Posts from ‘Nissan’
One of the Hyundai Veloster’s few redeeming qualities is the availability of a spunky turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Unfortunately, I believe the car around which it’s wrapped holds this eager powerplant back. In this vein, I present for your consideration a list of vehicles that could be awesome but will probably never see the light of day for whatever reason.
Hyundai Accent Turbo
Take the Veloster Turbo’s 201-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, put it in Hyundai’s excellent Accent hatchback, give it a starting price of $19,995, and poof! You get an instant homage to the original “hot hatchbacks” of the 1980s, when car companies stuffed powerful motors into otherwise mundane cars. Let me put it this way: It certainly couldn’t be any worse than the Veloster.
Infiniti G56 IPL
In 2011, Infiniti debuted the G37 IPL (Infiniti Performance Line) coupe. Though sportier than the standard G37, its 348-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine was no match for the likes of other factory-tuned luxury cars, such as the BMW M3, Cadillac CTS-V, Lexus IS F, or Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. One thing these rivals have in common is a high-output V8 engine. Infiniti has one in its stable: the 420-horsepower 5.6-liter unit from the M sedan. Drop it into the G37 (if it fits; if it doesn’t, make it fit) sedan, coupe, and convertible, and you would have a bona fide BMW M3 fighter. For a leg up on the Germans, make all-wheel drive available, too.
Are wagons cool again? It’s kind of hard to tell. European makers enjoyed some success with them this past decade, and yet even they are now disguising their wagons in the form of “GT” models (BMW) and pseudo rally-ready “allroad” models (Audi). It’s worth noting that even Volvo, the world’s most wagon-dedicated brand, has turned away from the simple, functional, two-box design. They peddle only XC70 models, which they now position as crossovers, not wagons.
My wife and I own a Jetta SportWagen that we’re rather fond of, but our 12-year-old has made it clear that the car is an embarrassment and should be replaced, preferably with a red GTI. At least the kid has good judgment when the topic turns away from wagons.
Still, there’s hope. A Chevrolet Cruze wagon is reportedly on the horizon, and Mercedes-Benz still sells a wagon version of its E-Class line, going so far as to make it available in AMG trim, should a whim of practicality wash over you while deciding which 180-mph car to buy.
Do Lexus and Nissan have a partnership that we don’t know about? In looking at photos of the 2013 Nissan Altima sedan and the 2013 Lexus GS, we became confused as to which was which. It’s kind of like being on the set with with Elijah Wood and look-alike Daniel Radcliffe . . . or Jon Stewart and Richard Lewis . . . or Stephen Colbert and Bob Saget . . . . It can be disorienting. Anyway, here are the photos. What do you think?
Regardless of whatever else may be troubling your mind as an American, at least you won’t have to bother with this vexing question:
Should I buy the luxury Renault?
The French automaker is mulling the creation of another brand or two—a luxury model and perhaps a high-performance car—that it imagines might help it win sales in markets outside of Europe. However, the list doesn’t appear to include the good, ol’ États-Unis d’Amérique. Nor should it. Don’t forget that Renault controls Nissan, which created the Infiniti brand for the purpose of seducing greenbacks out of deep Yankee pockets, so R-N already has that action covered.
Still, the motivations behind Renault’s thinking—as enunciated by company COO Carlos Tavares in a recent interview with Bloomberg.com—provide an intriguing look at the global car market. In a continent beset by consumers made skittish by a string of debt crises in several countries, auto sales in Europe are declining for the fifth straight year. Renault has been feeling the pain acutely. In the first five months of this year, its European deliveries were down by 19 percent, more than twice the rate of decline for the industry in general in the region.
This week, Kelley Blue Book came out with their “10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000”—a list that is now all over the Internet. Here it is:
Kelley Blue Book’s
“10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000
1. 2013 Dodge Dart
2. 2012 Hyundai Veloster
3. 2012 Fiat 500
4. 2012 Mazda 3
5. 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
6. 2012 Ford Fiesta
7. 2012 Honda Fit
8. 2012 Kia Soul
9. 2012 Scion iQ
10. 2012 Volkswagen Jetta
We admit that the three-door Veloster is pretty stylish, but its power and handling are underwhelming, and we had issues with the manual transmission. As for the Fit: It’s practical, for sure, but it’s about as “cool” as a shoebox. And we question the IQ of those who chose the pint-sized, 94-horsepower Scion.
After test-driving and evaluating each new car with a base MSRP under $18K, we’ve compiled our own list. Included are quotes from our editors.
Consumer Guide Automotive’s
“10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000
1. 2012 Fiat 500
“The 500 makes its mark as a maneuverable, fun-to-drive, economical city runabout with a fistful of character.”
2. 2013 Dodge Dart
“Chrysler knocked Dart’s cabin out of the park and into the upper deck.”
The Nissan Versa has a reputation for being an inexpensive, economical, and roomy little car, but I never would have imagined that it had a following among the dashing and debonair world of high fashion. But lo and behold, while dropping off a friend the other night, I spotted this rare, special-edition Nissan “Versace” near downtown Chicago.
Due to the late hour and rainy conditions, the photo is dark and hazy, but a true paparazzo has to get the shot wherever and whenever possible. In this case, said paparazzo was my buddy, whom I forced to take the photo during a downpour as he jumped out of my van.
The highlights on the body are water droplets and not diamonds, although an exclusive jewel-encrusted version will likely be available for the fall collection.
With 268,981 units sold, the Nissan Altima was the No. 2-selling car in America in calendar-year 2011, surpassing the Honda Accord and falling short of only the Toyota Camry. Altima, a midsize car, is available as a coupe, but the sedan is by far the top choice. Consumer Guide Automotive praises it for its fuel-efficient drivetrain, fine ride/handling balance, and pleasingly simple audio and climate controls.
With a redesign for 2013, Altima could prove even more popular. Thanks to powertrain improvements, it has a preliminary EPA rating of 38 mpg on the highway—extraordinary for the midsize class. See what else is new about this vehicle in Consumer Guide’s review of the 2013 Nissan Altima.