The Truth About Cars » Nissan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 11 Sep 2014 23:24:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Nissan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Super Piston Slap: Thrifty Texans Trump Tailgate Theft? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/super-piston-slap-thrifty-texans-trump-tailgate-theft/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/super-piston-slap-thrifty-texans-trump-tailgate-theft/#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 12:39:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=907985   Yesterday’s post on Texas Tailgate Theft definitely struck a nerve with this Native Texan, especially the NCIB’s Quote: “Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.” Yeah, not quite… Yup, a hose clamp…well not just a hose […]

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Tailgate-theft-lock-it

(photo courtesy: hardworkingtrucks.com)

Yesterday’s post on Texas Tailgate Theft definitely struck a nerve with this Native Texan, especially the NCIB’s Quote:

“Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.”

Yeah, not quite…

photo 1

Just a little trip to my local Home Depot.

Yup, a hose clamp…well not just a hose clamp, but that’s for later.

Thanks to TTAC commentator, Editor in Chief of another blog and all around nice guy, Mr. Lyndon Johnson (yes, really) for planting this seed in my mind. He posted a photo on Facebook of a rusty hose clamp around the tailgate hinge of his Ranger. It instantly made sense: even if you don’t have a few of these rattling around, why the hell wouldn’t you spend $3 for these?

tailgate

Hose Clamp PROS: Cheap, easy to install, readily available and slows down a would-be thief to the point they’ll look for another tailgate to swipe. And its an extra measure of protection, even if you have a lock in your tailgate release handle. (As they aren’t too hard to punch out with a screwdriver, too.)

(photo courtesy: pickupspecialities.com)

Hose Clamp CONS: The expensive-ish aftermarket alternatives are more theft resistant. And the clamps are kinda ghetto-trashy ugly, if you care about those Vellum Venom type of design hang ups.

Here’s how to narrow the gap between the clamp and the lock: level the playing field with a bit of silicone adhesive.  You know, the stuff you already have in your garage.

photo 2

It’s not rocket science: coat the screw head and clamp’s threads in the stuff. It’s an extra level of complication, and as the night photo shows, a bit more complicated to comprehend. It’ll certainly drive a thief nuts trying to scrape that crap off.

Only to then need to unscrew the clamp. And finally lather-rinse-repeat on the other side. Or just leave my rig alone, find another Texan not wise to the hose clamp + silicone trick.

Now you know what I know: what say you Best and Brightest? Should all truckers spend $3-4 on this anti-theft modification?

 

 

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The Source Of August 2014′s U.S. Auto Sales Growth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/source-august-2014s-u-s-auto-sales-growth/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/source-august-2014s-u-s-auto-sales-growth/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 12:28:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906633 Forecasts didn’t call for rain on August 2014’s auto sales parade, but there was definitely a general feeling of overcast heading into Wednesday as automakers prepared to release their monthly and year-to-date sales results. The rate of growth in the U.S. auto industry since the recession ended has been striking, but the chances of that […]

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U.S. auto sales growth by units gained August 2014Forecasts didn’t call for rain on August 2014’s auto sales parade, but there was definitely a general feeling of overcast heading into Wednesday as automakers prepared to release their monthly and year-to-date sales results.

The rate of growth in the U.S. auto industry since the recession ended has been striking, but the chances of that growth lasting forever – particularly when a month like August is compared with a very strong month like August 2013 – seemed slim.

Yet auto sales increased by 5.5% to more than 1.58 million in August 2014, an improvement of more than 80,000 units.

The forecasts weren’t all wrong. High-volume brands like Chevrolet, Dodge, and Volkswagen all reported losses, a 13% decline in Volkswagen’s case, the 17th consecutive month in which Volkswagen brand sales have decreased in the United States.

Jaguar volume fell 31%. Infiniti volume fell 23%. Fiat was down 20%. Scion sales likewise slid 20%. Cadillac volume was off August 2013’s pace by 18%. Sales at BMW’s Mini brand were down 17%. Buick and Volvo both lost 10%; Acura and Land Rover fell 9%. Lincoln was just south of level.

The bright spots, however, were particularly bright. Jeep, Ram, Subaru, Nissan, and Toyota were the biggest brands to post significant increases. Maserati, Porsche, Smart, Mitsubishi, and Audi were among the lower-volume auto brands to post meaningful improvements: 278%, 36%, 34%, 28%, and 22%, respectively.

Mazda, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, GMC, and Lexus all grew by at least 10%. Toyota brand sales were up 7%. Hyundai grew 6%. (Kia, Chrysler, Honda, Bentley, and Ford improvements were all below the market’s 5.5% growth rate.)

Back to those five large and fast-growing brands, Jeep reported its best-ever sales month for the new Cherokee, America’s eighth-ranked SUV/crossover in August. Ram’s market share in the full-size truck category grew by more than four percentage points. Subaru sold more than 50,000 vehicles for the first time in a single month, and Nissan reported a car sales improvement of 18% in a car market that improved by just 2%. Toyota shot the RAV4 up to top spot among utility vehicles with record sales in a second consecutive month.

As for the fast-growing lower-volume brands, Maserati outsold Jaguar, albeit by just 49 units. Even with the Macan excluded, Porsche sales jumped 7.3%. Mercedes-Benz reported more than 1000 Smart Fortwo sales for the third time in five months, having not done so previously since September 2012.

Mitsubishi is not back to being a brand that can sell more than 300,000 cars annually in the United States, but sales have increased in six consecutive months and in ten of the last eleven months.

Audi reported its highest-ever monthly sales in the U.S. in August, generating 41% of the brand’s sales with Q models and the A4 Allroad, including the first 243 Q3 sales.

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Piston Slap: Maximum TPS Reporting? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-maximum-tps-reporting/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-maximum-tps-reporting/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 11:47:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903553   TTAC Commentator Eiriksmal writes: I read your plea for questions, so I’ll lob you a softball. Why has my 2005 Maxima’s TPS decided to randomly poop out on me after doing a warm start? Specs: 2005 Nissan Maxima 6MT. 135,000 miles. Electronic throttle. Stock air intake + (new, put in the first time the […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

TTAC Commentator Eiriksmal writes:

I read your plea for questions, so I’ll lob you a softball. Why has my 2005 Maxima’s TPS decided to randomly poop out on me after doing a warm start?

Specs: 2005 Nissan Maxima 6MT. 135,000 miles. Electronic throttle. Stock air intake + (new, put in the first time the TPS acted up 3K miles ago) K&N filter. The car’s now on its third owner, having spent its whole life in Evansville, IN, Lexington, KY, and now Louisville, KY. At the rust belt’s frayed fringe, I guess. No surface rust anywhere on the car, though. Electrically speaking, it’s in good shape. (Save the rear ABS sensors… a rant for another day)

Relevant codes*: Throws a P2135 for sensor voltage being out of spec whenever it acts up.

Scenario: Drive the car a while to be fully in the operating temperature range. Turn the engine off. Wait for a long train to pass/run in and renew your driver’s license/do some quick shopping, now turn on car. Car slow to start. Throttle goes into fail safe** (hold the pedal to the floor, wait a few seconds, revs rise slower than a DD15). Turn car off. Wait a second. Turn car on. Blip throttle, engine roars. You’re back in business.

Attemped fixes: The mechanic at my work suggested I clean the MAF. I did that. He suggested I check the connector and clean it. It looks good, I sprayed some of the MAF cleaner on there, too. No luck, it still acts up. His newest suggestion is to follow the harness to the firewall and look for a pinch or something. That sounds like work to me, and I’m a pretty lazy guy, so…

My question is, how does a throttle position sensor go bad? It’s way up high out of the way of muck from the road, so what’s the deal? Specs state it should be between 0.36V and 4.75V (at full throttle), so it’s not like there’s some high current load burning it up. The problem is that I can’t find an actual throttle position sensor in the Nissan parts diagrams, and I realllly don’t want to spend $615 on a new throttle body (file away this nugget: try CourtesyParts.com, they’re the best OEM retailer of Nissan parts I’ve found.).

Question 2: What’re the chances that something’s wrong with the harness? Why would it go away after a restart? (Yeah, that latter question is a crappy one)

*Other codes: Dreaded P0420 on the precats I installed 2 years/30,000 miles ago to treat the environment right and turn off the P0420. Also lit is the parking brake light, the traction control disabled light, the “your wheels are slipping/TCS engaged” light, and the ABS light. The car’s upset that I snipped two fusible links in the engine bay to kill all power to the ABS actuator. Cough. That was about three months ago and is wholly separate from the throttle control.

**From the FSM:
“The ECM controls the electric throttle control actuator in regulating the throttle opening in order for the idle position to be within +10 degrees. The ECM controls the opening speed of the throttle to be slower than the normal condition. So, the acceleration will be poor.” No, really!?

PS: How’s Sanjeev doing these days? He’s been quiet for a while.

Sanjeev answers:

It’s about time you people demanded my presence!

We know I don’t respond with garbage like “ZOMG SON U SWAP LS4-FTW lest Panther Love because I’m a big stupid jerk in my First Generation Mark VIII”…or whatever he normally says. Wait, what’s your problem again?

Sajeev answers:

While my arch nemesis with the far more common Indian name continues to disappoint, let’s talk Nissan Maxima TPS. Engine code P2135 points to a problem with the drive by wire (i.e. no throttle cable) system, which is excellently described here. Long story short, there’s a sensor on the go-pedal, another 1-2 more on the engine’s intake throttle plate, an actuator for said plate, and some wiring to make it work.

The wiring could be bad/dirty/corroded/loose at either sensor, but odds are cleaning and checking won’t cure the problem.  There’s a good chance one of these sensors went south.  That’s because anything that moves does indeed wear out: remember scratchy old records on the Hi Fi? That’s the wear a seemingly non-moving sensor endures!

And lucky you: if the sensor on the throttle body side is bad, you get to replace the throttle assembly.  Because that’s how modern drive-by-wire systems work: yeah, how fun!

Do yourself a solid, read the above hyperlink.  If the throttle body is bad and you’re broke, consider a reman part instead of the original: they’re about half the price. And since this is a 10-year-old machine, be ready for the worst…you will need a replacement throttle body. Hmm-kay? Yeeah. 

TPSreports

photo courtesy: heatherpierceinc.com

 

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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Andy Palmer Named Aston Martin CEO, Leaving Infiniti Without Leadership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/andy-palmer-named-aston-martin-ceo-leaving-infiniti-without-leadership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/andy-palmer-named-aston-martin-ceo-leaving-infiniti-without-leadership/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 15:05:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904929 Longtime Nissan executive Andy Palmer will join Aston Martin as its new CEO, effective September 15th. This bodes well for the struggling boutique sports car maker, but leaves Infiniti with a critical leadership vacuum. Palmer’s appointment at Aston Martin brings considerable experience working with both luxury brands and in partnership with Daimler. Aston Martin is […]

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Longtime Nissan executive Andy Palmer will join Aston Martin as its new CEO, effective September 15th. This bodes well for the struggling boutique sports car maker, but leaves Infiniti with a critical leadership vacuum.

Palmer’s appointment at Aston Martin brings considerable experience working with both luxury brands and in partnership with Daimler. Aston Martin is expected to use engines from Daimler’s high-performance AMG brand in future, and may co-operate further with the German auto maker.

For Renault-Nissan, this is the second high profile departure in recent months. Palmer was filling in for recently departed Infiniti executive Johan de Nysschen, who left for Cadillac in July. Infiniti will now become the responsibility of North America head Jose Munoz, with a permanent replacement expected to arrive at a later date. Renault Executive Vice President Philippe Klein will replace Palmer as Chief Planning Officer and assume Palmer’s seat on the board.

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

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Datsun mi-Do 01

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

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

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

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

Datsun mi-Do 01 Datsun mi-Do 02 Datsun mi-Do 03 Datsun mi-Do 07 Datsun mi-Do 06 Datsun mi-Do 04 Datsun mi-Do 05 Datsun mi-Do 08 Datsun mi-Do 09

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

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

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

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

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In China, ESQ Stands For “Rebadged Nissans With Mega Margins” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/china-esq-stands-rebadged-nissans-mega-margins/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/china-esq-stands-rebadged-nissans-mega-margins/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:30:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895514 Infiniti is said to be expanding their model lineup in coming years, with a range of new passenger cars and CUVs. But the company is so hungry for a compact crossover, right now, that they aren’t even waiting for the upcoming QX30. Based on the Nismo version of the Nissan Juke, the ESQ will be […]

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Infiniti is said to be expanding their model lineup in coming years, with a range of new passenger cars and CUVs. But the company is so hungry for a compact crossover, right now, that they aren’t even waiting for the upcoming QX30.

Based on the Nismo version of the Nissan Juke, the ESQ will be a low-volume, China-only product, for Chinese consumers who are foaming at the mouth to get their hands on any small, two-box vehicle with a raised ride height and a premium badge. Evidently, there’s quite a few of them, and Nissan should profit handsomely off of this product.

Carnewschina is reporting that the Juke-based ESQ will be priced between $32,000 and $49,000 USD, and that this is the first in a sub-brand lineup of ESQ cars targeted at young luxury buyers. Given that Nissan is selling a vehicle that sells for $23,000-$26,000 in the USA for nearly twice the cost, you can hardly blame their motives – or wonder what other products are in store for the ESQ lineup.

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Junkyard Find: 1974 Datsun B210 Hatchback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1974-datsun-b210-hatchback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1974-datsun-b210-hatchback/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=881802 I’ve seen a few B210s during my junkyard travels since we had this ’75 hatchback and this ’78 coupe in this series back in 2012, but most of the time I don’t find them sufficiently interesting to photograph. A bewilderingly labeled 210 or 310 or B310 or whatever it was that Nissan called their American […]

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11 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’ve seen a few B210s during my junkyard travels since we had this ’75 hatchback and this ’78 coupe in this series back in 2012, but most of the time I don’t find them sufficiently interesting to photograph. A bewilderingly labeled 210 or 310 or B310 or whatever it was that Nissan called their American Sunny for several months in the late 1970s, sure, I’ll shoot that. I overlook these cars, I must admit, because I came of driving age in the early 1980s, when these cars (and early Colts, and Pintos, and Vegas) were the bottom-of-the-barrel misery boxes that young people bought for $150 and loathed driving— let’s call them the Ford Tempos and Chevy Berettas of the Late Malaise Era. This B210 looked so old, sitting in the snow among the Camrys and Volvo 940s at my local Denver yard last winter, that I decided to add it to this series. Enjoy.
18 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhy call this car the B210 and a different car the 210 in the United States, and then give the same car the 120Y name in Europe? Ask the geniuses who decided to spend incredible sums to ditch the Datsun marque in the early 1980s, then bring it back in the 21st century.
05 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo matter how much the thought of the Malaise Era may make everyone depressed, it’s hard not to love these goofy-looking “Honey Bee” hubcaps.
02 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf you’re buying a B210, why bother with options? Blockoff plates galore on the dash.
07 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe A13 made all of 75 horses in 1974. That’s 3.5 less than the ’74 MGB got, so a B210-versus-MGB drag race that year would have required a lot of patience for the spectators.
06 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI wonder what sort of cassette collection you could acquire if you grabbed every one you found at a large Yank-Yer-Partz yard. Most of them would be unlabeled tapes that would turn out to have a muffly one-channel-only recording of Dark Side of the Moon, of course.

01 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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

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2014 Nissan NV200 cargo front

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

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

2014 Nissan NV200 cargo volume rear

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

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

2014 Nissan NV200 cargo dash

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

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

2014 Nissan NV200 cargo interior details

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

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

2014 Nissan NV200 cargo exterior details

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

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

2014 Nissan NV200 cargo side sliding door open

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

Nissan NV200 comparison

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

2014 Nissan NV200 cargo rear

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

Nissan provided the vehicle for this review.

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Nissan Maxima Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1986-nissan-maxima-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1986-nissan-maxima-station-wagon/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877490 One thing I love about early-to-mid-1980s Nissans is the combination of futuristic technology with endearing Japanese-to-English translations. We’ve seen a few Maximas in this series, including this rear-wheel-drive ’82 Datsun Maxima and this puzzling “Brake Fluid EVERYWHERE” ’86 Maxima. On a recent trip to California, I found this rare Maxima station wagon at an Oakland […]

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04 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne thing I love about early-to-mid-1980s Nissans is the combination of futuristic technology with endearing Japanese-to-English translations. We’ve seen a few Maximas in this series, including this rear-wheel-drive ’82 Datsun Maxima and this puzzling “Brake Fluid EVERYWHERE” ’86 Maxima. On a recent trip to California, I found this rare Maxima station wagon at an Oakland self-serve yard.
03 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis was just a few years before the Infiniti brand hit these shores, and the Maxima (like the Toyota Cressida) was seeming less luxurious compared to the competition as the decade of the 1980s wore on.
12 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI found an excellent addition to my collection of heartfelt notes to tow-truck drivers in this car.
10 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe paint is faded, but the interior isn’t so bad.

A powerful rebuttal to the notion of compromise.

As always, the US got the most boring commercials for Japanese cars.

WHOOOOOOSH! Super Sonic Suspension!

01 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Piston Slap: Chronic Xterra Maintenance? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-the-wussy-xterra/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-the-wussy-xterra/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:26:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871778   m koonce writes: Sajeev – you wanted questions, I have questions! First – I love your column. Great advice, and well written. Now my question(s). I have a 2009 Nissan Xterra 4wd, X model, 52k miles, and no problems except door squeaks and rubber molding which wont stay attached but that’s trivial. My question […]

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No correlation. (photo courtesy: http://images.gtcarlot.com)

m koonce writes:

Sajeev – you wanted questions, I have questions! First – I love your column. Great advice, and well written. Now my question(s).

  1. I have a 2009 Nissan Xterra 4wd, X model, 52k miles, and no problems except door squeaks and rubber molding which wont stay attached but that’s trivial. My question is, when should I have a “tuneup” done – i.e., change the spark plugs. Should I wait until Nissan’s recommended mileage (105k miles I think), or do it sooner? And should I replace all the coils at the same time (I presume the truck has a coil-on-plug ignition setup)? What else should I have done at the same time?
  2. Re: same vehicle: at 36k miles (May 2013) I did a transmission fluid dump and refill at local dealership, and did the same again at 49k miles in May 2014, again at dealership. My plan is to continue this dump and refill procedure every year for as long as I own the truck. Am I on the right track here? I’ve also had all other fluids replaced, except brake fluid which will be replaced when I have a brake job done.

Thanks for your advice, and keep up the good work.

Sajeev answers:

Actually you have three questions, come on son!  Now you know I’ll Google up some half-cocked give an enlightening answer for just about any question. And my goodness, do you need questions answered, for the sake of your poor, poor wallet!

Question 1: Squeaky rubber seals: spray them with a silicone based lubricant (safe on rubber, less sticky than WD-40) or do it right with this tube of magic.

Question 2: Direct injection systems aside…rarely, if ever, does a non-modified vehicle driven by a law-abiding motorist need new spark plugs before the recommended interval. Even DI motors won’t necessarily need aggressive plug replacements, and the supercharged versions of your Nissan are fine if you follow the owner’s manual. Spark plugs, be it iridium or platinum, have come a long way, baby!

Question 2.5:  Replace coil pack(s) when the engine computer says so. That is, when you get a stumble/misfire, you scan for codes, etc. and determine the misbehaving coil. Do not change them during the mandated tune up interval, only change normal wear items as per owner’s manual recommendations.

Question 3: ZOMG UR ON THE WRONG TRACK!  Unless this is a work truck towing a loaded trailer every day in city traffic, there’s zero reason for annual ATF changes. You’d be more than safe swapping it out every 50,000-100,000 miles.

Put more succinctly: stop treating this rig like it’s a delicate flower!

Vehicles in the last 25+ years successfully embraced electronic engine control technology, and “long life” fluids are held in high regard across the board…well, Dex-Cool aside. The sooner you embrace the robust beauty of modern vehicles (and fluids) the sooner you can stop punishing your wallet.

 

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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Daimler To Enter FCV Market In 2017 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/daimler-to-enter-fcv-market-in-2017/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/daimler-to-enter-fcv-market-in-2017/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871914 While Japanese and Korean automakers like Toyota and Hyundai are jumping into the hydrogen game, Daimler plans to begin its own journey in 2017. Automotive News interviewed Daimler head of corporate research Herbert Kohler about his employer’s hydrogen plans. Kohler briefly reflected on how Daimler were questioned on focusing upon fuel-cell technology before everyone else, […]

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Mercedes Blue Efficiency

While Japanese and Korean automakers like Toyota and Hyundai are jumping into the hydrogen game, Daimler plans to begin its own journey in 2017.

Automotive News interviewed Daimler head of corporate research Herbert Kohler about his employer’s hydrogen plans. Kohler briefly reflected on how Daimler were questioned on focusing upon fuel-cell technology before everyone else, stating that if an automaker wasn’t now at least considering the game, it would have to ask itself “some uncomfortable questions.”

As for the timetable of releasing an FCV by 2017, he states that while Daimler had planned to do so by 2015 at the latest, its joint partnership with Nissan and Ford to develop the technology will give all three time to bring the tech’s high costs down amid increasing volumes by the time 2017 rolls around.

Finally, when asked how much Daimler would charge for their FCV — in light of the $68,000 price tag for the 2015 Toyota FCV — Kohler says his employer’s goal is to price its FCV on par with “the hybrid version of a comparable model.”

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

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

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

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

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

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Barack Obama playing pool

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

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

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

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Datsun 210 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-datsun-210-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-datsun-210-2/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=864545 Names for various flavors of the Nissan Sunny got very confusing during the 1970s and 1980s. Starting in the 1978 model year, the front-wheel-drive replacement for the B210— known as the B310 within Nissan— kept the “210″ name in the United States (meanwhile, you could also buy “510s” that were actually A10 Violets), later evolving […]

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10 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNames for various flavors of the Nissan Sunny got very confusing during the 1970s and 1980s. Starting in the 1978 model year, the front-wheel-drive replacement for the B210— known as the B310 within Nissan— kept the “210″ name in the United States (meanwhile, you could also buy “510s” that were actually A10 Violets), later evolving into the car that became the Sentra. These were cheap but reliable (for the time) misery boxes, competing with the likes of the Chrysler Omnirizon, and so very few of them escaped The Crusher when they started wearing out in the early 1990s. Here’s a rare example that I found in Southern California in January.
13 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Datsun name had just a few years to go at this point.
07 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI can’t tell the A12 engine from the A14 at a glance; either way, this thing delivers well under 75 horsepower.
06 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPretty typical late-70s econobox interior. At least this car has a manual transmission.

08 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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

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

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

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

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Official: Johan de Nysschen Departs Infiniti For Cadillac http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/official-johan-de-nysschen-departs-infiniti-for-cadillac/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/official-johan-de-nysschen-departs-infiniti-for-cadillac/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 14:59:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=863489 Johan de Nysschen, the executive largely credited with Audi’s rise to Tier 1 luxury brand status, has left his post at Infiniti after just two years on the job. He will assume the top job at Cadillac, after former President Bob Ferguson was moved to a new post as GM’s head of public policy. de […]

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Johan de Nysschen, the executive largely credited with Audi’s rise to Tier 1 luxury brand status, has left his post at Infiniti after just two years on the job. He will assume the top job at Cadillac, after former President Bob Ferguson was moved to a new post as GM’s head of public policy.

de Nysschen, who took the helm as Infiniti moved its headquarters to Hong Kong and re-organized its nomenclature (into the confusing “Q” and “QX” lines), was expected to lead a long, progressive turnaround for the brand, much as he did with the once-struggling Audi.

But his departure for Cadillac bodes poorly for a luxury brand that has failed to establish itself in the same way that Lexus has in North America, let alone globally. Witness the confusion around the Infiniti Q50, which was branded as a Nissan Skyline in Japan, despite a supposed push for Infiniti’s entry into the Japanese market.

While de Nysschen cited family concerns as a major motivation (he and his family have strong ties to the United States, having lived there for many years), an Automotive News story suggests that CEO Carlos Ghosn’s extremely ambitious targets may have played a part in de Nysschen’s departure.

Despite that, he will have a challenge on his hands at Cadillac. GM is also aiming for a major push into Europe – and you can bet that de Nysschen’s tenure will be focused on that goal.

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Next Nissan Titan Will Make Detroit Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/next-nissan-titan-will-make-detroit-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/next-nissan-titan-will-make-detroit-debut/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 19:56:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=863145 The next-generation Nissan Titan will make its debut in Detroit, at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. The next Titan is a make or break product for Nissan, which has seen its half-ton entrant fare poorly in the segment, failing to gain ground on Detroit’s trucks or the Toyota Tundra. But Nissan has invested […]

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The next-generation Nissan Titan will make its debut in Detroit, at the 2015 North American International Auto Show.

The next Titan is a make or break product for Nissan, which has seen its half-ton entrant fare poorly in the segment, failing to gain ground on Detroit’s trucks or the Toyota Tundra. But Nissan has invested a lot into the new Titan, from poaching Ram’s truck guru to getting a diesel V8 engine as an optional powertrain.

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While You Were Sleeping: July 10th, 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/while-you-were-sleeping-july-10th-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/while-you-were-sleeping-july-10th-2014/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:59:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862993 From Harvard to Germany to North Korea…here’s what you missed. Nissan will add another 500 charging stations to the 2,600 strong network of free charge points that are available to Leaf customers. The Harvard Business Review lays out the case that regulation ends up hurting traditional yellow cab drivers and helping out upstarts like Uber. […]

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From Harvard to Germany to North Korea…here’s what you missed.

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Nissan Cube, Murano CrossCabriolet To Die http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/nissan-cube-murano-crosscabriolet-to-die/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/nissan-cube-murano-crosscabriolet-to-die/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 13:54:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862345 Nissan will kill off two of its quirkiest vehicles for 2015. Both the Cube and Murano CrossCabriolet will disappear in the coming model year. The CrossCabriolet, which famously found a home among a dementia-stricken man, will die along with the current Murano, as Nissan prepares for the 2015 model year and the all-new Murano. The […]

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Nissan will kill off two of its quirkiest vehicles for 2015. Both the Cube and Murano CrossCabriolet will disappear in the coming model year.

The CrossCabriolet, which famously found a home among a dementia-stricken man, will die along with the current Murano, as Nissan prepares for the 2015 model year and the all-new Murano.

The Cube, which sold is small numbers, will presumably get the axe because everyone interested in a geometric-shaped Japanese car has already bought a Scion xB.

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Next Nissan Pulsar Won’t Be “Sporty” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/next-nissan-pulsar-wont-be-sporty/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/next-nissan-pulsar-wont-be-sporty/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 16:13:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=858161 Brace yourselves for the inevitable slate of reviews criticizing mushy steering, an uninspired ride and myriad other complaints that most buyers won’t give a lick about. Nissan’s next C-segment hatch, the Pulsar, will apparently not be “sporty”, and Nissan is just fine with that. According to AutoExpress, Nissan’s Andy Palmer said that “I’m not looking […]

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Brace yourselves for the inevitable slate of reviews criticizing mushy steering, an uninspired ride and myriad other complaints that most buyers won’t give a lick about. Nissan’s next C-segment hatch, the Pulsar, will apparently not be “sporty”, and Nissan is just fine with that.

According to AutoExpress, Nissan’s Andy Palmer said that

“I’m not looking for a car that is ultimately very very sporty…I’m looking for something that can transition a customer from a Qashqai to a hatchback. It needs the same DNA, but we want to keep ex-Qahsqai buyers in the Nissan family. It has to have a familiar design and handling.”

Palmer noted that the new hatch “doesn’t transmit impulses back into the car” and that “the steering is quite light”. Sounds like a recipe for enthusiast disaster, right? Well, given the smashing success of the Qashqai (which basically invented the small CUV segment in Europe), it’s easy to see why Nissan is going down this road.

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

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

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

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

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

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Reader Nicholas Naylor submits his review of the Nissan Quest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And then you get inside.

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

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

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

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

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