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


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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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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

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2011 Nissan Maxima
By contributing editor David Colman


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


  • 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


  • 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 :)


  • 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 (click ’360p’ to watch in HD)
YouTube Preview Image

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


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

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