First Drive: 2016 Nissan Sentra

2016 Nissan Sentra - angle

The 2016 Nissan Sentra gets a facelift, including a new front grille, as part of a substantial mid-cycle refresh for this compact car. About 20% of the Sentra has been changed, which is about three times the change in a refresh design and makes the Sentra’s look consistent with the changes we’re seeing in Nissan’s sedan lineup. I drove the new Sentra on a gorgeous, sunny day in Orange County with some spectacular coastline views and plenty of city driving settings.

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First Drive: 2016 Nissan GT-R

2016 Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary Gold Edition

Yes, the 2+2 GT-R looks great. It has a severely sloping roof, huge quad exhaust pipes, four LED headlights, matching four-ringed taillights and a fixed wing on the trunk; muscular wheel wells and aero blades on the fenders’ edges provides optimum airflow around the tires and along the body.

As slick as this car looks, however, the sheet metal covers up the fact that GT-R this is a supercar. For the uninitiated, that means the GT-R’s top speed is in the 200 mph category.

And its nitrogen-filled, high-performance run flat 20-inch tires suggest that the Nissan GT-R can achieve its top speed of 196 mph. The 3.8-liter dual turbocharged V6 engine generates 545 horsepower and 463 foot-pounds of torque. The dual clutch six-speed automatic transmission shifts gears at warp speed.

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First Drive: 2016 Nissan Maxima

I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. Several decades ago the Nissan Maxima was one of the few sedans you would think of apart from the German cars when someone mentioned they really wanted a sport sedan. Fortunately for other car brands that has changed in the years since, but for Nissan it puts more pressure to get the new Maxima right in today’s more competitive environment.

The most recent generation Maximas weren’t bad but there wasn’t much that made the vehicles stand out. With the all-new 2016 Maxima we now have the eighth generation and Nissan appears to have another winner on its hands.

Exterior

It all starts with the exterior design, which you can see from the photos is impressive from all angles. I was curious as to what Nissan would do with the front grille of the Maxima after seeing the more cautious designs for the front of the Altima and the Sentra. Instead we see a more distinctive, unique and ambitious “V-Motion” front grille that’s similar to what we saw with the Rogue. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked it, but as our day went on it started to grow on me. It works with the rest of the vehicle which is beautifully designed and it fits the more aggressive image of the Maxima.

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First Drive: 2015 Nissan Murano

If you’re looking for beauty and comfort in a vehicle, the Nissan Murano was created with you in mind. Nissan created a distinctive vehicle with the first Murano in 2003 and they’ve aimed high for the all-new, third generation Murano that enters a much more crowded and competitive market for 2015.

Nissan has a very specific demographic in mind for its flagship crossover, targeting empty nesters who will often go out on the town with another couple. The car is designed for adult passengers to interact with one another in a “social lounge” kind of setting, so attention was paid to the experience in the rear seats.

Exterior

Take a look at the slideshow above and you’ll see that this third-generation Murano looks like another design home run worthy of Nissan’s original model. We drove the Murano from the heart of Sonoma wine country out to stunning Goat Rock Park on the Pacific Ocean. You can see the use of glass and the flowing lines of the compelling new design.

Nissan stressed three key elements from the Murano that will show up in future designs – the V-Motion front end, signature lighting and the ‘floating’ roofline.” The roofline in particular stands out along with the boomerang-style headlights and taillights which were originally introduced on the Nissan 370Z. It all comes together beautifully in a package that will certainly appeal to the target demo. The new model also sports a 16 percent improvement in overall aerodynamics versus the previous generation design.

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Car Review: 2014 Nissan Versa Note SV

nissan_versa_note_1

The Nissan Versa has been on a sales bonanza, delivering big sales for their company, and with the all-new 2014 Versa Note, things can only get better. The second-generation hatchback went on sale at Nissan’s U.S. dealers in June 2013 and gives notice that in an era of changing consumer needs and expectations, Versa clearly want to be a leader of the entry-level pack. After spending a week driving this hip compact, we also found some pleasant surprises in the Versa.

EXTERIOR

The new sleek exterior of the 2014 Nissan Versa Note SV really elevates this car into new heights regarding design and appeal. The Versa Note’s sculpted modern styling accomplishes things like providing enhanced aerodynamics to help improve fuel economy and make it stand out from the crowd of entry-level competitors. Its dramatic shape and proportions provide an energetic look that reflects the active lives of its target buyers. Attention to aerodynamic detail helps the Versa Note achieve a coefficient of drag of 0.298 (CVT-equipped models) – a nine percent decrease over the 2012 Versa hatchback’s 0.31 Cd. The large front spoiler combines with a “kick up” roof shape and low aero-drag floor structure (including front and rear tire deflectors, rear suspension beam mounted flush with floor and fuel tank deflectors) to direct airflow over, under and around the body.

CVT-equipped Versa Note models include Nissan’s first-ever Active Grille Shutter, which limits the amount of air entering the engine compartment, reducing drag force by 0.01. The Active Grille Shutter is generally closed at speeds above 20 miles per hour. The iconic front grille and large multi-reflector headlights are paired with Note’s “boomerang” rear taillights, which are similar to those found on the Nissan 370Z and Nissan JUKE. The special “vented” taillight design includes special outlets and lip to help guide air away from the body for reduced air turbulence and improved rear lamp visibility in bad weather. Fog lights and heated sideview mirrors are also available. The Versa Note’s dynamic design also takes full advantage of Nissan’s global “V” platform. It features a long, 102.4-inch wheelbase that helps maximize interior roominess, while the six-inch shorter front and rear overhangs than the previous Versa hatchback help provide a sporty stance and parking maneuverability.

INTERIOR

This is where the biggest surprise hit us with much more room than expected; the rear seating alone blew us away with crazy leg room. The roomy five-passenger Versa Note interior provides a spacious total interior volume of 112.9 cubic feet and ample cargo space of 18.8 cubic feet. Cargo area liftover height has been reduced by 1.7 inches (over previous generation Versa hatchback) for easier loading and unloading of heavy or bulky objects. Also leading the conversation is Note’s front headroom of 40.8 inches and rear legroom of 38.3 inches – which is nearly 3.7 inches longer than the nearest competitor (38.3 inches versus 34.6 inches) – making the Versa Note both kid-friendly and adult comfortable.

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