2012 Nissan Xterra Pro-4X Review

Friday February 10th, 2012 at 11:22 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Pro: Stud appearance, High level of fit and finish, Go-anywhere capability
Con: No sliding visors, Poor XM reception, No external temp. readout

You’d think that a tire as tough as a BF Goodrich “Rugged Trail T/A” in a size as chunky as 265/65R16 would be impervious to any road hazard you could throw in its way. After all, the raised white lettering on the sidewall and the meaty tread blocks lend a sense of invulnerability to your travel. In fact, the motto of the Xterra is: “Tough Gear That Helps You Attack Life.” Unfortunately, a diminutive Phillips Head screw managed to insinuate itself into the BFG’s carcass in the soft underbelly of the tire, between those menacing tread blocks.

First, the low tire pressure warning light illuminated on the dash. We checked the pressures and found them all to be set at 32psi, the manufacturer’s recommended setting. But the warning system knew more than we did, and the next morning the right rear was flat. Thankfully, Nissan provides the Xterra with a full-size spare, so after some fussing with the spindly jack, we just managed to squeeze the spare onto the back axle, and be on our way. If you plan on taking this Xterra offroad, you’ll definitely want to pack a bottle jack, or floor jack before departure.

The PRO-4X version of the Xterra is aimed at the Jeep Rubicon fraternity of intrepid voyagers who think nothing of setting out for a week on the Rubicon Trail or tackling the hinterlands of Moab. The list of special equipment standard on this alluring special edition of the Xterra is impressive. With the rear wheel off, we could see the standard Bilstein shocks that control jounce and rebound with German precision. The frame looks massive because it is fully boxed rather than being dependent on flimsier U-channel construction. All four wheels feature limited slip gearing, and an electronic locking rear differential is standard. The PRO-4X operates in 2 wheel drive unless you select 4-wheel drive “Hi” from the dashboard-mounted rotary knob. You can also engage 4-wheel drive “Low,” but only if you come to a complete stop. Nissan does not recommend using either 4-wheel drive setting on dry pavement, as it wears out the drivetrain and reduces gas mileage (which is already on the low side, at 15 MPG City/20 MPG Highway).

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2012 Nissan Murano SL FWD Review

Thursday February 9th, 2012 at 9:22 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Pros: Tidy size, Thoughtful interior, Industry best CVT transmission
Cons: Rolls on incline when in gear, Goofy valet driver’s seat

Nissan freshened the appearance of its Murano for 2011, and the same freshly scrubbed face greets you in 2012. The grill integrates better with the front fascia than before, new LED taillight clusters look like jewels, and redesigned 10 spoke alloy wheels measuring 7.5” x 18” complete the styling update. The front-wheel-drive version of this crossover is affordable, with a base price of just $36,400. This crossover SUV is utilitarian and luxurious at the same time. The utility comes from the Murano’s ability to transport five adults, with enough storage space behind the second row of seats to store their luggage as well. Dual-zone temperature control, complete with front and rear vents, acknowledges rear seat passenger comfort. But the rear windows open only part way, and the angle of the second row backrest is too vertical and non-adjustable.

If you flip the rear seatbacks flat, the Murano affords enough storage area to slide a full size bike through the power tailgate. The load floor is flat, heavily upholstered, and protected at its rear load point by ribbed stainless steel plates. The cabibn interior is an airy place thanks to the standard dual pane moonroof. Forward vision is unimpeded thanks to the sloping engine lid and large windshield. Generous second row windows plus a pair of triangular back glasses assist side vision. The tailgate glass comes complete with its own washer and wiper and provides rear vision good enough to make an available back-up camera system unnecessary.

The Murano’s V-6 engine works happily with the CVT transmission to provide sufficient power delivery for all driving occasions. The CVT never hunts for a ratio sweet spot like so many of its brethren, nor does it ever emit the annoying drone so typical of this type of gearbox. The 260hp V6 is more than strong enough to cope with the rigors of daily driving. The SL Murano will even handle a decent trailer load of 3,374 lbs. Handling on wet and dry pavement is exemplary, thanks to the all-weather tread of the mud and snow (“M+S”) rated Bridgestone Dueller H/T 265/35R18 tires. The FWD Murano makes a tidy winter package, with its aggressive traction, good exterior vision, and lovely heated front seats. Unlike so many other seat heaters, these do not automatically turn themselves off every time you shut the ignition down. This setting retention is a nice way to personalize your surroundings. Along those same lines, the Murano offers the driver a pair of memory positions for the left front seat. I could, however, live without the front seat’s proclivity to slide aft each time you enter or exit the vehicle.

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2012 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV First Impressions Review

Wednesday February 8th, 2012 at 2:22 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

Video: By Francis Cebedo of Carreview.com

YouTube Preview Image

 

2011 Nissan Maxima
By contributing editor David Colman

Pros:

  • The Maxima returns to its sports sedan roots
  • Well appointed interior and creature comforts

Cons:

  • Be ready with a strong grip to handle the torque steer
  • Yearning for a firmer suspension setup reminiscent of true 4DSC performance
  • elephant-ear sized shifter paddles behind the steering wheel

Nissan has long touted the Maxima as a four-door version of the company’s Z sportscar. In fact, early versions carried the moniker “4DSC” on the rear windows to let cognoscenti in on the secret that this sedan was really a “4 Door Sports Car” in camera. But as Maxima morphed through subsequent iterations, its styling lost the hard edge of the original. Its power-to-weight ratio also suffered, as Maxima gained size and weight without corresponding boosts in horsepower. Pretty soon, the 4DSC stickers disappeared and the Maxima became just another big sedan without the sporting pretensions of the original.

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2011 Nissan LEAF Review – vs. the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius

Wednesday December 14th, 2011 at 4:1212 PM
Posted by: the911guy

2011 Nissan LEAF vs. Toyota Prius
By Dan Tsuchiya

Pros:

  • 100 miles on a full charge
  • Eco Mode for dummies
  • Drives like a car, not an enclosed golf cart
  • It actually looks good and not a social statement
  • Batteries are mounted very low so out of the way physically and lowers the center of gravity
  • Total energy cost for a year is about $500
  • It turns a new leaf in the saga american motoring :)

Cons:

  • 100 miles on a full charge (run it down, you’re stuck)
  • 14-16 hour charge using 110V household current
  • Front seats are very basic
  • $35k base will keep it away from the masses.

Video from Roadfly.com (click ’360p’ to watch in HD)
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Remember the first time you rode/drove an EV? It could have been a battery powered toy car, a golf cart, or even a gas powered car converted to electric, but they all had one thing in common; acceleration like an on/off switch….no modulation. More than 10 years ago Toyota brought the hybrid Prius to the United States and it was one of the first cars with fantastic modulation and packaged in a base car that was previously gas powered. I currently have a second generation Prius in the stable and our staff was lucky enough to test the Chevrolet Volt a couple of months back.

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Table of Contents – Editorial Car Reviews, Feature Articles

Tuesday October 11th, 2011 at 2:1010 PM
Posted by: Derek

CarReview_Contents_header

Below is a comprehensive list of all the Expert Car Reviews and feature articles published on CarReview.com [updated 10/11/2011]:

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2012 Nissan Altima 2.5 S Review – Pushing the boundary of mediocrity

Tuesday October 11th, 2011 at 2:1010 PM
Posted by: peter

2012 Nissan Altima 2.5 S
By Peter Newton

Pros:

  • Luxury features
  • Notable gas mileage
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Mushy handling
  • Sluggish acceleration


The Altima, assembled in Tennessee, is one of Nissan’s best selling cars in North America and provides some touches of luxury in a firmly positioned mid-size car. New for 2012 is the Value Package, available for the Altima 2.5 S model, which includes a Bluetooth® Hands-free phone system, automatic on/off headlights, leather-wrapped steering wheel with steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a HomeLink® Universal Transceiver, and passenger-side front-window one-touch auto-up/down.

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2011 Nissan Rogue Review and Video

Saturday October 1st, 2011 at 7:1010 AM
Posted by: gmchan_66

Video from Consumer Reports
YouTube Preview Image

2011 Nissan Rogue
By Dan Tsuchiya

Pros:

  • Great mileage
  • Sporty Handling
  • Decent Value

Cons:

  • Lackluster acceleration
  • Suspension a little crude below 20 MPH
  • Seating not as comfortable as the competition

Sport utility vehicles, especially the front wheel drive kind, are essentially station wagons for those who don’t want to be seen in a station wagon.  Whether it’s the perceived ruggedness or the more sporty looks, small SUVs have been a hot market for young urbanites ever since the RAV-4 and CRV entered the scene many years back. With gas prices remaining high and car shoppers looking to downsize with the recession, this segment of SUV’s has continued to blossom over the past few years.

We recently received the slightly redesigned Nissan Rogue SV front wheel drive, which comes with new bumpers that give the sport utility a less egg-shaped profile and gets rid of the Pokemon face, a criticism of the earlier Rogue. Does the redesigned Rogue SV make the grade in the $25,000 and under field of cute-utes? Read on…..

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2012 Nissan Versa Review – Everybody needs a dinghy

Friday August 26th, 2011 at 6:88 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2012 Nissan Versa sedan
By David Colman

Likes:

  • Better rear legroom than a BMW 5
  • 130 lbs. less curb weight than 2011 Versa

Dislikes:

  • About as exciting as driving an Autopia car at Disneyland

Back in the Eighties, my Dad, who lived in snow-bound Boston, needed something besides his Mercedes SL to drive during the relentless winter months. He ended up selecting a Nissan Pulsar, bought from a dealer who wryly observed that “Everybody needs a dinghy.” Basically, the 2012 Versa is today’s version of the Nissan dinghy. Like the Pulsar, the Versa is small, unprepossessing, and noisy at full chat, but eminently practical. You wouldn’t choose it as your only vehicle, but rather as a useful addendum to a well-stocked garage.

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2011 Nissan Rogue SV FWD Review

Tuesday July 12th, 2011 at 11:77 AM
Posted by: the911guy

2011 Nissan Rogue
By Dan Tsuchiya

Pros:

  • Great mileage
  • Sporty Handling
  • Decent Value

Cons:

  • Lackluster acceleration
  • Suspension a little crude below 20 MPH
  • Seating not as comfortable as the competition

Sport utility vehicles, especially the front wheel drive kind, are essentially station wagons for those who don’t want to be seen in a station wagon.  Whether it’s the perceived ruggedness or the more sporty looks, small SUVs have been a hot market for young urbanites ever since the RAV-4 and CRV entered the scene many years back. With gas prices remaining high and car shoppers looking to downsize with the recession, this segment of SUV’s has continued to blossom over the past few years.

We recently received the slightly redesigned Nissan Rogue SV front wheel drive, which comes with new bumpers that give the sport utility a less egg-shaped profile and gets rid of the Pokemon face, a criticism of the earlier Rogue. Does the redesigned Rogue SV make the grade in the $25,000 and under field of cute-utes? Read on…..

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2011 Nissan Leaf Review – Driving into the future with Nissan’s EV

Thursday June 9th, 2011 at 2:66 PM
Posted by: jlora

2011 Nissan LEAF
By Jessika Lora

Positrons:

  • Roomy and flexible interior space
  • 100 mile range on a single charge
  • Solar panel converts sunlight into power to charge essentials without draining the battery
  • Turning heads and changing the minds of even the old-timers

Electrons:

  • Limited number of places to plug-in and recharge
  • Only a 100 mile range on a single charge
  • Using 110V household current, you can fly to Hong Kong in as much time it takes to charge a drained battery
  • Blind spot caused by rear hatch pillar

Driving up the 101 my dad saw the Nissan LEAF billboard next to the 4th street Bay Bridge on-ramp, “That car doesn’t use ANY gas?” At $4.25 a gallon and with no indication of a price ceiling he encouraged me to look into this car, “You know, you’re driving up and down the bay 120 miles each day, this could pay for itself in gas savings.”

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