We’re signing off for the year but we’ll be back after the first of the year. Here’s to a Happy Holidays and a prosperous 2009 – more prosperous than the latter half of 2008, right?
In the meantime, we’ll leave you with this holiday gem: Car Magazine commissioned Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Nissan, and Ford to redesign Santa’s sleigh. This is one of the coolest ways we’ve seen Christmas and cars fused. Below is one of Bentley’s submissions.
for the rest.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
It might be all too easy to dismiss the Nissan Cube as a copy of the original Scion xB that’s a few years too late. It’s similar in size and profile to that now-iconic box and offers a similarly commodious interior package.
The current 350Z has been a great success and halo for a revitalized Nissan that went from painfully dull and underachieving throughout the late 90s and early part of this decade to avant garde, high-tech, and extroverted from 2002-on. Based on Nissan’s acclaimed FM platform and powered by the company’s renowned 3.5L V6, the car has successfully communicated Nissan’s great performance heritage without resorting to retro cliches.
Today, Nissan unveiled the 2009 370Z, which as you might guess is the next generation of Nissan’s sports car that is powered by a 3.7L V6. It’s mechanically pretty similar to the last version but refined in every way. In this way, it’s actually much like all of the latest Nissan and Infiniti products that are essentially cautious restyles of the breakthrough Nissan products from the company’s renaissance a few years back.
Is My Pickup Better Than Your Pickup?
Keagan’s Toyota Tacoma
Among our contributors are owners of vehicles from a MINI Cooper (two, actually), Audi TT, Ford Flex, an aging Ford Taurus, and a Toyota Tacoma. For us, it is always fun to apply our analysis and industry knowledge to our own lives and rides, and the Frontier provided the chance to do that again. While I drove the Xterra and Frontier during an afternoon on a press preview, contributor Keagan Patrick took the Frontier that spent a week with California HQ out for some seat time and direct comparisons against his Tacoma.
Follow the jump for his take!
Products Apparently So Good, They Needed Little Improvement.
Nissan‘s current Frontier and Xterra were introduced for the 2005MY. Four years later, they came to the showroom with minor changes. And though Nissan is planning a retreat from the full-size pickup-truck business, due to a product-sharing agreement with Chrysler that still has time to implode, executives tell us work is underway on the next iteration of Frontier, Xterra, and Pathfinder. We’ve got a couple of years before those arrive, and Nissan says they keyed 2009 changes at providing more of the attributes customers already know and love their Xterras and Frontiers for.
In a tough truck market, the goal is to ride out the panic, see where things fall, and keep as many buyers as possible to ensure the smallest sales slide you can. In this depressed market, Nissan tells us their trucks haven’t fallen as much as the other guys (though they didn’t have as far to fall). Nissan’s also adjusting options and trim-level mixes as those customers sticking with trucks are less focused on luxury and more on utility and practicality.
It’s rare when two same class heavyweights are introduced concurrently. Both the 2009 Nissan Maxima and 2009 Acura TL were launched this summer and both are very nice entry luxury entries. The cars are very similar, but the positioning of each is very different.
2009 Nissan Maxima
2009 Acura TL
Side view of Acura TL and Nissan Maxima are spookily similar.
The Maxima, a derivative of the front wheel drive Nissan Altima and assembled at Nissan’s huge car/truck plant in Smyrna, Tennessee is the range topper for Nissan cars in the USA. The Acura TL is front wheel drive with optional SH-AWD – “Super Handling All Wheel Drive”. The TL is the middle of the Acura car lineup and Acura’s highest volume vehicle and is assembled alongside the Honda Accord in Marysville, Ohio.
You might think that a better comparison would be the Acura against Infiniti with the TL lining up against the Infiniti G37 sedan. But the G37 sedan is based on a rear wheel drive platform. The TL vs. the Maxima is a more real product-to-product comparison.
AutoPacific: The all-new Nissan Rogue was a hit with owners, who declared it a 2008 Motorist Choice Award® winner. Ratings for exterior size, ingress/egress and interior materials beat out its competitors, many of which are on their second or third generation of vehicles. Drivers also gave the Rogue top ratings for braking, power, ride, handling and being fun to drive.
IntelliChoice: The Nissan Rogue is a strong model in a very competitive class. The Rogue has an above average retained value, fuel costs and maintenance costs.
Green technology at the Woodward Dream Cruise? Hmmm. You could fit a whole Prius under this baby’s hood, I guess.
Owners in the Economy Car segment rated Nissan Versa’s passenger room, handling and ingress/egress very highly. Though the vehicle is positioned below the Sentra, owners are finding the Versa really retains many of the qualities found in larger vehicles.
VehicleVoice recently had the opportunity to spend the weekend in a 2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid.
Like other manufacturers, Nissan’s first hybrid model in 2007 came late to the party. Honda and Toyota entered the market seven years earlier. Nissan licensed Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology to speed up bringing the Altima hybrid to market.
Nissan uses a 40 hp electric motor that assists a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to generates a combined 198 horsepower. This power is directed to the wheels via an electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).