014 Nissan Versa Note Instrument Cluster 2014 Nissan Versa Note Instrument Cluster-001 2014 Nissan Versa Note Interior 2014 Nissan Versa Note Interior-001 2014 Nissan Versa Note Interior-002 2014 Nissan Versa Note Interior-003 2014 Nissan Versa Note Interior-004 2014 Nissan Versa Note Interior-005 2014 Nissan Versa Note Interior-006 2014 Nissan Versa Note Interior-007 2014 Nissan Versa Note Interior-008 2014 Nissan Versa Note Interior-009 2014 Nissan Versa Note NissanConnect 2014 Nissan Versa Note NissanConnect -001 2014 Nissan Versa Note NissanConnect -002 ]]>
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Chicago 2014: Nissan Versa Note Gets “Sporty” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-nissan-versa-note-gets-sporty/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-nissan-versa-note-gets-sporty/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 05:51:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=736081 2015 Nissan Versa Note SR

Nissan has added a few “sports car-inspired” design cues to its practical grocery getter.

Badged as an SR model, this facelifted Versa Note features a new grille design, smoked headlights, dark wheels, ground effects and a nice little rear spoiler. The interior has also been given a little bit of the 370Z treatment with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and suede-like fabric seats featuring orange accents.

While the little 1.6-liter fourbanger delivers the same 109 horsepower as the base model, this car will make for an aggressive-looking subcompact capable of 31 and 40 miles-per-gallon in the city and on the highway, respectively.

Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-11 Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-09 Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-08 Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-07 Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-05 Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-02 Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-01

 

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Datsun Go Production Launched In India http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/datsun-go-production-launched-in-india/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/datsun-go-production-launched-in-india/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 15:35:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=734889 Datsun redi-GO Concept

Just in time for the 2014 Delhi Motor Show — where the above Datsun Redi-Go concept made its debut this weekRenault-Nissan launches production of the revived brand’s Go subcompact at their plant in Chennai, India.

Datsun returns from a three-decade absence on the global stage with a market debut in the Indian market featuring the five-door, four-passenger vehicle, set to go on sale in late February 2014. The Go will be sold at Nissan dealerships at first until a separate Datsun network is established. The price of admission will be less than $9,300.

Two more Datsun models are in the offing in the next two years, while the brand will soon expand to Indonesia, South Africa and Russia by the end of this year. Datsun is expected to move 300,000 units annually by 2016.

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Nissan Outsold By Honda In Home, U.S. Markets http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/nissan-outsold-by-honda-in-home-u-s-markets/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/nissan-outsold-by-honda-in-home-u-s-markets/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 18:30:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=727946 Nissan-Sport-Sedan-Concept-01

Though Nissan remains Japan’s second-biggest automaker with a wide gap ahead of Honda, the latter continues to outsell the former in the United States and at home, much to Nissan’s dismay

According Automotive News, Nissan’s global sales for 2013 increased 3 percent to 5.1 million units, while Honda’s rapid 12 percent growth in sales only managed 4.3 million units in the same period. Further, Nissan sold 86 percent of its 5.1 million vehicles — 4.4 million, to be exact — outside Japan, Honda doing as well by selling 3.5 million of its 4.3 million overseas. Overall, Nissan beat Honda in Europe, Mexico, China and most of Asia, yet lost to Honda in Japan and the U.S.

At home, the reason is due to Honda’s popular line of kei cars (all made in house), and all having undergone a total revamping as of late. Meanwhile, Nissan has partnered with Mitsubishi to make kei cars after years of farming out the practice to the former’s rivals. Though things appear to be looking up for Nissan, they will be looking up at Honda for a good while: Honda sold just over 400,000 kei cars in 2013 to Nissan’s 186,000, while also growing 27 percent in kei car sales against the latter’s 21 percent.

Across the Pacific, Nissan is gaining on Honda’s other home turf, selling 1.2 million units for a 9 percent increase in sales against their rival’s 7 percent increase and 1.5 million units in 2013. Market share in the U.S. held at 9.8 percent for Honda while Nissan took a tenth of a percentage for an even 8 percent in the same period.

Though Honda has done well for itself since becoming the first Japanese auto manufacturer to build a factory in the United States back in 1982 for the Honda Accord — such as exporting more cars around the world from the U.S. than from Japan in 2013 for the first time ever — Nissan aims to turn up the heat through the tandem of new production coming from Mexico, and aggressive tactics devised by Nissan North America’s new chairman Jose Munoz, who is under standing orders to boost his employer’s share of the U.S. market to 10 percent.

Either way, both Honda and Nissan still have a ways to go to take on Toyota; the No. 1 Japanese and global automaker moved 9.98 million units worldwide in 2013.

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Honda, Nissan, Toyota Set Production Record Against Weakening Yen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/honda-nissan-toyota-set-production-record-against-weakening-yen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/honda-nissan-toyota-set-production-record-against-weakening-yen/#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2014 16:32:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=706538 Toyota Baja California Assembly Line

As the yen weakened against the dollar for a second consecutive year, Honda, Nissan and Toyota all set production records in their North American plants in 2013, according to Automotive News.

Outputs for the trio last year include 1.86 million units for Toyota, 1.78 million for Honda, and 1.47 million for Nissan, though gains on the production line didn’t match sales in the United States. However, exports took up the slack in U.S. showrooms, with more units sent to growing markets such as South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Latin America.

As far as individual models are concerned, Honda built 466,695 Accords at their Marysville, Ohio plant in 2013, around 20,000 more than the number of Camrys Toyota workers at the automaker’s Georgetown, Ky. plant.

The Japanese Three expanded their presence in North America as insulation against a falling yen, which fell 17.6 percent against the dollar in 2013 after falling 11 percent in 2012, as well as protection from overseas production disruptions that could affect North American output. In fact, Honda will soon open a plant in Celaya, Mexico to build the Fit, with the long-awaited 2015 NSX to be assembled in an experimental plant in Marysville.

Regarding Hyundai and Kia, the two South Korean automakers set a few records of their own in North America, including 399,495 Sonatas and Elantras leaving Hyundai’s Montgomery, Ala. plant, and 105,647 Santa Fes rolling out of the Kia line in West Point, Ga.

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Datsun to Unveil Concept at 2014 Delhi Auto Expo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/datsun-to-unveil-concept-at-2014-delhi-auto-expo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/datsun-to-unveil-concept-at-2014-delhi-auto-expo/#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2014 16:32:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=706482 Datsun Concept India

Should you happen to be in India two weeks from now, Datsun will unveil the above concept at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo during a conference held by the offshoot automaker.

The concept heralds a possible expansion of Datsun’s current lineup, aimed at the young customers in South Africa, Russia, India and other high-growth markets. The concept appears to be a three-door hatch slotted just below the Go five-door supermini, with the Go+ MPV completing the future trio.

As far as production is concerned, the hatch will be underpinned by Renault-Nissan’s Compact Module Family platform. The flexible platform is expected to support up to 14 vehicles within the Franco-Japanese alliance’s complete range.

The concept will debut at Datsun’s press conference February 5.

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UAW Hopes For Swift Southern Unionization Victory ‘Overly Optimistic’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/uaw-hopes-for-swift-southern-unionization-victory-overly-optimistic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/uaw-hopes-for-swift-southern-unionization-victory-overly-optimistic/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 20:28:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=703914 Bob King

Outgoing United Auto Workers president Bob King admitted that his timetable for a swift unionization of one of the auto plants in the Southeastern United States was overly optimistic.

Though the UAW is still slogging through efforts at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn. and Nissan’s Canton, Miss. plants, King hopes that the VW workers will become card-carrying members before union rules bring his four-year term to a close in June 2014. King believes the only thing holding back the assimilation is the process in which to bring UAW membership to a vote, stating that a “strong majority” of the VW workers have submitted cards in support of joining the union.

In his speech at the Automotive News World Congress last week during the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, King said that while workers in European and Japanese auto plants throughout the United States were not opposed to UAW membership, past organizing efforts have been hampered by employers through intimidation tactics and threats of unemployment. King further claimed that without the current push to bring the workers under their umbrella, jobs in the automotive industry would come to consist of “low-wage, temporary labor working under unsafe conditions” in the 21st century.

On the other side, Volkswagen and Nissan — the latter specifically called out by King for their alleged anti-unionization efforts — both stated that they would respect the wishes of their factory employees in whatever they decided to do regarding the UAW.

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Oh, So You Guys Have Avril Lavigne AND The Nissan Micra Now http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/oh-so-you-guys-have-avril-lavigne-and-the-nissan-micra-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/oh-so-you-guys-have-avril-lavigne-and-the-nissan-micra-now/#comments Fri, 10 Jan 2014 18:41:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=696409 2014-Nissan-Micra-6[2]

Multiple sources are reporting that, yesterday in Quebec, Nissan announced the return of its world supermini, the Micra/March, to the Canadian market.

The Micra has been missing from the Great White North for nearly twenty-one years now, but it’s never even been seriously considered for United States release. With the popularity of the Chevrolet Spark in California, perhaps Nissan will reconsider. Two odd notes about what would otherwise be a straightforward introduction:

* The phrase “Japanese quality” was used during the intro but I couldn’t find anything to suggest that the Micra will actually be built in Japan. Surely this would be a bit of a cost issue, as it was for Honda with the Jazz/Fit in Canada before they changed to Chinese sourcing.

* Globally, the Micra uses a 1.2L three-cylinder, but in Canada it will share the Nissan Versa Note’s 1.6L four-banger. Hey! Muscle Mini!

More details as they arrive.

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Rental Review: 2013 Nissan Murano SV AWD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/rental-review-2013-nissan-murano-sv-awd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/rental-review-2013-nissan-murano-sv-awd/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=686474  

iPhone Pics Dec 11 2013 008

Walking the Hertz Gold line at the snowy Albuquerque airport, I approached my rental and I could see it was some sort of Asian SUV in a shade of Witness Protection Program Silver. My God, I realized, Nissan still builds the Murano! I instantly remembered that it comes standard with a Con Voluted Transmission (CVT), oh joy. I wasn’t prepared to like the Murano but I came away impressed with this aging and often-overlooked mid-sized SUV.

I did not recognize the Murano because I did not know that Nissan downgraded the truck’s looks in 2009. Gone are the distinctive vertical taillights, replaced by generic horizontal lights straight out of the Nissan parts bin. Gone is the chrome egg-crate grill, replaced by an Acura-like semi-triangle-shaped nosepiece. The Murano was one sexy sport-ute upon its introduction in 2003; now it is just bland. Thank God it is still is available in brown, a hue Nissan calls “Tinted Bronze.”

 

A Better Butt: The 2003 to 2007 Murano.
A Better Butt: The 2003 to 2007 Murano.

My ride was the next-to-the cheapest SV model with cloth seats, all wheel drive and 17,000 miles on its clock. I climbed in and was immediately struck by its luxurious cockpit. The three unique, gently curving speakers on the dash, the generous use of aluminum trim and the elegant, easy-to-read controls all belong in a more expensive vehicle. I mastered the basic controls within a few seconds, which never happens in a rental car especially when it is freezing outside.

The only glitch was the function of key and “Start/Stop” engine button combination. The electronic key fits sloppily in its slot, like a floppy disk in a 1999 Dell Dimension. In one instance, the spring loaded catch comically shot the key into my lap. The first time I got out of the truck, I removed the key but did not hit the “Start/Stop” button and while walking away noticed the engine was still running. This is a glaring ergonomic fail.

iPhone Pics Dec 11 2013 017

Let’s talk about the 800-speed elephant in the room, the Murano’s Continuously Variable Transmission, dubbed the Xtronic CVT®. It is actually a two-speed CVT and thus you get a “D” and “L” choice on the floor mounted shifter. When you floor the 3.5-liter 260 horsepower V-6 at highway speeds, the tranny kicks down into a lower gear range and it feels like a shift on a conventional transmission. Accelerating away from a stop also feels “normal.” It is during mid-range acceleration that you experience the annoying CVT pause in response and accompanying whine. Every other CVT I have driven has been attached to a 4-cylinder motor and they all sucked, so maybe the Murano’s V-6 power helps overcomes the tranny’s quirks. This is the best CVT I have driven but I can only deem this transmission the “Cream Of The Crap.”

Despite the CVT, the Murano was extremely satisfying to drive. The truck’s all wheel drive handled the icy Turquoise Trail with ease. The smooth quiet ride, large and comfortable seats and well-controlled body motions were worthy of an Infiniti. On curvy roads, I do not recall any other midsized SUV being more tossable. The Murano was very roomy for both front and rear seat passengers, though the cargo area is smaller than some of its competitors.

iPhone Pics Dec 11 2013 016

Nissan is currently offering up to $3,500 in incentives on the Murano resulting in total dealer advertised discounts of up to $6,800. A 2014 top-of-the-line LE model with heated leather seats, dual moonroof, 20-inch wheels, NAV, Bluetooth and a Bose sound system has a MSRP of $41,090. (My strippo rental probably had a sticker of around $33,000.) Calculate in the cash back and you are looking at the mid-$30,000 range for this example.

The maturing Murano has basically not changed in five years while the competition is constantly spewing out new sport-utes. The company currently offers five SUVs – five and a half if you count the Juke – so we wonder where this boutique ute is supposed to fit in their lineup. The venerable Pathfinder is similarly priced but larger and boasts better gas mileage than the Murano. The slightly smaller Rogue is all over national TV and will outsell the Murano this year in the U. S. by 3-to-1.

Nissan will move around 45,000 Muranos here in 2013 – many no doubt to rental car companies – down from its peak of 81,000 sales in 2006. Spy shots started to circulate last week of the redesigned 2015 model and that is a relief. The Murano is a great SUV and we would hate to see it whine off into the sunset, much like we are witnessing with Nissan’s once-vaunted Maxima.

The 2015 Murano?
The 2015 Murano?

Picks

Upscale interior

Intuitive controls

Nice balance of ride and handling

Nit Picks

CVT is better than most but still a CVT

Awkward key/”Start/Stop” button combo

Smallish cargo capacity

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Turbos Beat Displacement In Police Testing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/turbos-beat-displacement-in-police-testing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/turbos-beat-displacement-in-police-testing/#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2013 15:15:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=683186 EcoBoost-Police-Interceptor

It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to join the dark (blue) side. Every year, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department runs the newest crop of donut-holders around Fontana Speedway. With no significantly new entries available, it’s no surprise that the results are fundamentally the same as they were last year.

I’m not exactly sure what the justification is for using lap times to rank police vehicles, but we live in an era where police get to do pretty much whatever they want. Why not run ‘em around a track? Some of the significant laptimes:

  • Ford (Taurus) Police Interceptor: 81.25 seconds
  • Chevrolet Caprice PPV 6.0 (355hp tune): 81.97 seconds
  • Dodge Charger HEMI AWD: 82.19 seconds
  • Ford (Explorer) Police Interceptor: 85.58 seconds
  • Chevrolet Tahoe PPV: 91.71 seconds

Looking at the tests of previous years, for which various police officers have posted full results on officer-oriented discussion forums, there’s a gap of a few seconds between the turbo/V-8 cars and the normally-aspirated sixes, then a couple of seconds back to the FWD Impala, which is still available for police fleet orders. Then, of course, you have the Tahoe, which is noticeably slower than everything but the Impala. Some ten to fifteen seconds behind that is the Harley Davidson Road King.

Other tidbits I picked up trolling through cop discussion boards:

  • The Taurus Interceptor cannot “meet CHP minimum load”, whatever that means. Presumably it involves more than the 400 pounds that the LASD loads the vehicles with for acceleration testing (but not track times).
  • Ford delivers PI orders in sixty days or less. GM is quoting six month lead times for the made-in-Australia Caprice.
  • Spares for the Caprice are difficult to get and, anecdotally speaking, Caprices are often idled for months waiting for body parts.
  • Even female officers report that the Caprice feels cramped. The Taurus Interceptor isn’t as good in that regard as the Crown Vic, but it’s not unlivable.
  • Cops love the Charger but hate the trunk space, and have a perception that it’s in for service more than competitive vehicles.
  • Ford specifically removed both keyless entry and “chip keys” from both Interceptor vehicles. As a result, the same blank keys can be cut for an entire fleet of Ford cop cars. Good news if you want to steal one, and also good news if you’re a fleet manager for a police department.

A solid comparison between the Ford Taurus SHO and “Police Interceptor” can be found at Hooniverse. When it comes to sales, however, the departments are voting with their wallets for the Explorer-based Police Interceptor. It’s outstripped the Taurus sedan Interceptor and sales are increasing steadily as departments grudgingly give up parking lots full of worn-out Crown Vics.

While the newest generation of police vehicles is almost certainly the fastest in history, it’s hard to shake the suspicion that they are the worst tools for the job since the Sixties. Cramped, complex, and expensive, the current Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge vehicles succeed primarily in making cops homesick for the old Panthers and Bubble Caprices.

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Nissan May Build Datsuns in Mexico Says Ghosn http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/nissan-may-build-datsuns-in-mexico-says-ghosn/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/nissan-may-build-datsuns-in-mexico-says-ghosn/#comments Wed, 11 Dec 2013 12:15:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=677186 Datsun_1519061g

Customers in Latin America may soon have another cheap transportation option if Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn decides to build Datsuns in Mexico.

Though Ghosn hasn’t confirmed whether or not production of the Go and Go+ would happen in Mexico, the Latin American market is under consideration, as are markets in South Africa and Russia (the latter via AutoVAZ). Nissan intends to sell the Datsun brand to consumers in low-cost countries where car ownership is generally out of reach for most, but manufacturing the cars in the same markets is another matter due to the brand’s newness.

The current solution: carve from Nissan’s established production lines. This tactic is already being carried out in Chennai, India, where the Go will soon roll into showrooms for around $6,500 in February 2014, and could be used in locales such as the new Aguascalientes, Mexico facility, and the factories under AutoVAZ’s ownership.

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The Cars We’ve Lost in 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/the-cars-weve-lost-in-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/the-cars-weve-lost-in-2013/#comments Tue, 10 Dec 2013 12:30:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=676202 2012 Acura ZDX-014

Every year, new cars arrive in the showrooms. Some are brand new to the world, others go through evolutions and revolutions. Yet, every year, some cars are sent off to the showroom in the sky.

This year, we’ve lost seven vehicles. Some died due to poor sales, some to improper marketing, and others to horrible execution. 2014 will bring about the deaths of these seven vehicles.

  • Acura ZDX 
  • Cadillac Escalade EXT 
  • Nissan Altima Coupe  
  • Toyota Matrix 
  • Volkswagen Routan
  • Volvo C30
  • Volvo C70

In some cases, like the ZDX and Routan, the product was poorly conceived and faced an equally poor reception in the marketplace.  In other cases, like the Escalade EXT and Altima Coupe, they were based on previous generation cars and the business case wasn’t strong enough to justify a replacement. The Volvo twins and the Matrix weren’t necessarily bad cars, but they were long in the tooth and faced declining sales, thus leading to their euthanization.

2013 Volvo C30 Polestar. Photo courtesy Car and Driver. 2013 Toyota Matrix 2012 Acura ZDX 2013 Volvo C70 2013 Nissan Altima Coupe 2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT Volkswagen Routan. Photo courtesy GoMotors.net ]]>
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Party-Girl Daughter Of Mildly Famous Attorney Rams Police Cruisers, Evades Police, is PITed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/party-girl-daughter-of-mildly-famous-attorney-rams-police-cruisers-evades-police-is-pited/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/party-girl-daughter-of-mildly-famous-attorney-rams-police-cruisers-evades-police-is-pited/#comments Tue, 03 Dec 2013 20:07:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=670018 skurg5

Normally, my adopted hometown of Columbus, Ohio is a pretty booooring place. But every once in a while, a young woman rams a police cruiser with her Nissan Rogue and starts an awesome police chase that ends with a full-on PIT.

Now, after this jump, we’re going to show you a few photos of this nice young lady from Facebook, along with a link to the genuinely awesome dashcam video compilation. BUT IF YOU’RE AT WORK, WAIT TILL YOU GET HOME, OKAY?


You can see the video here and I highly recommend you do. It’s pure gold. Now, here’s an equally brilliant video where her father, an attorney, argues against distracted driving!

And another one!

DISTRACTION IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF AUTO ACCIDENTS! Well, I don’t think Miss Kurgis was distracted at all. I think she was totally focused on her mission of punking an entire police department.

Now for the Facebook photos. You’re at home, right?
skurgis3

skurg1

I think it’s safe to say that she’s got it all: decent figure, smiling face, and a disrespect for authority that would make Zack de la Rocha piss his surplus-store pants. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to visit the jail.

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Nismo Ring GT-R: Not So Fast http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/nismo-ring-gt-r-not-so-fast/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/nismo-ring-gt-r-not-so-fast/#comments Thu, 21 Nov 2013 19:01:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=660722 skyline

If you have an Internet connection and an interest in automobiles, you’ve no doubt heard about the 7:08 ‘Ring time claimed for the new Nismo GT-R. Nissan’s in the middle of putting on a trackday/party for compliant media in Japan right now for the purpose of celebrating said time, but one of the journalists who attended turned out to not be quite as compliant as the company might wish.


The Pistonheads folks asked for details on the modifications to the ‘Ring-time GT-R over and above the standard Nismo GT-R. They were told that

The Time Attack car, as Nissan refers to it, car had bigger spoilers for more downforce, different dampers and brake pads, bucket seats that contributed to a significant 50kg weight saving and a new ECU map. Together those modifications could count for several seconds around the ‘ring, but perhaps even more significantly the car used to set the time had been tuned specifically for the Nordschleife, as NISMO’s engineers confess.

Let’s start off by giving Nissan some props: I don’t see the words “roll cage” anywhere in the list of mods. A good cage, along with a seam weld, massively improves grip and handling, which is why you almost always see some sort of cage in the General Motors ‘Ring videos. Nor should a change in brake pads be counted against Nissan, as it’s almost impossible to make a brake pad for large fixed calipers that is both useful on-track and not completely misery-inducing during the daily drive. (Pagid Orange pads are some of the most famous offenders among the Porsche trackday crowd, being absolutely brilliant at operating temperature but shockingly loud and obnoxious in a restaurant drive-through.)

The rest of the stuff probably matters, in this order: The 110-lb weight loss isn’t much in the context of a GT-R but it’s worth a few seconds. The additional aero must have been nice, but the ‘Ring is one of those tracks where having big wings for cornering speed just kills you when it’s time to go fast down the long straights. I’ve long suspected that a Viper ACR with a drag-reduction system in the rear wing a la Chaparral or modern F1 would be a seven-minute-flat car. The custom damping is hugely helpful and it’s one of the reasons that Continental Challenge cars are so much faster than NASA PT racers to the same spec.

Now for the big one: ECU tune. One of the most important parts of the NISMO GT-R package is the larger turbochargers. A competent ECU tune with larger turbochargers can easily yield over eight hundred horsepower, even with stock engine internals. If you happen to own the engine factory, you can push even harder and pop a couple of blocks in the process if you need to.

Does any of this matter? Not really — but it should remind everyone involved that the so-called ‘Ring record isn’t a real record, it isn’t set under controlled conditions, and when all the dust settles it’s little more than a marketing exercise. You already know that, so we’ll call it a day and keep this article short enough that you should have been able to read it in well under seven minutes and eight seconds.

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Los Angeles 2013: Nissan Juke NISMO RS Gains More Power http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/los-angeles-2013-nissan-juke-nismo-rs-gains-more-power/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/los-angeles-2013-nissan-juke-nismo-rs-gains-more-power/#comments Thu, 21 Nov 2013 05:15:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=659106 Nissan Juke NISMO RS 02

Though the Juke is marketed as a fun-to-drive vehicle for members of Generation Why, Nissan knows it could do better to make the crossover a performance monster, too. Enter the Juke NISMO RS.

The RS brings to the table 215 horsepower out front from its 1.6-liter turbo-4 through a manual, or 211 through a CVT, with all-wheel drive available on the latter The suspension and steering have been tuned for better handling, with larger discs up front and vented ones in the back to bring the bug-eyed sprite to a halt. A revised exhaust and ECU also do their best to make the RS all that it was meant to be.

Inside, Recaro seats in red leather and black suede wait to hug you while the optional satnav — the only option available to both CVT and manual models — will help take you from one hipster hangout to the next.

Nissan expect the Juke NISMO RS to arrive in showrooms in early 2014.

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