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. Sun, 19 Oct 2014 11:58:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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/ Paris 2014: Nissan Pulsar NISMO Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-nissan-pulsar-nismo-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-nissan-pulsar-nismo-debuts/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 21:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=925057 The Nissan Pulsar NISMO made its debut at the 2014 Paris Auto Show Thursday, but it’ll never turn up in North American showrooms. The mad scientists of Nissan’s performance division gave the Pulsar a full makeover with double-layered side skirts, redesigned front bumper with larger air intakes, a rear diffuser, center exhaust et al, all […]

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The Nissan Pulsar NISMO made its debut at the 2014 Paris Auto Show Thursday, but it’ll never turn up in North American showrooms.

The mad scientists of Nissan’s performance division gave the Pulsar a full makeover with double-layered side skirts, redesigned front bumper with larger air intakes, a rear diffuser, center exhaust et al, all riding on 19-inch wheels with a lowered suspension aimed at the track.

Speaking of the track, though no word on what would power the hot hatch has been stated by either party, a likely candidate would be a 1.6-liter turbo-four delivering 200 horsepower. There’s also no word on whether the concept will go into production.

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First 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues Leave South Korea For NAFTA Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/first-4000-2015-nissan-rogues-leave-south-korea-nafta-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/first-4000-2015-nissan-rogues-leave-south-korea-nafta-market/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921241 Right now, 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues are on their way from South Korea to North America, supplementing production of the crossover in Smyrna, Tenn. as part of an agreement signed between Renault Group, Nissan and Renault Samsung Motors in 2012. Just-Auto reports the Rogues were assembled in RSM’s Busan, South Korea facility, where 80,000 units […]

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Right now, 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues are on their way from South Korea to North America, supplementing production of the crossover in Smyrna, Tenn. as part of an agreement signed between Renault Group, Nissan and Renault Samsung Motors in 2012.

Just-Auto reports the Rogues were assembled in RSM’s Busan, South Korea facility, where 80,000 units per year will head for the container port to the NAFTA market over the next five years. The figure will contribute to a total of 500,000+ units annually, spread out over nine plants around the world.

The export plan isn’t only a win for RSM –securing a stable production volume of 30 percent of what can be built in Busan — but for consumers on the West Coast who would like to have a Rogue in their parking space, but must wait due to a volume shortage.

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Lotus Ceases Sales Of Road Cars In America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/lotus-ceases-sales-road-cars-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/lotus-ceases-sales-road-cars-america/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 13:54:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916314 As of 2015, Lotus will no longer sell road cars in the United States, as sales of the Evora sports car come to an end. Car and Driver reports that a waiver granted to the Evora for its lack of smart airbags has come to an end, and Lotus won’t be making any modifications to […]

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As of 2015, Lotus will no longer sell road cars in the United States, as sales of the Evora sports car come to an end.

Car and Driver reports that a waiver granted to the Evora for its lack of smart airbags has come to an end, and Lotus won’t be making any modifications to help it comply with U.S regulations. That will leave Lotus with only a lineup of track-only variants of the Elise and Exige.

Lotus is also in the midst of mass layoffs at its UK headquarters, and both signs bode ill for the boutique sports car maker. Selling off the remainder of US-spec Evora inventory will take some time, but its unlikely that selling non-street legal cars will be enough to keep the American arm of Lotus afloat in the forseeable future.

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Dongfeng Nissan Launches Leaf-Based Venucia e30 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dongfeng-nissan-launches-leaf-based-venucia-e30/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dongfeng-nissan-launches-leaf-based-venucia-e30/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=912650 After 3.1 million miles of pilot testing, Dongfeng Nissan last week launched its version of the Leaf for the Chinese EV market, the Venucia e30. Prior to the official launch, around 300 of the ¥267,800 ($43,460 USD) e30s went through a quality and safety pilot program in Guangzhou, Xiangyang and Dalian, logging 3.1 million “failure-free” […]

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After 3.1 million miles of pilot testing, Dongfeng Nissan last week launched its version of the Leaf for the Chinese EV market, the Venucia e30.

Prior to the official launch, around 300 of the ¥267,800 ($43,460 USD) e30s went through a quality and safety pilot program in Guangzhou, Xiangyang and Dalian, logging 3.1 million “failure-free” miles in so doing. Six more cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Tianjin and Hangzhou — join the original three locations as part of the initial launch before sales go nationwide next year.

As for what consumers will get out of the reworked original EV for the masses, the e30 is expected to deliver up to 35 miles in range after using the quick-charge option, with normal charging also available. In addition, the EV comes with government subsidies, as well as lower running costs of 85 percent compared to similar gasoline models.

Though it remains to be seen how well the e30 hits it off with the Chinese public, the Leaf is doing well for itself as of late, with Nissan selling 3,186 units in the United States last month, and year-to-year U.S. sales jumping 34 percent to 18,841 units.

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Nissan Declined Stake In Aston Martin As Early As 2012 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nissan-declined-stake-aston-martin-early-2012/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nissan-declined-stake-aston-martin-early-2012/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909066 Prior to becoming Aston Martin’s new CEO, former Nissan senior exec Andy Palmer proposed to the automaker to buy a stake in AM, only for Nissan to decline. Reuters reports Palmer brought up the issue Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in 2012 and 2013, with one insider claiming the company “looked carefully at the proposal” before […]

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Prior to becoming Aston Martin’s new CEO, former Nissan senior exec Andy Palmer proposed to the automaker to buy a stake in AM, only for Nissan to decline.

Reuters reports Palmer brought up the issue Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in 2012 and 2013, with one insider claiming the company “looked carefully at the proposal” before rejecting the idea. Said insider declined to explain the proposal or the reasoning behind the rejection, as did a representative for the company.

Meanwhile, Palmer’s new role as AM’s CEO may lead to more cooperation between the premium automaker and Daimler AG, the latter already in possession of a 4 percent stake in the former while also providing engines and electronics to Aston’s offerings. Palmer helped Daimler and Nissan’s Infiniti develop a similar relationship, resulting in a joint-venture on a plant in Mexico, as well as a family of engines to be shared with the Q50 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

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GM Mid-Size Twins Best Similarly Equipped Full-Size Pickups In Fuel Economy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-mid-size-twins-best-similarly-equipped-full-size-pickups-fuel-economy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-mid-size-twins-best-similarly-equipped-full-size-pickups-fuel-economy/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906401 As full-size pickups do their best to eke out as much fuel economy as possible, the upcoming Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are set to deliver a combined 21 mpg once they leave the lot for the road. Autoblog reports the GM twin mid-sizers will net owners 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg […]

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As full-size pickups do their best to eke out as much fuel economy as possible, the upcoming Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are set to deliver a combined 21 mpg once they leave the lot for the road.

Autoblog reports the GM twin mid-sizers will net owners 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway in two-wheel drive models equipped with a six-speed auto mated to the 305-horsepower 3.6-liter direct-injection V6. For comparison, a Ram 1500 4×2 with the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 sending power to the back through an eight-speed auto offers a rating of 17/20/25; the outgoing Ford F-150 4×2 with its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and six-speed auto delivers 16/18/22 mpg; and the Chevrolet Silverado C15 4×2 brings 18/20/24 mpg through its larger 4.3-liter V6 and six-speed auto.

Those wanting all four wheels to do the climbing up that hill will find the Colorado’s and Canyon’s ratings falling to 17/20/24 mpg, though they still best the Silverado K15 4×4 (17/20/22), Ford F-150 4×4 (15/17/21) and Ram 1500 4×4 (16/19/23).

As for trucks closer in size to the duo, Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah says the two-wheel drive models are more than able to throw down against the Nissan Frontier 4×2 (16/18/22 mpg) and Toyota Tacoma 4×2 (17/19/21 mpg).

GM adds that a 2.8-liter Duramax is in the offing for 2016, with figures ready for perusing closer to launch time.

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Datsun Unveils mi-DO Hatch At 2014 Automechanika Moscow http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/datsun-unveils-mi-hatch-2014-automechanika-moscow/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/datsun-unveils-mi-hatch-2014-automechanika-moscow/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901969 Nissan’s emerging-market brand Datsun unveiled its newest addition to its burgeoning lineup at the 2014 Automechanika Moscow show: The mi-DO. Just-Auto reports the compact hatch, joining the similarly named on-DO sedan set to arrive in September, will arrive in showrooms sometime in early 2015. No price of admission has been stated for the five-door, five-passenger […]

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Nissan’s emerging-market brand Datsun unveiled its newest addition to its burgeoning lineup at the 2014 Automechanika Moscow show: The mi-DO.

Just-Auto reports the compact hatch, joining the similarly named on-DO sedan set to arrive in September, will arrive in showrooms sometime in early 2015. No price of admission has been stated for the five-door, five-passenger vehicle, however.

Under the bonnet, a 1.6-liter 8V engine will deliver 87 horsepower to the front pair of 15-inch alloys through a standard five-speed manual or optional four-speed auto.

As for its name — and that of the on-DO — Datsun says it’s a fusion of Japanese, Russian and English themes: “do” is Japanese for “moving,” “on” is Russian for “he,” and “mi” is meant to invoke personalization by rhyming with “me” to Russian ears.

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2015 Infiniti ESQ Official Photos Unveiled Ahead Of Global Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-infiniti-esq-official-photos-unveiled-ahead-global-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-infiniti-esq-official-photos-unveiled-ahead-global-debut/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901569 Official photos of the Infiniti ESQ, the crossover formerly known as the Nissan Juke Nismo, have been unveiled ahead of its global debut at this weekend’s 2014 Chengdu Auto Show. CarNewsChina reports the premium crossover will arrive in Chinese showrooms this October, with a price of admission set between ¥200,000 and ¥300,000 ($32,000 – $49,000 […]

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Official photos of the Infiniti ESQ, the crossover formerly known as the Nissan Juke Nismo, have been unveiled ahead of its global debut at this weekend’s 2014 Chengdu Auto Show.

CarNewsChina reports the premium crossover will arrive in Chinese showrooms this October, with a price of admission set between ¥200,000 and ¥300,000 ($32,000 – $49,000 USD). Power for the China-only ESQ will be a 1.6-liter turbo-four delivering 200 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque through a CVT.

Though Nissan sells a handful of vehicles in the Chinese market, the Juke is not among them. Further, few Infiniti badges decorate the ESQ, hinting that, like Citroën’s DS line, the crossover is just the first model of a sub-brand aimed at young buyers.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Nissan NV200 SV Cargo Van http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2014-nissan-nv200-sv-cargo-van/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2014-nissan-nv200-sv-cargo-van/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=881666 For decades buyers made the pickup truck the bestselling vehicle in North America. Despite its utilitarian roots, the pickup truck has morphed from a working man’s appliance into a replacement for big body-on-frame American luxury sedans. Sure, that V8 Crew Cab is a nice vehicle, but what are you really going to do with a five-and-a-half-foot bed? […]

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For decades buyers made the pickup truck the bestselling vehicle in North America. Despite its utilitarian roots, the pickup truck has morphed from a working man’s appliance into a replacement for big body-on-frame American luxury sedans.

Sure, that V8 Crew Cab is a nice vehicle, but what are you really going to do with a five-and-a-half-foot bed?

2014 Nissan NV200 cargo volume rear

For those not paying attention, there is a van revolution going on in the United States. The American vans that we have known and loved are about to die. Ford is replacing their E-series with the European Transit and the smaller Transit Connect. Chrysler ditched its full-size vans a decade ago and just recently replaced them with rebadged front-wheel-drive Fiats, under the Ram ProMaster line. Soon they will be adding a smaller Ram ProMaster City.

Nissan was one of the early pioneers in the next-gen van space, with the big, if awkward looking, NV-series vans. The big NVs come with V6 and V8 engines, and can be ordered in varying wheelbase lengths, heights, and capacities. They recently followed it up with the smaller, front-wheel-drive based NV200 that you see above. The NV200 also serves as a basis for New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow, which can been bogged down by all kinds of politics.

2014 Nissan NV200 cargo dash

When compared to a compact pickup truck (a segment that many seem to dearly miss), the advantages of any van are clearly apparent. The most obvious one is the large lockable cargo space that can protect one’s belongings from theft or the elements. Cargo space on the NV200 is 122.7 cubic feet, comparably bigger than most capped pickup beds. Furthermore, it is accessible not only from the rear, via two large barn doors, but also via a large sliding door on each side. The floor of the cargo area is lined with rubber and there a six D-rings to tie objects down.

That cargo area is 53 inches high and 54 inches wide, with 48 inches between the wheel-wells, which is the width of a standard piece of plywood. That plywood will be easy to load, too, as the loading floor is just 20 inches off the ground – no Man Step® needed here. The maximum length of that plywood is limited to 82.8 inches. Longer items, up to 116 inches, can be transported when the passenger seat back is folded down. All that cargo space can be filled with up to 1500 pounds of people and things, which is more than some full-size pickups.

2014 Nissan NV200 cargo interior details

The passenger portion of the interior is finished in a typical commercial-grade heavy durable plastic. This SV model was equipped with Nissan-typical infotainment system which consists of a slightly outdated nav system, USB port, CD player, Bluetooth, satellite radio, Pandora streaming, and a handy back-up camera. Secondary steering wheel mounted controls are a nice touch. While there are plenty of storage cubbies, none of them are particularly large or covered. Many small business owners would probably appreciate additional USB ports and a 120vAC receptacle. The seats are covered in durable cloth, but with a short bottom cushion and a hard headrest that presses on the driver’s head, they are not very comfortable overall.

The NV200 is powered by a 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine which makes 131hp and 139lb-ft of torque. It is matched up with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) which sends that power to rather small looking fifteen inch wheels that are wrapped in 185/60-15 tires. NV200’s major utilitarian shortfall, in part due to that engine, is that it is not recommend for trailer towing, something that every pickup truck will happily do. The EPA rated the little van at 24mpg in the city and 25mpg on the highway, which is superior to any pickup with the exception of the new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.

2014 Nissan NV200 cargo exterior details

The small wheels may not inspire confidence but a Nissan product development guy assured me that they have beat the crap out of them in testing and found no faults. I traveled in the NV200 around some very industrial roads that have a lot of heavy truck traffic, and dirt roads that leads to my local junkyard, and found no issues. Many trucks and vans beat up on their passengers when driven unloaded, but the NV200 was pretty smooth. Unfortunately, the only cargo I was able to transport with the NV200 was a pair of Specialized Stumpjumers and some parts for my project car, both of which were of no significance in terms of space or weight.

In city driving, an empty NV200 has just enough power. It will get out of its own way, but drag racing even the slowest of bicycles cars should be avoided. It somehow feels a little livelier on the highway, but passing or merging maneuvers should be planned well in advance. Smart packaging makes the NV200 a rather narrow vehicle, and allows it to easily zip around cities and fit into parking garages – something that was likely inspired by the needs of van customers in Europe and Asia. Despite the large mirrors, rear windows, and a back-up camera, reversing can still be intimidating to some.

2014 Nissan NV200 cargo side sliding door open

The NV200 S starts at $20,490. The SV model starts at $21,480 and it surprisingly does not come with many extra features but it allows the buyer to select many more options, whereas the S is strictly a stripper. The pictured Red Brick SV came with a Technology Package ($950), rear glass ($190), and painted bumpers ($190). Add destination and handling and the total price comes to $23,670.

Nissan NV200 comparison

With Ford’s Transit Connect and the upcoming Ram ProMaster City, this segment of the market is about to get red hot. Nissan is strong out of the gate with the early availability, strong price point, and the best gas mileage. Being slightly envious of all these vans, General Motors will have its own mini cargo van called City Express, which forgoes imitation and in the most flattering way replaces the Nissan badge with a bowtie.

2014 Nissan NV200 cargo rear

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. Read his ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. 

Nissan provided the vehicle for this review.

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Report: Nissan Scraps Small Truck Plans, Navara Now On For North America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/report-nissan-scraps-small-truck-plans-navara-now-north-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/report-nissan-scraps-small-truck-plans-navara-now-north-america/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:15:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876322 Our industry source who reported that Nissan would use an old version of the Frontier has reported back to us with some bittersweet news. The reported next-generation Frontier, which would have been based on the bones of the old, first-generation Frontier, has been abandoned. According to our source, bringing the old technology up to modern […]

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Our industry source who reported that Nissan would use an old version of the Frontier has reported back to us with some bittersweet news.

The reported next-generation Frontier, which would have been based on the bones of the old, first-generation Frontier, has been abandoned. According to our source, bringing the old technology up to modern crash standards was too onerous a task, and the costs were simply too high – even with using an already paid for architecture.

The big issue at hand is this: Nissan still wants to have a small, basic, fuel-efficient affordable truck, since they see it as an untapped niche. Their original thinking was that the D22 Frontier would let them get their in a cost-effective way (remember, small trucks are low-margin, difficult to price and carry significant regulatory burdens). But now that this option is off the table, Nissan is forced to use the all-new Navara as a starting point.

From a superficial perspective, that’s not such a bad thing. The Navara is a modern, global mid-size pickup that is a proven design and a sales success across the globe. The problem is that, as it sits now, it’s far too expensive for what Nissan USA is looking for. So, the North American truck will use the Navara architecture, due to its crashworthiness, and ability to fit a modern, diesel engine under the hood, but the tradeoff will be a fair amount of content will not make it across the ocean.

As with the now dead D22, Nissan Mexico will be responsible for engineering the truck to meet NAFTA standards. This “clean sheet” approach, if it can be called that, will cause further delays. The current Frontier will soldier on until 2018, when the new truck arrives. A diesel variant arrives a year later. The new truck will likely have a different look and stick to the original mandate of being akin to a modern-day Hardbody. But instead of actually being a a modern day Hardbody, it will be a revamped modern truck.

Nissan had planned to give North American truck buyers something truly unique, but it was not to be. We will be getting what is arguably the better, more modern option, but this new approach will just add more time, effort and expense to the program. The goal of a low-cost, fuel-efficient pickup is still in sight. Nissan will just be approaching it in a different way.

 

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Nissan Loses Money On Every Leaf Replacement Battery Sold http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/kuhlman-nissan-loses-money-per-leaf-replacement-battery-sold/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/kuhlman-nissan-loses-money-per-leaf-replacement-battery-sold/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=873026 In June, Nissan announced that Leaf owners could obtain a replacement battery pack for $5,500 upon trading in the old unit. While a boon to said owners, the automaker is losing blood on the deal every time a pack is sold. Green Car Reports interviewed Nissan vice president of global communications Jeff Kuhlman, who explained […]

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In June, Nissan announced that Leaf owners could obtain a replacement battery pack for $5,500 upon trading in the old unit. While a boon to said owners, the automaker is losing blood on the deal every time a pack is sold.

Green Car Reports interviewed Nissan vice president of global communications Jeff Kuhlman, who explained that the low price for the new pack was the result of his employer subsidizing the price, though he declined to state how much Nissan spends per replacement. Thus, no profit is being made at this time off of the exchange.

However, Nissan isn’t yet hurting on this “customer-first” initiative. According to Kuhlman, no one has taken the automaker up on its Leaf battery replacement program.

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Ghosn Presents 2020 Autonomous Drive Roadmap http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ghosn-presents-2020-autonomous-drive-roadmap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ghosn-presents-2020-autonomous-drive-roadmap/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=869314 Before the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan Thursday, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn issued a roadmap outlining the automaker’s path toward the first autonomous vehicles in 2020. The Wall Street Journal reports the following steps Renault-Nissan will take towards its 2020 Autonomous Drive target: 2016: The automaker will introduce a traffic jam pilot and fully automated […]

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Before the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan Thursday, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn issued a roadmap outlining the automaker’s path toward the first autonomous vehicles in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal reports the following steps Renault-Nissan will take towards its 2020 Autonomous Drive target:

  • 2016: The automaker will introduce a traffic jam pilot and fully automated parking systems, the former of which would allow vehicles to safely drive their passengers through rush hour and other congestion scenarios.
  • 2018: Vehicles will use multiple lane controls to safely negotiate road hazards and lane changes.
  • 2020: Vehicles will use intersection autonomy to delivery their passengers safely through intersections without the need for driver intervention.

Ghosn emphasized the difference between his company’s approach to autonomy over those like Google, who are pursuing vehicles that drive themselves:

Autonomous Drive is about relieving motorists of everyday tasks, particularly in congested or long-distance situations. The driver remains in control, at the wheel, of a car that is capable of doing more things automatically. Self-driving cars, by comparison, don’t require any human intervention — and remain a long-way from commercial reality. They are suitable only for tightly-controlled road-environments, at slow speeds, and face a regulatory minefield

He concluded that the 2020 roadmap was only the beginning, with further advancements to come on the momentum generated by the plan.

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Corvette Stingray Bests Viper, 911 In Sales Through First-Half Of 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/corvette-stingray-bests-viper-911-in-sales-through-first-half-of-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/corvette-stingray-bests-viper-911-in-sales-through-first-half-of-2014/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=867178 The current Corvette is doing well for itself as of late, not only moving off the lot at a greater clip between January and June of this year than last, but also besting the SRT Viper and Porsche 911. GM Authority reports 17,744 Corvette Stingrays made it to the highway during the aforementioned sales period, […]

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The current Corvette is doing well for itself as of late, not only moving off the lot at a greater clip between January and June of this year than last, but also besting the SRT Viper and Porsche 911.

GM Authority reports 17,744 Corvette Stingrays made it to the highway during the aforementioned sales period, over three times what was sold during the first six months of 2013. Meanwhile, only 354 Vipers managed to do the same — thanks to its high price and the velvet rope surrounding the one or two models available in most showrooms — as well as 5,169 of Stuttgart’s finest during those months. Nissan’s 370Z, priced much lower than the Stingray, also fared poorly against the Kentucky-built thoroughbred, 4,114 sold this year thus far.

Within the Chevy dealership, 2,723 convertibles and coupes left the lot in June, down from 3,328 in May. National Automobile Dealers Association forecasts the Corvette Stingray is on pace to hit 35,000 sold by the end of 2014, aided by the improved 2015 model and the introduction of the Z06.

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Japan Three, Others Meet With President Over Supplier Aid Pledge http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japan-three-others-meet-with-president-over-supplier-aid-pledge/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japan-three-others-meet-with-president-over-supplier-aid-pledge/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=865777 A number of U.S. and multinational corporations met with President Barack Obama Friday to shine a light upon their pledge to pay their suppliers within 15 days as part of an initiative to help small businesses expand and bring on more employees. Automotive News reports representatives for Nissan, Toyota and Honda, including Honda North America […]

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A number of U.S. and multinational corporations met with President Barack Obama Friday to shine a light upon their pledge to pay their suppliers within 15 days as part of an initiative to help small businesses expand and bring on more employees.

Automotive News reports representatives for Nissan, Toyota and Honda, including Honda North America executive vice president Rick Schostek, were in attendance for the 90-minute meeting about the pledge, based upon a similar program with government contractors, whereupon the federal government promises to quickly pay its contractors if the latter does the same for the smaller suppliers that help them.

The original initiative affected 172,000 small businesses, bringing $1 billion for workforce investment since its launch in 2011. Friday’s meeting was to reaffirm the pledge, as well as to introduce the program to the public sector.

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Nissan’s D-Step Tweaks CVTs To Act More Like Traditional Automatics http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/nissans-d-step-tweaks-cvts-to-act-more-like-traditional-automatics/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/nissans-d-step-tweaks-cvts-to-act-more-like-traditional-automatics/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=865753 CVTs aren’t the most popular of transmission options around despite its improvements to fuel efficiency and ride on a vehicle so equipped. Nissan hopes an upcoming software tweak will change a few minds, however. Automotive News reports Nissan will introduce its D-Step Shift logic CVT software to more vehicles for the 2015 model year, including […]

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CVTs aren’t the most popular of transmission options around despite its improvements to fuel efficiency and ride on a vehicle so equipped. Nissan hopes an upcoming software tweak will change a few minds, however.

Automotive News reports Nissan will introduce its D-Step Shift logic CVT software to more vehicles for the 2015 model year, including the Versa, Versa Note and Pathfinder. The software, already in the 2014 Rogue and 2013 Altima four-pot, helps the CVT act more like a traditional automatic when it comes to shifting, emphasis on “act.”

On board vehicles like the new Versa, the D-Step will prompt the CVT to jump ahead a gear around 4,000 rpm, creating a brief drop in driving power while lending a sense of gears changing, all to ease Nissan owners’ concerns that their vehicle’s transmission is somehow broken due to the lack of a notable gear change. More models will receive D-Step in 2016.

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Nissan: 633 CHAdeMO Fast Chargers Available For Use Today, More Coming http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/nissan-633-chademo-fast-chargers-available-for-use-today-more-coming/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/nissan-633-chademo-fast-chargers-available-for-use-today-more-coming/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 12:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=858009 Just in time for the Fourth of July travel weekend, Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MIEV owners will have access to 633 CHAdeMO fast chargers, up from 160 stations in January 2013. Green Car Reports says back then, the majority of those chargers were along the West Coast and Texas, with Nissan promising to triple that […]

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Just in time for the Fourth of July travel weekend, Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MIEV owners will have access to 633 CHAdeMO fast chargers, up from 160 stations in January 2013.

Green Car Reports says back then, the majority of those chargers were along the West Coast and Texas, with Nissan promising to triple that number within 18 months. Nissan North America senior manager of corporate communications Brian Brockman announced last week that his employer had gone above and beyond by bringing online nearly 500 units in the time period, with all listed on PlugShare.

As for the rest of FY 2014, Nissan will push forward to bring more CHAdeMO stations online, from its network of dealerships, to top Leaf markets such as Atlanta, Los Angeles and Houston. Meanwhile, another vehicle will be able to make use of the chargers when the 2015 Kia Soul EV goes on sale later on this summer.

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BMW Mexico Plant To Build 150,000 Annually http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-mexico-plant-to-build-150000-annually/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-mexico-plant-to-build-150000-annually/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=857249 Though BMW may announce Thursday where in Mexico it will build its second North American plant, sources close to the matter said the plant will pump 150,000 units annually into auto trains bound for the United States. Automotive News Europe also reports a Mexican government official claimed the new plant would come with a €1 […]

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Though BMW may announce Thursday where in Mexico it will build its second North American plant, sources close to the matter said the plant will pump 150,000 units annually into auto trains bound for the United States.

Automotive News Europe also reports a Mexican government official claimed the new plant would come with a €1 billion ($1.36 billion USD) investment, and may either be located in the state of Hidalgo just north of Mexico City, or in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.

The plant — following on the heels of a new Daimler-Nissan small-car factory to be built in Aguacalientes, as well as an Audi factory in San Jose Chiapa — will likely be used to build MINIs and the FWD 1 Series, with localized 3 Series assembly also speculated based on the automaker’s potential need to better compete against the U.S.-assembled Mercedes C-Class on price.

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Reader Review: 2014 Nissan Quest LE http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/reader-review-2014-nissan-quest-le/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/reader-review-2014-nissan-quest-le/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 12:30:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=853097 Reader Nicholas Naylor submits his review of the Nissan Quest Minivans are overdue for an image makeover.  Crossovers are less comfortable, less spacious, more thirsty, and absolutely zero percent cooler than a minivan (except for maybe the Flex). Yet it seems the majority of attractive MILF’s (Maternal, Image-Loving Females?) that I speak to would still […]

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Reader Nicholas Naylor submits his review of the Nissan Quest

Minivans are overdue for an image makeover.  Crossovers are less comfortable, less spacious, more thirsty, and absolutely zero percent cooler than a minivan (except for maybe the Flex). Yet it seems the majority of attractive MILF’s (Maternal, Image-Loving Females?) that I speak to would still never want to be caught dead driving a minivan.  What gives?  There’s an opportunity for a gifted designer to embrace what a minivan can do, and make it cool again, via good design, an accommodating interior, and affordability for young families.   No one is doing this quite yet—but who is the closest?

After 14 years of driving body-on-frame SUV’s, I found myself with a growing family and a wife who wanted to drive the “big” car despite 20k miles + a year of driving for work.   This means no more 16mpg truck, or 16.5mpg Crossover with a sticker on the window that says it should get 20mpg but you’re obviously driving it wrong.

Thankfully, my wife and I are both comfortable with being somewhat anti-cool.  Yet I’m still an enthusiast; I still want something with at least a hint of interest about it.  In other words, I look at a Town & Country, and despite the B&B’s love for the Pentastar motor, I don’t want to be that anti-cool.  You only live once—and the T&C looks like a Wikipedia description of ‘Minivan’, or….a rental car.  Chrysler practically is the reason minivans went out of fashion.  They can fix that with a proper redesign—and history tells us they’re capable of doing it (although whether or not the Chrysler brand is the right one is arguable).

The Odyssey is suburbia’s default minivan choice, and although more socially acceptable, thus also bores me, despite its competence otherwise.   Toyota seems to be the only company that can build a heavy FWD vehicle that doesn’t explode its transmission early, which, after having transmissions replaced in my last three cars in a row, really appealed to me.  We rented a Sienna for a week, and for the most part loved it, but it had cheap interior materials, an expensive price tag, and it still was a pretty boring choice.  The current Kia Sedona looks like it’s for people who buy discounted expired meat (I used to do that, btw), and is the last vestige of the old, miserable Kia.  There’s a new one on the way that looks better, to their credit, although I was hoping Schreyer would do something more bold and embracing of the VAN, rather than the SUV-derivative style it looks to have.

I went to a Ford dealer as soon as the Transit Connect Wagon came out and sat in the spacious, economical, quirky, Spanish-built euro-van.  I liked it—it had character.  It was unique and affordable, despite fearful reliability concerns.   But I couldn’t get my wife to even go near the dealer…she deemed it to be a “Pet Cremation Services Vehicle.”  She didn’t want quirky & commercial.

So then we went to a Nissan dealer, and sat in the one, the only current Nissan that I had any sort of positive connotations for—the Quest.  Unlike almost all other modern Nissan’s, the Quest is not a victim of bottom-dollar cost cutting, fleet sales, and sub-prime volume.  It is still made in Japan, and has a Lexus-like level of craftsmanship to show for it.  The Quest sells at only a little over 1/10 the volume of the Odyssey or Sienna, and I think it’s largely because the value-spec models look pretty awful.  However, if you can swing an SL or LE, with the chromed out window trim and sharp 5 spoke 18” alloys, the aesthetics improve dramatically.

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And then you get inside.

The Quest LE is an Infiniti minivan.  I’m not kidding.  It has deep, supple leather.  Beautiful interior materials and craftsmanship–everywhere.  Soft, leather padded armrests on the doors.  Large 8” in dash nav, an 11” wide LCD for back seat DVD viewing, and two large moonroofs.  The seats in the back are as nicely appointed as the rest of the vehicle.  The interior of this car blows away not only any other minivan on the market, but most other large vehicles, period.  There are no signs of cost cutting, and the level of comfort is immense.  My wife immediately loved it, and I did, too.

The 3.5L V6 is potent as always, and the CVT isn’t anywhere near as transparent or weird in this application as it is in the rental Altima’s I’ve driven in the past.  In fact, I prefer the smoothness of this CVT to many of the 6 speed automatics I’ve driven, which are constantly shifting around, and not always smoothly.  Reliability on the CVT is an unknown, but at this point Nissan’s been at this for 10 years.   Since this world-market Japanese-made version (2011-now) hasn’t sold well, it’s hard to find actual data on record of its reliability (previous version was built in Nissan’s problem-plagued new Mississippi factory, with earlier generation CVT, for North-American market only).  2011 is really still too early to determine much, anyways.  For what it’s worth, the dealer told me it is amongst the best Nissans, reliability-wise.  I got 24mpg on my first highway trip, A/C on, 70+mph, children enjoying movies in the back.  And the ride…I don’t know if it is just that the ride is so smooth, the seats are so good, or the interior is so grand, but when behind the wheel of this Quest, the roads are paved with cream.  This is by far the most comfortable vehicle I’ve ever driven.

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There is one huge problem with the Quest LE…a $45k sticker.  That’s a lot for a family van, but at least it feels like it’s worth it.  Thankfully, depreciation is awful, so I swang a 2013 CPO LE for 2/3 the sticker price with less than 20k on the odometer.  I’m sure I could have purchased a fully loaded new Town & Country at that price, but I wanted to not succumb to my cheapness for once, and enjoy what I think is a much better crafted and more interesting product.   Plus, what you save up front on a discounted Chrysler will largely go away on the back end when you go to resell it.

Due to the price and the styling that only works on $35k plus models, Nissan still doesn’t accomplish the three objectives I suggest to make minivans more socially acceptable –good design, an accommodating interior, and affordability.  VW’s Bulli concept, if made into a real 3-row spacious vehicle, is more along the lines of what I’m thinking—with Bauhaus styling that is clean and universally accepted.  But for my family, at this time, the Nissan Quest LE is that rare beast—a minivan we’re proud to own and drive.

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Ghosn Top Earner In Japan For Fourth Time In Five Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/ghosn-top-earner-in-japan-for-fourth-time-in-five-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/ghosn-top-earner-in-japan-for-fourth-time-in-five-years/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 10:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852041 Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn will once more be graced with the honor of being the highest paid executive at a Japanese corporation, having held the honor three previous times in the past five years. Bloomberg reports Ghosn made ¥995 million ($9.76 million USD) in salary and bonuses for fiscal year 2013, which ended March 31 […]

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Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn will once more be graced with the honor of being the highest paid executive at a Japanese corporation, having held the honor three previous times in the past five years.

Bloomberg reports Ghosn made ¥995 million ($9.76 million USD) in salary and bonuses for fiscal year 2013, which ended March 31 of this year; total compensation, including dividends, amounts to ¥10 billion ($9.81 million). This puts the CEO ahead of Toyota president Akio Toyoda, who made four times less than Ghosn despite Nissan eking out a profit amid incentive spending and recall costs in the same period. However, Toyoda’s ¥757 million ($7.42 million) in dividends narrows the gap between the two leaders.

Though Ghosn may be killing it in Japan, his total earnings are outgunned by those of his standing among European and U.S. automakers. Outgoing Ford CEO Alan Mullaly earned $23 million in total compensation last year, while GM CEO Mary Barra may receive as much as $14.4 million at the end of FY 2014. Meanwhile, VW boss Martin Winterkorn took home €15 million ($20 million) and Daimler’s doctor Dieter Zetche made €8.25 million ($11.2 million) in 2013. Renault paid €2.3 million ($3.1 million) to Ghosn, bringing total earnings from the alliance to around $13 million USD..

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Reader Ride Review: 2013 Nissan Leaf http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/reader-ride-review-2013-nissan-leaf/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/reader-ride-review-2013-nissan-leaf/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 11:30:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=850682 Let’s play a little word association, shall we? Okay, great! I will say the name of a car, and you describe its owner. Nissan Leaf S. Got it? Cool. Here’s what I came up with: LeMons-racing, Glock-owning, Libertarian-leaning, father of four, mechanical engineer. Wait, that’s not what you came up with? Well then you don’t […]

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Let’s play a little word association, shall we? Okay, great! I will say the name of a car, and you describe its owner.

Nissan Leaf S. Got it? Cool.

Here’s what I came up with: LeMons-racing, Glock-owning, Libertarian-leaning, father of four, mechanical engineer. Wait, that’s not what you came up with? Well then you don’t know Brian, TTAC reader and owner of today’s Reader Ride Review, a black 2013 Nissan Leaf S.

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Who is the smartest guy you know? Okay, in true Niles Standish fashion, “Double it!” Brian’s brilliant engineering mind led him to lease the Leaf about eight months ago. Although certainly not opposed to the ecological benefit, he leased the Leaf because “I did the math on it. I had a PT Cruiser before this, and when I calculated the cost of the lease after the available subsidies, subtracted fuel cost, and added in the twenty bucks a month to charge it, it worked out to be a significant savings for us.” As a father of four, Brian also owns a Pentastar minivan for kid-hauling duty, and he races a ’75 LTD in LeMons (which Bark M. said was a pain in the butt to pass, at Carolina Motorsports Park earlier this year).

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As opposed to most Leaf owners who are city dwellers, Brian and his family live in a rural area known as Greer, SC. It’s a little ways out from the city, which we southerners like to say is out in the sticks. When I arrived at his house to check out the Leaf, the little black car was plugged into a standard garage outlet, charging back up from a day’s worth of commuting.

My initial impressions of the car upon seeing it were…well, I will let Brian say it.

“It’s not an attractive car,” Brian said. “I didn’t buy it for the aesthetics.” He’s right. In the Leaf, Nissan managed to do the impossible—they made a car that’s uglier than the Cube. In the base level S trim, the Leaf’s ugliness is borderline charming, though. Brian’s had cop-spec black steel wheels with no wheel covers, almost like that kid you used to know who wore black military boots to school. This particular Leaf had a unique decoration, placed on the left side of the rear windshield by Brian—a Glock window sticker. “I wanted everybody to know that this car doesn’t belong to a hippie,”he explained. Duly noted!

Sitting behind the wheel of the Leaf requires a bit of re-education. First of all, I realized that the Leaf would be silent upon start-up, but I subconsciously expected to hear SOMETHING when I pressed the Start button. Nope…total silence, like a golf cart. The gear shift in the center console had only two settings—Reverse and Drive, with a button in the middle for Park. The Leaf’s instrument display shows all sorts of things that this author had never seen before. Squarely in the middle sat a gauge that showed how much electricity was either being used under acceleration or being generated by the regenerative braking system. In the bottom right of the display was a miles to empty gauge—it showed 37 miles when I started our drive out of Brian’s driveway. I immediately and needlessly sensed a bit of range anxiety. What would happen if we got stuck in traffic? Or had a detour? Or had an emergency ice cream run? One never knows about these things.

My first impressions upon driving the Leaf? It’s not slow. Not at all. In fact, the instant torque delivered by the electric motor makes it pretty quick off the line. “It’s as fast from 0-45 as a BRZ,” explained Brian from the passenger seat. Granted, that’s not saying a whole lot, but it’s definitely sufficient to move the Leaf around comfortably in city traffic. The low-rolling-resistance tires didn’t inspire cornering confidence, but grip was sufficient for everyday driving.

The one thing that surprised me was a light whistling sound the car made when you would slow down to a stop. Brian explained to me that because the Leaf makes nearly no noise when going slowly, Nissan added the whistle to alert pedestrians amend other motorists of its presence in city situations to satisfy some pending legislation. Too cool!

Visibility from the main cabin was excellent, aided by some cut outs in the A pillar; it felt as if I was driving a windshield, not an EV. In comparison to my Sonic, it was spacious and comfortable. The back seat was big enough for an average adult to sit quite comfortably in, and the rear storage area was surprisingly large—a week’s worth of groceries for this single gal would fit, no problem. The S trim level meant that the bells and whistles of the car were pretty limited, but it still had Bluetooth connectivity (which Brian used to connect his flip phone…engineers!) and steering wheel audio controls. Black and gray plastic is abundant throughout, but the spartan nature of the interior almost added to the functional charm of the car.

As we drove, I asked Brian what else he had considered in addition to the Leaf. “Honestly, other than Tesla, there isn’t another truly electric car on the market. In South Carolina, neither the Spark EV or the Focus EV is available for sale. Plus, Nissan just did this car correctly. Everything about it is right.” Upon entering the highway, I found it hard to disagree with him. I had no trouble coaxing speeds well over the 65 MPH limit out of the Leaf—in fact, the single gear transmission and lack of engine noise make it easy to nose the car past 80 without even realizing it. It never struggles or whines or roars…it just goes, and it does so without difficulty or complaint.

I kept watching the miles to empty tick down closer to zero, and as we got under ten, it no longer gave me an actual number. Instead, it just blinked at me. Brian said that it has been surprisingly accurate,over the course of his ownership, especially considering how difficult it can be to measure such things. He launched into a very technical explanation of why that was, but as a mere mortal, I just took his word for it.

I saved my final and most important question for last: If you only had two kids, would you consider making this your only car?

Brian hesitated slightly, and answered reluctantly. “No. I still like to go on trips every now and then, and the range of the Leaf just isn’t sufficient for that.” I couldn’t agree more. If you buy an EV then you are consciously making a choice that will change your lifestyle and fact is, some lifestyles are not made for conformity.

So, does Brian have any regrets about the decision to lease a Leaf?

“Not one. It’s been great. It’s exactly as advertised, and, again, Nissan did everything right when it came to this car.”

After my thirty-seven miles in the Leaf, I came to the same conclusion. Yes, it is, for all intents and purposes, an appliance. However, it doesn’t pretend to be anything but, and it also happens to be a damned good appliance. Everything about the car is exactly as it should be. Everything just works.

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My only complaint is the price. $28K before subsidies, and in South Carolina, about $21K after, which puts it squarely in the realm of some cars that might be more enjoyable to drive, still deliver good fuel economy, and have many more standard features (Fiesta, Sonic, Fit). That being said, it’s not a penalty box by any means, and if you drive enough to make the math work for you, then I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. I liked it much more than I expected to, and if you aren’t “too cool” for it, you would, too.

Many thanks to Brian, who provided his car and a tank of…er, some electricity!

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Daimler-Nissan JV To Build Next-Gen CLA, Unnamed A-Class At Mexican Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/daimler-nissan-jv-to-build-next-gen-cla-unnamed-a-class-at-mexican-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/daimler-nissan-jv-to-build-next-gen-cla-unnamed-a-class-at-mexican-plant/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=850794 Aside from Infiniti sharing engines with Mercedes, the Daimler-Nissan joint venture will also lead to production of the next-gen CLA and an A-Class sedan at Nissan’s plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Automotive News Europe reports Daimler’s board will approve the decision within the next two weeks. Although the GLA crossover was supposed to go over to […]

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2014 Mercedes CLA

Aside from Infiniti sharing engines with Mercedes, the Daimler-Nissan joint venture will also lead to production of the next-gen CLA and an A-Class sedan at Nissan’s plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Automotive News Europe reports Daimler’s board will approve the decision within the next two weeks. Although the GLA crossover was supposed to go over to Mexico originally, insiders claim that the CLA and the unnamed A-Class will take its place.

Production is set to begin in time for exportation to the United States in 2017, with an Infiniti compact — built upon Mercedes’ FWD bones — to join the CLA and A-Class. Annual output is expected to be around 100,000 to 150,000 units.

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Honda, Nissan, Mazda Recall 3 Million Over Defective Airbag Inflators http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/honda-nissan-mazda-recall-3-million-over-defective-airbag-inflators/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/honda-nissan-mazda-recall-3-million-over-defective-airbag-inflators/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=850770 Honda, Nissan and Mazda are recalling a total of 3 million vehicles equipped with defective airbag inflators supplied by Takata, following a similar action by Toyota. Automotive News reports 2.03 million Hondas, 755,000 Nissans and 159,807 Mazdas globally are being recalled to replace the defective units. The effort comes just after Toyota recalled 1.62 vehicles […]

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Honda, Nissan and Mazda are recalling a total of 3 million vehicles equipped with defective airbag inflators supplied by Takata, following a similar action by Toyota.

Automotive News reports 2.03 million Hondas, 755,000 Nissans and 159,807 Mazdas globally are being recalled to replace the defective units. The effort comes just after Toyota recalled 1.62 vehicles outside Japan that were recalled earlier this month for the same issue, and 655,000 vehicles in the home market that were being recalled for the first time. As of June 23, 10 million vehicles between 2009 and 2014 have been recalled due to defects in Takata’s airbag units.

June’s action follow those by the four automakers conducted in April of this year, when Takata informed the group that a number of the defective units had escaped into the supplier channels due to poor record-keeping between 2000 and 2002 at the supplier’s plants in Washington and Mexico, where the moisture-infected units were assembled and stored. Moisture degraded the airbags’ inflators, which led to the units exploding, throwing metal shrapnel throughout the cabin.

Other manufacturers who used Takata airbags — including Ford, Chrysler and BMW — are also calling back a handful of affected models, especially those in humid climates such as Florida and Puerto Rico; CEO Shigehisa Takada claimed “the high levels of absolute humidity in those states” may also cause catastrophic failure of the inflators.

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Nissan Aiming For European Diesel Van Fleets With e-NV200 EV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/nissan-aiming-for-european-diesel-van-fleets-with-e-nv200-ev/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/nissan-aiming-for-european-diesel-van-fleets-with-e-nv200-ev/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=850162 Though diesel rules the delivery fleet in Europe, Nissan would like fleet managers to leave oil-burning behind for the all-electric e-NV200. Automotive News Europe reports brand general manager for product strategy and planning Thomas Ebeling believes the EV would be a better fit over diesel power, thanks to 40 percent lower costs of operation and […]

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Nissan e-NV200

Though diesel rules the delivery fleet in Europe, Nissan would like fleet managers to leave oil-burning behind for the all-electric e-NV200.

Automotive News Europe reports brand general manager for product strategy and planning Thomas Ebeling believes the EV would be a better fit over diesel power, thanks to 40 percent lower costs of operation and better handling due to the van’s low center of gravity and wider stance than the competition. The brand says 200,000 commercial vans are in service over European roads at present, and though it hasn’t offered how many e-NV200s will be sold to replace them, Nissan believes all of those vans are potential customers.

There are a few challenges to meeting that goal. For starters, the van is currently made in one location: Barcelona, Spain. Output is expected to reach 1,200 units in 2015 for the global market, 2,742 by 2020. Another factor is price: German fleet operators pay €16,480 ($22,418 USD) with tax for petrol versions of the NV200, and €18,390 ($25,017) for diesel power. The e-NV200, by comparison, would cost €29,819 ($40,564) with tax and battery purchase, though operators could also pay a monthly rental fee of €87 ($118) for the pack, dropping the price to €23,919 ($32,538).

The e-NV200 is already in showrooms in Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, and will arrive in Teutonic and Nordic countries later this summer before entering Japan in October. As for the United States, Nissan is currently conducting trial runs to determine market viability before deciding whether to bring the commercial EV to market.

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Reader Review: Infiniti G37x http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/reader-review-infiniti-g37x/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/reader-review-infiniti-g37x/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:30:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=849986 TTAC reader Tim Rust sends us his review of his 2010 Infiniti G37x. Do you pass up the expensive steak house restaurant to buy your meat at Costco and grill the perfect steak at home?  Do you purchase your clothing at an outlet mall to avoid the huge mark-up employed by brand-name stores in a […]

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TTAC reader Tim Rust sends us his review of his 2010 Infiniti G37x.

Do you pass up the expensive steak house restaurant to buy your meat at Costco and grill the perfect steak at home?  Do you purchase your clothing at an outlet mall to avoid the huge mark-up employed by brand-name stores in a mall?  Is hiring a handyman/contractor a last resort when your house needs some work? If so, a gently used Infiniti G37 may be the vehicle for you.

 

As people go, I tend to fall more on the practical end of the spectrum.  When I purchase a product, I like to get good value for my dollar, but I also like high-quality products. Sports sedans have always called to me for that reason.  They are not too ostentatious or gaudy, but definitely hint that there is some performance underneath the conservative sheet metal—the E39 BMW 5-series would be my prototypical specimen.  So why not buy a used E39, you ask?  Well, I want a product that will last without numerous trips to the mechanic and intimidating repair bills.  I also require some of the creature comforts only found in newer models (decent audio system, Bluetooth, up-to-date safety features, etc.).  Looking at sports sedans circa 2010, the Infiniti G37 stands out as being both dynamic and reliable.  Consequently, last year, I purchased a 2010 Infiniti G37x sedan with about 25,000 miles on the clock.

Why might you not want to get this car?  Well, the gas mileage is poor compared to some newer models—I get 19 mpg with a majority of city driving.  The cup holders also stink.  Two soda cans fit well, but try getting two large McDonald’s cups in there during a road trip and you’re just asking for a spill.  But, these aren’t factors that should keep you away from the G37.

The ride, handling, and driving feel in a practical package are the reasons to purchase this car.  In my non-sport trim, the ride is firm, but forgiving.  Uneven road surfaces are felt, but are tolerable.  Driving on the twisty roads in the Hocking Hills of Southeastern Ohio is enjoyable, but there is some body roll, reminding you that you are not in a full -on sports car.  The G37 still employs hydraulic power steering, so steering feel is great compared to newer vehicles with electric power steering.  It feels a bit heavy while navigating parking lots at slow speeds and firms up nicely at higher speeds for confident handling.  For a daily driver, it offers a great compromise between a firm sporty suspension and a comfortable commuter.  Road noise is noticeable, but not so bad that you will hate yourself after a long road trip.  Much of the noise comes from the coarse, throaty engine note, which adds to the sporting nature of the car.

And about that engine… This was a pleasant surprise for me after owning the car for a while.  The engine note is almost more muscle car than sports sedan.  I’ve never really been attracted to muscle cars, but the sensation of all of that power is growing on me.  Acceleration in city driving is great and a blast when in sport/manual shift mode.  At highway speeds, it seems to be a little out of the torque curve and it can take some minimal effort to pass.  The automatic transmission has been a bit of a disappointment with this car.  There are seven gears, but the shifts can be a little rough, especially when coasting to a stop.  Even though my car is not a sport model, I have also read online that it should still be prewired for the shift paddles that come on the sport model.  It looks like it is a reasonably easy self-install after buying a kit and it is on my list of things to do this summer.

My prior car was a 2004 Subaru Legacy sedan and there is a noticeable difference between Subaru’s symmetrical all wheel drive and the AWD system on the G37x.  For those that don’t know, the Subaru system sends power to all four wheels all of the time.  The G37’s AWD powers only the rear wheels until they slip and then power is sent to the front as well.  This is great, in that it maintains the RWD feel of the car.  Still, compared to the Subaru, it is disconcerting to feel the back of the car start to slip before the AWD kicks in.  At low speeds, the car can be locked in AWD with the “Snow Mode” button, but this deactivates at higher speeds.  In all fairness, I only really notice problems while trying to drive on unplowed roads with more than two inches of snow on the ground.  In light snow or plowed streets, the G37’s AWD is great for winter driving.  I haven’t noticed any difference driving in simply wet conditions.

I admit, the interior of the car is starting to look a little dated.  I prefer a more classic look, so this works for me.  Infiniti’s center screen with dial and keypad below looks premium and is simple to use.  It may not be cutting edge, but it works well and minimizes distraction from driving.  The screen also works as a touchscreen in cars equipped with navigation.  The voice commands work well for making phone calls and using the navigation system.  Bluetooth audio streaming comes with models with navigation and works well 95% of the time with a few glitches.  Curiously, there is no auxiliary jack, so Bluetooth is the only connectivity option for playing music from your own device.  There is a hard drive that can rip CDs—I know, terrible outdated.  The Bose sound system is pretty decent, although I am not a hardcore audiophile and I don’t expect my subwoofer to rattle my neighbors’ windows as I cruise by.  It seems a step above the Bose system in the 2014 Mazda6.

I prefer lighter vehicle interiors rather than an expanse of black plastic and leather and went with the Stone interior and aluminum trim.  It’s a little different than a typical beige car interior and may strike some as too bland.  Aluminum also helps to make the interior look a little more contemporary compared to the optional wood trim.  The non-sport front seats are very comfortable and tend to be on the firm side.  No problems after a seven-hour road trip.  They do allow some room for sliding around during hard cornering, though.  The seat heaters are excellent and the climate control is very quick to heat or cool.

The rear seat room is another plus of this car.  Compared to a 2010 BMW 3 series, Audi A4, or Lexus IS there is considerably more room for two adults to comfortably sit in the back.  I am six feet tall and can sit comfortably behind my drivers seat position.  The center armrest is chunky and padded, adding to the comfort and coziness of the back seat.  I have not tested this personally, but several online reviews show that rear-facing infant and child seats can also fit in the backseat without ruining the front seat legroom.  This was a big factor in the practical nature of this car, as it truly can be a family vehicle.

Visibility is quite good and a back-up camera is standard even though it’s really not necessary.  There are also rear backup radar sensors to help with parking and pulling out of parking spots.  The trunk is so-so.  The opening is probably too small, but there is room for several roller bags for airport runs and the like—approximately 13.5 cubic feet.  The rear seats do not fold down, though, so you’ll have to take your SUV when making hardware store runs for longer objects.  There is a small pass-through for skis.  Overall, I found this interior more comfortable, practical, and better looking than the comparable BMW.

Infiniti’s exterior styling seems to be pretty polarizing.  Compared to other models, they showed some more restraint with the G37.  The front end is beautiful with the swooping sleek HID headlights and aggressive fender flairs.  These are the best headlights I have experienced in a car—very bright with a large area of coverage.  Of note, there are no daytime running lights.  The back end of the car does not work as well.  The G sedan has had the same basic taillight design for a while now and it looks old.  It is unique, though, in an age where many cars seem to have the same basic rear end design.  The rear end just looks frumpy compared to the curvaceous front end.  And I am not a fan of the chrome trim on the spoiler either.

The excellent reliability record according to Consumer Reports and True Delta along with the reasonable price, driving dynamics, and interior amenities made this purchase a no brainer.  You can get more for more money with a newer model, but this value is hard to beat.  BMW—and with recent models, maybe now Cadillac—may be the Ultimate Driving Machine, but the Infiniti G37 is the Ultimate Used Sports Sedan.  If you are a practical guy or gal on a budget looking for a sophisticated, fun ride, definitely check one out.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Nissan Versa Note SV Take Two http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/capsule-review-2014-nissan-versa-note-sv-take-two/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/capsule-review-2014-nissan-versa-note-sv-take-two/#comments Sat, 21 Jun 2014 14:18:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=848634 In the not too distant past, buying a cheap car meant getting something with crank windows, manual steering, and often with no radio. Air conditioning was a luxury feature which, when equipped, would often cut the available engine power from little to none. Even safety features such as ABS required a jump to model that […]

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2014 Nissan Versa Note SV side

In the not too distant past, buying a cheap car meant getting something with crank windows, manual steering, and often with no radio. Air conditioning was a luxury feature which, when equipped, would often cut the available engine power from little to none. Even safety features such as ABS required a jump to model that was no longer cheap. Having grown up with the cheapest of the cheap, ‘80’s and early ‘90s Hyundai Excels, I have come to despise cheap cars. The question is, are today’s inexpensive cars still cheap?

2014 Nissan Versa Note SV front

One of the least expensive cars currently on the market is the Nissan Versa sedan and its hatchback sibling the Versa Note. While the entry level S models still come with manual windows and door locks, they all come with power steering, power mirrors, radio, air conditioning, airbags and ABS. But the really surprising part is the list of features available on the higher trim levels: keyless entry, push button start, heated seats, steering wheel controls, and an Infiniti-like top-view parking assistant. That’s amazing!

To be fair, the model in question here is the top of line Versa Note SV with SL Tech Package. While a base Versa Note S starts at $13,990, and is available with three in-between models, this fully loaded test car has the MSRP of $18,490. The extra $4,500 buys an upgraded cloth interior and trim, power windows and door locks, 5.8” infotainment with the fancy parking assistant, Bluetooth, heated front seats, alloy wheels, and all the previously mentioned stuff . While all Versas have the same 1.6-liter 109hp engine, higher level models have Continuously Variable Transmissions while the base S has five-speed manual transmission. The S therefore takes a penalty in fuel economy: 27mpg city and 36mpg highway versus 31mpg city and 40mpg highway for the CVT cars.

2014 Nissan Versa Note SV interior details

Gone are the days when the cheapest of cheap were identified by unpainted bumper covers, door handles, or mirror housings. The two differences between all models are hub cabs covering black steel wheels versus alloy wheels and the addition of fog lights. This may be due to the fact that people don’t want to look like they are driving a stripper. Otherwise, all Versa Notes look like cute shrunken down minivans. The design is inoffensive yet not too bland, and overall it does not look like a car that was made intentionally small: see Chevy Spark.

Things are not that bad inside either, at least not in the upgraded SV test car. The manual seats are well padded, won’t make you uncomfortable on longer drives, and the fabric does not feel cheap. The headroom and legroom for all occupants is surprisingly good, but the rear bench is best for two people. Those loading toddlers into the car seats will immediately notice that all of Versa Note’s side doors open to almost ninety degrees, making getting in and out easy. Note’s biggest shortcoming is in the trunk, which is more vertical than horizontal and has two movable shelves. The rear seat folds down almost flat and is split 60:40.

2014 Nissan Versa Note SV exterior details

In casual driving the Versa Note has just enough power. Highway passing or ascending mountains will force the CVT to keep the engine at its peak operating speed at which point the car barks loudly but doesn’t quite bite.  That engine power is really one of very few things that remind the driver that this is an entry-level vehicle. It handles well given its power, tires, and torsion beam rear suspension. The ride but can be harsh on the worst of winter beaten roads but overall there is not much to complain, just as there is not much to praise.

When Nissan delivered this vehicle to me other autojournos said, off the record of course, that they felt bad for me. “It’s the worst car in the fleets,” was the general consensus. After spending a few days with this car I absolutely disagree with them. Yes, any critic could rip it apart especially since it is a good car to wobble on, but one needs to keep in mind that even when fully loaded, this is still an inexpensive car. Furthermore, it is a good inexpensive car, if such things as bad cars still exist. Where the Versa Note shines is that it is inexpensive but it does not feel cheap, which cannot always be said for all inexpensive cars.

2014 Nissan Versa Note SV rear side

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