Review: 2014 Nissan Juke Nismo RS

Saturday October 18th, 2014 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2014 Nissan Juke Nismo RS

By David Colman

Hypes: Go-Kart handling, Best Seats in the Biz
Gripes: Still Looks Homely

Nismo is the competition arm of the Nissan empire. Any vehicle bearing the Nismo badge is sure to appeal to the driving enthusiast. Currently, Nismo’s best effort is also their most affordable one, the $26,120 Juke Nismo RS. Now, the Juke is never going to win anyone’s beauty prize, thanks to its bulbous headlights, angular planes, and ungainly tall stance. But to Nismo’s credit, the stylists and engineers in the competition department have orchestrated a makeover that turns the homely Juke into a fearsome canyon carver with looks to match.

2014 Nissan Juke Nismo RS

Let’s start with the carefully contrived cosmetic surgery. Because the letter “O” in NISMO is red – like the Japanese setting sun – everything else on the Juke RS derives from that chroma key. A neat red pinstripe decorates the RS-specific front and rear fascias as well as the rocker panels of the Sapphire Black body. Red rear view mirrors complete the two tone appearance of the exterior. Inside, the color symphony continues with racing Recaro front buckets with black suede seating surfaces, red side bolsters and red “Nismo RS” embroidered headrests. Black front and rear seats display contrasting red stitching, and even the 8,000rpm tachometer face (redline 6,500) is anodized red to match the rest of the bi-color decor.

Simulated carbon fiber surrounds the 5.8 inch color touchscreen in the center of the dash face. This navigation device, which also offers various Nissan Connect applications, is part of the $1,200 optional Navigation Package that includes Voice Recognition for Audio and Navigation, Sirius XM Traffic and Travel Link, and Streaming Audio via Bluetooth. A Rockford Fosgate “ecoPUNCH” audio system with subwoofer, and USB Connection Port for iPod-like devices completes the benefits package.

2014 Nissan Juke Nismo RS

But the hospitality of the interior furnishings are secondary components of the Juke’s DNA. This is primarily a tightly focused driver’s car, with an unforgiving ride quality, and a peaky but powerful engine. Likewise, the Recaro seats offer heavenly support when you’re strapped in, but are maddeningly difficult to enter or exit. If you’ve got racer genes, the performance of the Juke Nismo RS will be more than worth the tradeoff in comfort and ease of operation. The uprated 197hp “DIG Turbo” direct injection motor is 10hp stronger than that of the base Juke. It also produces 184 lb.-ft. of torque, 7 pounds more than the standard Juke. The suspension is considerably stiffer than the stock Juke, so you will feel more road imperfections but enjoy greater control when the road turns twisty. The premium performance biased Continental tires (225/45R18 ContiSportContacts) ride on Nismo specific 7 x 18 inch alloys with enough tiny spokes to keep you busy for hours at car wash time.

Rear seat passengers in this Juke will long for their trip to conclude. The exceptionally tall Recaro front seat backs impede frontal vision for rear seat riders, as well as knee room. Although the Juke offers a fifth door hatchback, cargo space is so limited that you’ll want to fold flat the 60/40 split rear seats to make room for anything bulky. A nice feature is the under-floor rear cargo bin, ideal for hiding valuables from sight.

2014 Nissan Juke Nismo RS

The Juke Nismo RS is a hard core enthusiast sedan which makes few concessions to comfort or ease of drivability in its quest to provide maximum thrust on twisty roads. If you enjoy road racing, you will love this little rocket. Kudos to Nissan for having the resolve to offer such a tightly focused sports package at such an affordable price. The Recaro seats alone are worth the paltry price of admission.

2014 Nissan Juke Nismo RS

  • Engine: 1.6 liter inline 4, turbocharged with direct injection
  • Horsepower: 197hp.
  • Torque: 184 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 25 MPG City/31 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $28,345
  • Star Rating: 10 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2015 Nissan Versa Note SR

Monday October 13th, 2014 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2015 Nissan Versa Note SR

By David Colman

Hypes: Cute SR Makeover, Good Value
Gripes: Weak Motor, CVT Woes

Nissan’s SR Versa strikes a new Note for 2015. From the outside, it’s apparent the SR is no base Note. Rather, it sings a different tune thanks to its unique front and rear fascias, side skirts, mesh black grill, black headlight enclosures, and machined-spoke 6×16″ alloy rims. Inside the smoked headlight enclosures sit multi-reflector Halogen bulbs. The exterior rearview mirrors contain neatly integrated turn signal indicators, and the tail of the roof incorporates a sizeable spoiler. Inside, seats covered with simulated suede continue the sport motif with orange racing stripes and stitching. Chrome door lock plates enliven the interior, along with silver trim accents on the shift lever and instrument panel. All these cosmetic changes elevate this Note to a higher key, by reconfiguring its appearance from boring to enticing. But does its performance live up to the promise of the pomade?

2015 Nissan Versa Note SR

Not quite. The sporty looking SR still utilizes the base Note’s economic 1.6 liter four, which commendably averages 35MPG in combined city/highway driving. The price you pay for such meager fuel consumption is lethargic straight line performance. With only 109hp and 107lb.-ft. of torque on tap, this engine needs special help from its gearbox to complete quick passing maneuvers, But with the SR’s “Xtronic” transmission, the overtaxed motor hardly gets any help at all. Since this continuously variable transmission lacks actual gear sets, you’re restricted to just 2 ranges of choice, Drive and Low. Drive range is relatively quiet because it keeps engine rpm low. But it also sedates power output, mandating a shift into Low range when you need extra punch. Low range does improve zip from tepid to acceptable, but at the expense of much increased noise from the suddenly high revving engine. There is no happy median between these two widely divergent conditions.

2015 Nissan Versa Note SR

The gearbox conundrum stifles the performance of an otherwise nimble Versa. Ride quality for such a short wheelbase car is surprisingly posh. The 195/55R16 Bridgestone Ecopia tires are partly responsible for good bump absorption, due to their tall 55 series sidewall profile. The Note remains reassuringly level and unflustered when pressed through switchbacks. The addition of a 370Z style steering wheel, complete with dimpled leather handgrips, furthers the sporting illusion. The manually adjustable front seats feature 6 change opportunities for the driver and 4 for the passenger. The surprisingly spacious rear seats offer decent comfort, and enormous legroom considering the diminutive size of the Note. Thanks to low window sash height, the interior feels spacious rather than constricted, a notion corroborated b y the numbers: 94.1 cubic feet of interior room and 18.4 cubic feet of trunk space in this hatchback.

2015 Nissan Versa Note SR

Nissan equips the SR Note with a wide variety of safety instruments, including side impact and curtain airbags, Traction Control and Vehicle Dynamic Control. Although the braking system includes anti lock technology (ABS) and electronic brake distribution (EBD), the system makes do with front discs but rear drums. We experienced mediocre brake retardation when slowing to a stop from freeway speed due to a lane closure. The pedal required more than moderate pressure to deal with this unexpected stoppage.

2015 Nissan Versa Note SR

The Versa Note SR offers unquestionably good value as basic transportation. Considering its $17,530 base price, you enjoy a lot of plusses for your limited investment. It will transport four in comfort, with a full size door for each. It will duck into parking places fatter hatchbacks spurn. It will run for a week on less than half a tank of gas. What it won’t do, however, is live up to the spanking promise of its new SR dressage. For that kind of performance, the spoiler and racing stripe brigade will have to look elsewhere.

2015 Nissan Versa Note SR

  • Engine: 1.6 liter inline four
  • Horsepower: 107hp
  • Torque: 109lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 31MPG City/40MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $19,180
  • Star Rating: 7 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2014 Nissan Altima 2.5SL

Saturday October 11th, 2014 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2014 Nissan Altima 2.5SL

By David Colman

Hypes: Spacious Back Seat, Inviting Interior
Gripes: Needs To Lose CVT Transmission

The Altima is Nissan’s scrappy contender in the turbulent family sedan marketplace. When you’re battling mainstream heavyweights like Toyota’s Camry and Honda’s Accord, you need something special to attract buyers to your product. Although the Altima 2.5 SL is nothing special to look at or drive, it still merits consideration due to its affordable base price of $27,775. Seven different tiers of Altima are available (2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 SV, 2.5 SL, 3.5S, 3.5 SV and 3.5 SL). Base prices range from $22,010 to $30,660. Models designated 2.5 utilize a four cylinder engine rated at 182hp. 3.5 models upgrade performance with a 3.5 liter V6 good for 270hp. Our test Altima fell squarely in the middle of the price range, with its 2.5 liter four mated to a CVT transmission. This combination yields 31MPG in overall driving.

2014 Nissan Altima 2.5SL

The SL designation adds the following improvements to the base 2.5 Altima: integrated turn signal rear view mirrors, fog lamps, premium Bose sound system, heated leather front seats, driver adjustable lumbar support, and auto dimming rearview mirror.
In addition, our test SL added an $800 moon roof, $210 in floor and trunk mats, and $1,090 for a Technology Package that increased color display screen size from 5 to 7 inches, and added navigation, blind spot and lane departure warnings, plus moving object detection. The $30,830 price brings you a fully equipped long distance cruiser with few flaws. In a world full of attention getting designs, the Altima SL is sedate and inoffensive, rather than brash and boastful.

Comfort ranks high on the list of attributes here. Ride is plush, with good damping of road imperfections. Nissan’s tire selection contributes to the plush ride. The 215/55R17 Continental Pro Contact tires help absorb bumps, though at the expense of precise steering feedback. Although handling is hardly cutting edge, the Altima will tackle any back road without embarrassing itself. To prove the point, Nissan is running a pair of Altima coupes in SCCA’s hotly contested Pirelli Touring Car Series, where they are consistent podium finishers.

2014 Nissan Altima 2.5SL

The interior of the SL looks expensive. The seats in particular, offer outstanding support and comfort. Nissan calls them “zero-g” because they are so light to the touch that you feel like you’re floating on air. With the exception of the driver’s seat, each seating position has been thoughtfully supplied with overhead grab handles to ease entry and exit. The commodious rear seat offers so much legroom you could almost sneak a pair of floor mounted jump seats into the mix. The rear seats also fold down in a 40/60 split, opening a vast storage space to the 15 cubic foot trunk. A pair of buttons on the rear window sill control the seatback flop. In another thoughtful touch, these buttons contain key locks, thus restricting trunk access to intentioned adults rather than playful children.

No matter which Altima you select, you have no choice but to accept the CVT transmission. Anyone who enjoys driving soon learns to loathe this invention. While CVT insures excellent fuel consumption figures, it drains the joy out of operating the 2.5 SL. With just 2 selections available for forward motion (“D” and “Ds”). you have very little control over your Altima’s rate of acceleration. Of course, this will only matter to you if back road driving comprises part of your daily itinerary. In those circumstances, your inability to resort to higher engine speed via lower gearing virtually mandates you will never pull out to pass slower traffic. The CVT thus insures tediously strict conga line behavior on twisty roads.

2014 Nissan Altima 2.5SL

But aside from the pair of drivers who contest the Pirelli series, no one would think to buy this Altima for its performance potential. Rather, the 2.5 SL is a sedan that makes sense to the accountant in us all. Its parsimonious behavior starts at the dealership where you can buy it for just a tick over thirty grand. It continues through the life of the sedan, where the EPA estimates annual fuel cost to be just $1,700. That’s about the same as you’d pay for a new Mini Cooper ($1,650). And if you have a family of four to transport, there’s no question which car makes more financial sense.

2014 Nissan Altima 2.5SL

  • Engine: 2.5 liter inline 4, Double Overhead Cams, 16 Valves
  • Horsepower: 182hp
  • Torque: 180 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 27 MPG City/38 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $30,830
  • Star Rating: 7 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo

Tuesday March 18th, 2014 at 12:33 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Race Car For The Street
Gripes: Poor Outward Vision

You’ve got to love a car company that specifies — on the window sticker no less — what size and brand of tires you’re guaranteed to receive as standard equipment. In the case of Nissan’s speed equipment special, the Nismo 370Z, nothing but the best in ultra high performance rubber will do. You automatically get Bridgestone Potenza S001 tires measuring 245/40R19 front and 285/35R19 rear, affixed to Rays brand forged alloy rims. And yes, Nissan also specifies the brand name of the rims on the window sticker, and requires that they be forged rather than cast. Why all the fuss about this car’s footprint? The Nismo Z is all about handling prowess, and since wheels and tires make the most important contribution to ultimate grip, Nissan has selected the best tires and wheels for their hottest handling Z.

The rest of the specification list is just as clearly focused on high performance. The suspension system, for example, is tuned with model specific sway bars, struts and shocks that are much stiffer than those of the standard 370Z. A beautifully crafted 3-point front strut tower brace ties the front suspension’s top shock mounts to the firewall for added rigidity. These competition bred measures result in handling precision and levels of grip rarely experienced in anything with a license plate. The Nismo rides very hard because the suspension is so taut that it allows nearly zero compliance over bumps. Certain undulations even cause the Z to buck like a porpoise, but these comical moments are more than offset by the incredible adhesion this chassis affords on curving roads. If you’re in the market for the ultimate handling sports car, look no further.

Nissan also goes to extreme lengths to bring the engine and brakes up to the refinement level of the suspension. The engine’s crankshaft and camshafts receive a micro polishing treatment that helps reduce internal engine friction. The Nismo’s 3.7 liter V-6 makes 350hp and 276 lb.-ft. of torque compared to the regular issue 370Z’s 332hp and 270lb.-ft. The enormous front and rear disc brakes get the Nissan “Sport” treatment, with high rigidity braided stainless steel hoses feeding special R35 brake fluid to the six piston front, and four piston rear calipers. Thus, the brake pedal is always reassuringly hard and predictable.

Both the interior and exterior of the Nismo receive special attention to distinguish this model from lesser Zs. The 8-way adjustable driver’s seat and the 4 way adjustable passenger’s seat offer lateral support commensurate with the high side loadings this car generates. Both seats sport Nismo embroidered badges on their headrests. Not only are they supportive and comfortable over long hauls, but surprisingly easy to climb in and out of. The 3-spoke steering wheel too is a work of art, with a red band incised into the top dead center position, new suede grips at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions, and just enough controls to facilitate radio selection without overdoing the array. Outside, the Nismo, in white, looks as menacing as Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, with a great gaping maw of a grill just waiting to suck up slower cars ahead. And trust me, with this car, all the rest are slower. To match the dive planes of the front spoiler, there’s a fat chorded rear wing, plus kick out rails on the rocker panels that make this Z look even wider than it is. Red accent pinstripes across the snout and exterior mirrors distinguish the Nismo visually from any other 370Z. One gander at this exotic looking Z renders the need for the Nismo rear nameplate superfluous.

Besides its bone jarring ride, the ultra Z suffers from an affliction that also burdens every 370Z: poor side and rear vision. The problem starts right under your nose, where the wide A pillars of the windshield, together with fat exterior rear mirrors, conspire to block side vision for a foot on either side of the car. To the back, the wing’s placement further reduces vision through the Z’s mail slot of a rear window. To alleviate the problem, Nissan has added a very useful standard rear backup camera which projects its image in the left quadrant of the inside rear view mirror when reverse gear is engaged. This placement is far superior to those which use a dash mounted screen that diverts your eyes from the mirror you should be looking at. Still, backing the Nismo Z out of a parking spot into traffic is an unpleasant chore. You soon find yourself parking only in spots you can vacate by driving off straight ahead.

In sum, the Nismo Z offers the finest pure driving experience you can buy for under $50,000. Nothing comes close to its combination of leech like handling, impressive acceleration, and bad boy good looks.

2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo

  • Engine: 3.7 liter DOHC V6
  • Horsepower: 350hp
  • Torque: 276lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 18 MPG City/26 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $46,370
  • Star Rating: 10 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Nissan 370Z Touring

Tuesday October 15th, 2013 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Arrive and Drive Racer
Gripes: Stick Shaker, Poor Rear Vision

The 370Z is a no-compromise sports car. If you aim to own one, be forewarned that it’s you that will be making the compromises, not the Z. For example, the simple act of climbing aboard the coupe version will present a physical challenge you may not enjoy. The roof line is so low that you will have to duck your head while you fold your torso in order to slide bottom end first into the seat. After repeated pretzel twist entries, I learned to grab the steering wheel while performing a butt thrust that made me look like flopping Dick Forsbury, the first high jumper to clear 7 feet backwards.

Of course, once you’re ensconced in the Z’s tight cabin, memories of your inglorious entry fade as you lavish your eyes on the magnificent instrument panel, which provides more information than you could ever use. A trio of angled gauges atop the dash crown, mimicking those of the first 240Z, inform you of water temp, battery charge and time of day. A 9,000 rpm tachometer zips to redline in front of your nose, while the adjacent speedometer reads to 180mph. The fat, perforated leather steering wheel responds with vernier precision to the most minute adjustments. It is also fitted with handy tabs for scanning your SiriusXM presets without having to reach for the radio faceplate.

The Z’s love-it-or-leave-it personality persists once you prepare to drive off. Should you need to back out of a parking slot, you will be stymied by your inability to see anything lurking behind or beside you. Tank commanders have a better rear view than do Z drivers. You’d be well advised to back into parking places first, in order to spare yourself the agony of reversing blind later. Almost all is forgiven, however, when you fire up the 332hp V-6, snick the rifle-bolt-precise 6-speed manual into first, and feed in just enough gas to launch the Z from a standing start. Unlike so many finicky manual clutch packages, the Z’s take-up is perfectly linear and free of drama. Even though the Z lacks a hill holder function, you can perform a hill start anywhere in San Francisco with no drama thanks to an immediate supply of 270 lb.-ft. of torque. A persistent drawback to the manual transmission is its proclivity to shake the stick when in neutral. This has been a problem since Nissan reintroduced the Z back in 2003, and their engineers haven’t figured out how to quell the annoyance in 10 years. Of course, you can eliminate the problem by opting for the paddle-shifted automatic gearbox which contains 7 speeds instead of 6. But you’ll pay an additional $1,300 for the convenience.

Given the long, proud racing heritage of the Z, this latest Nissan two seater handles with the precision and aplomb you’d expect of such a pure bred sports car. Helping in that regard are several improvements for 2013. If you order the Sports Package ($3,030), the RAYS forged wheels differ in appearance from earlier versions, with thinner spokes revealing newly painted red brake calipers. These ultra light 19 inch diameter RAYS replace the standard issue cast 18 inch alloys. The gunmetal finished RAYS measure 9.5 inches wide in front and 10.5 inches wide in back (versus 8 and 9 inch width for the 18 inch wheels). Our Sports Package equipped 370Z mounted Bridgestone’s best all-around performance tire, the RE050A, with front rubber measuring 245/40/R19 and rears 275/35/R19. Nissan has also modified the valving of its Sports Package shocks for a “Euro-tuned” firmer, more controlled ride that can feel downright harsh at times. The package also includes a Viscous Limited Slip Differential, so this as-delivered Z is ideally configured for fast street driving, or track day competition.

A prime factor in the Z equation has always been its big 6 cylinder motor. Today’s hot rodded 3.7 liter V-6 benefits from micro-polishing of the crankshaft and camshafts. With variable valve timing and lift, the motor makes 332hp and 270lb.-ft. of torque. Just be prepared to endure a lot of not particularly pleasant noise when you stretch the motor past 4,000rpm. Even so, with a base price of just $37,820, the 2013 Z is without question a best buy sports car. Even when equipped with the Sports Package and Navigation System ($2,150), the 370Z still posts an affordable bottom line of $43,905. If you’re a nascent racer willing to put up with the minor foibles of this hard-edged rocket, you can’t do better than the latest 370Z.

2013 Nissan 370Z Touring

  • Engine: 3.7 liter DOHC V-6 with VVEL
  • Horsepower: 332 hp
  • Torque: 270 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 18 MPG City/26 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $43,905
  • Star Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO

Tuesday July 23rd, 2013 at 8:77 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Makeover Deluxe, Killer Seats, Curve Hungry
Gripes: Nav Panel Too Bright At Night

The first time I saw a Juke I wanted to puke. But before I could issue a stern rebuke, I discovered that Nissan’s fluke has became kind of a nuke. Rhyme time aside, NISMO, the motorsports arm of Nissan, has managed to transform the Juke from an ugly frog into a snappy swan. Monochromatic Sapphire Black paint morphs the Juke’s hunchback posture into visually tolerable awkwardness. While the fender top headlights remain protuberant, special NISMO front and rear fascia panels and hatch top spoiler convert the base Juke’s clownish countenance into a grimace that’s purposeful if not ferocious. A “Signature Red Accent Stripe” circles the lower circumference of the revised bodywork, visually reducing the Juke’s tall proportions. Matching red mirror covers tie disparate elements of the styling theme together.

Step inside the NISMO’s refettled cabin and you’re in for an even more pleasant surprise. The front seats have been bolstered to feel like Swedish massage chairs. They’re so good that you can’t wait to get in and hate to get out. Each one features a NISMO inscription on the headrest which matches similar logos affixed to the shift console and gauge faces. Best of all, a special competition-style steering wheel covered in Alcantara and leather sports a dead giveaway of NISMO’s racing heritage: a red leather marker ring stitched to the 12 o’clock position on the wheel – so you never lose visual track of where top dead center is located. Porsche saves this trick for its $150,000 GT3. The Juke’s rear seats are usable thanks to ingenious rear doors actuated via small release handles embedded in the rearmost C posts. The back seats are 60/40 fold down splits which work well in conjunction with the Juke’s sizeable rear hatchback door. Not only is the revised Juke handsome, but practical as well.

But this hot hatchback was designed primarily to please the enthusiast driver, and it succeeds estimably in that mission. The NISMO Juke makes you want to spend the day at the race track. The handling of this lightweight buzz bomb is impeccable, thanks in part to a retuned NISMO suspension system riding on Continental SportContact 225/45R18 tires. The Contis are mounted on special NISMO black alloy rims with polished outer spoke tips. Nissan engineers have also quickened the Juke’s steering ratio and re-tuned the 1.6 liter turbo motor for superior response. Although you’re always aware of the Juke’s front-wheel-drive layout, there’s never any torque steer, and the front tires do a consummate job of providing solid traction and direction information. This hot hatch will scoot with the best in class from VW’s GTI to Audi’s A3. And the best news is that instead of spending more than $30,000, the base Juke NISMO retails for just $22,990. Equipped with a bargain 5 inch screen Navigation Package ($1,170) the Juke NISMO’s out-the-door cost is $25,195. The Navigation Package also includes XM Satellite Radio and Traffic, plus a throaty Rockford Fosgate “ecoPUNCH” premium audio, with subwoofer and USB connection port for iPods. My early rock ‘n roll CD of Link Wray and the Raymen, played via the Juke’s in-dash slot, seemed tonally suited to the thumping output of the Rockford file.

The NISMO Juke is a joyous little transportation device. While it still looks a bit like a squid on steroids, it has enough tentacles to embrace the racer you, the family you and the bargain you all at the same time. You can’t do much better than that, and for this price you can’t do all that anywhere else but your Nissan dealer.

2013 Nissan Juke NISMO

  • Engine: 1.6 liter inline 4, direct injection, turbocharged
  • Horsepower: 188hp
  • Torque: 177 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 25 MPG City/31 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $25,195
  • Star Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Stars

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2013 Nissan 370Z Touring Review

Tuesday November 20th, 2012 at 8:1111 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Arrive and Drive Racer
Gripes: Fuel Level Gauge Unpredictable, No Rear Wiper

Nissan’s marquee sports car gets better every year. The improvements for 2013 are relatively minor, but enticing nonetheless. A revised front fascia houses new daytime running lights, and if you order the Sports Package ($3,030), the RAYS forged wheels differ in appearance from earlier versions with thinner spokes revealing newly painted red brake calipers. These ultra light 19 inch diameter RAYS replace the standard issue cast 18 inch alloys. The gunmetal finished RAYS measure 9.5 inches wide in front and 10.5 inches wide in back (versus 8 and 9 inch width for the 18 inch wheels). Our Sports Package equipped 370Z mounted Bridgestone’s best all-around performance tire, the RE050A, with front rubber measuring 245/40/R19 and rears 275/35/R19. Nissan has also modified the valving of its Sports Package shocks for a “Euro-tuned” firmer, more controlled ride. The package also includes a Viscous Limited Slip Differential, so the as selivered Z is ideally configured for fast street driving, or track day competition.

 

The 3.7 liter V-6 in the Z is a hot rod motor thanks to micro-finishing techniques used to polish the crankshaft and camshafts. With variable valve timing and lift, the rev-happy motor makes 332hp and 270lb.-ft. of torque. Connected to a precisely gated 6-speed manual transmission, with rev-matching on downshifts, the Z is the most sporting 2 seater you can buy for the money. It corners flawlessly, with the fat Bridgestones urging you to up your apex speed. It sprints from corner to corner with the breathless stamina of a distance runner. The 370Z merits serious consideration if you like to drive fast because it carries out your orders with military efficiency.

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2013 Nissan 370Z Sport Review

Wednesday August 29th, 2012 at 7:88 AM
Posted by: the911guy

2011 Nissan 370Z
By Dan Tsuchiya

Pros:

  • Great improvement over the successful 350Z
  • Nice body lines, Rays wheels are icing on the cake
  • Powerful motor with great sound
  • GTR influence

Cons:

  • Manual transmission not as slick as the competition
  • No lumbar support or telescoping steering wheel
  • Either less weight or more power and this could be an exotic challenger for a fraction of the cost

41 years ago Nissan (Datsun in the US) launched the 240Z onto our shores and turned the sports car market on its head. Here was a light, nimble, reliable, value oriented sports coupe for two which had decent cargo capacity. I had the pleasure of owning and wrenching on various Z cars through the 300ZX and still found the 240Z to be the purist of them all. Only when Nissan introduced the 350Z in 2003 did it appear that they had something of real value that could match their original Z sports car.

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2012 Nissan Rogue SV FWD Review

Wednesday July 25th, 2012 at 8:77 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Bargain Buy-In, Interior Spaciousness
Against: Horrid Xtronic CVT, Dunlop Tires Noisy on Concrete

The Rogue is small enough to handle with agility but big enough to pass the mountain bike test. This car-based SUV crossover weighs just 3,428 lb. which is notably light for an SUV. Yet its generous interior affords up to 58 cubic feet of storage space, with a hatchback door opening just wide enough to slip a mountain bike inside the cargo area.

Based on Nissan’s 4-door Sentra platform, the Rogue shares the sedan’s 105 inch wheelbase as well as its 2.5 liter, 16 valve, 4 cylinder motor. The Rogue inherits the Sentra’s nimble performance characteristics, as well, especially when you ugrade to the optional ($3,900) SL package which replaces standard 17 inch rims with 18 inch alloys. These larger wheels mount 225/55/R18 Dunlop Sport SP 7000 tires which react quickly to input through the Rogue’s fat leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Of course, the SL package includes a host of other upgrades. It improves night vision thanks to the addition of foglights and high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps. The package provides a diminutive 5 inch, touch screen, color monitor for the Nissan Navigation system (reading glasses not included). In addition, you’ll enjoy a 7 speaker Bose Premium audio system with XM satellite radio and NavTraffic reports. Finally, the SL upgrade brings you heated leather front seats, power sliding moonroof, and a bevy of cameras to record external surroundings on the dashboard monitor.

When equipped like our test model, the reasonably inexpensive $29,005 Rogue does a very good job of imitating an expensive luxury station wagon. Although you could add optional all-wheel-drive to the Rogue, there’s really no need for AWD’s extra weight and poorer economy unless you live in the snow belt. The FWD Rogue returns a commendable 23 MPG in city driving and 28 MPG on highway jaunts.

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2012 Nissan Quest 3.5 LE Review

Tuesday March 27th, 2012 at 3:33 PM
Posted by: berrichondanny

2011 Nissan Quest

Pros

  • Spacious cabin
  • Good on-demand V6 power and smooth Continuously Variable Transmission system
  • One-touch power sliding doors and lift gate
  • Distinct styling sets it apart from the competition

Cons

  • Distinct styling is not for everyone
  • Distance between rear captain’s chairs too wide to attend to baby
  • Only one screen for the rear seat passengers

YouTube Preview Image2011 Nissan Quest Minivan Test Drive & Car Review. This video is brought to you by RoadflyTV

Let’s play word association- I say sexy, you say…soccer moms? If that was the first thought that entered your mind, then do I have a vehicle for you. Nissan has introduced the new 2011 Quest with bold styling that sets it apart from the rest of the box-on-wheels crowd. I can’t tell you how many looks I got in the local high school parking lot last weekend. When one speaks of minivans these days, the Honda Odyssey, the Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan and the Toyota Sienna come to mind. Rarely does the Nissan Quest enter the fray. That’s probably due to the fact that the previous Quests were less than popular with American buyers.

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