Funky First Timer – cube Wins VSA First time out of the box, the funky cute Nissan cube (with a small “c”) wins AutoPacific’s 2010 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Compact Cars. The cube is a tour de force in packaging winning its class in ease of getting in and out, seating capacity, flexible seating and, possibly most important in this class, cupholder design and size. cube beats some serious competition – Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen New Beetle, Kia Forte, Honda Civic. It doesn’t win by sheer force of winning numerous categories. It wins by having very respectable ratings in all.
The cube is a pleasure to drive if you are just loafing around town. It turns heads and mostly gets thumbs up from other drivers. The buyers run the gamut from GenY through Boomers. GenY buyers are looking for cool transportation that doesn’t cost much and can carry their buddies and some stuff. Boomers are looking for an affordable small vehicle that is easy to live with, easy to get into and out of and can carry adults in the rear seat. When you exit a cube, you usually have a smile on your face.
cube is a FLOATER One of our analysts calls it FLOATING. This is when you just go out for a relaxing drive on the weekend with no particular place or time in mind. cube is perfect for that. It’s a perfect FLOATER.
For a complete list of winners and description of the Awards, click here.
Nissan has today announced U.S. LEAF pricing. On the eve of the New York show, they have successfully caused a near-unanimous “WOW” across the industry with an amazingly low price for high-technology system. Profit per vehicle is not something automakers are happy to talk about in any situation, but the expectation is that Nissan may not make any profit on the LEAF for many, many years. Still, the combination of an affordable price and the years of deep legwork Nissan has done in preparing consumers and communities for the product, the LEAF is the biggest step yet in advancing the cause of electric vehicles. What does this mean for the success of LEAF? Here’s my first reaction…
$32,380 ($25,280 after $7500 Federal tax credit)
$349/month for 36-month lease (Nissan takes the credit to enable that price)
$2200–AeroVironment home-charging dock and installation (also eligible for tax credit)
$99 Registration fee, refundable (www.nissanusa.com)
PickupTucks.com and AutoPacific have taken a look at all the new trucks sold in the past 10 years and made their picks for the most significant trucks of the decade. The trucks that made the list introduced cutting edge technologies and pushed the segment into new territory.
“Despite the economic challenges of the past two years, it’s hard not to look back at the last ten years without calling it the decade of the pickup truck,” said PickupTrucks.com editor Mike Levine. “Sales of full-size pickups hit 2.56 million units in 2004 and Ford’s F-Series trucks remain the nation’s best-selling vehicles, 33 years in a row.”
Though there are many trucks that had a significant impact in the last decade, it’s clear that the 2009 Ford F-150 earned the title of “Most Significant”.
“On balance, we thought the 2009 Ford F-150 was the most significant pickup of the last decade,” said Jim Hossack, vice president of consulting for AutoPacific. “It sells in high volume, owners like it and its body, chassis and powertrain are all first rate. Features abound, and there are more models, series and options than can be counted. It’s a good looking truck and suitable for the widest possible range of tasks and uses.”
After the jump are those trucks deemed most significant, in no particular order.
370Z: Second Generation Continues Purist Roots
With the 370Z Roadster on sale this month, Nissan’s 370Z full family has arrived. The latest coupe went on sale in January 2009, followed by an on-road track car in the NISMO 370Z in June 2009. This summer, we found time for all three.
370Z should be Nissan’s personality distilled, affordable and practical, but edgey and at home in Everyman’s garage. Good thing for them, Nissan successfully refined without sacrificing its edge or rough-and-ready nature. If you didn’t like the 350Z, you’re not going to like 370Z. If you did, there’s only more to love.
The new car is easy to pick as a modern Z. Against the 2003-09MY car, proportions have been adjusted and it lost a few inches. The new car takes cues of today’s Nissan family in its lights, and the convertible top looks more of a piece than the 350Z. There’s more power under the hood, always nice, but less weight being carried around, even better. Weight was lost with the shrinking of the Z, but also with selective use of aluminum (including hood and doors).
“The 2009 Motorist Choice Award for the Compact Pickup segment is the Nissan Frontier. A sturdy truck and worthy winner, Frontier combines the traditional product virtues of quality, reliability and durability with attractive financial considerations so important in today’s challenging economy.” – AutoPacific
“A strong retained value and low maintenance costs were the keys to the Nissan Frontier win.” – IntelliChoice
Owner Satisfaction Highlights
• Durable/Long Lasting
• Vehicle and Brand Reputation
• Strong Retained Value
• Low Maintenance Costs
Awards Show Consumers Enjoy Luxury and Size
(August 11, 2009) — Right brain, left brain; the practical versus the emotional — an age-old dilemma often at the center of decision making when buying a new car or truck. The 2009 Motorist Choice Awards recognize new cars and trucks that give their owners both economic and emotional satisfaction, helping new-car buyers find vehicles that best satisfy all of their personal-transportation needs. The fourth annual Motorist Choice Awards survey, announced today, scores 196 cars, trucks, crossovers and SUVs. With the top overall scores in both owner satisfaction and value, the Lexus LS placed highest of any 2009 model year vehicle.
Large and luxury vehicles dominated this year’s results. The top 34 ranked cars, and 106 of the top 107, are large cars, luxury cars, sport utility vehicles, crossover SUVs or minivans. Only one small car, the BMW 1-Series, scored in the top 100, landing in the 35th slot. Toyota Prius is the next-highest-scoring small car, coming in 107th.
Awards are given for top-scoring vehicles scoring in each of twenty-three segments, as well as for the top-scoring brand. Nine manufacturers earned segment wins, led by Toyota with nine awards (including three for Lexus), followed by General Motors with six (Chevrolet 4, Cadillac 2), Honda with three, and Chrysler with two (Dodge 1, Jeep 1). Audi, Ford, Hyundai, Nissan and Volkswagen took top honors in one segment each.
(And check out our video on YouTube.)
Nissan will deliver its next all-electric vehicle in late 2010, for fleets only initially, in the United States as well as Japan and Europe. After teasing the project with a prototype of the drivetrain under a home-market Cube, Nissan has announced the name and released first photos of the production version.
The new car will first be built in Oppama, Japan, but also at Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee, plant. Battery production will initially be in Japan, with Nissan scouting supplemental sites around the world, and including the United States.
“The win of the Nissan Armada of AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award shows that Nissan learned what Large SUV buyers want and delivered on their product requirements. Armada owners gave their SUV best-in-class wins in six of fifteen rating categories,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “In a product segment where buyers value ease of use, generous space, good ride and handling combined with power and acceleration, the Armada excels.” Top-scoring Armada attributes include:
* Power and acceleration
* Exterior styling
* Ride and handling
* Ease of entry/egress
Public Responds Positively to Ford’s Actions, but Some Still Have Reservations
TUSTIN, Calif. (June 17, 2009) — American consumers’ opinions about Ford Motor Company have been positively influenced by the company’s decision not to accept government bailout funds, and by the bankruptcy filings of rivals General Motors and Chrysler. Automotive research and analysis firm AutoPacfic conducted an online survey of more than 900 U.S. consumers regarding their purchase intent and opinions of individual car companies. Highlights include:
* Asian and European manufacturers scored highest when the survey asked “How concerned are you about buying/leasing a vehicle from” a particular maker, with an average of 61% “Not concerned at all.” Ford scored 48%, far ahead of GM’s 15% and Chrysler’s 14%.