Archive for the ‘automotive news’ Tag

Nissan Rogue Hybrid Might Migrate to the U.S.

A Nissan Rogue hybrid? Sounds like a vehicle that would win the blessing of Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, who is known to be very bullish on battery electric cars taking over the industry. Lending more specific credence to the rumor, a Japanese engineer just told Automotive News that Nissan may give us a Rogue hybrid. Are your electrons getting excited, crossover buyers?

The suggestion comes from Nobusuke Toukura, chief engineer for the new X-Trail Hybrid, the overseas Rogue built on the same platform, which was just introduced in Japan last week. When we asked Nissan USA about the prospect, the company wouldn’t confirm Toukura’s claim outright, but did say that it would like to add more hybrids beyond the Pathfinder Hybrid to its lineup. Since the Rogue is Nissan’s second best-selling model and Toyota has just unwrapped the RAV4 Hybrid, a Rogue hybrid seems like a no-brainer. From a production standpoint, a Rogue hybrid would be easy to add to the Smyrna, Tennessee line that already rolls out Rogues and Pathfinders.

Like the Pathfinder Hybrid, the X-Trail Hybrid eschews the typical two-motor setup—a generator to charge its lithium-ion battery and a traction motor to put down the power—and instead employs two electronic clutches that perform both duties, with one separating the engine and the motor. On the X-Trail Hybrid, Nissan pairs a 40-hp electric motor with a 2.0-liter 145-hp four-cylinder, optional all-wheel drive, and claims 47 mpg on Japan’s highly unrealistic JC08 cycle. It’s hard to say how that combo would do in EPA testing but at the very least we could expect a significantly higher rating than the Pathfinder Hybrid’s 25/27 mpg city/highway.

Even with gas prices in a welcome lull, Nissan needs volume to become noticed in this space, and the future hybridized GT-R is not going to do it. The last-gen Altima Hybrid, which used a Toyota-licensed powertrain, was short-lived, relatively inefficient, and only available in 10 states. And while the Nissan Leaf leads the plug-in market, the automaker sells the fewest hybrids of all its competitors. Combined with its three Infiniti models (Q50, QX60, and Q70), Nissan sold fewer than 8000 hybrids in 2014. Ford shipped more than 9.5 times that number. Even Subaru, which offers only the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, managed to outsell Nissan and Infiniti in its very first year. Get to it, Ghosn.

Read more at: http://blog.caranddriver.com/nissan-rogue-hybrid-might-migrate-to-the-u-s/

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Next Jeep Wrangler Keeps Solid Axles, Loses Folding Windshield

Among the key design features of the Jeep Wrangler, we’d say the solid-axle suspension is several orders of magnitude more important than the cool-but-perhaps-not-critical folding windshield. To that end, a recent Automotive News report should be mostly good news for the Jeep faithful.

The report states that the Wrangler will keep its solid front and rear axles when the vehicle is redesigned for the 2017 model year. That will have true believers breathing a sigh of relief, as Jeep had already ditched the solid axles in its other models.

The Grand Cherokee switched to an independent front suspension with the 2005 redesign, and lost its solid rear axle with the arrival of the current generation, for 2011. Meanwhile, Jeep dropped the solid front axle in the transition from the XJ Cherokee to the Liberty, and then went to a four-wheel independent setup when the Liberty was replaced with the new Cherokee.

Although the solid axles stay on, weight savings and improved fuel economy are major goals for the next-generation Wrangler—not a bad idea, given the current model’s 17/21 mpg EPA ratings. To that end, the new Jeep will get an aluminum body; a smaller, turbocharged engine in place of the current 3.7-liter V-6; and will upgrade to an eight-speed automatic.

The good news on the axle front is tempered, however, by word that the Wrangler will lose its upright, folding windshield in favor of a fixed unit with greater rake. While it’s true that many Jeep owners probably don’t even how that their windshield can be folded down—or wouldn’t know how to do it—the folded-windshield driving experience is one of the things that makes the Wrangler unique. It’s up there with the removable doors and convertible top—both of which had better stick around.

Read more at: http://blog.caranddriver.com/report-next-jeep-wrangler-keeps-solid-axles-loses-folding-windshield/