2007 Nissan Titan Le Crew Htd Leather Side Steps 57k Mi Texas Direct Auto on 2040-cars
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Auto blogTue, 29 Oct 2013 12:03:00 EST
The original Austin Mini was not designed as a fun-to-drive, sporty small car. Its go-kart-like handling and general chuckability were an unintended byproduct of essential aspects of its design. Its four wheels were pushed to the absolute corners of the car to maximize interior space, and its front-wheel-drive layout and transversely mounted engine were in contrast to the rear-wheel-drive, longitudinal layouts of the day.
The result was a highly economical car with space for four and some luggage that just happened to be an absolute hoot to drive. Nissan has followed a similar path in the design of its Versa Note, which strives to provide the maximum amount of space and efficiency in a minimal footprint. On this front, it's successful.
First, we must salute Nissan for departing from the styling of the malformed kidney bean it calls the Versa Sedan. The Versa Note is a fashionably conservative design that neither offends nor excites. The front fascia is arguably its most conservative point, with high-mounted headlights and a sharper, cleaner version of Nissan's familial grille. The tail, with its funky I-don't-know-what-shape-I-am taillights contributes most of the car's flair. The large, spacious greenhouse, particularly up front, keeps passengers from feeling hemmed-in while letting in plenty of light.
The Nissan IDx seems like the type of concept that auto enthusiasts wish they could be driving. With a compact size, style inspired by the classic Datsun 510 and a rear-wheel-drive powertrain, it certainly ticks many of the boxes that people want. Unfortunately, the car seems to be miles away from actually getting a green light for production, but rumors about the retro coupe's future keep cropping up.
The last we heard about the IDx, the biggest complication with the coupe was that it was a tough project to make profitable. Nissan didn't have a cheap enough rear-wheel drive platform to make the affordable coupe work. The latest rumors point to a potential solution to this problem. According to Motoring from Australia speaking to an insider close to Nissan, the new plan is to tweak the styling to be less retro and adapt the car to work on the platform for the forthcoming, next-generation Z car.
The new look reportedly cribs from the Nissan Sport Sedan Concept from the 2014 Detroit Motor Show, including its floating roof design and sharper edges around the fenders. In terms of power, the source tells Motoring, the IDx could use a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with around 180 horsepower on tap. That might not sound like too much, but remember the Z car itself is rumored to get smaller and lighter when it's new generation hits the stage. If the weight is low enough, potentially using it for the IDx might just work.
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.