Archive for the ‘maxima’ Tag

Old Versus New: The Nissan Murano

We asked the owner of a 2009 Nissan Murano to take a spin in the all-new 2015 version of the dramatically styled crossover SUV. Is newer always better?

While we’d all like to have a McLaren, Porsche, or Lamborghini parked in our garage, that pesky thing called “reality” forces us to buy cars that are reasonably priced, convenient to drive every day, and—if there are kids involved—friendly to the sticky-handed set. One of the most popular models for families around the world since it made its debut in 2003 is the Nissan Murano. Named after the islands in Venice known for producing beautiful blown glass, this mid-size crossover SUV has always stood apart from the pack thanks to its dramatic design, great ergonomics, and car-like handling.

My sister, Lucy, is the happy owner of a 2009 Murano. She likes the modern styling, the comfort, the utility—she has two kids—and the fact that it drives more like a car than a hulking SUV. (Don’t even ask her what she thinks about her husband’s Toyota Sienna minivan.) So when I got to test the latest version, which is totally new for 2015, I knew she was the one who could give the best assessment. The third generation of Nissan’s flagship crossover delivers even bolder styling, a more luxurious interior, and a standard 3.5-liter V6 that ups both power and efficiency. Check out what the folks from Nissan were trying to accomplish with the new Murano, followed by Lucy’s thoughts. (Thanks, sis!)

Exterior

“One of the central constructs for both the exterior and interior of the new Murano was to ‘elevate your experience,’ which is counterintuitive to the heaviness and chunkiness of the traditional sport utility vehicle,” says Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “This helped inspire the push for leading-edge aerodynamics and three key elements of our designs—the V-Motion front end, signature lighting, and the ‘floating’ roofline.”

Lucy immediately sees the difference: “I really like how it looks. This one is more modern than mine, more streamlined. It has more of an aquatic look, if that makes any sense. I especially like the dark panels on the sides in the back—even though it’s not a window, it looks like window as opposed to car. Very sleek.”

Interior

“Beyond the sense of elegant style and premium features, owners of the first two generations often tell us about the ‘effortlessness of Murano’—the great front view, the low instrument panel, the comfort and ease of operation. These are all things we kept and exaggerated in the new model,” says Nakamura.

“This is like the fancy version!” Lucy exclaims as she gets inside. “Does it have a USB? A charger? Yup! It’s got a familiar feel to it, but it seems more spacious. This sunroof is great; it expands all the way into the back. The kids don’t normally get the light back there. Yeah, this sunroof is awesome, there’s a lot more natural light. Wow, is this a top-down camera? I definitely don’t have one of those.”

“I have no complaints about my seats,” says Lucy as she takes her spot in the driver’s seat, “but this is more comfortable—the headrest and the back support feel a lot better. Mine doesn’t have leather on the dashboard, that I could take or leave. The cup holders look smaller and are in a different place, I think I like mine better…I prefer them horizontal, not vertical. Overall it’s totally familiar, but there are certain little nuances that are improved. Plus, it smells very nice.”

Driving

“With advanced, purposeful technology designed to help keep you safe and connected, along with its refined everyday driving experience, this all-new Murano adds the solid substance to go with its unmatched emotional style,” says Pierre Loing, vice president, Planning, Nissan North America, Inc.

“I love driving my Murano,” says Lucy. “It’s just big enough to feel like you’re not the smallest car on the road, but it doesn’t seem cumbersome. It’s a good size; it doesn’t feel like you’re driving a truck. The gear shift on this one is a little stiffer, and the steering definitely feels stiffer. I like it; it gives it that ‘premium-car’ feeling, very responsive. It’s got great visibility, which is also one of the things I really like about my car. The driving position is very similar…it doesn’t really feel like I’m driving a different car. Actually, it feels like I’m driving my car, but faster. This definitely has enough power to do what you need to do.”

Overall Impression

“I originally bought my Murano because I liked that it was bigger than a sedan but wasn’t as big as a minivan,” says Lucy. “I liked how it drove, I liked the style of it, the amenities, and, for the price, it just seemed like the right car. My kids like it too, because they feel like I’m not too far away from them. I have about 66,000 miles on mine, and I wasn’t thinking of getting a new car, but this new one really is great. It’s everything I like about my car, only better!”

Or, as Loing puts it, “Murano resets the standard in class once again.”

Read more at: http://www.scout.com/story/1554398-old-versus-new-the-nissan-murano

2016 Nissan Maxima First Test Review

The 2016 Nissan Maxima is NOT a four-door Miata, so join me in ignoring the car’s 4DSC (four-door sports car) marketing references straight away. Once you do, you’re left with a damned good SPMS—a semi-premium midsize sedan. For a front-drive car with a $30,000-$40,000 price range, the quick 2016 Maxima is a high-quality package that should find favor with drivers who prioritize fun over the superior rear-seat and trunk space of Nissan’s competitors. The CVT helps the Maxima stand out in a good way, an interesting turnaround considering we deemed the CVT in our long-term 2009 Maxima a “major killjoy.”

So what’s changed? Perhaps even more than our readiness to accept CVTs is the tuning of the 2016 Maxima’s transmission. It’s responsive in Normal and Sport modes (the latter of which ramps up steering weight a lot), and as we found in our First Drive review, getting the car to emit that dreaded CVT whine isn’t easy to do. The CVT is ready for your inputs at least as often as conventional six-speed automatics. The standard-in-every-Maxima Active Sound Enhancement system also adds to the experience by enhancing the strong engine note heard inside the cabin and increasing the driver’s subjective sense of speed.

The 2016 Maxima is objectively quick, too. Every 2016 Maxima is powered by a 300-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 with 261 lb-ft of torque, and on the track, the sportier SR and upscale Platinum models both hit 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Six-cylinder versions of the Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Avalon can keep up with the 2016 Maximas to 50 mph, but those semi-premium midsize/full-size sedans fall back by 60, at 6.2 and 6.3 seconds, respectively. We’ve tested a 2013 Altima 3.5 SL that kept pace with the two 2016 Maximas, clocking a 5.9-second 0-60 time. Although most Maxima buyers won’t seriously consider the BMW 3 Series, those few who do should know they’ll lose streetlight drag races in the Nissan: A 2015 328i Sport Line model we recently tested with an eight-speed automatic accelerated to 60 in 5.4 seconds. Yes, the Maxima exhibits a little torque steer, but only if you’re really looking for it — for example, simultaneously changing lanes and stabbing the throttle from a stop. Whether or not the car is in motion, you’ll turn heads. Nissan has dressed the new Maxima with styling that’s as bold as the car is quick. The Maxima shares a 109.3-inch wheelbase with the Altima, but the flagship sedan is just a bit longer, wider, and lower than the more mainstream four-door. We’d suggest avoiding black or other dark exterior colors to make the most of the Maxima’s wild-for-a-sedan C-pillar design. After all, if you’re going to go Maxima over an Impala, Avalon, Charger, or even Altima, why not maximize the black line that slices through the C-pillar?

That design feature distinguishes every 2016 Maxima, but only the sporty SR trim will add 19-inch wheels with 245/40R19 all-season tires (summer tires are available on the SR), an upgraded suspension, and technology that aims to make the suspension more compliant than you’d expect for the Maxima’s sportiest trim. The SR also eschews the dual panel moonroof on the SL and Platinum trims to lower the center of gravity and increase torsional rigidity. On the highway, associate online editor Stefan Ogbac and I each found that although the Maxima SR does have more tire noise, it’s not so bad that you’d want to take a different car on a road trip. On the track, the Maxima SR’s more sporting credentials helped it turn in a figure-eight performance of 26.0 seconds at 0.72g average, better than the 2014 Chevrolet Impala (27.1 seconds at 0.68g average), the 2013 Toyota Avalon (27.2 seconds at 0.66g average), and 2013 Altima 3.5 SL (27.1 seconds at 0.66g average). The 2016 Maxima SR proved an even match for the lighter but less powerful 2015 BMW 328i we recently tested that completed the figure-eight course in 26.0 seconds at 0.73g average. The more luxury-focused 2016 Maxima Platinum model, which is still fun to drive, was good for a respectable time of 27.0 seconds at 0.69g average. We Real MPG tested the 2016 Maxima SR at 22.4/30.2 R-MPG city/highway, just about even with its 22/30 mpg EPA ratings.

Although testing director Kim Reynolds wasn’t a fan of the Maxima SR’s long steering-column-mounted paddle shifters, overall, he appreciated its track performance. “The car has nice grip, a good turn-in when the transmission is behaving, and solid power,” Reynolds said. “[This is] a well-developed platform that ought to be attractive to buyers who’d prefer German sedan driving attributes.” So the 2016 Maxima is entertaining, but it’s not as capacious inside as you might think. The car is definitely comfortable if you consider it as a midsize sedan, but similarly priced but less sporty cars such as the Impala and Avalon have it beat in terms of rear-seat space and trunk capacity.

Then there’s the potential issue of insurance costs. IntelliChoice says the last-generation Maxima had higher-than-average insurance costs, and although the new 2016 Maxima could eliminate this problem, it’s too early to tell one way or the other. Still, the 2016 Maxima offers a great mix of style and driving fun not found on too many four-doors less than $40,000, other than the comparison-test-winning Mazda6. Unless you’re absolutely set on the sportier SR trim, consider the mid-level $37,715 SL. The 2016 Maxima SL lacks the quilted seat inserts of the SR and Platinum (finished in Alcantara on the SR) and the Platinum’s power-operated steering column and Around View Monitor multi-camera parking system, but you still get plenty of content. The Maxima SL features include navigation on an 8-inch touchscreen, hands-free keyless access, leather seats, an 11-speaker Bose sound system, front and rear sonar sensors, the dual-panel moonroof, and Nissan’s suite of active safety tech. It includes an adaptive cruise control system that works well but deactivates when you come to a stop. Buyers who want more than the average midsize sedan can offer but know how quickly the MSRP adds up on German luxury sport sedans should definitely add the 2016 Nissan Maxima to their shopping list. As long as expectations are kept in check in terms of interior and cargo space, the Maxima is one of the better semi-premium midsize sedans around.

Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1507_2016_nissan_maxima_first_test_review/viewall.html#ixzz3fESzOTyj

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/

2016 Nissan Maxima Video Preview

For the past decade, the Nissan Maxima has been having an identity crisis. Originally it was Nissan’s family sedan, then it became its so-called “four-door sports car.” Today it shares most of its running gear with the less expensive Altima.

So how does the Maxima move forward? It’s all about style.

Nissan says the new Maxima looks like nothing else on the road today, and we have to agree. It’s dramatically styled along the lines of the Murano crossover. The distinctive profile looks edgy and exciting, and the floating-roof design is about as far from the Altima as you can get.

Inside the Maxima has a driver-focused cockpit with a center stack canted towards the driver. The interior makes big strides over the current car, with a padded console and genuine stitching on the instrument panel, doors, and console. There’s a flat-bottom steering wheel and some models features Alcantara suede trim. Heavily bolstered sports seats are standard.

The new Maxima’s loaded with standard tech including standard navigation, an eight-inch color touchscreen, and a seven-inch Advanced Drive-Assist Display within the instrument cluster.

Powering the Maxima is a 300-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6. Power is sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. There’s a new Drive Mode Selector with Sport and Normal modes to adjust throttle response, transmission tuning, and steering feel. A new SR model ups the performance ante with a stiffer suspension setup.

On a more practical front, Nissan estimates the Maxima will have EPA ratings of 30 mpg highway and 22 mpg city. Safety gear will include a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a forward-collision warning system with automatic braking, intelligent cruise control, and blind-spot monitors. A surround-view camera system is an option.

The Maxima hits showrooms this summer starting from about $33,000.

Read more at: http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1097567_2016-nissan-maxima-video-preview?fbfanpage