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Despite the snow-capped photos you see here, our long-term Pathfinder has been the subject of some proper pre-summer lovin' here in metro Detroit (we're working on a new gallery). Now that the warm weather has hit Michigan, many of our staffers have eagerly grabbed the keys to our big, brown Nissan for road trips all over the place. And the Pathfinder has indeed proven itself to be quite the worthy long-distance hauler, as editors John Neff and Seyth Miersma have already experienced.
This time around, a couple of our colleagues from AOL Autos put hundreds of miles on our trusty Nissan. And while everyone agrees that the Pathfinder is a solid vehicle for the task of road tripping, there are a couple of specific pros and cons that have been mentioned on several occasions.
Another class cut-up has graduated from our motor pool. The Nissan Cube's indefatigable weirdness was likely both its chief selling point and its Achilles Heel, but Autoblog sources say that after a six-year run in the US, the niche player has been scrubbed from the Japanese automaker's lineup.
The move is hardly unexpected - there was confirmation from Nissan Canada that it was pulling the plug on the asymmetric little front-driver in its market back in May, and sales have not exactly been sparkling here in the States, either. In June, Nissan shifted just 336 Cubes, down 23.8 percent year over year. So far this year, Nissan has sold 2,294 units, a sales pace off 30.9 percent versus 2013. At its peak in 2010, the Cube remained firmly a niche vehicle, selling 22,968 units.
Nissan North America's Dan Passe, senior manager of product communications, maintains that "We are continuing to sell the 2014 Cube and we haven't made an announcement about future model plans," but Autoblog sources indicate that an official announcement will be coming in the next couple of months, and the Cube has been conspicuously left off of an exhaustive 2015 lineup "Charting the Changes" announcement released on Tuesday.
At Le Mans this past summer, Nissan unveiled the first prototype for the ZEOD RC, a new hybrid racecar which it intends to field at the famous French endurance race next year. Four months have passed since then, totaling eight month of development, and now Nissan has revealed the final form at the headquarters of its Nismo racing division.
The updated Nissan ZEOD RC benefits from a more streamlined shape with optimized cooling and improved aerodynamics. Although billed as an electric vehicle and not a hybrid, the ZEOD RC pairs a 1.6-liter turbo four with a pair of electric motors. Its regenerative braking system is derived from the Leaf RC, and after 11 laps, it's said to be capable of taking another around the Circuit de la Sarthe under electric power alone, making it the first racecar capable of doing so. Nissan has further stated that it hopes the lessons it garners from this project will help in its development of a new LMP1 to challenge for overall victory at Le Mans in the near future.
The ZEOD RC will be on display at Fuji Speedway this weekend during the six-hour FIA World Endurance Championship race there, after which it will continue its development at the hands of former GT1 champion Michael Krumm and gamer-turned-racer Lucas Ordonez, who will be getting it ready for (and possibly drive it at) next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. There it will compete - faster than most GTE sportscars, says Nissan - in the Garage 56 spot that once was awarded to the DeltaWing, which Nissan sponsored and to which the ZEOD RC looks conspicuously similar.