For Sale By:Private Seller
Interior Color: Black
Number of Cylinders: 4
Drive Type: RWD
Exterior Color: Bronze
Tampa, Florida, United States
Among automotive enthusiasts, no one seems to hold a neutral opinion when it comes to continuously variable transmissions. CVTs are either praised for their ability to boost fuel economy or chided for their occasionally poor driving dynamics. Nissan is among the masters of these un-shifting gearboxes in the US, and it uses them in many vehicles in its lineup. However, for the 2015 model year, several models are getting a software update to make their CVTs a bit more like a conventional automatic.
To give drivers the option of feeling gearshifts while on the road, Nissan is adding its D-Step Shift Logic feature to the CVTs in multiple vehicles. Steve Powers, Nissan's senior manager of powertrain performance, told Autoblog the system forces the transmission to "hold a ratio and then shift" to simulate the way that a traditional automatic would. It's simply a change in software, but the company "can't do it to older CVTs," he said, because it would require changes to transmission logic, as well. According to Automotive News, the upgrade is coming to the 2015 Versa, Versa Note (pictured above), Sentra, V6-equipped Altima, Pathfinder and Quest. "We're rolling it out to all programs," said Powers.
Interestingly, buyer perception appears to be pushing the upgrade. John Curl, a Nissan North America regional product manager, told Automotive News that the decision to add the tech partially comes because some owners are bothered that the CVTs aren't changing gears. According to Powers, D-Step "avoids the rubber band feel," that many drivers didn't like. The different sensation of these transmissions seems like something consumers would notice during the test drive, or that the salesperson would inform them about. The same issue cropped up last year when the company was facing customer satisfaction problems among new buyers customers' unfamiliarity with the gearboxes.
If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It
Look at the 2013 Nissan Leaf - even one parked next to a 2012 model - and you'll be hard-pressed to spot the differences. Changes and updates have been made, but you have to know the details to tell. It's sort of like listening to a hipster tell you why Interpol and The National have completely different sounds.
Nissan says it didn't reinvent the Leaf because what the company has created is working. Over 25,000 Leafs have been sold in the US - 62,000 around the world - since the car went on sale in late 2010. That may not sound like a lot, but it's heads and shoulders above any other all-electric car available anywhere. The car has its detractors - boy, does it ever - but Nissan knows it's hard to argue with real-world success.
For those wondering why Nissan named its coming Le Mans Prototype the GT-R LM Nismo, colliding the two worlds of sports car and prototype racing, an article in Autocar might have the answer. The deeper union is explained by saying that the next-generation GT-R will use "hybrid technology that will closely align it" with the GT-R LM Nismo.
The point could be further driven home by the fact that the GT-R LM Nismo will begin its FIA endurance racing campaign next year, and the next GT-R is due to debut next year as a 2016 model. The expectation is that it will use a hybrid system possibly dubbed R-Hybrid and perhaps developed by Williams. Just like performance car makers Ferrari and Audi, Nissan wants its racing efforts to pay off with road car technology, company vice president Andy Palmer saying they "want to link technological linkages between future evolutions of the GT-R and evolutions of what we do in LMP1, and the two do go in both directions."
The bigger question is, with the GT-R getting hybrid assistance, will it also get the weight gain that usually comes with it? Enthusiasts would love to see the trend reversed, especially on a car that's already no lightweight.