By on November 3, 2015

2016 Nissan 370Z at St-Eustache (Micra Cup)

Bark and I, either by fate or consequence, were presented with very similar automotive options lately. While his choice was made on the Emerald Aisle, mine was made over the phone before a planned trip to watch the final round of the Nissan Micra Cup in Quebec.

And while he was less than impressed with the 370Z  — and, on the surface, I can’t disagree — his view extended to the rest of the Nissan lineup.

From an enthusiast’s perch, Bark may not be able to see the forest for the trees.

2016 Nissan 370Z at St-Eustache (Micra Cup) 2

Let’s start with that aforementioned Z, since that’s where Bark’s torrid rant began.

Bark is right on a few points: the Z isn’t comfortable, it doesn’t sound as good as it could and the audio system in the base model car that I drove was certainly befitting a base model car. It’s also now six years old, and it wasn’t incredibly “new” when it came out.

Yet, the base model Z can be had for less than $30,000, regardless of what side of the 49th parallel you live on. For the sake of comparison, a base model Scion FR-S, which has 132 less horsepower than the Z, is just over $25,000 before destination charges and taxes jack up the numbers. Effectively, you are paying $5,000 for 132 horsepower. I’d call that good value. Hell, the 370Z has more than double the horsepower of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, and nobody is complaining about all the other things you don’t get with that car.

The same argument can be made for the Genesis Coupe, which will actually give you an extra 148 more horsepower over the FR-S for a lot less coin. Personally, I would have the Z over the Genesis Coupe solely because I dig the Z’s curves, but I can see why someone would go for something else.

Why? The Z is rough and gruff and in need of a shave. It could be a lot more refined. It could weigh less. It could be less like a last-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse. But, Bark’s assertion that the remainder of Nissan’s lineup falls in line with the 370Z might be a case of painting the brand with a very, very broad brush.

2015 Nissan Murano (1 of 13)

Case in point: Nissan Murano

Even I’ll admit that the lifestyle crossover from Nissan isn’t the best looking vehicle on the road — but a lot of people disagree with me on that. Actually, over 50,000 people disagree with me on that fact so far this year. (Me too. I think it looks great. — Aaron) This year’s sales of the Murano have surpassed those from the last two years already and with two full months left in the sales year.

If you can get past the styling, you’ll see why it’s so popular. The Murano is one of the most comfortable crossovers — if not vehicles, regardless of segment — that money can buy. It’s the Cadillac of SRXs, you could say. The only other vehicle that holds candle to the Murano in its class is the Ford Edge. I’ll have a review of the Edge up soon, but in a nutshell: the Ford is better looking, but not as comfortable and — at first glance — might not be built with the same attention to detail as the Murano.

The problem with crossovers is that they’re as exciting as rice pudding, especially for a guy who owns two performance vehicles painted in louder-than-life colors. Nothing in the segment is going to make you lust to carve corners, and it shouldn’t. Comfort rules. Sporting intentions drool.

The Murano is truly the best in its class — in my eyes, at least. So, score one for Nissan.


Next: Nissan Leaf.

Bark makes the point that the Leaf might be a shoe-in segment leader in Nissan’s vehicle range as if that’s a bad thing.

Nissan is best at making an affordable, all-electric vehicle? That’s horrible!

Toyota produces the most popular hybrid on the planet? Shameful!

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is continually the most technologically advanced car on the market? Disgusting!

Have you driven a Leaf? With the incentives available, a Leaf can be picked up for a song depending on where you live, is more comfortable than many other compact cars and will cost you ramen noodle money to operate over 10 years of ownership. Even Nissan was impressed by the long-term durability of its batteries.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Nissan being the best at building an affordable electric vehicle. Nothing at all.

(They even turned one into a pickup! Do you remember that? Only madmen do that!)

2016 Nissan Titan XD

Grunt: Nissan Titan XD

Jokes about how it looks like the product of a drunken night between Ford and Ram designers aside, Nissan is reaffirming its commitment to the pickup segment with a solid game plan: play where the domestics aren’t.

By splitting the difference between traditional light- and heavy-duty options, the Titan XD has no direct competitors and can offer up a unique drivetrain with its 5-liter Cummins turbodiesel V-8. So far, and for what it’s worth, the Titan XD has nabbed the much coveted Truck of Texas award, and it may do the same for North American Truck of the Year.

Our invite to the media drive for the Titan XD was lost in the mail, so we don’t have anything to go on for driving impressions. However, as the domestics reach ever higher on the pricing ladder, it will be interesting to see if the Titan XD resonates with an ever-growing populace of truck buyers.

Micra (2)

Forbidden Fruit: Nissan Micra

America, blame yourselves for being stuck with the Nissan Versa Sedan. If you liked hatchbacks more, you could have this for around $8,000.

The best part of the Micra? It’s actually a lot of fun to drive! It has an engine note that sings rather than grumbles about being pushed too hard. Oh, and you know those CVTs you hate so much? You won’t find one here! You have a choice between a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic.

For the Luddite only wanting the minimum when it comes to modern safety equipment and a more engaged driving experience, what’s there not to like about the Micra?

(Okay, there’s the looks, but us gents are not the primary demographic for Micra. Unfortunate.)

As a full-ine automobile manufacturer, the Nissan brand sells passenger cars, SUVs, CUVs, mid-size and full-size pickup trucks, compact and full-size vans, a taxi, vehicles with V-8 engines, a 545-hp supercar, and a zero-smissions plug-in battery electric vehicle.

Finally: Everything Else

The Altima is new for this coming year and plays directly to the groups that buy them most: fleets and boring people. And that’s absolutely OK. There needs to be an automaker serving the part of the market that can be hoodwinked into thinking a front-wheel drive sedan with a 3.5-liter V-6 is a racecar.

The Sentra and Versa Note aren’t going to set your heart on fire with desire — but should they? They are affordable, honest cars that have no sporting pretense. Sure, there was a time when the Sentra could be had in Vindaloo guise, but those days are over. Same with the Xterra; unless you have seven-slot grille at your disposal, there’s not much point in building a compact, body-on-frame SUV anymore.

And the Maxima, which I had the pleasure of driving in Tennessee, is actually a really good car. However, because it’s so similar in size to the Altima, the Maxima has a difficult time justifying its continued existence (especially in Canada where nobody buys full-size sedans anymore). The Maxima’s main claim to fame during its launch was a quick time around Buttonwillow. That’s reaching really far. Who takes a front-wheel drive, pseudo full-size car to a race track unless it has an M, AMG or RS badge on the trunk?

Probably the only model in Nissan’s lineup that’s fairly lacking and behind the times is the Armada. The Titan-based SUV is so long in the tooth that it’s giving itself neck piercings. But, with the new Titan coming, maybe a new Armada will come with it, and maybe it could even be a diesel. Maybe. Probably not.

This year is probably one of the most important in recent history for Nissan in America with new model introductions left, right and center — and they will be lost on many due to their lack of enthusiast appeal. However, I can’t think of another mainline automaker willing to challenge the status quo as much as Nissan either.

Overboosted, performance crossover that looks like a frog? Check.

$100,000 “supercar”? Check.

Weird box-like vehicle with “wrap-around” rear glass? Checked. (The Cube didn’t do well, but at least Nissan had the courage to try.)

While those models aren’t in the public consciousness today, there’s a lot to look forward to at Nissan. A new Z will be coming (we just don’t know its form quite yet), the GT-R is due for another generation (which will likely bring electrification to the table along with its twin-turbo V-6) and we might get a hot Sentra once again.

So, just because the here and now might be a bit, well, normal, that doesn’t mean there’s a never-ending stream of beige in Nissan’s pipeline. If history has taught us anything, it’s that as predictable as Nissan is with their mass-market offerings, they’re equally unpredictable about everything else.

Stay tuned. I think we’re in for quite a ride, and sooner rather than later.

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53 Comments on “Mark Bites Back: In Defense of Nissan...”

  • avatar

    “$100,000 “supercar””

    Why quotes round the supercar bit? The GT-R is unequivocally a supercar. Isn’t it faster than the 911 GT3 ____ something around Nurbergerking? Can’t it pass Ferraris and Lambos with ease on a track?

    I put forth it’s actually the most practical, DD-ready supercar on the market today.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the term “supercar” has been a moving target for at least the last ten years or so. Where does “high-end sports car” end and “supercar” begin? Where does “supercar” end and “hypercar” begin? Is it still a supercar even though it’s fairly attainable?

      • 0 avatar

        While I agree that it’s moving around as far as parameters due to the insane horsepower and AWD things we’re accomplishing these days – the performance is the defining item, and not the price [as you mention the attainable thing].

        The GT3 wouldn’t suddenly deserve a high-end car title vs. supercar if Porsche decided to do a 50% off special for some reason or another.

        A 2-door V16 Bentley which costs $450,000 isn’t a supercar if it can’t take a corner better than a Cherokee because it’s as heavy as a dump truck and filled with wood.

        Feels artificial to consider “Hey, this GTR would be a supercar if it cost $95,000 more like a Porsche.”

    • 0 avatar

      Calling a GT-R a supercar is like calling an Audi A3 quattro a sports car. Numbers aren’t everything. The new Civic Type-R is faster around the Ring than a lot of old supercars. It’s not a supercar. A 335i with a JB4 tune gets from 0-60 in under 4 seconds. It’s not a supercar. Off of a test track/drag strip/road course nobody is comparing GT-Rs to supercars, and in any case most folks buying cars like Lambos and Paganis are not taking them to the track anyway. GT-R is for spreadsheet bench racer geeks. I much much much prefer the Z as a driver’s car.

  • avatar

    Hmm, I am an enthusiast but also a practical car buyer.

    The only Nissan that calls me right now is the Micra. It doesn’t have the derpy proportions that so often plague that segment. I see it as a great potential city commuter with a warranty. Our current beater has an amazing greenhouse, 4 gears, 106 hp and 2300 lbs to haul around, and is just fine to putter around town in. The Micra has an amazing greenhouse, 4 gears 109 hp and 2350 lbs to haul around, just with actual safety features and Bluetooth. Sounds like a perfect upgrade to me.

    The rest just look like they lost their epipen. To me, the current designs are either a) all backward steps from the last gen, aesthetically or b) the Juke.

    The Titan may be decent under the skin, but I refuse to lay eyes on that skin, so there’s no chance of a sale there for me. And honestly, its not as if the current crop of half tons are under-powered. A big V8 diesel seems overkill for a half ton. Honestly, a heavy half needs the running gear and frame upgrades way before the engine upgrades. We had some heavy halfs (1500HD, introduced in 2000) available on a survey crew around 2005, and they never lacked for power, but were always in the shop for trans, diff and bearing work.

    The 370 and GTR, I cant really comment on, having no relevant experience.

  • avatar

    No comments about the rogue, underpowered pathfinder, and cvts?

  • avatar

    Nissan is HUGE in the Desert Southwest. Very big with the Latino community, possibly because Nissan is a top player in Mexico, and very highly regarded in that country.

    A few weeks ago, I walked in to United Nissan in Las Vegas, looking for a test drive. I’m fairly certain I was the only person in the building who was a native speaker of English. Not just the customers, all the employees as well.

    A salesman approached me, offering assistance. I think. I couldn’t quite make out his English.

    So I left.

  • avatar

    “I think we are in for a QUIET ride.”

    There, I fixed it for you.

    • 0 avatar

      That too!

      • 0 avatar

        Hey Mark! One more opportunity to blame smartphone dictation, but also one more opportunity for me to advocate for a better proofreading/editing function on TTAC:

        “Emerald Aisle”? Is that the green, indoor version of streets paved with gold? Is it yet another folk legend among the wee people of the Emerald Isle?

        And in addition to my rant about the need for better proof-reading, I would like to raise the question of why twenty year old WordPerfect software could do enough grammar checking to handle such common errors as their/they’re, its/it’s, etc., why is it that no such tool is used in conjunction with copy submitted orally, and then translated into the written word?

        And one more time, when are we going to get reply buttons on all posts, not just some? Will that be coming with the new system you promised a few months ago, or has the new system arrived, and it still lacks reply buttons for all?

        Also, I hope that TTAC won’t end up being a ranting apologist for stricter governmental controls, such that it begins to sound like a Joan Claybrook rant for seatbelts for motorcyclists. Though I can tolerate a certain amount of whining for the need for Big Brother to force more safety on us, provided you also allow for ample rebuttal.

        Otherwise, this Big Brother safety push begins to sound like the prelude to support for an all-autonomous highway system, which is anathema to me, and I suspect to most of the B&B as well.

        And I am still waiting and hoping for a followup article documenting how much money will be spent by the industry and by customers, in order for us to have enough rear-view camera deployment to save the first 100 lives, and what that will work out to in cost per life, compared to other societal expenditures to save lives.

        It is my conjecture that this program will end up costing at least an order of magnitude more per life saved than many other programs instituted as life-saving measures. And the natural followup question would be, how many lives could have been saved if those expenditures had been directed towards, e.g., medical research instead of towards a “politically sexy” inside-the-Beltway program to save the lives of innocent children run over by their oblivious parents. (Never mind that any parent that oblivious is likely to find some other way to fail to protect their children til they are grown, if the are that oblivious to what is in their childrens’ best interests.)

        Overall, you have done a lot to make sure that TTAC remains a topnotch auto site, but there is still a lot of work that could and should be done, and a few pitfalls to beware of.

        To end on a positive note, I applaud the carrying of both Bark’s rant against Nissan’s offerings, and this rebuttal. And I applaud the fact that TTAC can carry articles advocating for more government involvement in our safety, while still allowing room for Jack to question their benefit. Just be careful not to let the pendulum swing too far in one direction.

        But please, answer my question about the lack of reply buttons?

        • 0 avatar

          “Emerald Aisle” is the name National Car Rental uses for their rental lots. Google is your friend. :)

          • 0 avatar

            OOPS. Never mind! — Emily Litella

            My bad…I was almost certain I had caught another example of speech to text errors creeping in. Plus I see less than one per cent of the national average for mass media exposure. And since I am semi-retired, I no longer have occasion to do the car rental shuffle.

            I have to admit it is a clever moniker.

            Self-described by National, or is this a moniker bestowed by frequent users?

            I usually use Google to save myself from being embarrassed thusly, but I thought I was on solid ground with that one, but not this time.

  • avatar

    I’m still anxious to see how all these XTronic-equipped Pathfinders lugging around 22ft bay boats are going to be doing in six years…

    • 0 avatar

      Let’s check on the Ford Freestyles with CVTs that towed…

    • 0 avatar

      I know a few people who tow reasonably heavy loads with their Lambda’s…

      This is why I think the 4.3L Ecotec 3 and appropriately selected transmission would be better in he long run. Heavy car with heavy load…. I’d rather overkill.

      • 0 avatar

        I certainly appreciate towing with the Ford 3.5TT. Towing an 18/20 foot boat with an a D-platform CUV equipped with the 3.5 Ecoboost and 6F55 is effortless.

      • 0 avatar

        Guy here at work got GM to take back his first 2014 Traverse after it lemoned out on him, to replace with 2015 Traverse AWD.

        At 11k miles it’s got warning lights about the StabiliTrack and Traction Control on the dash, and the dealer is denying there’s a problem.

        *I told him beforehand not to go with any current GM option in this segment, as they aren’t great – he no listen.* So now he’s asked what the reliable options are – and maybe he’ll listen when I say Pilot or MDX, or if you’re okay with a cramped back seat, Highlander.

  • avatar

    I do like the Micra as far as I can tell (not sold anywhere near me, so no experience). I do have experience with the Versa, and I hate it. Same with Altima. The first Altima (aka Bluebird) was a neat little car, but then I liked the mid-late 90s Maxima (SE with a manual, please). I like the Titan more than the Tundra, but that isnt saying much as I loath the Tundra. I would be tempted to choose one over a Ram or Chevy, but Ford and GMC are my top two pickup choices. Yes I know the Sierra is just a Silverado in different clothes, but I like those clothes.

    I havent driven a Sentra in years, but if its a mix between Versa and Altima, I havent missed much.

    I think Bark takes issue with Nissan promoting their bland and boring cars as exciting performance machines. Its like if Cadillac boasted about the excellent fuel economy and amazing value of the Escalade, or Kia calling the Rio an executive luxury car. Makes no sense.

  • avatar

    I think Nissan’s offerings are pretty much right in the middle of the road. And in aspects that actually matter to the market- value, interior quality, space, content- Nissan has made huge strides. The Maxima from the late 90s looked good enough and was a rocketship for its time, but Nissan cut hella corners on it. Drive one over broken pavement and you will see. The 2002 Altima was a big move forward, and with the V6, for the time it was an eyelid peeler. But it felt even cheaper than the Maxima! I remember driving and riding in several and just thinking how cheap and hollow the doors felt and how basic the center console looked…back when they were new. The interior was huge, bug cheap. 350Z was a revelation when it came out but it too was flawed…. heavy, vague at the helm, unexcusably cheap interior.

    In regards to most of their flaws Nissan has rectified the situation. For people who don’t care one iota about driving engagement their cars are great now. Focusing on driving engagement and hipster cred would put them in Mazda’s shoes, who has like 10% of Nissan’s volume. Bark’s rant is like complaining about Dell’s business computers being bad for gamers. Kind of missing the point dude.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree that 350Z is heavy and the interior is cheap, but vague steering… I don’t think so. Now the steering feel is heavy and as a by product might seem slow, it kind of reminds me a bit of my old Civic that had no power steering. Thus you really have to work at the wheel. In fact on the track the Z causes my shoulders to hurt because of the effort required. Same goes for the heavy clutch, overall the the Z has this tight and very mechanical feel to it – as a result my wife hates it, but I love it. I think steering feel is one area Nissan really got right. Almost all the reviews of the Infinti Q50 speak of how crappy the new the electric steering is because it killed the great feel of the G37 (which is a 370Z with back seats and a trunk).

  • avatar

    I agree with most of what you say, but still Nissan cars, trucks,sports and super? cars still sux. No really, bad. Rubber band tranys which cover up the self destructing engines, styling of a transformer toy, and no vision of what a car should be in the entire line.

  • avatar

    You could kinda say Nissans gotten better, before Renault they used to make cosmeticly challenged sedans nobody wanted, well and the GTR.

    Now their stuff sells even if its a bit ugly, and if their sports car has CUV guts (platform, engine), and if every CUV is the same thing, and their CUVs only come on gray…

  • avatar

    Nice counterpoint even if I don’t agree with all of it. Nissan globally might be focused on trucks and they are just federalizing what they sell elsewhere, but if not I think its foolish for Nissan to be in the truck game. Toyota, who is an infinitely better mfg than Nissan, barely squeaks out 6% in this source from 2014:

  • avatar

    Lets not forget that Nissan is the only japanesee automaker that still tries to produce sporty-cars ..

    Both 370Z and GTR are unique and oryginal ..

    Especially GTR is quite cool car ((very fast and..easy to navigate even though it/s big and heavy .. and .. front/face ugly > it should look more like that one >)

    If they’ll succesfully refresh GTR and Z .. and add sth like that to the party ..

    .. they would have a really unique sporty-department lineup ..

  • avatar

    I’ll post this rant here instead of the original piece…

    Bark’s 370Z-hate is really just a worn out ‘hot take’. Full disclosure: I’m a 370Z owner (and fan) and I’ve owned and currently own other Nissans/Infinitis. The complaints levied at the Z are just part and parcel of the automotive journo’s prewritten grab bag: heavy, unrefined and uncomfortable. Oh, and the VQ37’s NVH stole my lunch money. It’s really just the same worn out criticism you’d expect from Consumer Reports suffering through the review of a yucky, loud sports car.

    Instead, let’s try focusing on what the Z does offer: a 332hp/270lb-ft 3.7L NA V6, 4.6-4.9 second 0-60 acceleration, 13.1-13.4 second quarter mile times at 105-108 MPH, 0.96 g roadholding (C/D and Motor Trend #’s).

    In 2009, before haters got to hating, C/D quipped “The new Z is a great little car: powerful, riotously fun to drive, affordable, and flat-out gorgeous.” I tend to agree. Is the interior loud? Why yes, it is. Nissan skimped on sound deadening for weight savings, which normally would be applauded, but here it’s just another negative.

    Here are a few of the usual suspects across the wide spectrum of “sports cars” and their 70 MPH cruise decibel levels (dBA), 0-60 times, 0-100 times, curb weight and as-tested price (all from C/D).

    -2009 370Z auto: 73.5 dB, 4.6 sec, 11.3 sec, 3368 lbs, $36,890
    -2013 Audi S5 3.0T manual: 71.0 dB, 4.8 sec, 11.9 sec, 3895 lbs, $66,570
    -2011 Porsche Cayman S auto: 74.0 dB, 4.3 sec, 10.6 sec, 3170 lbs, $80,695
    -2011 Lotus Evora: 75.0 dB, 4.9 sec, 11.8 sec, 3093 lbs, $85,270
    -2006 Corvette C6: 75.0 dB, 4.3 sec, 9.9 sec, 3280 lbs, $56,070
    -2011 Mustang V6: 73.0 dB, 5.4 sec, 13.0 sec, 3520 lbs, $31,155
    -2011 Mustang GT: 76.0 dB, 4.6 sec, 11.0 sec, 3580 lbs, $32,980
    -2011 Camaro RS (V6): 71.0 dB, 5.9 sec, 14.8 sec, 3800 lbs, $29,225
    -2011 Camaro SS: 72.0 dB, 4.6 sec, 10.5 sec, 3860 lbs, $36,465
    -2016 Miata Club: 78.0 dB, 5.9 sec, 16.2 sec, 2309 lbs, $32,950
    -2015 Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost: 72.9 dB, 5.5 sec, 13.3 sec, 3657 lbs, $38,585
    -2015 Mustang GT manual: 72.0 dB, 4.5 sec, 10.4 sec, 3810 lbs, $45,855

    I’m not suggesting the Z is better/worse than any of the above listed cars or that it ‘deserves’ to be compared to all/any of them. But from where I stand, it looks like the Z still offers a heck of a lot, even if it rides on a “really old, really heavy SUV platform” with a “really rough” V6 not worthy of agricultural use with seats worse than a C6 Corvette and a crappy stereo.

    As for the ‘awful’ sounding VQ, I found that after installing an axle-back Meisterschaft muffler the perception of engine noise vs exhaust noise was significantly improved. I don’t know why the Z ships with such a horrendously neutered exhaust note, but with a tasteful aftermarket muffler, it sounds and feels like an entirely different beast. My gearhead neighbors agree.

    So is the Z long in the tooth? Yes. Is the platform and drivetrain long in the tooth? Yes. Is the base stereo a joke? Definitely. But it still makes for a seriously entertaining sports coupe that is still a bit unique in the automotive landscape.

    Hating the Z is just another reason why we can’t have nice things.

  • avatar

    I currently drive a Micra. In about two years I will looking to replace it with another car. If Nissan doesn’t beef up their line a bit more I will move onto another brand. Looking for a potent hatchback like the euro Pulsar. That’s what they need in the line. Or a turbo Sentra with sport suspension. Otherwise off to Ford or Honda I go. Hope I’m not being harsh.

  • avatar

    Like I said in the other thread the problem with the Z is it occupies no man’s land in between the Miata / FR-S where lightness is key and the pony cars (Camaro / Mustang) where a V8 and/or turbo power is available. Given the platform Nissan’s has to work with going twin turbo on the Z would be the easiest answer. The engine can take it with little modification and it would be a throw back to the older turbo Zs. Imagine the Z with detuned GT-R engine making around 400 HP in stock trim and 450 or so in NISMO trim where lightness could be added via some carbon fiber bits. One can only dream. If Nissan goes ahead with that stupid GripZ concept then there is no hope.

  • avatar

    “However, as the domestics reach ever higher on the pricing ladder, it will be interesting to see if the Titan XD resonates with an ever-growing populous of truck buyers.”

    Pet peeve time:

    Populous is an word describing something as highly or densely populated; “New York City is the most populous metropolitan area in the United States”.

    Populace is a word referring to the population of an area or category; “the populace of truck buyers is ever-growing”.

  • avatar

    The only time I think of Nissan is when I drive past the dealership, rack my brain to think of some reason for dropping in, and finding none, drive on.

    I have read in several comparison tests that the new Murano is better than the new Edge. The problem is to me that it looks like a traveling bordello and a glance inside only confirms that impression. It’s for the extrovert with suspect taste – the drive experience has to follow your decision that this thing will not force your friends to disavow you.

    However, due to super cheap prices, Nissan is the fastest growing car company in Canada. You just have to appreciate the price and not find grey plastic barf-inducing. Mark is always championing the Micra – UK tests do not agree and find its motorway handling scary.

    • 0 avatar

      I think there’s two reasons for that disparity between Canada and the UK.

      1) They pay twice as much for it as we do.
      2) There are specific changes made to the Micra — to suspension and comfort items — for Canada. It probably makes it a much more palatable vehicle here than there.

  • avatar

    I haven’t had enough exposure to how the current generation of Nissans age, but the previous stuff are clearly kind of shoddy, nasty, and just bound for quick beaterdom. I don’t mean to imply anything about actual reliability, but to get a little hyperbolic, it’s like someone missed the experience of sitting in 90s GMs. Even Muranos through the last generation, something that can easily clear $50k CDN, were usually a little more ragged than normal by about 100k kms. It’d all make sense if they had some unifying compelling trait to justify their weaknesses against some very strong competition, but I just don’t get it (and the mainstream affordable stuff doesn’t seem like it’s made any great leap forward.

    Mind you, the 370Z is at least fun, if so very crude, the Juke is weird and not awful to drive, and a rental Altima was unobtrusive and efficient, if nothing special otherwise. I don’t get the love for the Micra, but as I’ve complained about before, weird optioning meant that, to get the things I want, I had to go with a trim level that had it priced up against slightly better stuff.

  • avatar

    Thanks for this – my sentiments exactly… and perhaps perception is highly regional, but Nissans are very popular here in Alberta. They sell a wide range of vehicles that suit this climate well – AWD, lots of comfort and features for our urban sprawl etc. :-) But really, I wanted to hopefully add some info on the Rogue. We picked up one a couple weeks ago. Did my spreadsheets, research etc etc and much to my surprise, on paper the Rogue compared very well, if not better than the RAV4, CR-V and Cherokee… so, I put it on my list of vehicles to test drive.

    The Rogue was the last of my test drives that day. And it completely blew the other vehicles out of the water. The interior made sense, there were no odd “edgy” curves, the seats are comfortable, it is quiet, and the SV has a great feature set that the other models only offer in higher trims.

    I feel that Nissan is actually looking around to see what the other mfg’s are doing – across all trim levels. Honda (we are Honda fans) is stuck in the past – the new CR-V might have updated sheet metal and headlights/grille, but the inside felt within 10 degrees of our old, retired 2003 Odyssey. The RAV4 interior felt like the inside of an Anime Gundam Fighter, and I don’t like the beak-like exterior styling. The Cherokee – I love, actually. The interior styling felt good and I’ve always “got along” with the centre stack. Honeslty? The sales people are terrible, and the North trim was frustrating to navigate features/what’s missing. Also the four-banger was noisy.

    The Rogue – feels bigger. The longer hood, classy sheet metal, large cargo area and lots of headroom underscore that it *is* actually bigger. Ride height is almost an inch higher than the competitors, the 180hp engine is more than ample and spirited enough for me. It sips gas, and is a fantastic “second vehicle” for our family. Among the table-stakes standard features, the low-mid SV trim has a lot of features I’ve only seen on higher trim/mid-market vehicles:
    – AWD
    – 4WD lock
    – Eco/Sport mode (the CVT is great)
    – Hill descent control
    – Chassis/stability control
    – Independent tire pressure monitoring

    On the inside, I got heated seats without leather, panoramic sunroof (without leather), toneau cover, cargo area storage and unique ‘transformable’ shelves and barriers, and lots of smart little things that just make sense. Wish folks wouldn’t categorize this as a “for ladies and retirees” vehicle. Folks that are in the market for a vehicle like this should definitely take a look.

    • 0 avatar

      …And this is another portion of my rebuttal also in defense of Nissan. When it came time to get my wife a larger vehicle for our first child (yes, I know, spare me the whole “you can get five kids in a 1995 Corolla” rant) we shopped the CUV market. The 2nd-gen Rogue was by far the most compelling option in that segment for our wants/needs.

      I don’t need to rehash much of your reasoning as we also found that the Rogue offers up an overall package that is unmatched. After 2 years of ownership it continues to impress. The refinement, ride quality, efficiency, and cargo capacity are all excellent. Just take the adjustable cargo shelves in the trunk, for instance. We can adjust one shelf up and slide our stroller underneath, allowing for a ton of cargo space that is neatly divided. It’s an exceedingly simple feature that has a huge impact for families.

      Clearly the market has responded, too, as YTD sales of the Rogue are 238,196 thru October (CR-V = 288,531 & RAV4 = 256,178). Nissan is selling 23.8k Rogues/mo on average thru 2015, whereas in 2014 the average was just under 17k/mo (199k total 2014). This is within spitting distance of Toyota’s 25.6k RAV4’s sold per month. The CR-V is currently up only 935 sales/month and the RAV4 is up 3,310/month, but the Rogue is up 7,220 sales/mo, using 2014 sales total/12 versus YTD 2015 numbers/10. [All of the Rogue numbers are a bit complicated given that the 2nd-gen showed up in Nov. 2014 and the ‘select’ 1st-gen is still sold as well.]

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