Posts from ‘Nissan’
It’s the Earth lover’s dream-come-true: an electric car that’s powered by the sun!
In late 2011, SunPower announced partnerships with Ford and Nissan regarding the Ford Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf. A year and a half later, a small number of these electric car owners are pursuing this option. Some believe that it not only makes sense for the environment, it could actually make sense for them financially.
On the homes of Focus Electric and Leaf owners, SunPower is able to install solar energy systems that involve approximately 150 square feet of solar panels. Each system is able to generate enough electricity to power an electric car. SunPower stated that each 2.5-kilowatt system produces about 3,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which they claim would be enough juice to power a Focus Electric for 12,000 miles and a Leaf for 10,000 miles.
Note: Read Consumer Guide’s complete review of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder.
Normally, the staffers here at Consumer Guide Automotive switch cars twice a week. A few days in a car is enough for an editor to observe all of the car’s behaviors, use all of its features, and spend an adequate amount of time driving it to make a good objective report. Most cars stay with us for about two weeks, meaning that four editors have the chance to thoroughly drive a vehicle, compare opinions, and come up with a verdict, which becomes the review we post on our website.
However, our long-term test cars stay with us for as few as three months or as long as a year in most cases, so we can spend more time with them. Additionally, having a vehicle for a long period allows our editors to test the vehicle in several different situations, in varying weather conditions, and while performing myriad tasks.
You sound like an idiot.
I don’t know if your ignorance is willful, or if it’s driven by some sort of latent racism or misplaced sense of nationalism, but you sound like an idiot.
Every time you refer to Japanese-brand vehicles as “rice burners” or “Jap crap,” you reveal to everyone in attendance that you are a clueless troll with little interest in having a real discussion.
Yet you, and a slowly shrinking pool of fellow idiots, still persist in perpetuating the long-discredited meme that Japanese cars and trucks are somehow substandard products.
The sometimes unspoken but always present tacit component of this line of reasoning is that American-brand vehicles are better than Japanese vehicles—and always have been. It is on this point that your baffling disconnect from the truth becomes most poignant.
I, too, once believed unfailingly in the superiority of American automobiles. A four-year stint as a pump jockey and part-time mechanic quickly corrected that.
The Nissan Pathfinder’s 2013 redesign included the “big switch”—going from body-on-frame truck-type construction to a unibody platform. For more on this vehicle, including a drive report, pricing, and photos, check out Consumer Guide’s detailed review of the 2013 Pathfinder as well as our long-term road test. Meanwhile, here are three “yays” and “nays” based on a month’s worth of driving impressions.
Yay: Hill-Conquering Power
We found Pathfinder to be peppy around town and authoritative on the highway. “On my recent family vacation,” Consumer Guide Publisher Tom Appel noted, “this outstanding crossover conquered Kentucky hills, always rewarding throttle inputs with healthy, ready power.” Another editor noted that “not until you attempt some aggressive acceleration is it noticeable that the Pathfinder has a CVT.”
Nay: 13 MPG City
During our first month in our 2013 Pathfinder test car, we averaged 18.4 mpg. Those who drove mostly in the city fared much worse. Among the readings: 14.5 mpg over 75 miles (85% city); 13.4 mpg over 123 miles (90% city); 13.3 mpg over 59 miles (100% city); and 13.3 mpg over 75 miles (mostly city).
My kid has been horse crazy for most of her 13 years. As a parent who is more or less responsive to the wants and needs of my child, I donated a precious week of vacation time to a spring-break, horse-country road trip.
As luck would have it, Consumer Guide’s long-term Nissan Pathfinder arrived right around the time I was setting up my out-of-office voicemail greeting. Our handsome red test vehicle came well equipped, though not quite loaded. (Getting lost in St. Louis is still pretty much my fault—what was life like before navigation systems?)
The Pathfinder proved an almost perfect companion for our long journey. Nissan’s latest crossover earns top marks for long-distance driver comfort, ride quality, space utilization, and storage space for receipts and other sundries.
Even our fuel economy was noteworthy. Over more than 1,000 miles, we averaged just over 20 mpg. While that number includes mostly highway driving, there’s a three-hour whiteout blizzard lumped in there—and a St. Louis traffic jam.
You’re probably familiar with the successful Eat This, Not That! series of books, which document America’s unhealthiest meals while offering other suggestions that provide just as much taste with less nasty stuff.
Consider this article the automotive equivalent, but with a slight twist. I present to you five vehicles that might be on your shopping list, but I would encourage you to check out their alternatives. Eat This, Not That! crosses platforms, offering suggestions for similar meals at different restaurants. This list will primarily focus on alternative vehicles that you can find either in the same showroom or under the same corporate umbrella; e.g., Toyota/Lexus/Scion.
All cars are model-year 2013.
Drive This: Ford Flex Limited EcoBoost
Not That: Ford Explorer Sport
In this battle of 7-passenger, 350-plus horsepower midsize crossovers from Ford, the funky looking Flex wagon is our choice. It’s a bit of an apples and oranges comparison since the company positions the Flex EcoBoost as sort of a luxury-touring vehicle while the Explorer Sport is a high-performance model. The former overwhelmingly succeeds in its mission while the latter is largely a flop. Flex rides well, handles more competently than you would expect, and is plenty powerful. The Sport is fast, too, but its brittle ride, lackluster handling, and general lack of refinement leave us cold.
For model-year 2013, Nissan has made some noteworthy upgrades to the all-electric Leaf. With reduced charging times, increased range, and a drastically lower starting price, this car is starting to look like a pretty good deal.
For 2013, Nissan is moving production of the Leaf and its battery from Japan to the United States. The move lowers the cost of doing business, allowing for a lower sticker price. Moreover, the introduction of a new entry-level model, which removes some standard features, also improves affordability. Those two changes allow Nissan to drop the base MSRP from $35,200 to $28,800. By taking advantage of the $7,500 federal tax credit, a shopper is effectively buying the car for $21,300. Other state and local incentives may be available as well.
Then there’s the fuel-cost savings. For every 10,000 miles of driving, the Leaf will add $400 to your electric bill but save you about $1,400 in gasoline costs (compared to a car that gets 28 mpg and with gas prices at $4/gallon). If you plan to drive the Leaf for 80,000 miles, you would save $8,000 in gas. Thus, that $28,800 price is starting to look like $13,300.
Within about an hour of each other at the 2013 New York Auto Show, Nissan and its luxury Infiniti division launched a pair of gas/electric hybrid SUVs, the first such vehicles for each brand.
Nissan was up first and showed off the 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid. Aside from discreet badges, you would be hard-pressed to tell that this vehicle was not a standard Pathfinder. Indeed, Nissan officials specifically mentioned that there was no sacrifice to passenger or cargo room when they designed this vehicle.
It was basically the same story over at Infiniti, which revealed the 2014 QX60 Hybrid. What’s a QX60? It’s essentially a renamed JX35. Infiniti is renaming all of its products for model-year 2014 and onward, bestowing the Q prefix on cars and the QX prefix on crossovers and SUVs. It’s supposed to promote unity and cohesion across the brand’s entire product line. It’s not entirely surprising that the company would go down this road, as its chairman was the former head of Audi.
Reading blog posts by Consumer Guide’s esteemed Publisher Tom Appel makes you really think about the cars of your past. Again, I will borrow a page from his book and reminisce about the cars I most greatly desired in 1998, my senior year at the now-closed Driscoll Catholic High School in Addison, Illinois.
During those formative high school years, I probably thought about cars more than the vast majority of my 109 classmates. Most had their own cars, but they really only valued them as basic transportation. This applied to the kids who received their cars as hand-me-downs or as brand spanking new courtesy of well-to-do parents. I would argue that right around this time was the start of a rather disturbing trend of folks my age really not caring about cars at all.
I cared, though, as I do to this day and will continue to do so until I die. While you can say that the 1990s was a decade of bland homogeny in the automotive world, you could still find some real gems from rather unlikely sources.
If you thought the quirky Juke hatchback could use even more personality, Nissan just might have your ride. Following its world premiere at last month’s Tokyo Auto Salon, the company brought its high-power Juke NISMO to the 2013 Chicago Auto Show. Also on display at Nissan’s stand was a freshened 370Z NISMO and a more-racetrack-ready edition of its high-end GT-R sports car.
NISMO is Nissan’s in-house performance division, whose presence company officials are looking to expand in the coming years. The Juke NISMO is unrelated to the outrageous Juke-R, which debuted in the Middle East last January. The R was powered by the twin-turbocharged V6 found in the GT-R. The NISMO uses the production Juke’s turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, massaged to 197 horsepower, a gain of 9 over stock. Torque jumps to about 185 pound-feet, up 15 from standard.
In what will probably be seen as heresy by more than a few enthusiasts, the all-wheel-drive Juke NISMO will deliver its power through a specially designed continuously variable transmission (CVT) that behaves like an automatic. Nissan is attempting to compensate by incorporating a manual override with seven pre-set “gears.”