For Sale By:Dealer
Disability Equipped: No
Sub Model: 2.5 S
Exterior Color: Blue
Drive Train: Front Wheel Drive
Interior Color: Black
American Fork, Utah, 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.
Similarity is bound to occur in an industry where most of the products follow the same basic formula. But once in a while a new design comes along that doesn't quite reinvent the wheel, but comes pretty damn close. The DeltaWing project was one such design - and Nissan, the car's designers allege, stole that design.
After the DeltaWing proposal was rejected by the IndyCar series, its creators took it to Le Mans and brought Nissan on board to supply the power. Nissan subsequently pulled out of the program and came out with the ZEOD RC hybrid racer (right), bearing a suspiciously similar design with an unusually narrow front track at the end of a long nose cone, and a wider track at the back. The Japanese automaker then displayed the BladeGlider concept (below, right) at the Tokyo Motor Show, envisioning a translation of the same formula into road-going form.
The similarity did not escape Don Panoz, who - after making sports and racing cars under his own name and founding the now-defunct American Le Mans Series - was a central figure in bringing the original DeltaWing to life. Now Panoz has filed a lawsuit against Nissan, soliciting the courts to issue a cease-and-desist order on both the ZEOD RC and BladeGlider projects, naming Nissan motorsport chief Darren Cox and Ben Bowlby (who defected to Nissan from the DeltaWing program) as part of the suit.
If you've noticed that there have been more recalls than usual this year, you may be on to something. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the US market is on pace to break a record for recalls. In 2013, 22 million cars were recalled. We're only a third of the way through 2014, though, and we've already halved that figure, with 11 million units recalled. That's wild.
Considering the past few months, it shouldn't be a surprise that General Motors is leading the charge, with six million of the 11 million units recalled coming from one of the General's four brands. Between truck recalls, CUV recalls and the ignition switch recall, 2014 hasn't been a great year for GM.
Other recall leaders include Nissan (one million Sentra and Altima sedans), Honda (900,000 Odyssey minivans), Toyota (over one million units in a few recalls), Volkswagen (150,000 Passat sedans), Chrysler (644,000 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs) and most recently, Ford (434,000 units, the bulk of which were early Ford Escape CUVs). So while it's been a bad year for GM so far, its competitors aren't doing too well, either.