Questions for Nissan

We’ve had the opportunity to test drive many of the new Nissan’s over the past year, and you can see some of the photos from the drive events above, with the Altima, Sentra, Versa and Pathfinder as recent examples. Follow the links for our reviews and you’ll see we’ve been very impressed with what Nissan has been doing. Also, with the Nissan sedans, we’ve seen them completely redesigned with a distinctive new front grille.

With the New York International Auto Show coming up, Nissan has invited Bullz-Eye.com and our readers to ask some questions to Nissan’s new Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, José Muñoz. He’ll answer them at NYIAS and then we’ll post the video here on Bullz-Eye. So give us your questions here in the comments or on the Bullz-Eye Twitter account.

  

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First Drive: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder

Nissan invited us out to wine country near San Francisco to test drive the all-new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder. Nissan has been a leader in the large SUV category for years with the Pathfinder, and the 2013 model represents the 4th generation of this vehicle. This segment has evolved through the years as the various manufacturers have moved from a body-on-frame truck design to a more carlike unibody construction. The result is a more comfortable driving experience, even for these large SUVs, and the Pathfinder is no exception.

Exterior

With the 4th generation Pathfinder comes an all-new exterior which represents a nice improvement over the previous model. The front end in particular offers a much cleaner design. The headlights are larger and the angled grille looks like it belongs on the vehicle. The lines on the front hood and near the fog lights accentuate the grille design as well. Overall, the vehicle retains enough of the rugged feel of earlier versions, yet also has a classy, upscale look as well.

Interior

The 7-passenger Pathfinder is loaded with interior features that will make drivers and passengers feel very comfortable. The new Pathfinder boasts best-in-class interior passenger volume and best-in-class front headroom and front legroom. It’s definitely roomy and you can load this vehicle up with adults and kids no problem.

You can get all of the comfort options you would expect, heated and cooled front seats, heated 2nd row seats, heated steering wheel, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, push button start, multiple user memory settings and an advanced Bose Audio System with 13 speakers. The Pathfinder also features easy 3rd row access from the 60/40-split 2nd row with innovative technology that lets you access the 3rd row even when an empty child seat is still in the second row.

Buyers can also choose a Dual Panorama Moonroof, with sliding opening front panel and fixed rear glass panel which extends over the 2nd and 3rd rows. You should definitely check out this option.

Performance

I was able to push the Pathfinder pretty hard around some winding roads through Napa and Sonoma and was very impressed with the handling on this large vehicle. The Pathfinder gripped the road nicely even at higher speeds. The acceleration was also solid for this type of vehicle. The new Pathfinder is the only vehicle in this segment with a CVT transmission which helps provide a 30 % increase in combined fuel economy over the previous model. Fuel economy is rated at 26 mpg highway, 20 mpg city and 22 mpg combined for the 2WD model and 25 mpg highway, 19 mpg city and 21 mpg combined for the 4WD model. The CVT performed nicely as Nissan continues to perfect this technology. With gas mileage at a premium these days, the V8 is no longer an option.

I drove a model with the available intuitive four-wheel drive. Drivers can choose full-time 2WD for maximum fuel economy, auto mode to automatically monitor conditions and adjust the balance of power between front and rear wheels for best traction, or 4WD Lock mode when full-time 4WD is desired. It also features standard Hill Start Assist that helps add control when starting and driving away on a steep incline (both 4WD and 2WD models).

Overview

The Pathfinder remains an excellent option in the large SUV category. It’s perfect for families and for an active lifestyle. With best-in-class standard 5,000-pound towing capacity you can use the Pathfinder tow your boat, jet skis or trailer. It’s roomy and fun to drive so it should continue to be a hit for Nissan.

  

20 Cars to Look for in 2012

For the first time in a long while, driver involvement is making a comeback in 2012. Of course, the New Year is bringing its fair share of power hitters – what with a 650hp Mustang debuting and a bevy of 1,000hp cars – but if you look on the more affordable side of the spectrum, driving fun is back in a big way. Car companies are looking past adding “more” of everything into a car to make their offerings lust-worthy. Instead, they’re putting in features that can’t be summed up on a spec sheet, but do show up in the driving experience. Even Toyota is producing a sports car again. With cars like this on the horizon for 2012, it’s shaping up to be the Year of the Driver.

Ford Focus ST

The story of Ford’s small, performance-oriented cars in the United States has been one of a constant disappointment. As Capris, Sierras and Escorts chewed up European roads with turbocharged fury, us Americans only got the lumbering Mustang. This year, however, we get the truly good stuff with the Focus ST. The specs are promising: 250hp from a turbocharged 2.0L engine, independent rear suspension, and all the natural racy bits on the inside and out. Price has yet to be released, but don’t be too surprised to see this car around the 24k mark. Most importantly, for the first time in seven years, Ford has a proper competitor in the hot hatchback class.

Toyota FR-S/Subaru BR-Z

The FR-S/BR-Z was a joint project between Toyota and Subaru to deliver a car that puts driving enjoyment ahead of sheer numbers. This means low price, low weight and a truly amazing driving experience. The result of this Toyota and Subaru marriage is a low-slung coupe with a 200hp flat four. For those that think that is too little power, bear in mind the car weighs a featherweight 2600 pounds. Not to mention, the development team pegged the Porsche Cayman as a dynamic benchmark. The FR-S will be sold as a Scion here in the states, but the Subaru version will also be available as well.

Porsche 911

The world’s best sports car gets even better this year. Redesigned from the ground up, the 911 gets a new exterior, interior and more power. The boxer six engine has been given a few tweaks to now produce 400hp. The chassis has been lengthened and widened slightly to provide more stable handing as well. Even though the changes are incremental, the 911 goes to show that evolution, not revolution, is the way to continually improve the world’s best all around sports car.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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