Category Archive:

Motorist Choice Awards Reveal Vehicles That Please Both Hearts And Minds


vv_intellichoice_autopacific_mca.jpgAwards 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.)

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2011 Nissan LEAF: First Look


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.

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2009 Nissan Armada Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award


NisArmada_IVA.jpg“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
* Visibility
* Ride and handling
* Ease of entry/egress

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Survey Indicates Ford Benefits From Troubles Of Others And Not Taking Bailout


07AnnualMtg_9387_HR.jpgPublic 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%.

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Happy Holidays from VehicleVoice!


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.


Click here for the rest.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Posted in: Bentley, Ford, Nissan, Rolls-Royce

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2008 LA Auto Show: Nissan Cube


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.


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2008 LA Auto Show: Nissan 370Z


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.


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Counterpoint: Tacoma Versus Frontier, an Owner Weighs In


Is My Pickup Better Than Your Pickup?
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.


Nissan Frontier


Keagan’s Toyota Tacoma

Follow the jump for his take!

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First Drive: 2009 Nissan Frontier and Xterra


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.

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2009 Acura TL vs. 2009 Nissan Maxima: Who Wins?


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 Maxima SV VehicleVoice.jpg

2009 Nissan Maxima

2009 Acura TL SV VehicleVoice.jpg

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.

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