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. Sat, 04 Jul 2015 15:51:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » Nissan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com After Clearing Legal Hurdles, Taxi of Tomorrow Now Taxi of Today http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/clearing-legal-hurdles-taxi-tomorrow-now-taxi-today/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/clearing-legal-hurdles-taxi-tomorrow-now-taxi-today/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:30:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107321 The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission finally cleared its last hurdle in making the Nissan NV200 the new official taxi for NYC, Car and Driver reports. The commission installed the NV200 as the new official taxi back in 2011, but legal challenges have delayed that process until now. The city licenses more than 13,000 cabs. The […]

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Nissan NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission finally cleared its last hurdle in making the Nissan NV200 the new official taxi for NYC, Car and Driver reports.

The commission installed the NV200 as the new official taxi back in 2011, but legal challenges have delayed that process until now. The city licenses more than 13,000 cabs.

The challenge stemmed from a group of taxi owners taking exception to the commission dwindling the number of acceptable cab models from 47 down to just one. However, the C&D report points out, owners can choose from a slightly larger list of acceptable hybrids (by larger, we mean three: Lexus 450h, Prius V and Toyota Highlander Hybrid) instead of the gas-powered NV200.

Nissan won a $1 billion bid to become the supplier of the new taxi four years ago beating out Ford and Turkish automaker Karsan.

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Crapwagon Outtake: 1980 Datsun 280ZX Black Gold Anniversary Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/crapwagon-outtake-1980-datsun-280zx-black-gold-anniversary-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/crapwagon-outtake-1980-datsun-280zx-black-gold-anniversary-edition/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106337 Like most sports cars, the Z got fat as it aged. The one/two combo punch of emissions and safety regulations worked over many a performance car throughout the ’70s, some not surviving the decade. The Z changed from SU-clone carbs, to finicky Hitachi flat-tops, to a Bosch fuel injection system over three years, all the […]

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Like most sports cars, the Z got fat as it aged. The one/two combo punch of emissions and safety regulations worked over many a performance car throughout the ’70s, some not surviving the decade. The Z changed from SU-clone carbs, to finicky Hitachi flat-tops, to a Bosch fuel injection system over three years, all the while increasing displacement to handle the extra weight of massive bumpers. Enthusiasts may whine about the changes, but it seems market pressures added the pounds, too. In 1979, the 280ZX was released — a softer, more luxurious car than the predecessor.

Yet, it sold just as well, showing that Nissan were right about the market. New Z owners were pulling up to the valet at the disco, rather than carving canyons.

Yep, it’s the commercial that’s been passed around social media for years like a rolled-up twenty.

The 1980 Anniversary Edition Black Gold ZX was perfect to usher in the new decade. As a little car-fanatic kid in a multiple-Z-owning household, I had a toy R/C model of this very car tucked next to me in bed on occasion, rather than a teddy bear.

$17,000 is a big number for the car I’ve come to refer to as the 2DSC — two door saloon car, as it’s not much different than a Maxima of the era. The later cars, especially the turbocharged examples, brought much of the performance back to Nissan/Datsun showrooms, but these early ZXs were just good, comfortable cruisers.

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Nissan, Toyota, Honda Team to Build Fuel-Cell Infrastructure in Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-toyota-honda-team-build-fuel-cell-infrastructure-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-toyota-honda-team-build-fuel-cell-infrastructure-japan/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106169 According to Toyota, three Japanese automakers — Honda, Toyota and Nissan — are working together to build hydrogen fuel stations around for future fuel-cell cars. The program, which will subsidize fueling stations up to 11 million yen ($89,500) per year for each station, is meant to boost the nation’s infrastructure for hydrogen-powered cars. The agreement […]

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According to Toyota, three Japanese automakers — Honda, Toyota and Nissan — are working together to build hydrogen fuel stations around for future fuel-cell cars.

The program, which will subsidize fueling stations up to 11 million yen ($89,500) per year for each station, is meant to boost the nation’s infrastructure for hydrogen-powered cars.

The agreement was formed in February between the large automakers, but began accepting applications July 1.

The program also boosts “awareness” of the FCVs by offering incentives for stations to stay open longer and offer more services.

A similar alliance between automakers in the U.S. could boost FCV participation rates, but maybe we can’t have nice things.

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Sales of EVs, Hybrids Slumping After Gas Prices Dip http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/sales-evs-hybrids-slumping-gas-prices-dip/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/sales-evs-hybrids-slumping-gas-prices-dip/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1105913 Sales figures from automakers this week show slumping sales of electric vehicles and hybrids nationwide as gas prices drop and tax incentives dry up. According to the Detroit News, sales from EV makers such as Nissan and Chevrolet have slowed down significantly — more than 30 percent for the Volt and 12 percent for the Leaf […]

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Atlanta Police Nissan Leaf

Sales figures from automakers this week show slumping sales of electric vehicles and hybrids nationwide as gas prices drop and tax incentives dry up.

According to the Detroit News, sales from EV makers such as Nissan and Chevrolet have slowed down significantly — more than 30 percent for the Volt and 12 percent for the Leaf — last month, and both models may end up down significantly for the sales year.

Hybrid carmakers such as Ford and Honda are also reporting slow sales for their cars. Ford reported that its hybrid sales were down 29 percent over the last five months, and Honda reported a 15-percent drop in June.

Industry analysts say the slowdown could be a result of the lowest gas prices in five years, and a adjustment of states’ EV incentives. Recently, the California Air Resources Board unveiled a tiered incentive program that would adjust rebates based on income. A study showed that more than one in four EV buyers in California earned more than $200,000 a year, but still received the full benefit during the second quarter of 2015. More than three-quarters of EV buyers made more than $99,000. Georgia will end its incentives.

None of this has slowed down automakers’ production of EVs, however.

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Nakamura: ‘Innovative And Exciting’ Second-Gen Nissan Juke In Development http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nakamura-innovative-and-exciting-second-gen-nissan-juke-in-development/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nakamura-innovative-and-exciting-second-gen-nissan-juke-in-development/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 21:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097537 Though the Nissan IDx is still dead, Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura believes a more “innovative and exciting” Juke may make up for the loss. At this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Nakamura told evo the IDx, though “very special,” didn’t fit with the automaker’s consistent, “very strong brand expression,” and thus, would not […]

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Nissan IDx Siblings In SoCal Circa February 2014

Though the Nissan IDx is still dead, Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura believes a more “innovative and exciting” Juke may make up for the loss.

At this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Nakamura told evo the IDx, though “very special,” didn’t fit with the automaker’s consistent, “very strong brand expression,” and thus, would not be built “at the moment”:

If we have say, 120 degrees of diversity today, maybe I’ll direct it down to 90 degrees. Our cars need to be more clearly identifiable for consumers.

One car Nakamura aims to be “clearly identifiable” is none other than the second-gen Juke, which is said to “inherit the spirit” of the current model, while avoiding a rehashing of said model’s look.

Another redesign in the works involves the GT-R. Nakamura says it won’t likely be inspired by the front-driven GT-R LM Nismo Le Mans prototype, it would carry-over some elements, including the grill, glasshouse and quad tail lights of the current GT-R.

(Photo credit: Nissan)

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Nissan NX1600 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1993-nissan-nx1600/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1993-nissan-nx1600/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1093465 The Nissan NX was never much of a big seller in the United States, and only the first-cousin-of-the-Sentra-SE-R NX2000 gets any attention from potential diamond-in-the-rough rescuers today. That means that you won’t see many of these cars in the wrecking yards, so I decided to photograph this purple-duct-tape-customized example in a Denver yard a couple […]

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10- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The Nissan NX was never much of a big seller in the United States, and only the first-cousin-of-the-Sentra-SE-R NX2000 gets any attention from potential diamond-in-the-rough rescuers today. That means that you won’t see many of these cars in the wrecking yards, so I decided to photograph this purple-duct-tape-customized example in a Denver yard a couple months back.
08- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The GA16DE DOHC engine in this car made 110 horses with variable valve timing, which wasn’t exactly big power. It did manage to get 33 mpg on the highway.

19- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Digital dash!

04- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The Black Ice Little Tree is the second-most-popular flavor of Car-Freshner product found in American junkyards; New Car Scent is #1. Note the purple-tape-wrapped steering wheel.

18- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Purple tape may be found in many places in this automobile, in fact.

13- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Rollin’ on Arizonians!


It was sold in Europe as the 100NX.


In Thailand, women were indifferent to NX-driving men.


Australians became werewolves behind the wheel of an NX.


In the NX’s homeland, it was pitched as a cute car made of rubber and sold to “kids at heart.”


And, of course, the American-market NX ads were boring and focused on cheapness. Only $6 a day to drive this car!

11- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Chart Of The Day: Can The New Nissan Maxima Reverse This Downward Trend? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/chart-day-can-new-nissan-maxima-reverse-downward-trend/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/chart-day-can-new-nissan-maxima-reverse-downward-trend/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 11:25:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1093233 Nissan USA’s Maxima sales figures are about to look very good. Oh, not in comparison with, for instance, Nissan’s own Altima, one of America’s best-selling cars, but rather, in comparison with recent Nissan Maxima sales figures. New, eighth-generation Maximas are beginning to arrive at dealers. These cars, as you might expect, replace the seventh-generation Maxima, […]

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Maxima 8.15.15 AM

Nissan USA’s Maxima sales figures are about to look very good. Oh, not in comparison with, for instance, Nissan’s own Altima, one of America’s best-selling cars, but rather, in comparison with recent Nissan Maxima sales figures.

New, eighth-generation Maximas are beginning to arrive at dealers. These cars, as you might expect, replace the seventh-generation Maxima, a car that was launched back in 2008, just at the onset of a recession.

The aged Maxima, therefore, has appeared particularly unwell of late. With poor demand and few available Maximas to speak of, May 2015 volume was cut in half in the United States, year-over-year.

But even if we reach back to calendar year 2014, Maxima sales had declined to a six-year low. In fact, Maxima volume in 2014 was down 49% compared with 2002, the year Nissan upped the midsize ante with the Altima, making it Nissan’s primary Camry/Accord fighter. Maxima sales dipped in 2003, fell further in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009, and never properly recovered.

So is the 4DSC back? Not according to TTAC’s review of the 2016 model. “Four Doors Yes, Sports Car No.”

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Nakamura: Next-Gen Nissan Z May Take Inspiration From 240Z http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nakamura-next-gen-nissan-z-may-take-inspiration-from-240z/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nakamura-next-gen-nissan-z-may-take-inspiration-from-240z/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 20:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1094873 Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura revealed the next-generation Nissan Z could take its inspiration from the Datsun 240Z. The proposal would see the new Z head downmarket, reflecting the desire to “do something… more practical and appealing to younger customers” in a market becoming smaller day by day, Autoblog reports. The Z would also reverse […]

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Datsun 240Z

Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura revealed the next-generation Nissan Z could take its inspiration from the Datsun 240Z.

The proposal would see the new Z head downmarket, reflecting the desire to “do something… more practical and appealing to younger customers” in a market becoming smaller day by day, Autoblog reports. The Z would also reverse a trend where the iconic vehicle continues to grow in performance — and numerical naming schemes — at the expense of what the 240 represented. As Nakamura puts it:

We are questioning ourselves in repeating the 350, 370. We don’t want to create 390Z, right?

As for what the execution of the plan would entail, Nakamura says the new Z wouldn’t “necessarily go into the same category” as either the Mazda MX-5 Miata or the Toyota 86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ, pointing to a photo of the GTR-LM Le Mans prototype as a sign of wanting to do something “unique” with the car. He adds the Z could fill the role recently vacated by the cancellation of the IDx four-passenger sports car, parts of which are expected to live on as part of a FWD offering.

[Photo credit: Alexander Nie/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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2016 Nissan Altima, Sentra Receiving Extensive Mid-Cycle Refreshes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-nissan-altima-sentra-receiving-extensive-mid-cycle-refreshes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-nissan-altima-sentra-receiving-extensive-mid-cycle-refreshes/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 20:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092921 The 2016 Nissan Maxima won’t be the only one to receive an extensive update to its style, as the automaker plans to do the same for the Altima and Sentra. Nissan’s U.S. sales boss Fred Diaz says both sedans will be “incredibly refreshed” when they enter showrooms for the 2016 model year, Automotive News reports, […]

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2015 Nissan Altima

The 2016 Nissan Maxima won’t be the only one to receive an extensive update to its style, as the automaker plans to do the same for the Altima and Sentra.

Nissan’s U.S. sales boss Fred Diaz says both sedans will be “incredibly refreshed” when they enter showrooms for the 2016 model year, Automotive News reports, including a full list of styling updates and technology enhancements.

The overhauls for the Altima and Sentra come despite major sales successes for the duo, with 183,268 Sentras leaving the lot in 2014 — the highest volume for the nameplate in 25 years — and the Altima selling more copies than the Honda Accord over the first five months of 2015 (142,613 versus 128,269).

Yet, mid-cycle revamps are becoming major affairs as automakers battle for more and more market share. Honda alone changed up the current Civic twice already, while Toyota went as far as to add more length and width to the 2015 Camry in addition to other upgrades.

As for what both of Nissan’s revamps may bring, Autoblog says the Sentra may pull from the Euro-market Pulsar’s playbook, while the Sentra could take cues from both the Murano and newly introduced 2016 Maxima.

[Photo credit: Nissan]

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Nissan Taking On Tesla Powerwall With Recycling Approach http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nissan-taking-on-tesla-powerwall-with-recycling-approach/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nissan-taking-on-tesla-powerwall-with-recycling-approach/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 18:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092769 Nissan is looking to take on Tesla et al in the stationary energy storage game with their own battery solution. However, unlike the Silicon Valley based electric car manufacturer and ZEV credit printing press, the Japanese automaker is looking to take a much greener approach. Instead of building fresh batteries for commercial stationary applications, Nissan will […]

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2015 Nissan LEAF battery pack

Nissan is looking to take on Tesla et al in the stationary energy storage game with their own battery solution. However, unlike the Silicon Valley based electric car manufacturer and ZEV credit printing press, the Japanese automaker is looking to take a much greener approach.

Instead of building fresh batteries for commercial stationary applications, Nissan will instead reuse lithium-ion batteries from the LEAF with partner Green Charge Networks.

The first application “will be installed at a Nissan facility this summer, where multiple Nissan LEAF batteries will be configured to offset peak electricity demand,” said Nissan in a statement released today.

Since the batteries can be offered at a significant savings over newer counterparts from competitors, Nissan hopes customers in regions without incentive programs will see them as a cost-effective option.

“A lithium-ion battery from a Nissan LEAF still holds a great deal of value as energy storage, even after it is removed from the vehicle, so Nissan expects to be able to reuse a majority of LEAF battery packs in non-automotive applications,” said Brad Smith, director of Nissan’s 4R Energy business.

 

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QOTD: What Car On Sale Today, If Given To You Free, Would You Give Right Back? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/qotd-what-car-on-sale-today-if-given-to-you-free-would-you-give-right-back/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/qotd-what-car-on-sale-today-if-given-to-you-free-would-you-give-right-back/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 14:15:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090713 I’m all for cheap cars. What I’m not for is unnecessarily cheap cars. And if I was given a new, fresh-out-of-the-Thai-takeout-box Mirage, I’d probably give it right back. Lately, I’ve noticed a massive uptick in the number of Mirages skulking around the streets of my home town. I’d like to think the people who’ve bought […]

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2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES

I’m all for cheap cars. What I’m not for is unnecessarily cheap cars. And if I was given a new, fresh-out-of-the-Thai-takeout-box Mirage, I’d probably give it right back.

Lately, I’ve noticed a massive uptick in the number of Mirages skulking around the streets of my home town. I’d like to think the people who’ve bought them didn’t test drive anything else and don’t actually know there are better options available.

The reality is probably a bit worse. A Mitsubishi dealer is more likely than a Nissan dealer to welcome a subprime borrower into the F&I office.

That said, the Versa sedan (and Micra in Canada), while ugly, is better than the Mirage in almost every conceivable way – except fuel economy, as the Mirage has a CVT.

I totally understand the selling points of Mitsubishi’s multi-colored zit mobile: low price, easy financing, long warranty and great fuel economy. But, for all those things, you have to put up with driving a car that feels like it was engineered in 1992 by a blind guy named Takumi who has a daily affection for saké.

On the other hand, if given a Versa (or Micra), I’d drive it ’til the wheels fell off.

What free car would you straight up turn down?

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Loing: 2016 Nissan Maxima Aimed At Younger Consumers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/loing-2016-nissan-maxima-aimed-at-younger-consumers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/loing-2016-nissan-maxima-aimed-at-younger-consumers/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 20:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1087769 Who is the intended audience for the 2016 Nissan Maxima? If you ask the automaker, they’re aiming for younger consumers. According to Nissan North America product planning boss Pierre Loing, the new Maxima, with its muscular “4-door sports car” looks, is where the automaker aims to be different from the other players in the large […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima (18 of 23)

Who is the intended audience for the 2016 Nissan Maxima? If you ask the automaker, they’re aiming for younger consumers.

According to Nissan North America product planning boss Pierre Loing, the new Maxima, with its muscular “4-door sports car” looks, is where the automaker aims to be different from the other players in the large sedan market, Automotive News reports:

The large segment has been an aging demographic, and sales are falling for the segment as a whole. We see the look and performance of the Maxima as a way to appeal to younger customers.

Nissan expects to move between 50,000 and 85,000 units of the eighth-gen Maxima in the United States per year, a feat given the overall decline in the aforementioned large segment filled with the likes of the Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Avalon and Hyundai Genesis.

If you want to know our thoughts on the Maxima, managing editor Mark Stevenson’s review lays it all out on whether or not Nissan will meet its intended goals with the sedan.

[Photo credit: Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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Nissan Leaf Sales Expected To Fall Steeply This Summer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nissan-leaf-sales-expected-to-fall-steeply-this-summer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nissan-leaf-sales-expected-to-fall-steeply-this-summer/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 18:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1087705 Like the leaves in autumn, sales of the Nissan Leaf are falling amid a flurry of changes coming to the EV this summer. Nissan expects to see sales of its EV to steeply drop off in July, when the Georgia’s $5,000 tax credit rides off into the sunset, Automotive News reports. There’s also an oncoming […]

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Nissan Leaf

Like the leaves in autumn, sales of the Nissan Leaf are falling amid a flurry of changes coming to the EV this summer.

Nissan expects to see sales of its EV to steeply drop off in July, when the Georgia’s $5,000 tax credit rides off into the sunset, Automotive News reports. There’s also an oncoming wave of Leafs whose leases are ending, bringing diminished resale values with it. The automaker is fighting back with a $5,000 credit toward buying the cars when said leases expire, though Nissan senior vice president for U.S. sales Fred Diaz says he doesn’t expect the program “to completely turn things around.”

Another issue affecting sales is the ongoing low fuel prices at the pump: at a national average of $2.750 per AAA — around a dollar below what it was at this time in 2014 — consumers are turning towards trucks and SUVs, leaving more efficient offerings like the Leaf and Toyota Prius on the table. While sales of the EV are down 26 percent during the first five months of this year, Nissan’s truck sales rose 17 percent over the same period.

Though Diaz acknowledges fuel prices are hurting Leaf sales, he says they won’t compare to the end of Georgia’s tax credit, which has helped make the EV a huge hit for Nissan in the state. Diaz also admits he nor his company have an idea as to how severe said decline would be once it began.

Despite falling sales, however, Nissan plans to mine for sales gold elsewhere, such as with its “No Charge to Charge” program introduced in Denver in June. The program allows new Leaf owners to charge their cars for free at public fast-charge stations during the first two years of ownership, as is already in place in 16 markets thus far.

There’s also word the automaker will increase the range of the Leaf from 84 miles to 105 miles with a new battery pack for the 2016 model. Said model is due in showrooms around the end of summer or the start of fall.

[Photo credit: Nissan]

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2015 Infiniti Q50S Review (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2015-infiniti-q50s-review-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2015-infiniti-q50s-review-video/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1078809 When Infiniti launched their original G sedan, the brand started gaining a reputation as “the Japanese BMW” due to its sharp handling and V6 engine that loved to rev. Today, the Lexus IS and Cadillac ATS have taken the 3-Series’ place as the compact luxury sedans with the sharpest handing and best feel. What of […]

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2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior

When Infiniti launched their original G sedan, the brand started gaining a reputation as “the Japanese BMW” due to its sharp handling and V6 engine that loved to rev. Today, the Lexus IS and Cadillac ATS have taken the 3-Series’ place as the compact luxury sedans with the sharpest handing and best feel. What of the Japanese BMW then? To answer that question, Infiniti sent me a 2015 Q50S with all the options, including the controversial steer-by-wire system.

It’s my opinion the run-away sales success of the 3-Series (142,000 sold in the USA alone last year) has more to do with BMW being the ultimate marketing machine, not making the “ultimate driving machine.” The current generation 335i is certainly fast, but compared to the E36, it’s bigger, softer, more numb, more luxurious and better built than ever before. That’s not a slam because those qualities are exactly why I like the 3-Series more now than ever before. Rather than chasing the “old 3-Series” as Lexus and Cadillac have in many ways, Infiniti decided to create their own definition of the ultimate driving machine.

Before we go much further, you should remember when Infiniti launched the Q50 as a “replacement” for the G37, they kept the G37 around and renamed it the Q40 (still available as a 2015 model). This is an interesting twist on the norms in this segment. Most of the competition simply drops a lower output engine in the same vehicle rather than keeping the old model on as the discount alternative. This means the IS 250, 320i, A3 and CLA 250 all start below the Q50’s $37,150 price tag and compete more directly with the Q40. Although some have called the Q50’s sales “weak”, when you look at the whole picture, the Q40 and Q50 combined have outsold the Lexus IS 250 and IS 350 by 4,000 units and together are nipping at the Lexus ES’ heels.

2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-005

Exterior
Styled after Infiniti’s Essence concept, the Q50’s exterior combines sleek, flowing lines with an enormous maw and angry LED headlamps. Although I know that some of our readers have referred to the Q50 as an “angry fish,” I actually like the look. I don’t think it’s as aggressive as the ATS or as refined as the new C-Class but it is far more distinctive than the 3-Series and A4 and less controversial than the IS 350 F-Sport. For some reason, the side and rear of the Q50 remind me a great deal of the Mazda6. Let me know what you see down in the comment section.

Infiniti’s entry in this segment has always been on the larger side of things and that continues with the Q50. At 189.1 inches long, the Infiniti is a hair bigger than the Audi A4 and slightly smaller than the 3-Series GT hatchback. In case you were wondering, that’s still several inches shorter than the Acura TLX and Lexus ES which are 5-Series sized but 3-Series priced.

2015 Infiniti Q50S Interior

Interior
The Q50 wears the best interior that Infiniti has ever made. While no hands have rubbed silver dust into the Q50’s optional maple trim (as in the Q70), this cabin is easily one of the best in the segment. The new Mercedes C-class still wears the interior design and workmanship crown, but the compact Infiniti climbs up the luxury ladder to a place above the Acura TLX and a small notch above the BMW 3-Series. (The maple trim is only offered on top-end trims.)

Thanks to the Q50’s generous exterior dimensions, we have rear seats with more leg room than any of the compact luxury sedans, but you will find more room in the 3-GT. Unfortunately, like many compact luxury entries, rear headroom suffers due to the car’s sexy side profile. If you were hoping for a large trunk, you’ll be disappointed. The Q50’s trunk holds just 13.5 cubic feet, only a hair bigger than the Mercedes CLA or BMW 3-Series despite the car being larger in general. If you opt for the Q50 Hybrid then trunk volume shrinks to a decidedly convertible like 9.4 cubic feet, a hair less than BMW’s ActiveHybrid 3.

2015 Infiniti Q50S Infotainment-003

Infotainment
The Q50 is the first Infiniti to receive the new 2-screen InTouch infotainment system which uses both an 8-inch touchscreen LCD and a 7-inch touchscreen LCD. Like the last generation Infiniti systems, you can also control most of the system’s functions via a joystick-like button on the steering wheel. But wait! There’s more! Infiniti also includes a new navigation control wheel in the center console behind the shifter a la iDrive and MMI. This gives the driver three different input methods to choose from. However, not all features can be accessed via the steering wheel control or the control wheel, and some options will need to be ‘touched’.

2015 Infiniti Q50S Interior-001

Some passengers were truly and permanently perplexed by the 2-screen layout, but I adjusted to the software quickly. While this sounds like Acura’s 2-screen system, Infiniti’s solution is better thought out and both screens are touch-enabled rather than just one as in the Acura system. Acura’s advertised goal was to allow you to keep the top screen for navigation while you used the lower screen to play with your audio device, but that’s only half true as the top screen is needed to perform a large number of audio functions. In the Infiniti, the function overlap between the screens is large, so you can browse your media device and perform select other operations via either screen. This level of choice seems to be what confuses some shoppers. I have never seen a car infotainment interface that has so many ways of doing the same thing. On the flip side, by the second day, I settled into the system preferring to ignore the controller in the console and use a combination of steering wheel controls and the lower touchscreen.

2015 Infiniti Q50S Engine-001

Drivetrain
Rather than starting with a turbocharged four-banger, Infiniti skips entry-level power and makes a 328 horsepower 3.7L V6 standard on all Q50 models. (Other world markets get a Mercedes sourced four-cylinder turbo gasoline mill and four-cylinder diesel as well.) The engine’s 269 lb-ft of torque slots between the 2.0L turbo and 3.0L turbo competition. Should you need more oomph, Infiniti’s answer is not forced-induction, but hybridization. The Q50 Hybrid uses the same hybrid system we first saw in the M35h. Engine displacement drops to 3.5L and power to 302 horsepower. The engine is then mated to a 67 horsepower electric motor for a combined 360 horsepower and an undisclosed torque figure. (I estimate it at 380-400 lb-ft.)

Both engines are mated to essentially the same 7-speed automatic transmission and an optional mechanical AWD system. The key differences in the hybrid model (aside from the electric motor) are the additions of a dry clutch between the engine and the 360V AC motor and a wet clutch inside the transmission case that allows the wheels to be decoupled from the transmission. This allows the batteries to charge while the car is stationary and smooths out EV-to-gasoline mode changes.

2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-0011

Drive
Our tester was the “S” model which “sported” sport brakes, sport seats, sport suspension, magnesium paddle shifters staggered summer tires (245/40R19 front and 265/35R19 rear). Even with 3,675 pounds of curb weight to hustle, the Q50S corners exceptionally well and the double wishbone suspension and dual-mode dampers keep the suspension settled over broken pavement. Opt for the standard all-season rubber and grip is a little lower than the more athletic competition. Where the Q50 splits from the pack is in the feel.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the optional Direct Adaptive Steering system. That’s what Infiniti calls their steer-by-wire system in the Q50 and, to be perfectly blunt, it makes the Q50 feel “video game-ish.”

2015 Infiniti Q50S Interior-002

Unless the system detects a fault, there is no mechanical connection between the wheels and the steering wheel. If a fault is detected, or if the power is off, a clutch pack closes giving a mechanical connection. This allows the steering system to “compensate” for things like potholes, cross winds, grooved pavement, etc by keeping the wheels pointed the direction you’ve indicated by the steering wheel regardless of slight inputs from the road. The car can send back as much feedback as it wants, but this is kept to a minimum. This reduces driver fatigue on long trips, but the feeling of the car moving slightly in the lane in response to external forces while the steering wheel does nothing is unusual to say the least.

In addition to the steer-by-wire system, the Q50 gets “active trace control”, which uses the brakes to slow individual wheels “vectoring” you around the corner. The result of all these systems together is steering that may almost be “too precise.” In a corner, at even eight-tenths, you expect to get a slight hint of understeer. You may not even realize that your car is doing this because it is so “normal.” The Q50, however, goes exactly where you point it, something that takes some getting used to. Infiniti’s interpretation of the “ultimate driving machine” philosophy seems to be one that prioritizes actual steering precision and road holding over feel and connection.

2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-010

Steering feel aside, the Q50 acquits itself well in every other area. The S model accelerates with the best in the segment, posting a 5.05 second run to 60 in our RWD tester and a 60-0 distance of a scant 111 feet. Non S rear-wheel drive models will be a hair slower due to the reduced traction. Also, since there was essentially no wheel slip in the rear-wheel drive Q50S, the AWD model will actually slow the 0-60 time by a hair. If you want something faster, the hybrid model will dip below 4.8 seconds. There are few entries faster than the Q50 and if you want to get to highway speeds faster than the Q50 Hybrid, you’ll be left with just the 335i, C400 and S4.

Fuel economy in the Q50 is similar to the other 300+ horsepower entries in this segment, with the exception of the Volvo S60 T6 Drive e and BMW 335i that can average in the mid 20s when driven gently. Jump in the hybrid and you can average over 30 mpg if you keep your highway speeds under 75 mph. The economy is similar to the GS 450h but 0-60 and passing performance is dramatically better.

2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior.CR2-002

For 2015, the Q50 starts at $37,150, which is closer to the less powerful four-cylinder competition. That is just $600 more than the sluggish IS 250, $910 more than an ATS 2.0T and manages to actually be $350 less than a base 328i. Audi’s A4 is a decent deal starting $1,650 less than the Q50, but you get 108 fewer ponies and they are all prancing through the front wheels via a CVT. When it comes to the 300 hp crowd, the Infiniti is $5,000 less than the ATS 3.6 and $2,000 less than even the Volvo S60 T6. Start adding options to your Q50 and some of the discount shrinks, but the Q50 remains the discount RWD alternative. The Q50 Hybrid is $4,400 more than a comparable gasoline Q50, but $10,000 less than a comparably equipped BMW ActiveHybrid 3.

If you know me, you know that I love a bargain. The very word “value” causes my loins to burn. The Q50 is the best RWD value in this luxury segment. Period. We get more standard power and performance, a well-appointed cabin, standard LED lamps and two screens for less with reasonable resale value expectations.

Perhaps the most important thing to know about the Q50 is Direct Adaptive Steering is not standard – you do have to select the $3,100 “Deluxe Touring Package” to get it. On the downside, that package includes real wood trim, auto dimming mirrors, power tilt/telescopic steering column, memory seats, parking sensors and the nifty 360 view camera. Not selecting that package gets you a steering rack that is still un-engaging but feels considerably more traditional. The rumor mill tells us that the G37’s hydraulic steering rack is likely to be resurrected and grafted into the S trims of the Q50 for 2016. Let’s hope that happens soon.

2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-003

While the ATS and IS 350 are more dynamic options, I suspect I’d buy the Q50 instead due to its interior, infotainment system, performance and price. I have to admit that I would also buy the model with DAS if I was unable to wait for 2016. No, I don’t actually “like” DAS, but I like the features bundled with it more than I dislike it. If there’s one thing that becomes obvious when you drive over a hundred cars a year, it’s that actual buyers adjust to the way a car feels much more readily than journalists do. Is the Q50’s steering odd feeling? Sure, in a comparative sense it is, but you’ll also get used to it after a few days and then it will feel perfectly normal to most shoppers. I wouldn’t call the Q50 the ultimate driving machine, but if my money were on the line, I’d get the Q50S AWD Hybrid.

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

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.1 Seconds

0-60: 5.05 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 13.45 Seconds @ 104.2 MPH

2015 Infiniti Q50S Engine1 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior.CR2 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior.CR2-001 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior.CR2-002 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior.CR2-003 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-001 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior1 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-002 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior2 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-003 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-004 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-005 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-006 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-007 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-008 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-009 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-010 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-0011 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-011 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-0021 2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior-0031 2015 Infiniti Q50S Gauges 2015 Infiniti Q50S Gauges-001 2015 Infiniti Q50S Infotainment 2015 Infiniti Q50S Infotainment-001 2015 Infiniti Q50S Infotainment-002 2015 Infiniti Q50S Infotainment-003 2015 Infiniti Q50S Interior 2015 Infiniti Q50S Interior-001 2015 Infiniti Q50S Interior1 2015 Infiniti Q50S Interior-002 2015 Infiniti Q50S Interior-003 2015 Infiniti Q50S Interior-004 2015 Infiniti Q50S Interior-005 2015 Infiniti Q50S Interior-006 2015 Infiniti Q50S Trunk 2015 Infiniti Q50S Trunk-001 2015 Infiniti Q50S Engine 2015 Infiniti Q50S Engine-001

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2016 Nissan Maxima Review – Four Doors Yes, Sports Car No http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-nissan-maxima-review-four-doors-yes-sports-car-no/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-nissan-maxima-review-four-doors-yes-sports-car-no/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 04:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1083017 Today, every other outlet publishing driving impressions of the all-new 2016 Nissan Maxima is going to leverage nostalgia – just like Nissan wants them to – as they reference the return of the ‘4-Door Sports Car’, or 4DSC for short. While the four character alphanumeric has never really disappeared since its inception, Nissan is putting a […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima (11 of 23)

Today, every other outlet publishing driving impressions of the all-new 2016 Nissan Maxima is going to leverage nostalgia – just like Nissan wants them to – as they reference the return of the ‘4-Door Sports Car’, or 4DSC for short. While the four character alphanumeric has never really disappeared since its inception, Nissan is putting a renewed marketing focus on the term with the express purpose of conjuring up mental images of California canyon carving while Timmy Jr. rides booster seat in the back.

I’m not going to do that.

At 30 years old (or young, depending on your relative position along the lifecycle timeline), I hold no nostalgia toward the return of Nissan’s marketing term from yesteryear. I grew up with the Foo Fighters (and the very tail end of Nirvana), $5 Colt 45s and – when I could finally afford a car – a 2000 Honda Civic purchased used when I reached the grand age of 20. By the time cars entered my radar, most of the original 4DSCs (the third-generation Maxima built from model years 1989 to 1994) had succumbed to rust or one of the many ails claiming many a car along the salty east coast I call home.

I’ve not a single memory of the first 4DSC, and that’s a problem.

Nissan flew me to Nashville, Tennessee – the home of Nissan in America – to test the new Maxima. They put me up for an extra night because United doesn’t know how to operate planes, apparently, and offered me a wide selection of red meats to satiate my hunger, which I accepted. My girlfriend put me on a salad-based detox upon my arrival home.

Before we get into the marketing of Nissan’s newest mid-full-size* car, a talk about its nuts and bolts are in order.

* Nissan markets the Maxima as a full-size competitor, but due to interior volume it’s classified as a mid-size sedan by the EPA.

2016 Nissan Maxima (3 of 23)

Just like the current year Maxima, the 2016 model is powered by a 3.5L VQ35DE V6, now with a revised output of 300 hp versus 290 as before while pushing out an identical 261 pound-feet of torque. The valves are sodium-filled just like the GT-R, because GT-R. Also, Nissan made sure all journos in attendance were aware of the Maxima’s stiffer oil pan, because that sounds sporty. (In reality, a stiffer oil pan is to reduce NVH and has absolutely nothing to do with performance.)

And, just like the current year Maxima, the new car also sends power solely to the front wheels by way of a continuously variable transmission. It, too, has been revised with a wider effective gear ratio along with a taller final drive. For those who enjoy the sensation and aural cues of a conventional automatic, the CVT features D-Step logic (fancy talk), or fake shifts (common sense talk). Even with those ‘shifts’ nibbling away a small percentage of fuel economy and output efficiency, Nissan claims the CVT is still more efficient while delivering the same effective gear ratio range as a conventional eight- or nine-speed automatic.

Turning the front wheels to-and-fro is a hydro-electric power steering system while coil springs with independent struts keep the rubber firmly planted where it should. At the rear, a multi-link independent setup is used. All four corners see new ZF Sachs twin-tube shocks as standard while sportier SR models gets a sport-tuned setup, Yamaha performance chassis damper and Integrated Dynamics-control Module (IDM), which includes Active Ride Control (ARC), Active Trace Control (ATC) and Active Engine Brake (AEB).

2016 Nissan Maxima (13 of 23)

Yet, any way you cut it, front-wheel drive and a CVT does not a sports car make. For the rest of the review, let’s call the Maxima what it is – a sporting family sedan – and make the proper comparisons instead of pretending to care how quickly it can shuffle around Buttonwillow.

In the real world, where 100 percent of Maximas sold spend 100 percent of their lives on roads that 100 percent aren’t race tracks, Nissan’s all-new family sedan can shuffle around back roads with ease. In SR trim, those capabilities are kicked up a slight notch thanks to the aforementioned suspension tuning and computer wizardry. However, the Maxima is not a car that instills confidence in the driver.

Even with the decidedly non-sporty combo of naturally-aspirated V6 and rubber-band transmission, the Maxima still pulls hard, though it lacks the immediacy of a true geared automatic or manual. Upon dropping the hammer, revs tend to climb for short periods of time without any change in forward acceleration rate. However, once the CVT finds the ratio it seeks, acceleration is smooth and brisk.

2016 Nissan Maxima (20 of 23)

Steering is far from communicative. Even in SR spec, and I assume this is because of the variable-speed steering, a dead-zone exists within a degree and a half or two of center. On a flat surface during a simulated evasive maneuver, the car also exhibited some quirky reaction differences between the initial evasive steering motion and the return motion to bring the car straight again. Never did I feel I was having a direct conversation with the front wheels, but I also never felt like the conversation through the variable-speed steering intermediary was being misinterpreted. If anything, my choppy directions were being listened to, translated from a Southern drawl to proper Queen’s English, and communicated to the wheels as a more svelte and sophisticated series of commands.

Ride quality is quite exceptional considering the Maxima’s sporting intentions. At no point during the drive day did I come upon a road imperfection, bump or gaping entrance to hell the car couldn’t handle. Nor did I attack a corner without being able to come out the other end – even with my poor, little brain misjudging entry speeds. Nissan has seemingly nailed the suspension tuning equation, solving for X where X equals the perfect blend of sport and luxury.

2016 Nissan Maxima (19 of 23)

Using jet cockpits as inspiration, or so Nissan says, the interior isn’t your typical full-size family sedan environment. Like many true sports cars, the center console sits rather high in the Maxima, cradling you between it and the also rather high window sills. The clear and concise instrument panel is framed by a thoroughly chunky, fully-adjustable steering wheel (trimmed in Alcantara in SR models, just like the seat inserts) while the rest of the interior materials are either top-notch or close as makes no difference to it. Seats are well, but not overly, bolstered and provide a level of comfort slightly exceeding the segment.

The only drawback to the new Maxima’s interior experience is the new NissanConnect infotainment system. While all models come standard with navigation and an 8.0-inch screen, I found the new system a bit clunky and more confusing from a usability standpoint than the outgoing software. Also, Nissan’s Around View Monitor is only available on top trim Platinum models, which is surprising as it’s also available on the lowly Nissan Versa Note and has been for a couple of years now.

2016 Nissan Maxima (15 of 23)

As always, styling is a subjective matter. Considering the outgoing Maxima, which has aged quite gracefully and doesn’t look played out or tired, the new design is a radical departure. It’s floating roof and edgy front end are growing on me, little bit by little bit, and I’ve come to appreciate it. In contrast to the front, the rear looks under styled for the car, almost to the point of being a yawn fest. Other than a chrome trim piece that stretches the width between the two taillights, there’s nothing particularly interesting about the Maxima’s rump, especially from a short distance. Also, there’s nothing about the overall design that shouts, “I’m a sports car!” If anything, it looks rather plump.

2016 Nissan Maxima (5 of 23)

And that brings us full circle: the Maxima is not a sports car, no matter how many 4DSC insignias you find festooned throughout the exterior and interior. And, if you’re under a certain age as I am, the 4DSC branding means absolutely nothing to you.

[Correction: The ‘4-Door Sports Car’ and 4DSC names were first used on the third-generation Maxima between MY1989 and MY1994. Sorry, folks. I dun fucked up. This math at the end is useless, but my statement of having no personal nostalgia toward the 4DSC branding still applies. I’m leaving the following paragraph unchanged.]

If you were 16 when the first 4DSC emblazoned Maxima was introduced in 1985, some simple maths puts you at the prime age of 46 this year. Using Nissan’s own figures, a disproportionately younger demographic flocks to the Maxima in comparison to its competitors; 67 percent of Maxima buyers are under the age of 55 versus only 38 percent of the segment average. From that we can guesstimate there’s a decent percentage of typical Maxima buyers where 4DSC means nothing to them from a historical perspective, just like myself. No nostalgia. No identifiable connection. No interesting historical story to share to impress my friends.

But, it doesn’t matter. Nissan will still sell loads of Maximas. And I hope they do, if for no other reason than to prove the viability of a sportier offering, no matter what shape it takes.

The 2016 Nissan Maxima is available now in five different grades – S, SV, SL, SR and Platinum – priced between $32,410 and $39,860 with no available options.

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2016 Nissan Leaf Expected To Receive Larger Battery, Small Range Boost http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-nissan-leaf-expected-to-receive-larger-battery-small-range-boost/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-nissan-leaf-expected-to-receive-larger-battery-small-range-boost/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 20:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1081489 Consumers looking for a new Nissan Leaf may soon have the option for a better battery with improved range on certain trims. Right now, the best anyone can do is the 24-kWh battery good for 84 miles of travel on a single charge, Inside EVs reports. However, the 2016 model may see a 30-kWh battery […]

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2015 Nissan LEAF

Consumers looking for a new Nissan Leaf may soon have the option for a better battery with improved range on certain trims.

Right now, the best anyone can do is the 24-kWh battery good for 84 miles of travel on a single charge, Inside EVs reports. However, the 2016 model may see a 30-kWh battery delivering power to the SV and SL trims; the base S would keep the 24-kWh pack. The publication estimates range would come between 105 and 110 miles per charge.

The pack is likely a stopgap measure for Nissan as it prepares the second-gen Leaf for its showroom debut in Q2 2017, though the automaker remains silent on the subject thus far. The new EV is expected to deliver a range of 180-200 miles, while its styling will be more conventional than its current eco-trendy looks.

Price of admission for the 2016 model is expected to remain the same as now, beginning at over $29,000 for the S trim. Three new colors will also be available — Forged Bronze, Coulis Red, Deep Blue Pearl — while Morningsky Blue and Cayenne Red are dropped from the palette.

[Photo credit: Nissan]

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Weekend News Round-up: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Reviews, Lane-Splitting is Safer and Aston Martin Going Electric http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/weekend-news-round-up-2016-mazda-mx-5-reviews/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/weekend-news-round-up-2016-mazda-mx-5-reviews/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 12:14:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1080681 Surprise! TTAC didn’t have a single writer at the Mazda MX-5 media preview. Instead, here’s a few different reviews of Japan’s favorite roadster from other outlets and a run-down of what you may have missed over the weekend.   MIATA! MIATA! MIATA! 2016 Mazda MX-5 Review (AutoGuide) “A smaller Miata is a better Miata.” 2016 Mazda […]

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2016 Mazda MX-5

Surprise! TTAC didn’t have a single writer at the Mazda MX-5 media preview. Instead, here’s a few different reviews of Japan’s favorite roadster from other outlets and a run-down of what you may have missed over the weekend.

 

MIATA! MIATA! MIATA!

2016 Mazda MX-52016 Mazda MX-5 Review (AutoGuide)
“A smaller Miata is a better Miata.”

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata 2.0L First Drive (AutoBlog)
“Championing the roadster revolution.”

2016 Mazda MX-5 MiataFirst Drive: 2016 Mazda Miata (The Detroit Bureau)
“Forward into the past.”

2016 Mazda MX-5 MiataThe 2016 Mazda Miata Is Undeniably Fantastic (Jalopnik)
“This car rocks.” Travis says a longer review will be available later this morning. UPDATE: It’s up.

2016 mazda mx-5 miata club2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Tested! (Car & Driver)
“The Meta Miata.”

 

NOT MIATA! NOT MIATA! NOT MIATA!

la-fi-hy-lanesplitting-safe-uc-berkeley-studyLane-splitting for motorcycles is safe, says landmark Berkeley study (LA Times)
Bottom line: riders who lane-split are safer overall and accidents involving lane-splitting are less likely to cause serious injury than other motorcycle accidents. California is on the cusp of making lane-splitting legal.

Speedhunters' Cars Of May 2015Revisiting The Cars Of May (Speedhunters)
“With the sixth month of the year now upon us, it’s time to take a look back at the feature cars of May 2015.”

aston-spypics-2015-002_0Aston Martin plots future hybrid models (Autocar)
Another builder of sporting GT cars is planning a drive down Electric Avenue. Aston Martin could also see its lineup expand to seven separate models.

nissan_pathfinder_mainNissan rules out Navara-based SUV… for now (GoAuto.com.au)
Nissan Australia won’t be sourcing a truck-based SUV to go head-to-head with the Ford Everest, Toyota Fortuner and Holden Colorado 7. Australia also won’t get the new Murano even though it’s selling like hotcakes elsewhere.

dodge charger hellcatChallenge Won: We Do 11 Seconds in the Dodge Charger Hellcat (Cars.com)
“We set out to see how close we could get to 11.0 seconds with a factory-fresh 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and drag strip rental of Byron Dragway in Byron, Ill.”

f1 gridFIA looking for a new F1 team (AutoBlog)
New team would bring total to 12 with 24 cars on the grid in addition to 2016 entrant Haas.

teslas inside showroomTesla loses fight with dealers to sell its cars in Texas (The Verge)
Two bills, which would have allowed direct sales of Tesla cars in Texas, have died on the floor.

nascar-cup-champions-week-2013-denny-hamlin-speaks-onstage-after-winning-the-coors-light-pSprint Cup competitors form Driver Council (Motorsport.com)
“We’ve been trying to get all of our drivers together for about a year now,” says Danny Hamlin. Just don’t call it a ‘union’.

Drifting at Goodwood Festival of SpeedGoodwood festival adds drifting category (AutoBlog)
The end is nigh.

Mad Max ScreenshotMad Max before and after shots show what’s real and what’s fake (The Verge)
Even without CG, the explosions in Mad Max are still apocalyptic.

More as the day goes on…

[Photo credit: AutoGuide/Adam Wood]

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Vellum Venom Vignette: Styling the Shark Jump? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/vellum-venom-vignette-buffalo-butts-saggy-schnozzes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/vellum-venom-vignette-buffalo-butts-saggy-schnozzes/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1075194 Bob writes: Hi Sajeev. I’m annoyed by styling that makes the trim height look wrong. Most cars today look like the front is sagging or the rear is too high. The stylists even slant side creases and trim strips down toward the front (Man, I hate that. – SM) to create this look even though a close look […]

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Capture

Bob writes:

Hi Sajeev. I’m annoyed by styling that makes the trim height look wrong. Most cars today look like the front is sagging or the rear is too high. The stylists even slant side creases and trim strips down toward the front (Man, I hate that. – SM) to create this look even though a close look at the rocker panel shows that the car is level.

Why are they doing it? Does the public really like it?

Sajeev answers:

The delicate balance of physical + visual trim height adjustment is standard practice, proving itself over decades for both aerodynamic and stylistic enhancement. The problem? Jumping the shark.

Confused fender? (photo courtesy: speedhunters.com)

But uber radical trim height adjustment must be awesome, because people love the new super-slashy-buffalo-butted Corvette. Even if it gives me violent diarrhea faster than poorly cooked, low-grade beef.

FWIW, the Corvette’s hyper-slashed profile makes sense if the front wheels were 16″ tall. Because that slash, starting subtle and (too) low in the fender and going up to a critical element of the quarter panel, is a mouth writing checks that the body can’t cash.

IMG_4904

Here are two insurance vans inspecting my leaky roof, clearly showing the sadness of over-styled side profiles. (They weren’t parked close enough for a side shot with my phone, sorry.) It’s clear that Chevrolet Nissan over-styled their vanlet while the older Ford retains the logical, rational, and wholly boring contouring of another era.

So, remember: “side styling that looks faster” is a necessary ingredient to car styling. While my professors at CCS demanded rocker panels perfectly parallel to the ground, adding anything (short of a sine wave) along the side profile was fair game, because creativity shouldn’t be hindered by stamped sheets of metal (or plastic). As long as the rockers do not appear pre-bent (that’s less than reassuring to shoppers) from an accident, it’s all good.

Even if we hate the look, others will love it. Or they won’t care enough to stop a new vehicle purchase to replace their clunker!

And opinions are like assholes, hence why this asshole takes forever to justify/publish his Vellum Venom critiques: first complain, then show specific problems and offer “better” alternatives. Half-ass the assholery and prepare to face even more wrath than an end of semester critique at CCS. And I ain’t going through that again.

Thank you for reading.

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2016 Nissan Maxima Slated For Execution Four Years Earlier http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-nissan-maxima-slated-for-execution-four-years-earlier/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2016-nissan-maxima-slated-for-execution-four-years-earlier/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 16:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1075914 Though the 2016 Nissan Maxima will make its showroom debut June 2, there was a time when the Maxima was slated to meet the guillotine. As the auto industry was still feeling its way out of the Great Recession in early 2012, Nissan vice president of North American product planning Peter Loing said while most […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima Front Three-Quarter

Though the 2016 Nissan Maxima will make its showroom debut June 2, there was a time when the Maxima was slated to meet the guillotine.

As the auto industry was still feeling its way out of the Great Recession in early 2012, Nissan vice president of North American product planning Peter Loing said while most believed it was all but certain a new Maxima would come, “the foregone conclusion at that moment was that there would not be another Maxima,” Automotive News reports.

Loing took his current position in January 2012, where his first task was to make the case for a car whose fan base was almost entirely in the United States before an automaker who preferred global platforms to minimize costs.

Loing’s case hinged on the longevity of the Maxima name — having been on the marketplace without a break since 1981 — thus garnering a multigenerational consumer base who knows the nameplate better than Nissan’s own name. The model’s marketing boss, Eric Ledieu, added the Maxima also did well in pulling in consumers close to making the jump toward luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes.

When Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn greenlit the eight-gen Maxima back then, Nissan North America vice president for vehicle engineering and Maxima program boss Takeshi Yamaguchi opted to dial the styling up while also boosting its luxury appeal and enhancing performance. Yamaguchi said he was proud of the results, not only of the fact the Maxima went “beyond where it was” instead of going more conservative, but the fact it was given another chance to see the sun rise.

[Source: Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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Piston Slap: Minivan or SUV to Take the “A” Liner? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/piston-slap-10/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/piston-slap-10/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 11:30:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1074810   Clark writes: Sajeev, We plan on buying a hard-side folding camper (a.k.a. an Aliner) with a dry weight of about 2,100 lbs. Which minivan or SUV would you recommend? Sajeev answers: I would be remiss if I didn’t admit I kinda want a pop-up camper to tow behind my Ranger. Kinda the same thing…sorta. Anyway, if […]

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Get to where you’re goin’ in a hurry. (photo courtesy: roamingtimes.com)

Clark writes:

Sajeev,

We plan on buying a hard-side folding camper (a.k.a. an Aliner) with a dry weight of about 2,100 lbs. Which minivan or SUV would you recommend?

Sajeev answers:

I would be remiss if I didn’t admit I kinda want a pop-up camper to tow behind my Ranger. Kinda the same thing…sorta.

Anyway, if you stick with an Aliner and don’t totally overload both the trailer and exceed the tow rig’s GVWR, almost any late-model V6 powered CUV or minivan is fine. I’d go vanning, for practicality and stretch out comfort; ideal for a small family, a couple, or just one person with mucho outdoor stuff. And their boxy shape (usually) punches a larger hole in the air for the trailer to “rest” inside.

Consider these minivan parameters, in no particular order:

  1. The option for a large, standalone, transmission cooler. And maybe the same for power steering. Or, as previously discussed, a super trick bolt-in setup in the aftermarket. Or perhaps give up and get the largest universal-fitting tranny cooler you can slap in. The latter could be the best and most affordable alternative.
  2. Size of brake discs and, to a lesser extent, any variance in caliper surface area between manufacturers. While I’m not holding my breath for a minivan with 4-piston front calipers, that would be sweet.
  3. Towing Capacity: checking the manufacturer websites, Chrysler wins the minivan towing race for MY 2015. Not only does it have available trailer sway control, there’s an extra 100 lbs of tow rating beyond every 3,500 pound rated minivan. But is that extra rated 100 lbs a tangible improvement?
    1. Another option: The Nissan Quest offers the same 3,500 pound towing capacity, but is the CVT gearbox is a good or bad thing? Good: CVTs work so well to put down power with efficiency, no steps for downshifting must be nice with the extra demands from towing. Bad: well, who here actually knows people who tow with CVT gearboxes over long periods of time?
  4. Tires: with all that load, finding the van with the most tow-worthy rubber is also important. Or switch to LT tires.
  5. Ease of adding aftermarket camping accessories: if you want it, can you get it for non-Chrysler minivans?
  6. U-body with LS4-FTW. Obviously, the rightest of the most righteous answers, if not the easiest to acquire. How sad for everyone!

What say you, Best and Brightest?

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Nissan IDx is Super-Dead, But Parts May Live On in FWD Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nissan-idx-is-super-dead-but-parts-may-live-on-in-fwd-platform/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nissan-idx-is-super-dead-but-parts-may-live-on-in-fwd-platform/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072786 Nobody at Nissan is talking about IDx. That’s what we learned from Pierre Loing, Vice President of Product Planning for Nissan North America. But, there’s a chance certain styling elements could make their way to other products, or possibly even a front-wheel drive performance option below 370Z. While at the 2016 Nissan Maxima media preview […]

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Nissan IDx Freeflow Concept

Nobody at Nissan is talking about IDx.

That’s what we learned from Pierre Loing, Vice President of Product Planning for Nissan North America. But, there’s a chance certain styling elements could make their way to other products, or possibly even a front-wheel drive performance option below 370Z.

While at the 2016 Nissan Maxima media preview in Nashville, Tennessee, we had a chance to prod Loing on what could be the future of IDx considering its overwhelmingly positive reception in Tokyo and Detroit.

Nissan IDx Freeflow / IDx NISMO

“IDX is an interesting project; a show car that received good reception. But, to go from concept to production, the reality always kicks in,” Loing said about the future of IDx as we saw it revealed in Tokyo.

The reality is auto manufacturers are finding it difficult – or impossible – to build a small, rear-wheel drive performance vehicle and make money. Either a current platform, like that of the 370Z, needs to be shrunk down, or a whole new platform needs to be engineered to serve one niche vehicle.

2016 Nissan 370Z NISMO

Unfortunately, at least for Nissan, the 370Z platform isn’t an option.

“Small, sporty cars are very attractive for consumers but not in huge numbers. To do them properly – in our case – you can’t rely on an existing rear-wheel drive platform, because its dimensions are for a much larger powertrain. So, for us, it would mean developing a different rear-wheel drive platform and then we are bumping into the same obstacles every other automaker has: the volumes of a small, sporty car are not enough to justify the investment,” said Loing.

With the current Z doing quite well, at least in the eyes of Nissan as top-dollar NISMO models make up nearly 20 percent of units sold, going down-market is going against the market. Also, based on Loing’s remarks about size, it doesn’t look like we will be getting a smaller Z car next time around.

But, since it was the IDx’s design garnering the most attention, could it transfer to something else?

“It wouldn’t be the same design because, of course, the proportions are based on a rear-wheel drive platform,” Loing explained. “But that kind of retro 510 inspired design was very well received in Japan and in the U.S. (when Nissan debuted in Tokyo and Detroit), and to some extent in Europe as well. So, yeah, that could be an option – among other ones, it could be an option.

“I think we may still have some room (to add a retro-inspired car). We have a wide lineup.”

And with the new Maxima pumping out 300 horsepower to the front wheels alone, a FWD performance compact is possible.

Renault Megane RS 275

“If you look at the Alliance, Renault has some extremely strong front-wheel drive cars that are very sporty; Megane RenaultSport, for example, holds the front-wheel drive record on the Nurburgring. So, yes, it is possible within the limitations of front-wheel drive today.”

But, is that something Nissan is considering? Loing held his cards close to his vest.

“You will have to come back in a few years to see if it has materialized or not. *laughs* But, we do show cars to test reactions all the time, so those reactions are included in the debate on future global products. Sometimes they will be the deciding factor to go one way or another. Sometimes they won’t.”

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This Is The 2016 Nissan Maxima’s Pumped-In Engine Note http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/this-is-the-2016-nissan-maximas-pumped-in-engine-note/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/this-is-the-2016-nissan-maximas-pumped-in-engine-note/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 12:51:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072026 Earlier this week, I was able to drive the 2016 Nissan Maxima around the great state of Tennessee and enjoy some of the twistiest roads outside of the Tail of the Dragon. While I can’t share driving impressions just yet, there is one thing I can offer up: the Maxima’s piped-in engine note. Again, thanks to embargoes, […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima Front Three-Quarter

Earlier this week, I was able to drive the 2016 Nissan Maxima around the great state of Tennessee and enjoy some of the twistiest roads outside of the Tail of the Dragon. While I can’t share driving impressions just yet, there is one thing I can offer up: the Maxima’s piped-in engine note.

Again, thanks to embargoes, we can’t tell you much. However, here were the circumstances of the recording: we were cruising at about 35-40 mph while I held my iPhone against a speaker on the passenger side and asked the driver to give it some gas. The system – called Active Sound Enhancement – is similar to that in the new Camaro. Both are provided by Bose in conjunction with Active Noise Cancellation.

If you’d like to know anything other than that, you’ll have to come back on June 3rd for the full review.

 

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Piston Slap: Occam’s Razor Cuts Hardbody Headlight Headaches? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/piston-slap-occams-razor-cuts-hardbody-headlight-headaches/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/piston-slap-occams-razor-cuts-hardbody-headlight-headaches/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069498   Robin writes: Hi Sajeev, It’s me again, steady reader, random poster/questioner, with another D21 question. My good old ’94 Nissan D21 is soldiering on, 213,000 and steady on. Of course I don’t ever thrash it which I’m sure makes a difference. But to get to the point: the other day I went out to […]

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My bad. (photo courtesy: imgflip.com)

Robin writes:

Hi Sajeev,

It’s me again, steady reader, random poster/questioner, with another D21 question. My good old ’94 Nissan D21 is soldiering on, 213,000 and steady on. Of course I don’t ever thrash it which I’m sure makes a difference.

But to get to the point: the other day I went out to go to work and presto! No low beams. High beams, check. All signals, markers and brake lights, check. Just no low beams.

Forum surfing ensued, all seemed to point to the switch stalk. I checked fuses. No headlamp fuse? WTF!

unnamed

What the… (photo courtesy: OP)

I’m hoping against hope that it’s something simple and stupid that I’ve overlooked in my attempts to shoot the trouble. And that another Piston Slap reader has a tip.

Because Piston Slap is only run twice a week, Robin beats us to the punch:

Hi Sajeev,

I emailed you not too long ago about my D21’s low beams going out all at one time. Replaced the switch stalk (a common culprit per several forum threads I browsed), scratched my head furiously over the fuse panel, girded my loins for the big $ hit of having someone with a clue troubleshoot the electrics. In the meanwhile, I drove around with my high beams on, undoubtedly pissing off my fellow North Texans.

So this morning I decided to just replace both sealed beams. At worst I’d still be in the same boat but new bulbs. Voila! It was the ultra-rare concurrent low beams burnout phenomenon.

Old Bill from Occam really knew his stuff.

Sajeev answers:

I’m glad to hear you fixed it. Perhaps you also needed that new headlight switch, as it sounds like a multifunctioning switch which are known to misbehave in the oddest ways after 10+ years. Anyone with even a passing interest in Nissan Hardbodies should download this PDF. Yes, it’s for a 1990, but it’s a start.

I looked at page EL-41 and saw nothing fishy about Hardbody headlights: fuses, connectors, grounds, etc as expected. I am stumped as to why your 1994 fuse box doesn’t list a fuse a la the 1990 shop manual. While I think Occam’s Razor applies to the 15A fuses (if you have them!), having both headlights blow out simultaneously is odd but the obvious problem after that. Why?

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom: 

Because headlights are a wear item. I’ve said this multiple times before, if your halogen bulbs are 5+ years old and the filament’s shiny finish isn’t chrome-like (it’s tungsten, but you catch my drift) in perfection, they probably need replacement. Hell, I’ve seen a certified pre-owned, two-year-old used car (presumably with thousands of night miles under its belt) need new bulbs so the new owner can see safely at night.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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While You Were Sleeping: Chevrolet Sub-Camaro, Toyota/Honda Best Supplier Customers and Aston Martin’s Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-chevrolet-sub-camaro-toyotahonda-best-supplier-customers-aston-martins-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-chevrolet-sub-camaro-toyotahonda-best-supplier-customers-aston-martins-crossover/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 08:59:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070074 As I fly down to Nashville to drive Nissan’s latest iteration of their 4DSC (“four-door sports car”) – the Maxima – we will have all the articles you expect on a Monday. Here’s what happened over the weekend. Aston Martin likely to shun Mercedes’ platform for DBX crossover (Automotive News) It seems Aston Martin won’t […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima

As I fly down to Nashville to drive Nissan’s latest iteration of their 4DSC (“four-door sports car”) – the Maxima – we will have all the articles you expect on a Monday.

Here’s what happened over the weekend.

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Buick Regal Tops Among Those Traded-In After One Year Of Ownership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/buick-regal-tops-among-traded-one-year-ownership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/buick-regal-tops-among-traded-one-year-ownership/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 19:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062954 In a hurry to trade your new Buick Regal for something else? You’re not alone, as the sedan joins a handful of models traded-in after a year of ownership. Per a report by iSeeCars.com, 2.7 percent of vehicles bought new end up on the used lot after being on the road for one year, Forbes […]

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2014 Buick Regal GS AWD Exterior-003

In a hurry to trade your new Buick Regal for something else? You’re not alone, as the sedan joins a handful of models traded-in after a year of ownership.

Per a report by iSeeCars.com, 2.7 percent of vehicles bought new end up on the used lot after being on the road for one year, Forbes reports, with trade-in rates as high as 11 percent for a specific model.

The models brought back to the sales lot run the gamut, from $18,000 subcompacts to $45,000 luxury sedans. The Regal tops the list with 10.7 percent of owners exchanging their keys after a year, the Chevrolet Sonic takes second with 8.9 percent, and the BMW X1 at a close third with 7.8 percent. The Dodge Charger, Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, Chevrolet Cruze and Nissan Frontier also make the list.

As for why the sudden change of heart, quality or the perception of quality played a key role; the aforementioned models were rated poorly by owners surveyed in J.D. Power’s 2014 U.S. Initial Quality Survey. ISeeCars.com CEO Phong Ly says those issues usually involve technology, such as connected-vehicle systems, voice command, and Bluetooth connection, and aren’t so much “problems” as they are difficulties with said technologies.

Those looking for a deal on those models will likely be happy with what they find on the used lot, though. The 2014 Regal with average mileage comes with a price tag 32.2 percent less than new, while the C-Class and Charger lost 31.0 percent and 28.4 percent in new-car value after a year, respectively.

[Photo credit: Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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