Mini-vans, God love them. Gone are the days when a van was mostly a truck with the front seats set far too close to the windshield and separated by a giant, ill-fitting plastic engine cover that allowed the sounds, smell and heat of the engine to leak into the vehicle’s interior. No, today’s vans are quiet, spacious and refined people movers that still provide a great deal of utility while carrying your precious family in great comfort. While they may not set the average auto enthusiast’s heart aflutter, ask any family man and he will sing you the song of infinite praises for the humble mini-van. I am just such a man, and as my Ford Freestar is on its way out, I must now find a replacement. Read More >
After my tirade about big fat luxury cars in the 24 Hours of LeMons, I got to thinking about all the once-boring luxury machines I’ve seen with brutal slam jobs. In so many cases— yes, even with a vintage Audi 100— dropping the Chairman of the Board’s luxury ride about a foot works wonders for its appearance. Read More >
The first generation Insight was a commercial failure. Eight years yielded fewer than 20,000 unit sold and a lingering doubt about the genuine interest in two seat commuter cars.
Honda tried again with the CR-Z, and apparently George Orwell’s early Animal Farm analogy about ‘four being better than two’ may be all too true for the American automotive marketplace.
Nobody wants an uber-frugal commuter car with two seats. It’s either four or no sale.
Minivans are indeed fewer in number.
Supposedly they should to able to hold six or seven.
But the truth is the buyers of these vehicles rarely have room for three these days.
See, I have dealt with hundreds of minivan buyers over the years as a small town car dealer and a writer here at TTAC. Nearly everyone I deal with considers no more than three minivans. To be frank, the majority won’t even consider two which is why Chrysler, Toyota and Honda minivans now control more than 88% of the North American minivan market.
What chance does the Nissan Quest have? Even after 20 years in the public eye?
After admiring the Broughamism of today’s Junkyard Find, and still awed by the Broughamic zenith represented by the ’72 Mercury Marquis Brougham Junkyard Find, I can’t help but think that the automotive industry needs to bring back the Brougham! Only thing is, it’s tough to decide which 2012 American-market car or truck would benefit most from Broughamization. Read More >
After I started getting weird diecast toy cars as LeMons Supreme Court baksheesh, my office has become crowded with stuff like a 1:43 scale Leyland P76 and a 1:40 Nissan Prairie. Yesterday, as I pondered the diecast custom vans that got away, I wondered: is it possible to get a diecast toy version of my very first car? Read More >
Have you ever been made an offer you couldn’t refuse? You never know when it might happen, so a little practice can’t hurt. Here’s the scenario: thanks to one of my old friends from New Jersey who has an amazing collection of Louisville Sluggers, 200 thousand dollars has been allocated to TTAC’s writers. $20,000 each. You’re welcome.
There is one catch.
The writers at TTAC have to buy a new car. That’s right. One new car (no BOGO free deals for a leftover Aveo). It can be anything they like. Hyundai, Toyota, Chevy… Jaguar? Fat chance! These fellows can go a little over the $20k mark on the MSRP. But the real world price before tax, title, bullshit fees etc. has to be no more than $20k.
So what car will they get? Will they follow the bleating herd of Billy Joel fans and buy something more milquetoast than a Milan? Perhaps a beige Camcord with an off-creme interior? Or maybe a Jetta that’s been as thoroughly decontented as Christina Aguilera’s last album? Or will it be something a bit more in your face? Like a… well… let me get to that later. I have to go move some mink coats. Just remember, when you’re taking favors from guys in a certain line of work, every decision has consequences…
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If you want to become a leading player in a segment (say, minivans), you have a choice: Either do what everyone else is doing, only better, or do something entirely different, and hope that car buyers see the result as better. With the Mississippi-made 2004 Quest, Nissan attacked America’s minivan market using the latter strategy. The styling was bizarre, the suspension tuning was sporty, the seats were French-inspired, and the gauges were centrally located. And even after revisions relocated the gauges and improved the initially abysmal reliability, the gambit failed. That particular Quest came to a slightly premature end with the 2009 model year. Now, following a one-year hiatus, Nissan has launched another Quest. This iteration is very different from the 2004, but still manages to be very different from the competition. Prognosis?
In response to our confusion over engine specs for the new 2011 Nissan Quest, Nissan’s product communication team wrote in to let us know that
At our media preview we received the new torque and hp figures during the middle of the event of 240 and 260 respectively but for some reason the rpm figures [in promotional materials] weren’t updated.
Thanks to Nissan’s prompt response, we can now officially report that the confusion is over. Engine power specs for the 2011 Nissan Quest are as follows
Horsepower : 260 hp @ 6000rpm
Torque (lb-ft) : 240 lb-ft @ 4400rpm
260 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
240 foot-pounds @ 4,800 rpm
Some non-Nissan sites provide slightly different numbers:
253 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
236 foot-pounds @ 4,800 rpm
So perhaps Nissan recently found a couple more horsepower then rounded both figures up to the nearest five.
Both sets of numbers instantly struck me as impossible.
Read More >
The appropriately-named website Familycarreview.com recently got some seat time in the forthcoming 2011 Nissan Quest, and they’ve found an unusual feature for a family-oriented minivan: an “Adult Entertainment” category in its navigation system. Wildly inappropriate for a family-oriented minivan, or the key to to putting some real swagger in Nissan’s wagon? We report, you decide… [Hat Tip: our strip club-loving pals at AutoSpies]
Nissan has released more teasers for its forthcoming 2011 Quest, and we’re starting to get the feeling that it could just be the first mold-breaking minivan in some time. It’s not necessarily the most exciting looking thing, but under that blunt-nosed skin, this Quest likely boasts the RWD/AWD chassis of the newest Japanese Elgrand van and an optional 3.5 liter VQ V6. We’ll wait for official details before we start getting too crazy, but the possibility of a 300 hp, RWD minivan is a little to perversely thrilling to ignore. With all the talk of “Swagger Wagons” and “Man Vans” lately, Nissan may just have the most exciting minivan since the first-gen Mazda MPV (to date, the only minivan to be appear in a rap video) hiding up its sleeve…
Ah ha ha ha — I’m still having a ball. I love these X vs. Y QOTDs. Maybe it’s time for a new feature? Hmmm… Anyhow, there are a lot of people (er, were a lot of people) that purchase two-door sports coupes. So many in fact that Nissan’s on their 6th iteration of the Z and Ford’s Mustang is older than most people. Last week through, uh, fate, I was able to drive the 2010 versions of each car (Mustang review here ,370Z here). And as different as they are, man, are they the same. The Z makes do with “just” six cylinders yet weighs about 200 pounds less than the more powerful V8 ‘Stang. Therefore performance is nearly identical. In fact, so close that it just doesn’t matter. But surely the IRS Nissan has the edge over the live axle Mustang in the handling department, right? The 370Z might be able to provide flashier numbers on a skid pad, but on the street? The two cars feel equally capable. Looks? Take your pick — both cars are muscular, handsome, loaded with retro cues yet modern. Hamburger vs. Sushi? Depends on my mood — one has no inherent advantage over the other. 5-speed vs. 6-speed? I prefer 4-speeds. Interiors? Both are good, not great. So, how then? Here’s the thing — Nissan swore up and down that when they were developing the 370Z they didn’t bother to benchmark the Mustang. Porsche Cayman? Yes. BMW Z4? Yes. Audi TT? Yes. But while they were playing footsies with the Germans, Ford went ahead and developed the Bullitt, one of the greatest cars of the last 10 years. And the 2010 Mustang GT is a better Bullitt. So yeah, Mustang for me. You?