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2012 Nissan Versa Priced From $10,990

2012 Nissan Versa

The Japanese automaker Nissan has revealed yesterday the price list for its new 2012MY Versa and they say that it has “the lowest MSRP in America” $10,990, without taking into consideration the destination fee.

2012 Nissan Versa

As you might remember, back in April Nissan took the new Versa to the New York Auto Show and we found out that this model is based on the Micra’s platform and all four variants are powered by the same 1.6-liter gasoline engine that produces 109 hp @ 6,000 rpm and a peak torque of 107 lb.-ft available at 4,400 rpm.

2012 Nissan Versa

The 1.6 S entry-level model comes with a 5-speed manual transmission that allows the car to return 27 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway and 30 mpg in the combined cycle. For $12,760 you can get the 1.6 S fitted with the Xtronic CVT gearbox which manages to offer 30 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg combined.

2012 Nissan Versa

The better-equipped 1.6 SV CVT costs from $14,560 while the top-spec 1.6 SL CVT has a base price of $15,560.

Source: Nissan via Carscoop

Ladies, get ready! Ryan Reynolds Teams Up With Nissan for Zero-Emissions Nissan Leaf

Ladies, we all know Ryan Reynolds and we can say he is quite…hot! And since we found out that he is also an environmental activist, he seems to have become even hotter. So, his affiliation to the “Innovation for Endurance” program cannot be ignored by any car lover; he comes to support the Nissan Leaf, a 100% electric vehicle that he actually owns.

“I believe it’s possible to take great leaps forward without sacrificing a way of life. For me electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf, are not only representative of taking back the power, but also a significant statement about conscious ways of living,” said Reynolds.

So, we are going to see the face of Ryan Reynolds on digital and print creative and videos for Facebook. Actually, Ryan only joins a huge group of elite fitness enthusiasts, athletes and coaches who share innovations in fitness, health, gear and training through on-site event appearances and blog posts.

“We’re ecstatic to have Ryan Reynolds join us as the newest face in the ‘Innovation for Endurance’ program. (…) He believes in the Nissan LEAF and knows the important impact it will have on the environment and as an active individual, ‘Innovation for Endurance’ made sense as a program that supports initiatives Ryan already participates in.” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Nissan North America Inc.

Dear ladies, I’m afraid that in short time we might become fans of Nissan’s campaign by only watching the sweet Ryan on it.

So, was Ryan Reynolds a good move for Nissan?

[Source: Nissan, Photo]

[press release] Renault-Nissan Alliance opens Silicon Valley research office

The automotive group’s Mountain View facility will focus on vehicle IT, advanced engineering research, and technology recruitment.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – The Renault-Nissan Alliance will open a research office later this month in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Directly across from the Google campus and minutes from leading hardware and software companies, the offices in Mountain View will allow one of the world’s largest automotive groups to capitalize on the region’s world-class engineering talent and stay ahead of trends that are reshaping the way people interact with their cars.

The office will build staff organically to focus on specific projects and business developments as they emerge. Small, highly efficient teams will initially work on vehicle IT development, advanced engineering research and technology recruitment.

“The Alliance is at the vanguard of the auto industry’s shift to sustainable transportation. Having a greater footprint in one of the world’s headquarters for clean tech research will extend our lead further,” said Carlos Ghosn, CEO and Chairman of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, who is giving a talk at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) today. Ghosn’s “Clean Cars” presentation at Stanford will focus on how and why zero-emission technologies is leading to unprecedented opportunities in the auto industry and economy.

Created in 1999, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is a unique partnership between two of the largest automakers in Europe and Japan. Renault and Nissan, which together employ more than 350,000 workers, sold 7.2 million cars in 2010 – about one in 10 cars worldwide. Paris-based Renault and Yokohama-based Nissan collaborate through joint purchasing, platform sharing and cross-shareholding. They maintain separate brands and cultural identities.

$5.4 Billion Commitment to Sustainable Mobility
The Nissan LEAF, which debuted last year, is the world’s first affordable, mass-marketed pure electric vehicle, and it’s the first product from the Alliance’s $5.4 billion investment in zero-emission cars. Upcoming debuts include an Infiniti premium electric sedan, the Renault Twizy urban commuter car for Europe, and utility vans for commercial fleets. All can be charged purely with renewable energy, for 100 percent zero emissions “well to wheel.”

Nissan will use the Silicon Valley office to focus on vehicle IT research, including graphical user-interface displays, in-car Internet connectivity and smart-grid research. Nissan’s “Carwings” telematics system, a standard in every Nissan LEAF, includes a seven-inch touchscreen with maps of recharging stations and real-time reports on energy consumption. Nissan has delivered more than 7,500 LEAFs worldwide.

Renault, one of the largest carmakers in Europe, will be launching a broad range of affordable, zero-emission cars for overseas markets. Renault Fluence ZE, which debuts later this year in Europe and the Middle East, has a folding floor that enables a battery swap in less time than it takes to fill a car with gasoline. The Renault Twizy ZE is a two-seat urban commuter car, and the Renault Kangoo ZE is a utility van that is convenient and cost-effective for deliveries and other fleet uses.

Renault’s Silicon Valley work will focus on research and advanced engineering, in particular electric vehicles and their supplier and infrastructure ecosystem, on-board services and business development.

Renault-Nissan Alliance is a strategic partnership between Paris-based Renault and Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan. The companies have 350,000 employees and account for one in 10 new cars sold annually around the world. The Alliance is committed to developing a wide range of cars and trucks for consumers in every major price and size segment — including low-cost cars, urban commuter cars, commercial vans, premium vehicles and SUVs. The Alliance is the global auto industry leader in sustainable transportation and the only car group mass-producing zero-emission vehicles. For more details, visit http://blog.alliance-renault-nissan.com/.

[Source: Photo 1, Photo2]

Nissan LEAF 2011 NBA Finals commercial

Nissan will introduce to the market a new LEAF commercial on June 12 during the NBA finals. The ad will try to show a world ruled by gas-powered utilities in order to promote LEAF’s electric engine.

The 2011 version of LEAF will feature an 80kW synchronous motor and a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery. The price starts at $25.500.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7A7ZmVar8w[/youtube]

 

35% EU Sales Increase For Nissan

2012 Nissan Micra DIG-S

Driven by the launch of the new generation of its tiny Micra model, along with the strong sales of the funky Qashqai, Nissan has posted a 35% sales increase this year, in comparison to the same period of 2010. The Japanese automaker has managed to sell 235,543 cars between January and April, a significant increase of more than 61,000 vehicles compared to last year.

Last month gave Nissan its biggest EU market share ever, with 53,840 units sold, achieving a market share of 3.8%. In comparison to the same period of last year, this represents an increase of more than 20%.

Source: Nissan via AutoCar

Nissan LMP2 Racer Announced

Nissan LMP2 Racer

The Japanese automaker Nissan has announced last week that they have entered a 2-year partnership with Signature Group, a French-based racing team, to field an open-cockpit LMP2-class sports car prototype in the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC). As part of this collaboration, the automaker’s Performance and Motorsports division, NISMO, will be responsible for providing the 3.4-liter racing versions of its VK series of V8 power units, which can be found under the bonnet of the Pathfinder, Armada and Titan models.
(more…)

Nissan Teams Up With Signature Racing

Nissan Signature Racing LMP2

Nissan announced yesterday that they have signed a partnership with Signature Racing for providing the engines for their LMP2 race car. In this 2-year period of the contract, Nissan’s LMP2 car will benefit from the NISMO tuned VK45V8 engine. The car will be entering the new ILMC – Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and its first race will be on March 19th in Sebring, USA.

In the weeks to come, Nissan will announce the driver lineup as well as the livery of the car. They did say that one of the drivers will be Franck Mailleux, who will race in the aforementioned ILMC as well as the famous Le Mans 24 Hours.

Preview – 2011 Chicago Auto Show PART 3

Welcome back to the third and final part of our extensive article about the most important cars that will delight us at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. Let’s start with Land Rover and their Range Rover Evoque.

2012 Land Rover Evoque

The car will be available in 2-door and 4-door variants, both of them featuring the same engine, which will be a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged that outputs 240 hp, linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The Evoque will come with an all-wheel drive system as well as the company’s new Terrain Response System.

2011 Lexus CT 200h

One of my personal favorites, Lexus, will bring the CT 200h which is a 4-door / 5-passenger hybrid hatchback, featuring a conventional 4-cylinder 1.8-liter gasoline engine and a battery-powered electric motor, both of them offering a combined power of 134 hp. The new C200h will use a CVT – Continuously Variable Transmission and can run on one or both of the power sources (without having to charge it).

2012 Mercedes SLK

Mercedes will be heading out to Chicago where they will have three new production models: the beautiful 2012 SLK, the 2012 CLS and the 2012 C-Class. We’ve talked about the SLK on rpmGO.com before; it will be available in two variants: the SLK250 and the SLK350. The entry-level model will be fitted with a 4-cylinder 1.8-liter that outputs 201 hp, linked to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic gearbox. The SLK350 is going to have a more powerful V6 3.5-liter engine, good for 302 hp. This model will be available with a 7-speed automatic transmission.

The CLS will be available in two models: CLS550 and the AMG CLS63. The first one has a V8 4.7-liter turbocharged engine that outputs 402 hp while the other comes with a V8 5.5-liter turbocharged engine that produces 518 hp. The CLS550 has a 7-speed automatic gearbox while the CLS630 AMG will get a 7-speed automated manual gearbox.

The 2012 C250 will be offered in two trim levels: Luxury and Sport, both of them featuring a 4-cylinder 1.8-liter unit that churns 201 hp. The C300 will have the same trim levels, but it will be equipped with a V6 3.0-liter engine, good for 228 hp. The C350 will have the same engine, but this time it will output 302 hp. The high-end model will be the AMG version C63 which will most likely come with a V8 6.2-liter that outputs 451 hp.

2011 Mini Countryman

Mini will be bringing their 2011 Countryman, which will be the first four full-sized doors Mini model sold in the United States. The car will be available in two trim levels: Base and S. The entry-level will get a 4-cylinder 1.6-engine that churns 120 hp while the high-end variant will feature a 4-cylinder 1.6-liter that produces 180 hp. Both of the models will get front-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Mitsubishi will show us their Outlander Sport model which will be available in two trim levels: ES and SE. Both of the versions will pack a front-wheel drive system and a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter that outputs 148 hp. The ES will come with a 5-speed manual gearbox while the SE will get a CVT transmission and steering-wheel paddles for manual changing.

2011 Nissan Juke

Another Japanese automaker that will be heading out to Chicago this year will be Nissan with three models: the award-winning Leaf, the funky Juke and the sporty 2012 GT-R. We talked about the Leaf thousands of times, but here is a small presentation. The car will be available with two trims levels – SV and SL. Both of them will have the same lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor that outputs 107 hp. It can be charged at either a 110-volt or a 220-volt outlet. For the first type it will need 20 hours while for the second type it will need only 8 hours.

Porsche Cayman R

The guys over at Porsche will be bringing their 2012 Cayman R. This two-seater sports coupe will come with the third and newest trim, dubbed “R”. Unlike the entry-level trim or the S mode, the R has a 6-cylinder 3.4-liter power unit that outputs 330 hp, linked to a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard. It is also available with an optional 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.

2011 Scion iQ

If you can’t afford the Aston Martin Cygnet, the next best thing is the Scion iQ. Featuring a 4-cylinder 1.3-liter engine that outputs 90 hp, this certainly won’t be the most powerful car at the Chicago Auto Show.

Scion will also be bringing the 2011 tC 2-door hatchback coupe which will be fitted with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder power unit that cranks up 180 hp, mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Toyota Prius v

Scion will not be going to Chicago without its parent company Toyota. Despite the fact that the Japanese automaker is the largest manufacturer in the world, they will be bringing only one model here (one that they already took to Detroit) – 2012 Prius v. The heart of the car will be a conventional 1.8-liter gasoline engine which will be paired with a battery-powered electric motor. The combined power will be 134 hp.

2012 Volkswagen Passat

The German automaker Volkswagen will be heading out to Chicago with the recently-launched 2012 Passat and the 2012 Eos. Presented first at Detroit, the Passat will be available in three different trim levels: S, SE and SEL. Engine options include the 4-cylinder 2.0-liter unit with 140 hp, 5-cylinder 2.5-liter with 170 hp and the high-end V6 3.6-liter with 280 ponies. The diesels will be available with either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual gearbox. The 5-cylinder 2.5-liter will get either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The V6 engine will be fitted with a 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.

The EOS will come with a power-retractable hardtop with an integrated sunroof. Under the hood it will feature a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter that produces 200 hp, mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission.

2011 Volvo S60

Sweden will be represented at Chicago by Volvo with their sexy 2011 S60 model. This premium-midsize car will benefit from a 6-cylinder 3.0-liter turbocharged engine that will produce 300 hp and will be mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. At first, the car will be available in one single trim level, the T6. Later on this year, the Swedish automaker will be introducing the T6 R-Design which should be a real looker.

These are the most important cars that will be presented at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. Some of them you might have already seen while others are a premiere (not many unfortunately).  From February 9th to February 20th, the automotive capital of the world will be Chicago. Next month we will have another important auto show to review at Geneva. Stay tuned for a comprehensive coverage.

PS: Part 1 and 2 of the article are here and here. Enjoy the reading.

In Depth – 2011 Nissan Juke

2011 Nissan Juke

Lately, it seems that the Japanese automaker Nissan is trying to fill out all of the remaining segments in the automotive industry where they don’t have a player. The Nissan Juke is an interesting addition to their lineup – a sub $20,000 small crossover with plenty of horsepower and a tail ride height. With a curb weight of only sub-3,000 pounds, the Juke offers a pretty good package: FWD, 1.6-liter 4-cylidner turbocharged engine and 188 hp. If you choose the manual transmission, the car is even lighter.

One of the most interesting things about the car is without any doubt its rather unusual exterior look, putting the car in a class of its own. We have to admit that it has a couple of things borrowed from the beautiful 370Z, especially in the tail lamps area and also the roof line resembles to the Kia Soul, but other than that, it is pretty unique design-wise.

Up front, the Juke packs some very interesting headlights that I for one haven’t seen before, can’t say that they are nice or ugly – interesting? Yes. From the side, this small crossover has some seriously bulging fenders plus a very short wheelbase of only 99.6 inches. The entire car is only 162.4 inches long which is just about the same as the small Versa hatchback. Luckily, the car packs some serious attitude thanks to the standard 17-inch alloy rims. From a distance, the Nissan Juke looks like a three-door hatchback due to the rear door handles that are hidden in the C-pillar.

2011 Nissan Juke

In the back things get a little bit normal as it looks more like a traditional CUV / crossover thanks to the small roof spoiler, the sculpted tail lamps and the rounded hatch. Although I can’t say that I like the exterior design of the Juke very much, the interior however looks great. The level of the interior details is quite high in comparison to what we have seen before from the Japanese automaker. The driver will definitely like the sport steering wheel that has a nice quality texturing which is way better than the one on the Rouge. The generous-sized buttons are very easy to use, allowing the drive to access the audio settings, cruise control and the Bluetooth system with little to no effort.

2011 Nissan Juke

The door panels of the Juke are nicely decorated with high quality painted plastic bits color-matched to the special “motorcycle tank” center console. The large and rounded chrome handles are doing a nice job at brightening up the cabin. Speaking of, it offers plenty of room for four adults plus enough cargo space.

A very good thing about this small crossover is that regardless of the trim level you choose, you’ll get a very capable 4-cylidner power unit under the hood. It is a 1.6-liter unit that develops 188 hp and 177 pound-feet of torque. According to the EPA ratings, the Juke does 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway with the CVT transmission and front-wheel drive.

2011 Nissan Juke

The base model is the S trim which will set you back $18,960. What do you get for the money? You get power doors, locks, Bluetooth, iPod support and a 6-speaker sound system. With this price tag, the Juke is more affordable than the Rouge (priced at $20,810) and more expensive than the Sentra (priced at $15,520). The Juke is a bit more economical than those two models and way more fun to drive.

If you like the looks of the car, you will certainly love the Nissan Juke as it packs some pretty nice goodies at an affordable price.

Top 10 – Best-Selling Models This Year ?

The car industry went through hell in 2008 and 2009 when the annual domestic sales in the US plummeted to approximately 10 million units which is a lot less in comparison to 2005 and 2006 when people bought almost 16 million cars. This downfall in the economy drove the all-mighty General Motors and Chrysler into the dreadful Chapter 5 and caused tens of billions in losses among their financially stronger competition.

Luckily, last year things took a turn for the better as the annual sales rates went up by 2 million, despite the fact that Toyota added a couple more pages to their recall book. Thanks to the fact that the economy is showing signs of improvement, consumers are visiting the showrooms more often now.

The guys over at 247Wallst.com were curious to see which cars will be the most popular this year in the United States and for this reason they came up with ten models that they think will be quite successful among buyers.

2011 Ford F-150

First, the Ford F-Series of course, as it has been the top-selling vehicle in the United States for decades. The high demand of light-trucks is traced back to the early days of automobiles and it should come as no surprise to anyone if the F-Series will remain master of his domain in 2011. The starting price for this car is around $23,000. According to a forecast published by 24/7 Wall St., Ford will be selling approximately 535,000 units of their hit F-Series this year.

2011 Chevrolet Silverado

The Chevrolet Silverado promises to be another successful light-truck in the US this year. This car segment has to be one of the most crowded and the Silverado will have to face up some serious competition coming from the GMC Sierra, Dodge Ram and the Toyota Tundra. A forecast for 2011 shows that Chevy will sell about 310,000 units of their Silverado model.

2011 Toyota Camry

Their guess is that the Toyota Camry will also be preferred by many of the US car shoppers. The Camry is one of those Japanese cars known for being fuel efficient and offering a high quality level. 2010 was not so good for this model, because of Toyota’s long history with recalls. The starting price for this model is $20,000 and according to the estimates made, the Japanese automaker will sell about 305,000 units.

2011 Honda Accord

No top of best-selling cars would be relevant without the Honda Accord. Although last year wasn’t very good for the model, mostly because of the outdated model, the freshened one which will be launched this April promises to bring more people to the Honda dealerships. The Japanese automaker will sell about 280,000 cars according to the same sources.

2011 Toyota Corolla

Another Japanese car, this time we are talking about the Toyota Corolla (which frankly I never liked), a model that has always been priced below the aforementioned Camry. Targeted to take customers away from the Honda Civic or other “value” based cars that come with smaller power units, the Corolla offers a pretty good package, except for the rather boring and unattractive look. 24/7 Wall St. says that Toyota will be rolling out about 270,000 units of their Corolla model which has a base price of $15,000.

2011 Chevrolet Malibu

The flagship of GM’s Chevrolet division is the attractive Malibu, a model launched back in 2008. The new one was an instant hit and the cheapest you can get will set you back $22,000. How many units Chevy will sell this? Estimates say that about 265,000.

2011 Honda Civic

It seems that the US market will be invaded this year with Japanese cars as on the 7th place we find the Honda Civic. Back in the days, the car was one of the smallest sedans money could buy in North America. Since then, the car has grown in size and power in order to appeal to a broader audience. Just like the Accord, the Civic sales figures have decreased last year due to the “rusty” look. Honda should sell about 245,000 units of their very popular model.

2011 Ford Fusion

Introduced about five years ago, the Ford Fusion is a looker, at least in my opinion. The model is positioned as a mid-size sedan, right between the Focus and the Taurus. Last year it was named the Motor Trend Car of the Year. You can have one if you are willing to spare at least $18,000. 24/7 Wall St. forecast says that about 235,000 people will buy it.

2011 Hyundai Sonata

Here is a personal favorite – the Hyundai Sonata which I think that will do way better than the estimated 225,000 units. Hyundai is one of the few automakers that have grown in the recent years when the recession affected almost all of the automotive industry. With the introduction of their new model which is drop-dead gorgeous, Hyundai will have a very bright future in the year to come.

2011 Nissan Altima

To round up the top, the Nissan Altima is another mid-sized sedan, popular for its fuel efficiency. Last year the sales went up, but not by much. Like the Honda models, the Altima is an aging model. If you like it, you can have one for at least $20,000. Nissan will probably sell around 205,000 units of this model.

Here is the top for the best selling cars in 2010 in the US:

  1. Ford F-150 – 528,349 units; (413,625 in 2009);
  2. Chevrolet Silverado – 370,135 units; (316,554 in 2009);
  3. Toyota Camry – 327,804 units; (356,824 in 2009);
  4. Honda Accord – 311,381 units; (290,056 in 2009);
  5. Toyota Corolla – 266,082 units; (296,874 in 2009);
  6. Honda Civic – 260,218 units; (259,722 in 2009);
  7. Nissan Altima – 229,263 units; (203,568 in 2009);
  8. Ford Fusion – 219,219 units; (180,671 in 2009);
  9. Honda CR-V – 203,714 units; (153,431 in 2009);
  10. Dodge Ram – 199,652 units. (177,268 in 2009).

We are eager to find out which cars will be a hit in terms of sales. We will have a preliminary top 10 after the first half of 2011. Stay tuned.

Source: 247Wallst.com

Japan Invests In Hydrogen Infrastructure

2011 Mercedes-Benz B-class F-Cell

The government from Japan along with a consortium of automakers and hydrogen suppliers has made plans for a coordinated action in introducing new fuel cell cars. A couple of days ago, Nissan and Toyota along with ten hydrogen suppliers (including Tokyo Gas and Idemitsu) issued a joint statement at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry where they took the responsibility of introducing mass production FCV – fuel cell vehicles into “four major urban areas”, starting with 2015.

These automakers have said that these FCVs will be more affordable which will most likely increase car sales starting with 2015 onward. The penetration of fuel cell vehicles should underpin the creation of one hundred hydrogen fuel stations in the country in the next five years.

The economics ministry of Japan affirmed that the country’s government will “support the mass introduction of FCVs in 2015 and more penetration beyond it and will take the necessary actions.”

A similar situation occurred two years ago in Germany where a number of private firms along with the country’s government announced plans for creating a complex hydrogen network by 2015. The transport minister signed collaboration with eight very important industrial companies, including Shell, Total, Daimler and Linde. The network should start with stations installed in the major urban regions, prior to extending along the motorway corridors.

According to some sources, the chemical industry in Germany is capable of producing enough hydrogen to power about 150,000 cars per year.

Review – 2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S Special Edition

2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S Special Edition

A few years ago if you lived in North America and wanted a midsize sedan, you would choose from one of the following: Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and the Nissan Altima. Things have changed a little bit and now these cars are not only bigger in size but they also have to face up some serious competition from cars like the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Chevrolet Malibu, Subaru Legacy and the Volkswagen Jetta. In the past, automakers would entice customers with features like cruise control, automatic door locks and power windows. Things have changed dramatically since then and it takes a lot more to convince a customer.

Nissan’s bestselling vehicle, the Altima, falls behind the competitors as far as the standard features are concerned. Instead of featuring a long standard list to entice potential buyers, Nissan decided to offer many types of all-inclusive packages like alloy wheel, technology, premium + premium audio, 2.5 SL, convenience + convenience plus and sport. For the 2011 model, these packages include the new Special Edition that is available exclusively for the 2.5 S models.

2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S Special Edition

Priced at $750, the Special Edition’s contents are not new to us but the pricing and arrangement is. Besides the rear trunklid new badge, the Altima comes with a rear spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel + audio controls, auto/on headlights, foglights and 16-inch alloy rims. If these options are chosen separately, according to Nissan they would cost $1,250 which means that customers are able to save $500 if they choose this package.

Being a true Nissan, you get more features for every dollar you spend. However, if you visit for a few minutes the “build your own” websites of other cars belonging to the same segment, the above mentioned statement starts fading away. These special edition features of the Altima can be found as standard features on rival cars. For example, the Hyundai Sonata SE and the Fusion SEL come as standard with power seats, auto on/off headlamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio buttons and floormats. In addition, both cars pack Sync and Bluetooth connectivity and their starting prices are still a couple of hundreds under Nissan’s price tag which is $23,735 (including the $175 floor and truck mats).

2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S Special Edition

The new generation of the Altima was launched in 2010 and for this year it received a mild update. It still has the same one-piece front bumper while the headlights have been restyled along with a now bolder T-shaped grille. Inside, the Altima benefits from new revised materials and fabrics, offering a more comfortable ride. Customers have now the ability to choose from one of the new three colors available: Brilliant Silver, Saharan Stone and Metallic Slate.

The car is fitted with a 4-cylinder 2.5-liter engine that offers 175 hp and 180 pound-feet of torque. The power unit is linked to the Xtronic CVT gearbox that helps the car move its 3200 pounds while offering a decent fuel efficiency level. Speaking of, the car will do 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

Inside the car, passengers will glad to find out that the cabin is very quiet but the rear passengers will not like the limited leg room. The car’s responsive suspension and chassis do a very good job at eliminating the effect of road imperfections which results in a very comfortable ride. The steering of the car is quite responsive, offering enough confidence to the driver.

All things considered, the Nissan Altima still remains a worthy competition in the midsize sedan segment and looking at the sales figures, this Special Edition will most likely attract new customers while at the same time satisfy brand loyalists.

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Initial Review: 2012 Infiniti M35h

2012 Infiniti M35h

The Infinity M35h (Nissan Fuga Hybrid in Japan) is the company’s first hybrid of the 21st century. Back in 1999, the company launched the Tino hybrid, following Toyota into the hybrid automotive era. Although it had a lithium-ion battery pack which put Nissan ahead of rival Toyota, the Tino was made in only 100 units which was just a splash in the ocean and the model was not relevant enough in order to put the company on the hybrid car map. Later on, Nissan borrowed Toyota’s technology and made a hybrid version of the Altima which was a stopgas measure.

Design-wise, there are no differences between the standard Infiniti M, except for the chrome-coated 18-inch alloy rims. The car will rival with the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, once it will be available at dealerships starting with this spring. It will be Infiniti’s first production hybrid car. The model is fitted with Nissan’s 3.5-liter engine as well as one electric motor / two-clutch parallel hybrid system that the company refers to as “intelligent dual clutch control.” This system is clever enough to combine a significant number of environmental technologies. Both the V6 engine and the electric motor are linked to a 7-speed electronic transmission that has a manual shift mode for old-fashioned drivers.

The concept is similar to the one found in the Cayenne Hybrid from Porsche, but Nissan did not implement a torque converter which means that although it can provide better fuel economy figures, it will also produce more noticeable shift shock. Initially the company wanted to use the V6 3.6-liter power unit for the M Hybrid, but after searching for the optimal combination between fuel economy and power, they chose the 3.5-liter engine.

2012 Infiniti M35h

Once you start the engine of the car you basically won’t hear a thing, similar to most of the modern hybrids. The car packs enough power comparable with a V8 engine as the 302 hp / 258 pound-feet of torque @ 5,000 rpm offered by the V6 along with the 67 hp / 200 pound-feet of the electric motor, allow it to reach 60 mph in only 5.5 seconds which is quicker than most of the large V8-powered sedans. The car is almost quiet like a Lexus but feels like a true Infiniti – refined yet very sporty.

The Infiniti M35h offers a pleasurable drive thanks to its double wishbone suspension with four-wheel active steering. With almost perfect weight distribution and a highly rigid chassis, the car is a delight to drive. Although it may sound like a bold statement, the M35h is the most fun to drive in the hybrid class.

2012 Infiniti M35h

Similar with the all of the electric and hybrids cars available at the moment, the car is equipped with the AVSP– Approaching Vehicles Sound for Pedestrians feature that sounds from takeoff until the car reaches 20 mph in order to alert hearing impaired people as well as children when the car is running in EV mode. Other worth-mentioning features are the Bose 10-way sound system and the “forest air” climate control system.

The car will do 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, according to manufacturer estimates and the CO2 emissions stand at 0.72/mile (estimates). The estimated base price for the 2012 Infiniti M35h is $53,000.

Quick Look – 2011 Nissan Rogue

2011 Nissan Rogue

Rogue is the first small crossover developed by Nissan and was launched back in 2007 as a 2008 model. The styling of the car was inspired by its bigger brother, the Murano and came fitted with a good and efficient powertrain that was able to suit various tastes. Three years have passed since then and Nissan had to freshen up the model a little bit until the next generation arrives in a couple of year. Although it isn’t certainly a huge hit in North America, there is a solid market for this car as the fact of the matter is it does the job quite well.

For those of you looking for a special and out of the ordinary design, look elsewhere as the Rogue has a rather plain design. For a more exciting look, you might pick up the Nissan Juke as it has indeed a very interesting styling, not very common for cars that belong to this segment. With the Rogue you get the normal CUV shape with a couple of Nissan accents here and there, nothing eye-catching. Compared to the first generation, the facelift doesn’t bring that much to the table except for the massaged grille, larger fog lights and the fascia which now wears a rather subtle crease below the headlights. On the side of the car, Nissan fitted the Rogue with chrome strips which in our opinion don’t look that good, on any car as a matter of fact.

With this facelift, Nissan has added a new set of 17-inch bifurcated 5-spoke alloy rims that really make the Rogue look much nicer. Most of the customers that choose the Rogue have the following reasons to do so: reasonable price, tall seating position and lots of cargo room. Speaking of space available for your stuff, the Rogue offers 58 cubic feet of storage when the rear seats are folded. According to Nissan, you can also stow something 8.5 feet long out back, which is quite impressive if you ask us.

2011 Nissan Rogue

The SV trim will get you Bluetooth hands-free calling, 6-way power adjustable seats, satellite radio, rear-view camera and power mirrors; nothing out of the extraordinary, but enough for most of us. Unfortunately, the overall look of the interior is not that great because of the dull colors used for the various components and the cheap plastic insertions. Nissan should have fitted the Rogue with lighter colors as well as materials of higher quality.

The Rogue is offered with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder power unit that is capable of outputting 170 hp and 175 pound-feet of torque. The engine is linked to a CVT transmission that has an overdrive function. The car is available both in front wheel or all wheel drive. The engine will do the job very well in city traffic and is basically an engine that is quite responsive and agile. More than that, according to the EPA ratings, the Rogue will do 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which are nice figures for a car in this class. Another advantage of the 2011 Nissan Rogue is the fully-independent suspension, which gives the car a more planted feel during interstate clovers or when doing slaloms.

The most affordable Rogue starts at $20,810 for the S trim. The mid-range SV will set you back about $23,220. These figures are quite good for a CUV, but having a quick look at the competition in this segment, like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, it doesn’t seem to be that appealing anymore as many of these cars have a smaller price tag and come with a top-notch warranty that nobody could resist.

The 2011 Nissan Rogue offers a good package for a CUV, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the table, something that would make it more attractive than its most important rivals. With a more interesting exterior look and higher quality materials used for the inside, the Rogue could grab a couple more customers that are looking for a CUV. Of course this does not mean that the Rogue is a bad car, on the contrary, it offers a pretty good package at a more than affordable price tag, but there are other better alternatives to it.

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In Depth – 2011 Nissan Quest

2011 Nissan Quest

Originally launched about two decades ago, the first and the second generation of the Quest were offered with 6-cylinder front-wheel drive powertrains and the interior was spacious enough to accommodate seven passengers. Both of these cars were made at the Ford’s assembly plant located in Avon Lake, Ohio. Back then the car was called Mercury Villager and it didn’t have success because of its short wheelbase and was surpassed in sales by cars like the Toyota Sienna, the Honda Odyssey and the Dodge/Chrysler twins.

Things changed for the better 6 years ago when the third generation was launched. This time, the Nissan Quest was assembled in Nissan’s plant located in Canton, Mississippi. The third generation was available with a traditional powertrain, a significantly longer wheelbase and passenger configuration, making it more attractive to big families.  Other important changes in comparison to the first two generations were the avant-garde sheetmetal as well as the center-mounted instrument pod that was at that moment very bold. It was so bold that for the 2007 generation, it was completely redesigned. Upon start, the car was already plagued with a serious competition and most important, early quality issues. For these reasons the sales plummeted from almost 50,000 units in 2004, to fewer than 9,000 cars sold last year. This year, the Nissan Quest opted out of the competition, but is back with new forces for the upcoming year.

The new generation of the Nissan Quest was officially unveiled at the 2010 edition of the Los Angeles Auto Show. Putting it side by side with the outgoing generation, the new one has the same width, but it is one inch taller and four inches shorter in length. The wheelbase of the 2011 model is almost six inches shorter while the base curb weight of 4,367 pounds has grown by 60 pounds across the entire range. On the good side, the weight distribution is now more efficient with 55/45, in comparison with the previous generation (60/40). The towing capacity of 3,500 pounds and the 20 gallons fuel tank remained the same.

We are indeed talking about a minivan but this does not mean that it has to be ugly. The 2011 Nissan Quest has a rather interesting design in our opinion, without almost anything in common with the previous generation, which is a very good thing as the old one had a very unattractive design. With the new model, Nissan has added front triangle windows for improving outward visibility. The overall look of the car might not be stylish or sleek, but rather functional and distinctive, which is a good thing in our opinion, giving the Quest a unique look.

The cabin of the car can accommodate up to seven passengers and it is traditionally configured, without anything special. The standard instrument cluster is located behind the steering wheel while the transmission shifter is placed slightly to the left of the dashboard. Nissan put the HVAC vents high on the dashboard, on each side of the generous optional navigation screen. Above the infotainment controls you will find the climate controls, both to the right of the Quest’s shifter.

Both the driver and the front passenger sit in individual seats that are split by a comfortable fixed center console, while the car’s second row has also two individual bucket seats. Between the seats located on the second row there is a removable floor-mounted center console. Despite the fact that the second row seats can fold forward, they were not designed to be entirely removed. The third row of the 2011 Nissan Quest is a 60/40-split bench that has three passenger belts and can be folded forward, but just like he second row, it cannot be removed.

The new model will be offered with four trim levels: Quest S, Quest SV, Quest SL and Quest LE. The first one will get you the standard 16-inch steel rims with full wheel covers; a rear roof spoiler; AM/FM/6 CD audio system that has four speakers; Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition; permanent rear storage wheel; fold-flat second and third row seats as well as first and second row center consoles; wood-tone trim; front door map pockets and a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat.

If you opt for the SV trim level, the Nissan Quest is equipped with 16-inch aluminum-alloy rims, one-touch power sliding doors; six speakers; conversation mirror; fog lights; power driver’s seat lumbar adjustment; tri-zone auto temperature control; rear view monitor; USB port and iPod connectivity and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The SL features a leather-wrapped shift knob; auto-dimming inside mirror with compass; 18-inch alloy rims; 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat; quick release fold flat third row; leather-wrapped shift knob; auto on/off headlights as well as other features.

The top of the line trim level is the LE which gives you HID xenon headlights; blind spot warning system; 13-speakers Bose audio system; 8-inch VGA color display mounted on the dashboard; rear 11-inch display for DVD; memory system for driver’s seat and the outside mirrors as well as other equipments.

2011 Nissan Quest

The 2011 Nissan Quest is equipped with the proprietary VQ 6-cylinder power unit that features the company’s twin Variable Induction Control System – NICS. The 3.5-liter engine is capable of outputting 253 hp and 236 pound-feet of torque. The engine is linked to the also proprietary Xtronic CVT transmission with ASC – Adaptive Shift Control.

All things considered, the 2011 Nissan Quest is certainly a major step forward in comparison with the previous generation, but in our opinion, the future of this car does not look very good as the Japanese minivan has a bad reputation because of the previous generations. In addition, next year there will be plenty of minivans invading the market, making it even harder for the Quest to grab the attention of potential customers. Both the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey received significant upgrades and will most likely keep their customer base in the future, leaving the Quest without any real chances on this competitive minivan market.


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