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, 30 Aug 2015 16:08:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 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 TTAC Forum Crapwagon ReCrap: Scouting for Interesting Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ttac-forum-crapwagon-recrap-scouting-interesting-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ttac-forum-crapwagon-recrap-scouting-interesting-cars/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154873 Last week, we began our occasional look back at the interesting cars I’ve been posting daily in our Classic and Collector Car forum. Maybe these cars aren’t quite worthy of the full Crapwagon treatment, so we call this the Forum ReCrap. (To the 2 percent of our readers that are female, please recall that nearly […]

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Scout

Last week, we began our occasional look back at the interesting cars I’ve been posting daily in our Classic and Collector Car forum. Maybe these cars aren’t quite worthy of the full Crapwagon treatment, so we call this the Forum ReCrap.

(To the 2 percent of our readers that are female, please recall that nearly all males — especially those who happen to love cars — are perpetually twelve years old, and thus still find toilet humor titillating.)

This week, the forum featured: an SUV from a tractor company; a modern shooting brake; a legendary FWD sports car that will likely be stolen; a Japanese-built, Italian-styled derivative of a Chevette; and a hatchback that was born from jets.

Monday, I looked at an attractive International Harvester Scout. The pea soup green paint looks marvelous, especially with the gunmetal steelies. It looks like the seller ended the auction early, perhaps after a sale outside eBay. Someone probably picked up a fun ride.

Pulsar

Tuesday, I featured another car with a removable rear body panel. This one, however, is a bit less compelling to the general public. The Nissan Pulsar Sportbak is one of those answers to a question that, if asked, probably shouldn’t have been. Nonetheless, it’s kinda cool, and could be a fun, quick ride with something a bit more beefy under the bonnet. It’s still only $2,000 and for sale very close to Myrtle Beach. Fly in, hit a seafood buffet or a golf course, and drive home in glorious Eighties style.

Integra

Wednesday, I found a unicorn: an Integra Type-R that might not yet have been stolen. The seller needs to learn how to get photos off the phone, however, rather than screenshotting everything. I love reading ads for hot Hondas — invariably, the words “Adult Owned” will appear on anything that doesn’t have dozens of decals littering the clearcoat. As of this writing, the bid is around $10,000 with five days left, so my guesstimate of a $15k sell price might not be far off.

Impulse

Thursday brought a favorite sleeper of the Eighties. Isuzu’s Impulse, penned by Giugiaro, is a stunning sportscar built on pedestrian GM underpinnings. Sadly not a turbo, the performance might be a bit blunted, but this looks like a cheap, fun classic.

Viggen

Today, I happened across a Saab 9-3 Viggen. The last hurrah of the hot hatch from Trollhättan, the Viggen was a torque-steering monster of a family sedan. I wonder how good the parts support is now that Saab has left this realm. That would be a significant factor in whether I’d consider one for myself.

I know I’m not the only one out here in internetland that trolls the web for interesting cars. Head over to the forum, and post the cool stuff you find!

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At This Price, Nissan Just May As Well Pay You For a New Leaf http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/price-nissan-just-may-well-pay-new-leaf/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/price-nissan-just-may-well-pay-new-leaf/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152793 I live at the crossroads of liberal and libertarian. Despite what some of you have said, I’m not Marxist (although I have read plenty of his work, along with Ayn Rand and Adam Smith, Milton Friedman followers, et al.) and economics for me qualifies as a hobby. Therefore, the economy of how Colorado just made the Nissan […]

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2011 Nissan LEAF

I live at the crossroads of liberal and libertarian. Despite what some of you have said, I’m not Marxist (although I have read plenty of his work, along with Ayn Rand and Adam Smith, Milton Friedman followers, et al.) and economics for me qualifies as a hobby.

Therefore, the economy of how Colorado just made the Nissan Leaf one of the least expensive new cars in America is fascinating.

Right now, Leaf buyers in Colorado can receive the following perks: a $7,500 federal rebate, around $5,000 back from the state of Colorado, and $5,000 from Nissan if you finance your purchase through them. (Georgia, West Virginia and Connecticut are pretty high as well.)

All told, that’s $17,500 back in Colorado on a car that starts at $29,860 ($850 destination included) and your price — before negotiations with the dealer — is $12,360, if your shirt is starched, teeth are white and you max out rebates.

I called up a local Nissan dealer to confirm the details and after a little bit of checking (and a lot of trying to sell me on a lease) she confirmed I could score a Nissan for severely cheap.

FYI: A Mitsubishi Mirage starts at $12,995.

The financing rebate ends at the end of August, and Colorado’s $6,000 incentive (which is the highest in the nation) can’t last forever.

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The Modern Automobile Is Killing Chivalry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/modern-automobile-killing-chivalry/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/modern-automobile-killing-chivalry/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 16:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152969 On April 1, 2014, I met my girlfriend Jennifer for the first time. We sipped on our coffee and tea late into the night at a local coffee joint while sharing stories and generally just trying to figure each other out. But, after a while, my legs grew restless, my rear had gone numb on […]

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2015 Nissan Micra S (1 of 10)

On April 1, 2014, I met my girlfriend Jennifer for the first time. We sipped on our coffee and tea late into the night at a local coffee joint while sharing stories and generally just trying to figure each other out. But, after a while, my legs grew restless, my rear had gone numb on the provided polypropylene seat, and I was long done with my coffee.

“Want to go for a drive?” I asked.

“Sure,” she replied.

I have no problem telling people that Jennifer and I met on Jack’s pick-up app of choice, Tinder. Jenn and I chatted back and forth for a couple of days before finally meeting. Thankfully, being an automotive journalist, I was prepared. On this particular week in April, I was driving a near-as-makes-no-difference $100,000 Audi A7 with as many options as the public relations budget could bear.

As we walked out of the coffee shop — let’s call it Jim Dortons — I reached into my pocket, pulled out the keys and unlocked the Audi’s doors.

I went to the driver’s side, she to the passenger’s side, and we both slipped into the German executive liftback.

“Wow, this is nice,” she exclaimed with the mild surprise I’ve come to love.

We explored the snow-covered streets of the city I now call home. Now and then, I let the rear of the A7 slide ever so slightly so I could prove my driving chops to my future Miss.


Earlier this year, and more than a year after Jennifer and I met each other on that dark wintery night in a coffee shop, Nissan loaned me a Micra S — base model spec with nary an option. It is, by far, one of the most basic examples of personal transportation money can buy in a First World country.

The Miss and I tend to both enjoy a burger here and there, so we headed to a local fast food joint after both putting in 10+ hours of work for the day.

We sat, traded the day’s stories (Warning to TTAC writers: She knows everything about you), and enjoyed our grill-fired deliciousness on a balmy summer evening. Nothing could be better in this moment.

When it was time to go, we walked out of the fast food joint — let’s call it Gag & Spew — I reached into my pocket, and …

… I walked to the passenger side of the car to unlock the door.

This is the first time you’ve ever physically unlocked a door for Jenn, I said to myself as the epiphany hit me like a fully loaded Amtrak train.

Not only that, I followed the unlocking action by opening the door for her.

She stood there, looked at me for mere seconds — but those seconds felt like an eternity — with a face usually reserved for times when she sees a fluffy, fresh out of the wrapper puppy (eyes that say “Awwweeee!” without the mouth needing to do so), gave me a kiss and jumped in the car. I closed the door for her.

While we can have a massive conversation about gender equality or traditional gender roles, the fact remains: until this moment, I had never unlocked nor held a car door open for Jenn. Not once. Not ever. And it all comes down to power door locks and, well, me never thinking to do it.

The same logic can probably be applied to climate control systems. Not so long ago, if your significant other was getting a little warm over on the passenger side, she might have said, “I am getting a little warm.”

“No problem, I can take care of that, dear,” you’d reply, adjust the single-zone temperature control so both of you would be comfortable — or you might even take one for the team and bear being uncomfortable yourself so she’d be content — and she would likely be appreciative of your efforts, however small it may be.

Nowadays, your reply might be, “You have your own temperature control knob, dear. You can set it to whatever you want!” Feminists might call that empowerment. I call it a missed opportunity.

All these modern features — remote power locks, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote automatic starters (the end of “Don’t worry dear. I can go out and start the car for you.”), roadside assistance (the end of “Yes, dear, I can drive out and help you change that tire.”), and numerous others — are all aimed at making the car more convenient, but also fly in the face of car guys being a chivalrous sort. Even bench seats are limited to pickups these days, unless you want to pick up an Impala Classic through a friendly fleet manager.

While Jenn and I did end our coffee date all those months ago with a kiss, I wonder: If I had held the door open for her, would I have received that kiss before our drive? And would our drive have turned out to be a much different experience?

Maybe, maybe.

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Crapwagon Outtake: 1994 Nissan Pathfinder http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/crapwagon-outtake-1994-nissan-pathfinder/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/crapwagon-outtake-1994-nissan-pathfinder/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 23:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1144433 I loved my 1st gen Pathfinder. Unlike today’s CUVs, it was a proper SUV — derived, and barely civilized from the compact pickup truck beneath. The ride was, as they say, trucklike. The accomodations, Spartan. And, until my wife decided the normally-sturdy VG30 V6 needed some additional positive crankcase ventilation on a subzero February morning, indestructible. […]

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I loved my 1st gen Pathfinder. Unlike today’s CUVs, it was a proper SUV — derived, and barely civilized from the compact pickup truck beneath. The ride was, as they say, trucklike. The accomodations, Spartan. And, until my wife decided the normally-sturdy VG30 V6 needed some additional positive crankcase ventilation on a subzero February morning, indestructible.

(I blame my wife, but really, I’m probably at fault, as I likely botched the coolant ratio when I changed fluids the prior fall. Alas, she doesn’t read TTAC.)

Unfortunately, when our truck was hauled to the nearby Nissan dealer, our phone call came not from the service department, but from sales. A quick inspection while on a lift revealed entirely too much of the inside of the frame rails, and not enough of the outsides. The Ohio winters had claimed another victim.

I reminisced about my truck while scouring eBay, Cars.com, and Autotrader today. I noticed that there are plenty of early Pathfinders out there, but very few with low miles. I saw a bunch with over 250,000 on the odometer, which is remarkable for any car with a propensity for rust.

This ’95 looks quite clean, with around 150,000 miles under the seemingly-rust-free body. The dealer only offers three photos, so I’d insist on more photos and/or a third-party inspection before winging it to Idaho. This is a no-frills, take the family anywhere machine, unlike the modern cute-utes which wince at the suggestion of gravel.

I miss my Nissan. It never let me down (let’s forget about the better half for a moment), and carried everything I threw at it. It even hauled a dead Mazda RX-7 a couple hundred miles on a heavy trailer with no complaints. I wouldn’t try that with a modern CVT-equipped equivalent.

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2015 Nissan Murano SL AWD Review – Suave Ugly Duckling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2015-nissan-murano-sl-awd-review-suave-ugly-duckling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2015-nissan-murano-sl-awd-review-suave-ugly-duckling/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 22:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152009 2015 Nissan Murano SL AWD 3.5-liter VQ35DE DOHC V-6, Continuously Variable Timing Control System (260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 240 lbs-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm) Xtronic continuously variable transmission (2.413:1 – 0.383:1 range, 0.958:1 final drive) 21 city/28 highway/24 combined (EPA Rating, MPG) 22.4 mpg on the Soccer Dad test cycle, 75 percent city (Observed, MPG) Tested Options: SL trim, all-wheel […]

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2015 Nissan Murano (1 of 13)

2015 Nissan Murano SL AWD

3.5-liter VQ35DE DOHC V-6, Continuously Variable Timing Control System (260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 240 lbs-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm)

Xtronic continuously variable transmission (2.413:1 – 0.383:1 range, 0.958:1 final drive)

21 city/28 highway/24 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

22.4 mpg on the Soccer Dad test cycle, 75 percent city (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: SL trim, all-wheel drive

Base Price (S FWD):
$30,445* (U.S.)/$31,858* (Canada)
As Tested Price:
$39,435* (U.S.)/$41,393* (Canada)

* All prices include $885 destination fee (U.S.) or $1,860 destination fee, PDI and A/C tax (Canada).

“Damn, that’s ugly,” I thought to myself — in addition to saying it openly amongst my automotive journalist friends when Nissan unveiled the new, third-generation Murano at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

“Who’s going to buy this?” I asked myself — in addition to everyone who would possibly listen to my whining.

“I bet this won’t sell,” proclaimed my inner monologue — in addition to my external one.

Boy, was I wrong on that last point. The new Murano’s year-to-date sales in Canada have already eclipsed last year’s entirely (sales surpassed 1,000 units in June 2015 for the first time ever in Canada), and it will likely sell more in the U.S. than it has in the last couple years at the very least.

When I had a chance to drive the newest “lifestyle” crossover from Nissan, I realized why my predictions were so wrong. If you can look past the sheet metal, the aging VQ35DE V-6 engine and the continuously variable transmission that’s become ubiquitous with the Nissan brand, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what is arguably the best lifestyle crossover on the market.

That should be no surprise. One could make a case for the Nissan Murano being a pioneer in this segment. Back in 2002, Nissan rolled out the first-generation Murano to either fanfare or fiery criticism, depending on who you asked.

The non-luxury softroader was born — whether you liked it or not.

2015 Nissan Murano (2 of 13)

Exterior
To better understand the Murano and its “Predator with a Beverly Hills facelift” styling, one must understand the competition — namely the Ford Edge. Neither vehicle communicates a modicum of off-roading intentions, even though both are available with all-wheel drive. Both are targeted directly at yuppie dinks with money to burn and status to reinforce. They want a vehicle that’s visually loud so they can be unique just like everyone else.

Compared to prior generations, the Murano is more visually windswept up front due to its corporate V-motion grille and Z-inspired headlights. It’s a cohesive design regardless of how visually off-putting I might personally find it.

Around the side, the Murano flaunts the same floating roof treatment craze that’s seeing more use at Nissan and elsewhere. Our mid-trim SL tester wore standard 18-inch wheels shod with 235/65R18 rubber that didn’t visually fill the wheel wells as much as the 20 inchers available on the Platinum trim, but still did a much better job of not making the car look plebeian compared to the Edge on its smaller wheels. Actually, the 18s make the Murano look trendy, expensive and — viewing it as a car guy — comfortable.

2015 Nissan Murano (3 of 13)

Around back are some of the most confusing shapes and surfaces you’ll find on any crossover on sale today. The rear lamps sport the same boomerang styling as those up front. The blacked-out floating roof section, when inspected closely, even has some metallic flake in the plastic so it doesn’t look flat and cheap. Like the side, a chrome strip breaks up the lower body cladding and high-gloss paint, like a belt separating black pants and a loudly colored button-up shirt.

Overall, the Murano looks expensive and expressive, but its execution is far from my cup of tea. The Ford Edge ticks the same boxes without being visually nauseating.

2015 Nissan Murano (5 of 13)

Interior
Years ago, I listened to a stand-up comic — whose name completely escapes me — do a bit on yuppies and yard sales.

“Yuppie yard sales are just like normal ones — except nothing is for sale. Yuppies just want you to look at their stuff.”

Nissan knows the typical Murano buyer isn’t going to have kids — or if they do have that elusive single child, the chances of he or she having more than two friends willing to ditch their Facebooks and video games to actually drive somewhere is pretty slim. Instead, what yuppies do have is personal belongings — or at least more personal belongings than their kid has friends — so, understandably, there’s no third row seating. In its place is a cavernous cargo area so you can take all your stuff to the local yuppie yard sale, show it off, and bring it home in a flashy ride.

Unfortunately for the Murano, the Edge can hold even more yuppie junk in its upwardly mobile trunk; 32.1 cu. ft. of cargo space is available behind the second row in the Murano (minus 1 cu. ft. with the moonroof) versus 39.2 cu. ft. in the Edge.

You’d think that maybe the Murano is shorter than the Edge, but it’s actually longer on the outside by 4.7 inches. Wheelbases are similar at 111.2 and 112.2 inches respectively. And, as far as I can tell, the space isn’t being shifted to the passenger compartment.

2015 Nissan Murano (12 of 13)Murano (w/o moonroof)

Front headroom – 39.9 inches
Front legroom – 40.5 inches
Front hip room – 55.4 inches
Front shoulder room – 59.5 inches
Rear headroom – 39.8 inches
Rear legroom – 38.7 inches
Rear hip room – 55.2 inches
Front shoulder room – 58.8 inches

Edge

Front headroom – 40.2 inches
Front legroom – 40.5 inches
Front hip room – 55.9 inches
Front shoulder room – 60.3 inches
Rear headroom – 40.3 inches
Rear legroom – 40.6 inches
Rear hip room – 57.5 inches
Front shoulder room – 60.5 inches

(Bold is the greater measure.)

I’m flummoxed.

Regardless of the numbers, the Murano is incredibly comfortable up front and I didn’t once think I lacked space for my 6-foot-1-inch lanky frame. Nor did passengers ask for me to scootch the driver’s seat up to give them additional rear legroom. However, if you’re a sizable dink, you might want to opt for the Edge.

2015 Nissan Murano (7 of 13)

When you do find your place of comfort in the driver seat, you’re greeted by a steering wheel that could be found in almost any other Nissan. The push-button start is easily found in the center dash instead of tucked somewhere being the steering wheel. Other controls are quite simple, with HVAC knobs and buttons located below the infotainment screen and shortcuts to navigation, radio and other infotainment features placed on either side. Nissan says it has decreased the number of buttons needed to operate their system and this amount seems like a happy medium.

2015 Nissan Murano (8 of 13)

The instrument panel consists of two large dials separated by a very clear, 7-inch LCD screen with pages that are easily accessible through the steering wheel mounted controls. Unlike the Micra, the Murano is fitted with an actual fuel gauge and not just an LCD representation.

As I mentioned above, the front seats are incredibly comfortable, though they do have a look of cheapness. Maybe it’s the semi-gloss sheen. I just wish they looked as good as they felt. Same goes for the rear.

At least you will be safe, with a full suite of airbags that includes a driver’s knee airbag, just in case.

2015 Nissan Murano (4 of 13)

Powertrain
The 3.5-liter VQ35DE V-6 sitting under the hood of the Murano has to be one of the oldest engines on sale today. Introduced in 2001, the VQ series engine has been constantly updated and comes in a number of tunes depending on its application. However, it doesn’t come with direct injection or some of the other goodies found in competing products.

That said, the VQ is still one of the best sounding engines money can buy — probably because it doesn’t come with direct injection or the other goodies. Even when paired with Nissan’s Xtronic continuously variable transmission, the VQ rumbles with its all-but familiar growl.

When Nissan started fitting its lower-end, four-cylinder cars with CVTs, I moaned a great moan. But this — with the V-6 and some torque to keep revs low — makes boatloads of sense and is exceptionally smooth without the typical whine experienced with smaller engines mated to similar transmissions. To top it all off, Nissan’s combination is 4 mpg easier on fuel on the combined cycle than the Edge, representing a $350 annual savings according to the EPA calculator.

2015 Nissan Murano (13 of 13)

Infotainment
Nissan’s Around View has been on the market for quite some time, but this is the first time it’s been fitted to the Murano (incidentally, after it was fitted to the Versa Note). As one can expect, images from the camera are fairly distorted to give you a better field of vision, but there’s something else that bothers me about it. Image quality is, well, a bit subpar. Even though other systems obviously don’t give you a full 360-degree view of the vehicle on an 8-inch screen, the images offered on the Nissan system look pixelated to the point where you might actually miss something — though if that something is moving, the Moving Object Detection should pick it up. Meanwhile, the “Camera” button on the console lets you activate the system when parking nose first, which is great for someone like me who can’t place a vehicle square between two white lines.

Around View aside, the new NissanConnectSM system is enhanced over the last generation, though its ease of use has been hampered because of it. Thanks to a number of new connectivity features and other digitial knickknacks, the Nissan infotainment system is a bit more bloated. If you like fully featured infotainment, this is a great solution, but this might not be a selling point if you are like the vast majority of vehicle buyers who don’t use all the features provided by automakers.

Drive
What sets the Murano apart from the rest is how it drives. The 3.5-liter engine is as smooth as you can get. The CVT will do some “shifting,” but only so you can feel a little bit of torque transmitted into the seat now and then. Also, those seats are as good as they come.

However, these pieces aren’t the Murano’s killer app. Instead, its suspension tuning and decent tire sidewalls on our SL-trimmed tester that give the Murano a ride befitting its Infiniti luxury brand. Platinum models give you 20-inch wheels as standard, and I’m not sure that’s a good buy if ride quality is No. 1 on your car hunt.

In addition to the suspension, the Murano’s electric power steering also makes it light to handle. Who cares if it feels a bit disconnected? If you are looking for an engaging drive, you are shopping in the wrong segment by looking at the Murano. For a few thousand more, there are some interesting options from the Germans, though you might have to downsize.

Aaron Cole, Chris Tonn, and I all had a chat about the Murano styling. They quite like the Nissan … and they’d take it over the Ford Edge. I’d rather the Blue Oval, based on styling alone, inside and out. Yet, if the Edge didn’t drive as nice as the Murano (and I’m not sure if it does but an Edge is on the way) I’d probably have the Murano … the fuel economy bump for me is a nice to have.

If you’re a yuppie with some coin to spend, the Murano and Edge are like white and red wine: they’re both wine and they both get the job done of looking classy, but it’s all a matter of taste. The Murano, to most, will taste just fine.

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Nissan’s Next Z Vehicle Could Be a Death Star http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nissans-next-z-vehicle-death-star/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nissans-next-z-vehicle-death-star/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 20:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152625 Nissan’s next Z could be a crossover because the world needs another crossover, Autocar is reporting. The next-generation Z may appear in Frankfurt as a concept to gauge the new direction for the model, according to the report. The car could be a two- or four-door crossover, powered by a gasoline or hybrid powerplant — […]

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2016 Nissan 370Z NISMO

Nissan’s next Z could be a crossover because the world needs another crossover, Autocar is reporting.

The next-generation Z may appear in Frankfurt as a concept to gauge the new direction for the model, according to the report. The car could be a two- or four-door crossover, powered by a gasoline or hybrid powerplant — or it could be a sub-orbital military base with the power to destroy planets. (We just don’t know!)

A crossover Z could be a logical step for the company to appeal to more buyers, or it could cannibalize sales from the Juke. At least we know the next-generation Z won’t be the IDx.

According to Autocar, the crossover Z could be based on the future shared global CMF B platform and theoretically home a 1.6-liter turbocharged mill.

We may have to wait until the Frankfurt Auto Show next month to see what Nissan’s up to, but any concept would likely be a far first step in some kind of product planning.

Car rumors are fun.

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What’s Going on With The New Maxima? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/whats-going-new-maxima/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/whats-going-new-maxima/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 22:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1151721 Nissan’s new Maxima, which went on sale earlier this year, has already had a bumpy road. Last week, the automaker announced it would be recalling around 6,000 cars for an improperly installed fuel tank 0-ring that could leak and ignite after a crash, according to AutoGuide. Nissan hasn’t identified a fix for the problem yet. […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima (18 of 23)

Nissan’s new Maxima, which went on sale earlier this year, has already had a bumpy road.

Last week, the automaker announced it would be recalling around 6,000 cars for an improperly installed fuel tank 0-ring that could leak and ignite after a crash, according to AutoGuide. Nissan hasn’t identified a fix for the problem yet.

That may be in addition to (or the reason for) a stop-sale on the Maxima in July for an unspecified “quality assurance” problem with the cars. We reached out to Nissan for a comment and have yet to hear back. 

Early owners have reported minor problems including moon roof noises, headlight issues and electronic woes.

This isn’t the first generation of Maxima models produced in Smyrna, Tennessee, nor is it the only model that plant produces. But any further hiccups in initial quality could damage the car’s tenuous position.

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Just How Bad Are the Automakers Taking a Beating in the Stock Market? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/just-bad-automakers-taking-beating-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/just-bad-automakers-taking-beating-market/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 17:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1151441 Markets around the world are down, down, down, down and down. At the time of this writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down roughly 650 points on Monday, which is more than 1,500 points off of where we were at the beginning of August. A lot of the run is fueled by fears that China […]

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Come on Carlos, let’s hit up the Limeys for some money. Picture courtesy of motortrend.com

Markets around the world are down, down, down, down and down.

At the time of this writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down roughly 650 points on Monday, which is more than 1,500 points off of where we were at the beginning of August. A lot of the run is fueled by fears that China is tapering off its growth (or they’ve been making it up for a while) and that Europe is tinkering on the brink of sinking into another recession.

There are plenty of financial sectors that are taking a beating. Automotive companies are no different. Here’s a rundown of publicly traded automakers and how much they’ve lost from their July 31 close to mid-day trading today.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest droppers are those with more exposure to China (Especially Toyota, whose production has been hampered by a blast in Tianjinand Tesla, whose second stock offering could be diluting shares in addition to the larger, global shock.

Tata Motors (TTM) — 29.66-23.01, -22.4 percent
Tesla Motors (TSLA) — 266.15-219.46, -17.5 percent
Toyota Motor Corp (TM) — 133.71-110.87, -17 percent
BMW (BMW.DE) — 91.30-77.88, -13.5 percent
Daimler (DDAIF) — 89.19-77.59, -13 percent
Nissan Motor Company (NSANY) — 19.34-16.90, -12.6 percent
Honda Motor Company (HMC) — 33.96-29.70, -12.5 percent
Ford Motor Company (F) — 15.18-13.21, -12.9 percent
General Motors (GM) — 32.08-28.22, -12 percent
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) — 15.80-14.02, -11.2 percent
Volkswagen AG (VLKAY) — 40.35-36.56, -9.3 percent

Earlier this month, General Motors issued a statement before the massive stock sell off to ensure investors that it would endure a devalued Chinese currency. It’s “natural hedge,” or locally sourced suppliers, would help insulate it from massive market fluctuations, but not entirely. Last month, GM announced it would invest $5 billion in a joint venture with SAIC motors in China to locally build smaller cars.

On Monday, Daimler said it would press on further in China, despite worries that the market for luxury vehicles could be drying up, according to Automotive News.

Losing this much steam in China will undoubtedly have a ripple effect in the rest of the automotive world, that much is clear. The size of the wave has yet to be determined.

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New Prius Will Be Shown Next Month in Las Vegas http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/new-prius-will-shown-next-month-las-vegas/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/new-prius-will-shown-next-month-las-vegas/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 17:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1145889 Toyota’s next-generation Prius, which will be the first use of the automaker’s new global platform, will be shown to media in Las Vegas next month, Bloomberg is reporting (via Autoblog). The report doesn’t specify when the automaker would build the next-gen Prius, or why it chose southern Nevada in the summertime for its reveal (Tesla speculation […]

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2016 Toyota Prius Getting Gas At Vons

Toyota’s next-generation Prius, which will be the first use of the automaker’s new global platform, will be shown to media in Las Vegas next month, Bloomberg is reporting (via Autoblog).

The report doesn’t specify when the automaker would build the next-gen Prius, or why it chose southern Nevada in the summertime for its reveal (Tesla speculation starts now).

Sales of the Prius have declined since 2007 and 2008 when average gas prices in the U.S. hovered around $4 per gallon. Toyota hasn’t fully updated the Prius since 2009, with a mild refresh gracing the hybrid in 2011.

Bloomberg notes that the eco-friendly Prius may have lost sales to all-electric cars — Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, and others — in the time it’s taken Toyota to update it.

The automaker began taking reservations in California last month for its hydrogen-powered Mirai.

According to our own Bark Maruth, we should expect glowing coverage of the Prius from reporters from carsaregoodandfun.net sometime next month.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma Review – Full-size Silent Assassin http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2016-toyota-tacoma-review-full-size-silent-assassin/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/2016-toyota-tacoma-review-full-size-silent-assassin/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1143473 2016 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 Engines 3.5-liter D4S (direct and port injection) Atkinson cycle V-6 with variable valve intake and exhaust (278 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 265 pounds-feet @ 4,600 rpm). 2.7-liter DOHC I-4 with variable valve intake (159 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm; 180 pounds-feet @ 3,800 rpm) Transmissions Standard 5-speed manual (2.7-liter); optional 6-speed automatic […]

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2016_Toyota_Tacoma_(22_of_1)

2016 Toyota Tacoma 4×4

Engines
3.5-liter D4S (direct and port injection) Atkinson cycle V-6 with variable valve intake and exhaust (278 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 265 pounds-feet @ 4,600 rpm).
2.7-liter DOHC I-4 with variable valve intake (159 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm; 180 pounds-feet @ 3,800 rpm)

Transmissions
Standard 5-speed manual (2.7-liter); optional 6-speed automatic with ECT (2.7-liter)
Standard 6-speed manual (3.5-liter); optional 6-speed automatic with ECT (3.5-liter)

Fuel Economy Ratings
19 mpg city/ 21 mpg highway/ 20 mpg combined (2.7-liter 5-speed manual 4×4)
19/23/21 (2.7-liter 6-speed automatic 4×2)
19/22/20 (2.7-liter 6-speed automatic 4×4)
19/24/21 (3.5-liter 6-speed automatic 4×2)
17/21/19 (3.5-liter 6-speed manual 4×4)
18/23/20 (3.5-liter 6-speed automatic 4×4)

MSRP
Prices start at $24,185 *and go up to $38,705*.
*Price includes $885 destination

Let’s get this out of the way first: there is no groan long enough or loud enough for how I feel about the 2016 Toyota Tacoma’s ballyhooed interior GoPro mount. The 30 cents of branded plastic to film your “eXtreme!” adventures feels more contrived and commercially unnecessary than a TedX talk at your nearest community college. It’s there, it’s usable and I want to talk about the tens of thousands of other parts around that windshield mount.

For the most part, the world of mid-sized pickups has stayed the same since the Clinton administration. (I mean Bill’s years for anyone reading this in 2017.)

Updated slightly in 2005, but mostly unchanged since the 1990s, the Toyota Tacoma has stayed firmly ahead of its time despite playing catch up to the full-size galoots. What I mean is, the Tacoma has a habit of selling far more at the end of its lifecycle than it does at the beginning. Go fig.

For example, take the last year for the Tacoma. Despite being a truck that hasn’t changed much for 10 years, the Tacoma managed to sell more than 17,000 trucks in July, its best sales month ever, en route to 180,000 sales this year, which would be its best sales year, ever. By volume, the Tacoma is the fifth best-selling truck in America, just behind the GMC Sierra, and well behind the three domestic full-size big boys. (The, um, new Tundra was sixth, by the way.)

Plummeting gas prices has helped moved metal, and so has cheap money, but the Tacoma is a very, very solid pickup and the growing chasm between reality and the price of a full-size truck leaves something to be desired for $25,000-$30,000 out the door.

So why fix something that isn’t broken? Toyota said it had nothing to do with Chevrolet and GMC hopping into the mid-size market with the Colorado and Canyon respectively. It doesn’t even have anything to do with the new Nissan Frontier coming to market soon too.

Nope, Toyota says it updated the Tacoma to step on the necks of the others and bring forward the Tacoma into the 21st century. This is as close as Toyota will get to going for the jugular.

2016_Toyota_Tacoma_(19_of_21)

Exterior
The Tacoma falls into the corporate lockstep by following closely the Tundra’s front-end design. Its chunkier face, with a more open trapezoidal grille, is bookended by two LED headlights with daytime running lamps and a more angular hood. The Tacoma’s lower jaw gets a little bit of an underbite this year with its black cladded front air dam, and the fog lamps are now visually connected with black plastic all the way across its front.2016_Toyota_Tacoma_(5_of_21)

From the side, the Tacoma looks virtually unchanged from last year, and the rear end would be the same story if it weren’t for the stamped tailgate with the words “TACOMA” to tell the world what you’re driving. The rear bumper is in three pieces, which is handy for something that probably will see a lot of action in its lifetime, but the front bumper is still one piece, which seemed weird.

The Tacoma’s handsome proportions stay the same. The hood looks like it takes up more than one-third of the overall 127.4-inch wheelbase (140.6 with a long bed) and the rear end takes more than a third as well. The Tacoma’s two cab configurations — Access and Double Cab — gets sandwiched in the middle, which gives the Tacoma a muscular, compact look.

According to Toyota, more than 80 percent of the Tacomas on the road will be Double Cabs, 85 percent will be V-6, and 97 percent will be with an automatic transmission. Consequently, it wears the four doors most naturally, with the shorter Access Cab models looking somewhat incomplete. All of the models we had a chance to drive were four-door, V-6, automatic and 4×4, so we can’t really report on any variation outside of that.

(P.S. Reps from Toyota said the only people who actually buy four-cylinder Tacomas are Northeasterners who are likely to be upset that the “low boy” 4×2 is gone for this generation, and that they only account for 1 out of every 10 sales.)

All of the 2016 Tacomas will be built on the same tall chassis, regardless of whether they have a transfer case. Whether by design or by accident, the deeply black wheel wells hide the Tacoma’s wheels and tires, and it was hard for us to tell the difference between the available 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheel sizes. (The latter is standard on Limited trim only.)

Toyota Tacoma Limited 34

Interior
The interior of the 2016 Tacoma received more extensive improvements than the exterior did. Inside, most Tacomas will wear either a 6.1- or 7-inch touchscreen display with Entune apps, six speakers, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, and Siri Eyes Free. For the most part, the system is easy to use and straightforward, except the integrated navigation system commits the cardinal sin of not being usable when the car is in motion. Like other writers here, I sincerely wish automakers would use the passenger-side airbag sensor to determine whether someone else were riding along and unlock commands when a passenger is present. It would be helpful to use that touchscreen sometimes.Toyota Tacoma Limited 35

A useful 4-inch multifunction display in the instrument cluster relays vital information (and looks like a Camry, by the way) including tire pressure, temps and fuel range. Thankfully, the Tacoma’s outdated tachometer and speedometer have been replaced with smaller, plainer dials that ditch the white halo and just give me the straight dope.

The interior, including door inserts, dash and seats, are a stitched together combination of medium-grade fabrics, passable vinyl and touchable, textured hard plastics. In all, I’m thankful that the Tacoma is so readily rough and tumble — especially in lower trims — but I don’t feel the same way about its touchscreen infotainment system. I’ve coated one of those things in dust before and it’s a mess to clean. It also doesn’t feel like it’d be particularly useful with gloves on.

Thankfully, every trim above the SR model (which goes SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road and Limited) gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel that’s firm and comfortable to grip, albeit with limited telescoping ability.

Last generation’s Neolithic climate control knobs have been replaced with a more modern, compact LCD system (dual-climate controls are standard in Limited, available in TRD Off Road and Sport packages) that’s easy to read and isn’t lifted from any other Toyota that I recognize. I like that.

Gated shifter? Check. Hand operated parking brake? Check. Better transmission boot around the shifter? I can’t fault any of these things.

I would, however, like for Toyota to revisit the ergonomics of its steering wheel-mounted controls. Anyone who can naturally find the volume control without looking gets a cookie. It’s impossible.

(Interior images provided by the manufacturer)

2016_Toyota_Tacoma_(1_of_21)

Powertrain
The biggest news this year is the outgoing 4-liter V-6, which is giving way to a smaller, more potent 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V-6 with direct and port injection.

And the latter mill makes the most of available technology from Toyota. The Tacoma is the first Toyota-branded vehicle to use direct and port injection (direct is used to make lower speeds more efficient, port is used at higher rpms to boost available output) and the first truck application for that system. Paired with a smaller displacement and an Atkinson cycle, the new Tacoma powertrain manages 15 percent to 20 percent better fuel economy, all while gaining 42 horsepower. The only sacrifice: the Tacoma loses its distinctive roar.

2016_Toyota_Tacoma_(8_of_21)The 4-liter’s noise is gone and has been replaced by the quiet hum of the 3.5-liter V6. Although Toyota never wants to use the word Tacoma and Camry in the same breath, their relationship is undeniable. The new Tacoma drives like a Camry, and that’s not altogether bad.

Toyota didn’t make available its I-4, nor did they want to talk about it all that much. Including that engine in the newest generation of Tacoma didn’t wholly make a lot of sense to me, and I wouldn’t be completely surprised if a version of their turbo four (beefed up for truck duty) made its way into the lineup sometime soon.

Power is handed off to the Tacoma’s 6-speed automatic (for both I-4 and V-6), 5-speed manual (I-4 only) or 6-speed manual (V-6). The smooth-shifting automatic had an easy time keeping the revs low on the street, but required more guidance off road. Without using ECT (gear holding) or engaging the Tacoma’s low-range, the truck searched for gears on dirt roads and felt a little too eager to shift up. That could be inevitable to achieve higher fuel economy ratings, but it’s noticeable.

In TRD Off Road packages the Tacoma gains a crawl control feature that famously unsticks it from sand, or traverses down a mountain. You could make a case that serious off roaders who are interested in banging their Tacomas around the mountain probably don’t need automated throttle controls or advanced hill descent features, but I don’t know many people who could manage to unbury all four wheels. Bring on the robots.

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Drive
It takes an enormous amount of confidence to update a truck that’s selling so well now, and Toyota is smarter than to stifle its own success.

In reality, Toyota didn’t do much to its Tacoma that couldn’t have been done before. A different head unit, some better interior materials and better packaging isn’t revolutionary — they’re evolutionary.

The 3.5-liter V-6 does its best to replace an engine that wasn’t great to begin with, and it’s a solid start. The Tacoma is a comfortable drive and a capable off roader.

The Tacoma doesn’t go for the throats of the other mid-size truck makers, and it certainly doesn’t exhibit any killer instinct. In reality, the Tacoma is just a killer pickup, and that’s it.

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Nissan, Enterprise Want to Get ‘Em Hooked on Versa Young http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nissan-enterprise-want-get-em-hooked-versa-young/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nissan-enterprise-want-get-em-hooked-versa-young/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 16:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1138474 Nissan and Enterprise CarShare announced Tuesday a plan to equip 90 colleges and universities in the United States exclusively with Nissan cars for students to move, haul, travel (and barf in the backseat) for $5 an hour until Dec. 31. Presumably, the college experience includes familiarity with the Versa Note’s hand-crank windows and will ultimately feed […]

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Enterprise CarShare and Nissan

Nissan and Enterprise CarShare announced Tuesday a plan to equip 90 colleges and universities in the United States exclusively with Nissan cars for students to move, haul, travel (and barf in the backseat) for $5 an hour until Dec. 31.

Presumably, the college experience includes familiarity with the Versa Note’s hand-crank windows and will ultimately feed into Nissan’s College Grad sales program.

(I’d like to say the whole thing will be wildly ineffectual, but while typing away on my Mac this morning the first basis for reference I could think of was my elementary school’s beige Apple crapboxes in the 1980s. On that basis: It’ll work, Nissan.) 

Enterprise offers their cars on 90 campuses around the country for drivers who are 18 years old and older (18- to 21-year-old drivers need to get a parental consent form). Enterprise CarShare is also offered in several major metropolitan centers including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

Fees for the service vary depending on usage. The most basic plan includes a $40 annual membership charge and hourly fees from $3 to $9 depending on location.

Competing service ZipCar says they have more than 100 universities signed up for their car sharing service.

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Nissan GT-R LM is Officially on Life Support http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nissan-gt-r-lm-officially-life-support/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nissan-gt-r-lm-officially-life-support/#comments Sat, 08 Aug 2015 16:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1136514 After Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn said they would have to reassess whether their GT-R LM program was fruitful, the company announced Friday it was pulling the car out of competition. “We know people will be disappointed, but be assured that nobody is more disappointed than us,” said Shoichi Miyatani, president of NISMO. The car had […]

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Nissan GT-R LM NISMOAfter Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn said they would have to reassess whether their GT-R LM program was fruitful, the company announced Friday it was pulling the car out of competition.

“We know people will be disappointed, but be assured that nobody is more disappointed than us,” said Shoichi Miyatani, president of NISMO.

The car had struggled in competition this year with one car finishing at Le Mans well behind the leaders, one disqualification and one DNF at the famed race in France. 

Nissan said the car’s complex Energy Recovery System was to blame for the poor results. Although the car developed around 1,250 horsepower — nearly half from the electric motors in the rear wheels — most of it never materialized. Nissan said the system was disabled on all three cars at LeMans and the lone finisher limped to the end of the race.

Nissan said testing the car — which is widely expected to share some of its powertrain with the next-generation GT-R — will continue in the United States.

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Volkswagen Selling e-Golf SE in August, Targets Nissan Leaf http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/volkswagen-selling-e-golf-se-august-targets-nissan-leaf/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/volkswagen-selling-e-golf-se-august-targets-nissan-leaf/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 16:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1135890 A lower priced e-Golf will directly compete with the Nissan Leaf for sub-$30,000 electric car buyers, the automaker announced Wednesday. The e-Golf SE will start at $29,815, before federal and any available state incentives, which is nearly the same price as a Leaf S, Autoblog correctly pointed out. The e-Golf has a range of around 83 miles. […]

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2015 Volkswagen e-Golf 3

A lower priced e-Golf will directly compete with the Nissan Leaf for sub-$30,000 electric car buyers, the automaker announced Wednesday.

The e-Golf SE will start at $29,815, before federal and any available state incentives, which is nearly the same price as a Leaf S, Autoblog correctly pointed out. The e-Golf has a range of around 83 miles.

The Leaf has sold nearly 11,000 copies since the beginning of 2015.

The SE trim will have a smaller, 6.5-inch touchscreen, compared to the SEL’s 8-inch model. Additionally, the e-Golf SE will only have a 3.6 kW onboard charger as standard. A 7.2 kW DC fast charger will be available later in the year for the model.

The Leaf S has an available quick charge package that boosts capacity to 6.6 kW for $1,770.

The Golf SE should be arriving in dealerships later this month, Volkswagen said.

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This Is Why Nissan Isn’t Bringing The Micra To America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nissan-isnt-bringing-micra-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nissan-isnt-bringing-micra-america/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 14:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1131529 Nissan began selling the Micra in the northern part of North America at the end of April 2014. The Micra was properly available by summer, and over the last twelve months — through the end of June 2015 — 11,832 Micras were sold in Canada. Could the Micra make it in America? Can we do anything other […]

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TTAC Nissan Micra Versa sales chart

Nissan began selling the Micra in the northern part of North America at the end of April 2014. The Micra was properly available by summer, and over the last twelve months — through the end of June 2015 — 11,832 Micras were sold in Canada.

Could the Micra make it in America? Can we do anything other than report evidence which supports Nissan USA’s decision to leave the Micra to their neighbors in the north and south?

There are a number of factors which cause the two auto markets north of the Rio Grande to appear similar at first glance. In the U.S. and Canada, the Ford F-Series is the perennial best seller. Windsor, Ontario-built minivans are the dominant players on both sides of the Detroit River. SUVs and crossovers are consistently generating more and more sales in both countries as the car sector loses market share in both countries.

Meanwhile, there are other factors which distinguish the two markets. In Nissan’s case, there may be no factor more obvious than the Micra and its position as an important member of Nissan’s car lineup. The Micra is Canada’s third-best-selling Nissan, ahead of everything except the top-selling Rogue and second-ranked Sentra.

2015 Nissan Micra S (4 of 10)

Based on the last twelve months, the Micra’s impact on the overall Versa lineup is undeniable. Granted, over the first half of 2015, the duo is up 8 percent, year-over-year, but the 40 percent decline in sales of the Versa — the more expensive car — equals 3,222 fewer units for that nameplate.

The results visible in the above chart represent the carrying over of a few Canadian assumptions to the U.S. ledger. Presently, the Versa is America’s top-selling sub-compact by a wide margin. And even if Versa sales in the U.S. had fallen 40.4 percent in the first half of 2015, as they have in Canada, it still would be. But its share of the market, in a segment where sales of its rivals are slipping only slightly, would plummet.

And for what, 5,000 monthly Micra sales? (That figure approximates the Mitsubishi Mirage’s monthly average U.S. volume, multiplied by 2.25.) Yes, Nissan’s overall small car total would increase, but as in Canada, it wouldn’t increase by as large a margin as Nissan would like. Blame cannibalization.

2015 Nissan Micra

Moreover, to create that increase for the sake of pleasing dealers who want another entry-level product with a bring-in-the-buyers, bargain-basement price tag; for the sake of stirring up free media over, perhaps, an $8,888 MSRP; and for the sake of engaging a group of youth buyers who may stay with the brand, Nissan would need to absorb the cost of marketing a new product, go through the rigmarole of certifying a new product and beat the Mirage at its own game. OK, maybe that last part wouldn’t be that hard.

So, why would Nissan USA avoid bringing the Micra to market? Because even with a slight increase in total volume, it simply may not be worth their while.

We’re using simple means of projection, yet it must be so. Only if Nissan USA released Micra pricing and information regarding any adjustments they’d be making to Versa bodystyles and/or trim lines would it be possible to know precisely what the Micra’s impact on the Versa would be. Yet, if the U.S. market resembles the Canadian market in any way, if the Micra fared surprisingly well in the U.S. as it has in Canada, and if doing so meant eating into a large chunk of Versa sales, we expect that first half volume in 2015 for the pair would only have risen by 10 percent.

Remember, a large part of the Versa’s appeal is its value quotient. If the Micra steals the affordability limelight, the Versa inevitably loses a chunk of buyers. These projections take into account a Versa decline identical to the one we’ve seen this year in Canada with a Micra, which roundly outperforms its Mitsubishi equivalent. There are inevitably other factors that would arise to throw off these projections, but if Nissan USA is looking at the northerly numbers, you can see why they wouldn’t want to bother with the Micra.

Unlike Canada, where the Koreans continue their domination of the subcompact market, Nissan already controls the U.S. subcompact category. Why mess with a good thing?

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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2015 Nissan Micra S Review – Lively Lilliputian http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-nissan-micra-s-review-lively-lilliputian/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-nissan-micra-s-review-lively-lilliputian/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 22:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1127761 Staring at a Monroney sticker with a four-digit MSRP would only excite you if spending a weekend clipping Sam’s Club coupons while sipping Faygo is a “fun night in.” With a base price of $9,998 in the Great White North, the Nissan Micra is the definition of Quebec Special: an entry-level car in the lowest of […]

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2015 Nissan Micra S (2 of 10)

Staring at a Monroney sticker with a four-digit MSRP would only excite you if spending a weekend clipping Sam’s Club coupons while sipping Faygo is a “fun night in.”

With a base price of $9,998 in the Great White North, the Nissan Micra is the definition of Quebec Special: an entry-level car in the lowest of trims and absolutely zero options. Wind-up windows. Manual locks. An actual, honest-to-goodness metal key. All it needs is a cassette deck and a bench seat to take you back to a time when parachute pants were cool and Wesley Snipes was paying taxes.

Yet, this diminutive, red hatchback is much more than its price and lack of options suggest. While my predecessor likened the Micra to the EK Civic, I’m going to take it one step further: The Nissan Micra is a four-door Mazda Miata.

 


The Tester

2015 Nissan Micra S [Canada]

Engine: 1.6-liter DOHC I-4, CVVT (109 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm, 107 lbs-ft @ 4,400 rpm)

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Fuel Economy (Rating, MPG): 27 city/36 highway/31 combined
Fuel Economy (Observed, MPG): 32 mpg, 50/50 city and highway, 50/50 eco-driver and small-car, fast-lane lunatic

Options: What you see is what you get, folks.

As Tested: $11,565 (sheet), approx. $8,950 USD.


“Miata with four doors? Have you completely lost the plot?” Maybe, but …

All the important ingredients from the Miata are woven into the Micra’s DNA as well: light weight, just enough power to spin the little front rubber donuts, and the suspension — well, let’s just call it peculiar for now as it needs an explanation all its own.

The bottom line: The Micra provided the most engaging and fun driving experience I’ve had in at least 12 months, and that includes all the 400+ horsepower cars that have graced my driveway over the same timeframe.

2015 Nissan Micra S (1 of 10)

Exterior
Before we get into why the Micra is a four-door Miata, we should talk about its looks for a moment, because this is really the only area where Nissan’s sub-compact could use some effort the next time around.

As much as some writers believe we shouldn’t genderize car design — especially when critiquing said sheet metal — the reality is automakers pen vehicles to appeal to certain demographics: young women, older men and any combination thereof. Certain genders will be drawn to particular design cues more than others.

When I attended the launch of the Micra last year, Nissan representatives were surprisingly upfront about the car being styled to primarily capture the attention and interest of female buyers — and it shows. The Micra is a women’s car whether you want to bury your head in the sand about it or not.

However, the cheap-and-cheerful demeanor of the Micra isn’t so dissentious that male buyers should disregard this wonder of economical automotive manufacturing. In a color other than our tester’s Red Alert, the Micra is a bit more palatable.

With that out of the way, the V-Motion grille is a bit of an architectural afterthought, like an addition to a family home gone awry. Fortunately, this forced design lineage only affects the Micra in the Canadian market. In other regions — where this runabout is named March — a single chrome bar floats within the grille’s crevasse. Headlights are the same globally, finding their place far up the hood much like the Chevrolet Spark and even the Nissan Juke, though their placement much less visually pronounced on the Micra.

A side view of the car brings back memories of the old New Beetle and its perfectly arched roofline thanks to the Micra’s semi-circular window frames. Unpainted door handles and mirror caps are noticeable but not in the same way as black plastic bumpers grabbed your attention on base model Chevrolet Cavaliers. Even though this Micra is the bottom rung on the trim hierarchy, its wheel covers still manage to look higher end than the optional alloys available on the Mirage.

2015 Nissan Micra S (4 of 10)

There’s additional unpainted black plastic at the back, but thankfully it’s limited to just the door handle for the rear hatch. The taillights and bumper seem to have received more stylistic attention than one would expect for a car costing significantly less than its competitors. To top it off, the rear window also provides ample vision from inside the car — and you’ll need it, as there’s no back up camera on this Japanese go-kart. But, you do get a rear spoiler, so at least there’s that.

2015 Nissan Micra S (7 of 10)

Interior
Complaining about the Micra’s interior materials is like going on a tirade at H&M about the quality of their $4.99 fashion-of-the-week, button-up shirts. A car that’s near-as-makes-no-difference $10,000 is going to be incredibly cheap. You don’t buy this type of car for its soft-touch dash and rubberized temperature control knobs. You buy it because it’s usable and serviceable. The plastic knobs are almost translucent in their cheapness, but they work and that’s all they’re meant to do. You should feel lucky the Micra even has a tachometer in this trim.

The only complaint I have — a trivial personal preference more than anything else — has to do with the gas gauge. You are given a digital gas gauge in the Micra — and I hate it. Please, Nissan, just give me a nice little dial so I can more accurately estimate the amount of fuel in the tank.

Other than that, the seats are incredibly simple along with the rest of the interior and not something you’d want to sit in for long jaunts on the highway, but this car isn’t built for long highway jaunts anyway.

2015 Nissan Micra S (9 of 10)Infotainment
I used to have a manual, Vulcan-powered Ford Ranger with a manual transmission. Like the Micra, it didn’t have air conditioning and just a simple radio provided your anthem for the road. When I bought my Ranger, the total came out to nearly $14,000 in used condition. It also featured two speakers — one in each door. The Micra has double the number of speakers and is cheaper in new condition. Folks, by all accounts, that’s a bargain!

In all seriousness, the Micra does come with a CD player and auxiliary input as standard. If you are keen on tuning into some daytime sports talk radio on the AM dial, you can do that, too.

You aren’t locked into the ’90s radio option, however, but you’ll need to spring for the Krom or SR-trimmed Micras to get USB input, Bluetooth and display audio as standard and those models are significantly more expensive than our base model tester.

As you can imagine, audio quality with the simple four-speaker stereo is on par with listening to a alleyway catfight on a string can telephone — tinny, full of treble and all the vocals sound like they’re being performed by Richard Simmons with a throat infection.

The 2015 Nissan Micra will mark a new era of unbeatable value for Canadians when it arrives this spring. Combining Japanese quality with European styling and heritage, Micra will provide Canadians with more fun, more attention to detail and more value than they've ever expected in a small car.

Drivetrain
Under the Nissan Micra’s short hood sits the same 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine found in the Versa Sedan and Versa Note producing 109 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 107 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. These numbers might seem downright dismal in comparison to other slightly more expensive offerings; in the Versa Note equipped with the CVT, this engine is slow, loud and almost as annoying as Social Justice Warrior Comedy Hour. When sent through the standard five-speed manual transmission, the little four pot sings along just like the eager hatchbacks of 15 or 20 years ago. The 1.6 loves to rev, but still has a grunty note that permeates the cabin. Meanwhile, it’s probably the most responsive motor in the sub-compact class with a manual that I’ve driven in recent memory. Even if you opt for the automatic transmission, you will still be welcomed by four real gears instead of the near-ubiquitous Nissan CVT.

However, the Micra isn’t incredibly efficient. Fifth gear in the manual box is too short for highway usage and bumps up fuel consumption a tad. Again, this car is built to be a cheap city grocery-getter and not a cross-country cruiser.

The manual gearbox itself is a tad loose, but it’s fairly forgiving, making missed shifts a rare occurrance. I could also say the clutch needs to provide some more feedback, but then I’m really going down the road of nitpicking. The manual in the Fiesta is better.

2015 Nissan Micra S (3 of 10)

Drive
Even with all the text above extolling the Micra’s cheap car virtues, driving it on a windy road is what makes it a real winner. The five-door Datsun absolutely loves corners — but not in the way you’d expect.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is highly regarded as being the most-fun driver’s car per dollar. That’s not because the Miata puts up huge horsepower numbers or corners completely flat or does record-setting laps around the Nurburgring. Instead, it’s because the Miata communicates with the driver and doesn’t desensitize the driving experience. If the body rolls a little bit, you’re going to feel it. When braking, the Miata’s brake pedal will communicate to the driver the exact point before ABS kicks in.

The Micra does the same thing.

No, it isn’t going to attack a corner as fast as a Miata, but it feels just as fast. If the brain is tricked into thinking it’s going fast — even if the car is only doing a bit over the speed limit — isn’t that all that matters? You don’t need to be a driving hero. You only need to feel the sensation of being a driving hero.

While we all know this feeling is very hard to quantify, let alone market to the buying public, this is the Micra’s greatest party trick. It’s the slow car you want to drive fast — or at least think you’re driving fast. And it isn’t by accident that the Micra drives the way it does, especially in Canada.

Compared to overseas units, the Micra in Canada has different sway bars — front and rear — and steering tuned specifically for North American roads. This makes the Micra more chuckable, more communicative, and — as a result — a helluva lot more fun.

Unfortunately, those of you in the U.S. won’t be able to enjoy the magic of this micro machine — at least not yet. A year ago, there were rumors swirling about the Micra’s future availability in the U.S. They’ve simmered down before coming to fruition.

It’s unfortunate, really, because when the answer is not Miata, it could surely be Micra.

2015 Nissan Micra S (1 of 10) 2015 Nissan Micra S (2 of 10) 2015 Nissan Micra S (3 of 10) 2015 Nissan Micra S (4 of 10) 2015 Nissan Micra S (5 of 10) 2015 Nissan Micra S (6 of 10) 2015 Nissan Micra S (7 of 10) 2015 Nissan Micra S (8 of 10) 2015 Nissan Micra S (9 of 10) 2015 Nissan Micra S (10 of 10)

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Nissan To Trump-bashing California Dealer Ad: ‘No Bueno’ [Video] http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-trump-bashing-california-dealer-ad-no-bueno-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-trump-bashing-california-dealer-ad-no-bueno-video/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1127961 Nissan scolded one of its dealers Tuesday for releasing an ad showing the battering of a piñata resembling Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Automotive News is reporting. The ad depicts salesmen repeatedly hitting a Trump-looking piñata and declaring, “At Van Nuys Nissan, Latinos rule.” The ad was made after Trump denounced some undocumented Mexican immigrants […]

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Van Nuys Nissan

Nissan scolded one of its dealers Tuesday for releasing an ad showing the battering of a piñata resembling Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Automotive News is reporting.

The ad depicts salesmen repeatedly hitting a Trump-looking piñata and declaring, “At Van Nuys Nissan, Latinos rule.” The ad was made after Trump denounced some undocumented Mexican immigrants as “rapists” in a June political speech.

“We find these advertisements to be neither responsible or respectful, and we do not condone what they represent,” Nissan said in a statement. “We expect our dealers to establish advertising that is responsible and respectful and represents the best interest of the Nissan brand.”

Commenters have blasted Nissan of Van Nuys for airing the ad.

“I’m Hispanic, and I’m embarrassed for you. I’d never go to your dealership based on your crappy reviews. The idiotic piñata thing is the icing on the cake,” one commenter wrote. “Van Nuys Nissan, get your PR crew together and get rid of that racist manager.”

Nissan said it respected the dealer’s right to free speech.

Of course, this is hardly the first dealer to air a controversial ad. Nor is it the most entertainingly profane (link NSFW, obviously).

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Joint Daimler, Renault-Nissan Plant in Mexico Begins Construction http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/joint-daimler-renault-nissan-plant-mexico-beings-construction/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/joint-daimler-renault-nissan-plant-mexico-beings-construction/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126641 A manufacturing plant in Mexico jointly owned by Daimler and Renault-Nissan will begin construction imminently, according to Daimler. The facility, which will be located in Aguascalientes — about 150 northeast of Guadalajara and 300 miles northwest of Mexico City — will build “compact premium vehicles” for the automakers, which may include the Mercedes-Benz CLA/GLA and the […]

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Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn (right) and Daimler CEO Dieter Z

A manufacturing plant in Mexico jointly owned by Daimler and Renault-Nissan will begin construction imminently, according to Daimler.

The facility, which will be located in Aguascalientes — about 150 northeast of Guadalajara and 300 miles northwest of Mexico City — will build “compact premium vehicles” for the automakers, which may include the Mercedes-Benz CLA/GLA and the upcoming Infiniti Q30/QX30 that share similar front-wheel drive architectures.

Nissan is expected to produce vehicles from the plant for 2017, and Mercedes vehicles will roll of the lines in 2018.

According to Daimler, the plant will have an initial capacity of 230,000 vehicles in the first year, with the ability to expand later. The plant would roughly rival the size of Mercedes’ Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant, which produced 185,000 cars in 2013, 245,000 cars in 2014 and is expected to make 300,000 cars this year.

The plant will be Mercedes’ first compact car-making plant in the NAFTA region, located near Nissan’s A2 plant, also in Aguascalientes.

The joint manufacturing facility is the latest development in an increasingly cozy relationship between Daimler and Renault-Nissan. In addition to the compact pact, the automakers will share a similar platform for the Renault Twingo and upcoming Smart cars.

The joint plant is owned equally by Daimler and Renault-Nissan.

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Hyundai May Bring Subcompact Crossover, but It Won’t Be Creta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124249 Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting. The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. […]

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Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting.

The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. buyers.

“We have decided to wait a little bit longer to get the right vehicle,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

The Creta would enter an already crowded field of subcompact crossovers that’s getting more crowded every day. Already the HR-V, Trax and Juke duke it out with the Jeep Renegade and Subaru XV Crosstrek, with the Mazda CX-3 on its way this year. (EcoSport, Ford?)

According to Zuchowski, the Creta was too conservative for the segment and too closely resembled a smaller version of the Santa Fe.

“In our opinion, as we go into this segment, it is a great segment for Millennials, for Gen Y. It is a good youth vehicle and we think in order to tap that market, the thing should be styled less conservatively and more aggressively,” he said.

Last month, Hyundai released a rendering of the Creta that would have fit the “aggressive” bill, but as always many features didn’t make it into the production version.

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Nissan Halts Sales on Some Maximas for Quality Issues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-halts-sales-maximas-quality-issues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-halts-sales-maximas-quality-issues/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 18:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124145 Nissan has told its dealers to stop selling specific models of the Maxima due to unspecified quality issue, Automotive News is reporting. The issue involves Maximas with a specific VIN, not a model type. It’s unclear if those cars have been delivered to dealers or customers. According to Automotive News, Nissan hasn’t identified how many models […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima (18 of 23)

Nissan has told its dealers to stop selling specific models of the Maxima due to unspecified quality issue, Automotive News is reporting.

The issue involves Maximas with a specific VIN, not a model type. It’s unclear if those cars have been delivered to dealers or customers. According to Automotive News, Nissan hasn’t identified how many models would be affected by the stop-sale, nor how many of the models may have already been sold.

Nissan hasn’t made available details about the VIN number or how to identify the held cars.

A Denver-area Nissan dealer said he wasn’t aware of the stop-sale at all.

A Nissan spokesman told Automotive News that the company would investigate the issue further before making any public statements.

“Nissan is committed to a high level of customer service and satisfaction,” the company said in a statement to Automotive News. “This commitment requires Nissan to periodically place certain specific vehicles on a temporary Quality Assurance Hold to assure that these vehicles, as delivered to our customers, meet our exacting standards and our customers’ expectations.”

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Front-wheel Drive Nissan GT-R LM NISMO Might Be Non-hit Wonder http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/front-wheel-drive-nissan-gt-r-lm-nismo-might-non-hit-wonder/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/front-wheel-drive-nissan-gt-r-lm-nismo-might-non-hit-wonder/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 18:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1120145 After a less than stellar result for Nissan at the 24 Hours of LeMans this year, Carlos Ghosn has stated the program — at least in its current form — is under review. According to Sportscar365 (via AutoBlog), “high-level executive meetings” were to take place last week and could decide on the future of Nissan’s […]

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Nissan GT-R LM NISMO at Le Mans 2015

After a less than stellar result for Nissan at the 24 Hours of LeMans this year, Carlos Ghosn has stated the program — at least in its current form — is under review.

According to Sportscar365 (via AutoBlog), “high-level executive meetings” were to take place last week and could decide on the future of Nissan’s front-wheel drive endurance contender.

Speaking at London’s Formula E race last month, Ghosn was up front about the future of Nissan’s latest creation.

“Nissan has always been associated with innovation,” Ghosn said. “We made an attempt that did not prove fruitful. We must reassess the strategy.

“We wanted to be different and competitive but we’ve only been different.”

The team is still planning to take part in a test at Circuit of the Americas later this month.

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Mazda Says 2016 CX-3 Will Start Under $20,000 (Kinda) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-says-2016-cx-3-will-start-under-20000-kinda/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-says-2016-cx-3-will-start-under-20000-kinda/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 20:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118137 The new mini crossover from Mazda will start at $19,960 (not including $880 destination) when it goes on sale after next month, the automaker reported Thursday. That puts the CX-3 in leagues with the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade as sub-$20,000 crossovers in an increasingly crowded and competitive segment. Like the […]

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The new mini crossover from Mazda will start at $19,960 (not including $880 destination) when it goes on sale after next month, the automaker reported Thursday.

That puts the CX-3 in leagues with the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade as sub-$20,000 crossovers in an increasingly crowded and competitive segment.

Like the rest of its competition, it’s not hard to hike the CX-3’s final price up in a hurry.

The base price gets Mazda’s 2.0-liter inline four and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard on all models will be a rear-view camera, 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth push button starter and power windows and doors. All-wheel drive can be added for $1,250.

The middle-of-the-range CX-3 Touring (with heated seats, leather wrapped wheel, blind-spot monitoring, et al.) runs $22,840. The top-of-the-line CX-3 Grand Touring (navigation, moon roof, leather, Bose sound, etc.) comes in at $25,870. And presumably, the most you could pay for a CX-3 coming from the factory would be a Grand Touring CX-3 with all-wheel drive and Mazda’s optional safety package would be $29,040.

If you need any further proof the segment is ultra competitive and willing to cut to the very bone for the best price on a headline, consider that you can still buy a Jeep Renegade without air conditioning and 16-inch steel wheels for $18,880.

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Audi Confirms Turbos in Future Editions of R8 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/audi-confirms-turbos-future-editions-r8/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/audi-confirms-turbos-future-editions-r8/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 20:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116665 Future engines in entry-level Audi R8s will be inevitably turbocharged, Audi executives told Motoring (via Car and Driver). Instead of replacing the 5.2-liter V10s found in the 2017 R8 standard and Plus models, the boosted V6 from the upcoming RS4 (or maybe a turbo five cylinder?) would slot below the naturally aspirated models. “It is inevitable that […]

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2017-Audi-R8-V10-Plus-15

Future engines in entry-level Audi R8s will be inevitably turbocharged, Audi executives told Motoring (via Car and Driver).

Instead of replacing the 5.2-liter V10s found in the 2017 R8 standard and Plus models, the boosted V6 from the upcoming RS4 (or maybe a turbo five cylinder?) would slot below the naturally aspirated models.

“It is inevitable that we will go to a turbocharged motor for it at some point. It would be in this model cycle, to give us a fuller range,” Ulrich Hackenberg, who sits on Audi’s Board of Management as a technical director, told Motoring last month.

The standard V10 in the 2017 R8 already churns out 540 horsepower and the Plus edition creates 610 horsepower. Instead of any power gains, the turbochargers will likely be present to boost torque and deliver more of it at a lower end of the RPM range, Motoring speculates.

Already automakers such as Mercedes-AMG, Porsche and Nissan offer turbocharged versions of their cars with more twist than the 413 pound-feet offered in the R8’s V10. The 911 Turbo (486 lb.-ft. or 523 lb.-ft.), AMG GT S (479 lb.-ft.) and GT-R (463 lb.-ft.) all have force-fed engines.

According to the report, the current-generation R8 that will go on sale in the United States next spring will get the turbocharged engine, but officials didn’t say exactly when it would make an appearance.

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Honda Has Alarmingly Few Female Managers in Japan, and They Know It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-alarmingly-female-managers-japan-know/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-alarmingly-female-managers-japan-know/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 15:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1114881 Last month, Honda released its annual Sustainability Report outlining the company’s position and direction under its new CEO Takahiro Hachigo. Outlined on Page 73 of its 104-page report, Honda admits its number of female managers in Japan is quite low. Well, actually 0.5-percent low. Even compared to other regions where Honda does business, the number of […]

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Auto Worker at Japanese Honda Factory

Last month, Honda released its annual Sustainability Report outlining the company’s position and direction under its new CEO Takahiro Hachigo.

Outlined on Page 73 of its 104-page report, Honda admits its number of female managers in Japan is quite low.

Well, actually 0.5-percent low.

Even compared to other regions where Honda does business, the number of female managers in Japan is quite low. According to the report, 12.4 percent of managers in Honda’s Asia/Oceania region and 17.5 percent of managers in the North America region are female.

Compared to other automakers, the number of female managers at Honda isn’t much better. Nissan reported that 8.2 percent of its managers in Japan are female, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported that 13.1 percent of its worldwide managers are female.

Matt Slouster, a spokesman for American Honda outlined a few steps by Honda in Japan:

“Increasing female representation in management positions is among Honda’s
top priorities. In Japan, Honda Motor Co. has assigned full-time staff to
the newly formed Diversity Promotion Office (DPO) to provide direct support
to female associates and accelerate their advancement within the company.
Moreover, the DPO has implemented new programs to support associates who
are managing their careers while starting families and raising children.
As part of its ongoing responsibilities, the DPO will work continuously to
ensure equal opportunity for women throughout the organization.”

The problem isn’t Honda’s alone, however. In 2011, only 4.5 percent of division heads in Japan were women, according to a regional study. Less than 1 percent of senior-level, executive managers in Japan were women. That’s compared to 9 percent in China and 15 percent in Singapore.

A 2014 story by The Economist details the struggles women in Japan are working to overcome. According to the report, 70 percent of women stop working for a decade or more after having children, compared to just about 30 percent in America. Of the women who work, many don’t work full-time or in permanent positions. In 2012, about 77 percent of Japan’s part-time and temporary workforce were women, the story reports.

It’s a widespread problem Japan has faced for decades and one that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has specifically targeted to help revitalize the country’s aging and shrinking workforce — and even that may not help.

By 2020, Abe said women should occupy roughly 30 percent of “leadership” positions in Japan — government and business. Honda has a ways to go.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Nissan Maxima http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1984-nissan-maxima/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1984-nissan-maxima/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 11:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116233 Maximas of the ’80s, like their Toyota Cressida counterparts, were pretty reliable and held their heads above the scrap-value waterline for decades after all the early Sentras got crushed. We’ve seen this ’85 sedan with 5-speed, this gig-rig ’86 wagon with pleading note to the tow-truck driver and this super-weird ’86 sedan with brake fluid […]

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14 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Maximas of the ’80s, like their Toyota Cressida counterparts, were pretty reliable and held their heads above the scrap-value waterline for decades after all the early Sentras got crushed. We’ve seen this ’85 sedan with 5-speed, this gig-rig ’86 wagon with pleading note to the tow-truck driver and this super-weird ’86 sedan with brake fluid used as coolant and washer fluid in this series so far, and today we’re heading to the San Francisco Bay Area to see this last-year-of-rear-wheel-drive example.
06 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This one has surprisingly low miles on the clock.

16 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

By 1984, the name-change from Datsun to Nissan was in its final transition year. These cars came with little Datsun badges and big Nissan badges (the Datsun ones have been pried off this car); for the 1985 model year, all U.S.-market Nissans would be Datsun-badge-free.

I recall the whole marque-renaming thing being puzzling at the time.

10 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Just like the 810 that preceded it, this car has a 2.4-liter L24 straight-six engine and Z-car-derived suspension. A year later, the Maxima would be motivated by the front wheels and powered by a V6.

19 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Many upscale Nissans would keep the weird phonograph-based “talking car” system for a few more years, but some models started getting solid-state voice units instead of the far cooler record-player types. Yes, I bought this one.

01 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Do these stickers really prevent speeding tickets?


Japanese car ads during this period were far superior to the North American ones.


At Nissan, we make every drive Major Motion.

14 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Nissan Rogue Hybrid Imminent, Qashqai Replacing Rogue Select http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-rogue-hybrid-imminent-qashqai-replacing-rogue-select/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-rogue-hybrid-imminent-qashqai-replacing-rogue-select/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 15:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1114561 Nissan will add a hybrid powertrain to the Rogue and bring the smaller, European Qashqai to the U.S., AutoGuide is reporting. A few days ago, we reported that Nissan would be ending production of the last-generation Rogue in Japan, which is sold as the Rogue Select in the United States. Now it appears the Qashqai […]

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Nissan will add a hybrid powertrain to the Rogue and bring the smaller, European Qashqai to the U.S., AutoGuide is reporting.

A few days ago, we reported that Nissan would be ending production of the last-generation Rogue in Japan, which is sold as the Rogue Select in the United States. Now it appears the Qashqai will effectively replace the Rogue Select in Nissan’s lineup, giving the Japanese automaker another small crossover to sell stateside.

And Nissan is selling the snot out of crossovers in the U.S.

Nissan made rumblings about a hybrid Rogue back in April and it believes the already huge market hasn’t yet been tapped.

“We haven’t hit the ceiling yet. We have more opportunity there if we can get our dealers more [crossovers],” Fred Diaz said, Nissan’s senior vice president of U.S. sales, said according to AutoGuide.

The Qashqai is built on a similar platform as the Rogue, but is 10 inches shorter, and also sports a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that may or may not make the ride over to the states.

No word yet on whether Canada will be getting the Qashqai.

In case you’re wondering:

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