Wed, 30 Jul 2014 11:57:00 EST
Last August, Nissan shook the truck world when it officially announced plans to source a diesel option from Cummins for its long-overdue Titan replacement, its full-size pickup that's slated to drop this January at the Detroit Auto Show. The 5.0-liter V8 turbodiesel is expected to make somewhere around 300 horsepower and north of 500 pound-feet of torque. This combination of an all-new truck with this new powerplant promises to dramatically change the competitive landscape, splitting the difference between the heavy-duty goliaths from the Detroit Three and the Ram 1500 Ecodiesel. And the intrigue moved a step further when the Frontier Diesel Runner Concept showed up at February's Chicago Auto Show, as it displayed a growing relationship between Nissan and Cummins in a very interesting potential future product.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:45:00 EST
That concept would melt its clear acrylic hood if the engine ran too long, but this month, we got a chance to test drive a production mule, an otherwise normal Frontier with a Cummins 2.8-liter diesel four-pot under the hood and a ZF eight-speed automatic changing gears. The powertrain figures to be a direct competitor to the 2.8-liter Duramax promised for General Motors' Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins, but will Nissan build it? All signs point to probably. Officially, Nissan is taking no position on the future of this program, but a concept followed by putting journalists into a test mule suggests the company is considering the option very seriously. Here's what we gleaned from a brief drive around the posh suburbs of Nashville:
Before we get too deep into this Quick Spin, realize this Frontier is absolutely a mule, not a prototype. More or less cobbled together with duct tape and baling wire, it's not meant to be representative of a finished product, or even a started product. The transmission and shifter is straight out of a Chrysler 300 and the shifter surround is cut out of a panel of plastic. The "Low Sulfur Diesel Only" sticker is, well, just stuck on. We're looking at a "What if?" mockup.
Nissan and Infiniti are the latest automakers to issue recalls involving faulty airbag inflators from Takata. The Japanese automakers have announced campaigns covering about 226,326 units from seven models built in the early 2000s because they contain the bad part in the passenger-side, front airbag. The affected vehicles include the 2002-2004 Nissan Sentra, 2002-2003 Pathfinder and 2002-2003 Maxima, and it also covers the 2002-2003 Infiniti QX4, 2002-2003 I35, 2003 FX45 and 2003 FX35.
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:00:00 EST
Like the other vehicles with the faulty inflators, it's possible for the part to rupture during airbag deployment and spray metal shrapnel at occupants. Nissan and Infiniti have even included vehicles with replacement airbags in this campaign because those parts also could have been defective. Both companies were also part of the earlier regional campaign to fix cars in high-humidity climates where the problem has been found to be the worst.
As is the usual response, Nissan and Infiniti will notify owners of the affected vehicles and will make the repair at no charge. According to the filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these fixes will commence around August 11. Scroll down to read the report from NHTSA, or read the full defect notice as a PDF, here.
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:02:00 EST
Both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.
It's ironic that Cadillac and Lincoln got new bosses within days of each other this month. It's also a commentary on the fact both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.
The Nissan Cube is on its way out here in the US and Canada. In a way, that's too bad, simply because the Cube's styling was nothing if not distinctive - much like the company's own Juke. However, the flame for uniquely styled models is indeed still burning over at Nissan.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:24:00 EST
We might never see an exact replacement for the Cube in the brand's lineup, but product planning boss Andy Palmer says that its retirement leaves a spot open in the Nissan lineup for something else. "To be clear, we will morph this space in our portfolio into something iconic," said Palmer to Automotive News. Unfortunately, he wouldn't hint at what that could mean.
However, his lack of suggestions makes it fun to speculate about what oddity could replace the Cube, especially since two of Nissan's more recent quirky concepts might have problems hitting the road. The Bladeglider is mired in Nissan and Deltawing Technologies' ongoing patent lawsuit. Alternatively, the retro-inspired IDx might be too expensive to build profitably. Still, this is the company that created both the (nearly dead) Murano CrossCabriolet and the very successful Juke; it can probably come up with something else delightfully weird.
Nissan has been playing its cards pretty close to its chest when it comes to the production costs for Leaf battery packs. The company recently put a price on replacement batteries for customers at $5,500 plus the requirement to return the old battery. If the decommissioned battery is worth $1,000 to Nissan, as they have stated, that means the battery costs about $6,500 to make, right? Maybe even less if Nissan wants to turn a profit, as automakers are wont to do? Wrong.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:31:00 EST
Green Car Reports spoke to Nissan about these battery costs, and found that the automaker actually loses money on selling the replacement battery for the Leaf at the current price. Jeff Kuhlman, Nissan's vice president of global communications said, "Nissan makes zero margin on the replacement program. In fact, we subvent every exchange." All you English majors will know that "subvent" is a fancy way to say "subsidize." Kuhlman added, though, "We have yet to sell one battery as part of the program."
The fact that Nissan offers its replacement batteries for less than it costs to manufacture them is telling of a company both cares about what its customer needs and is dedicated to the success of its product. In this case, both of those things encourage people to give up fossil fuels and adopt electric mobility, which is heartening. As more people switch to battery-powered driving, though, battery technology should become better and cheaper, and the scale of production should cause manufacturing costs to decrease. Eventually, Nissan could easily see itself breaking even selling the Leaf battery replacements.
Oh, the heady days of 1993, back when the Clinton Presidency was just getting underway, and it seemed like every hot new rock band was coming out of Seattle. Sports cars in the US had finally shaken off the shackles that slowed them during the '70s and '80s, and you could buy any number of legitimately quick vehicles again. MotorWeek recently went digging into its archives to find this six-model test from 1993 showing off some of the best semi-affordable performance coupes that money could buy at the time, and it's priceless.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:30:00 EST
Featuring the 1994 model year Toyota Supra in twin-turbo guise and MY 1993 versions of the Porsche 968, Nissan 300ZX TT, Mazda RX-7, Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo and Chevrolet Corvette LT-1, MotorWeek definitely covered all of the bases. One thing that might surprise younger readers is these cars' performance. The video only provides 0-60 acceleration times, but several of these vehicles would still be considered pretty potent today - over 20 years since going on sale. The Supra is especially impressive, hitting 60 miles per hour in just 5 seconds. Even today, that's nothing to sneeze at.
Given their performance potential and still-attractive looks, it's amazing that some of these coupes are old enough to drink now. The progress of interior design and safety equipment in the intervening years is pretty shocking, though. In most of these models, having two airbags is touted as a big deal. Scroll down to watch a Throwback Thursday blast from the past about some of the '90s best sports cars.
Nissan's Nismo performance division has been getting more chances to shine recently with tuned models like the Juke Nismo RS and GT-R Nismo. But its latest creation moves closer to the bottom of the Japanese brand's lineup to make a hot hatch out of the (Versa) Note.
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:45:00 EST
At least in Japan, the new model is due this fall, and Nismo is keeping a lot of the details about its latest creation a secret for now. What we do know is that it'll be available in two trims - the Note Nismo and the sportier Nismo S. "The development concept of this model was to build a car that makes you want to keep driving, no matter where your destination may be," said the division's chief product specialist, Hiroshi Tamura, in the company's announcement.
Aesthetically, the Note Nismo looks the way a tuned Nissan should, with the division's signature red trim outlining the car. It also wears a new, mesh grille, lower air dam, red side sills and rear spoiler. Inside, the S gets standard sport seats with full Recaro buckets as an option. Nissan didn't release technical specs for either version, but it promises that the S also gets a tuned engine with a five-speed manual.
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 17:00:00 EST
"Self-driving cars remain a long way from commercial reality."
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn shocked the automotive industry last year when he announced that his company plans to offer consumers an autonomous car by 2020. The automaker even showed off its self-driving Leaf prototype as proof. He was bolder recently with the pronouncement that select markets could have them in 2018, if laws allowed. The boss' optimism appears to be waning, though, and he's now sounding a lot more conservative about the future. While driverless vehicles are still on the way, Ghosn is hedging his bets with a more gradual implementation of several systems.
Most bands go through a fairly simple trajectory of vehicles to make it to shows. When they form, it's all about just getting to the gig and anything works. As they build a following and start touring a little regionally, they upgrade to a van to fit all of the members and equipment. Finally, if they taste big time success, they move to the tour bus. However, indie band Local Natives is taking an interesting detour from that path in a new promotion from Nissan called Off the Stage for the Rogue.
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 11:57:00 EST
The members show up to the middle of nowhere in a pair of the CUVs, and in a few minutes the vehicles are set up to be the group's sound system and its stage. This promo also acts as a video for the song Breakers, which is a bit of a slow jam, but the scenery is absolutely beautiful. Scroll down to watch the Local Natives turn the Rogue into a place to perform practically anywhere.
If you blinked, you missed the opportunity to pick up the last iteration of the 370Z Nismo, because after just a touch over a year of availability, Nissan is replacing it with this updated 2015 model - the third 370-based iteration from the brand's in-house tuner. Consider this version to be the 370Z's swan song. An all-new version is expected soon with a downsized turbo mill (something in the vein of a 240Z would not be impossible). That reality aside, the latest 370Z Nismo is a compelling package. It looks like a million bucks, takes a corner with verve, and gets belated tech goodies. Here are our impressions from a drive we took last week near Nissan's US headquarters in Tennessee.
The Recaro seats are wonderful (shocker!). In fact, the interior in general has a much more strapped-down feel about it. A run-of-the-mill 370Z feels pretty great, although it's not a place for the big-boned. As with past Nismos, upgrades include contrasting colors on the faux-suede seat inserts, the gauge hood, the ten and two positions on the steering wheel, and a red centering stripe on the wheel. The upgraded materials are all nicely chosen and the cabin is a very sexy place to live - weirdly practical, too, considering the huge cargo area. Checking the "Tech" model option box brings a 7.0-inch nav screen in place of the upward swinging door over a storage cubby, a much-needed backup camera, an impressively good Bose stereo, and de riguer Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming. Everything seems to work as advertised.