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.

  

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Nissan reveals 2103 Sentra; Alabama crushes Michigan

I traveled to Dallas last weekend as a guest of Nissan as they introduced the new 2013 Sentra in connection with everyone hoped would be an epic match-up between two iconic college football programs. As you can see from the photos, the new Sentra looks great, but the game didn’t live up to the hype as Alabama made a statement by whipping Michigan in majestic Cowboys stadium. You can see the view from our seats in some of the photos above that capture the incredible big screens in the stadium.

All wasn’t lost, however, as we were treated to a great tailgate on the day of the game featuring some incredible BBQ from Big Bob Gibson along with the chance to meet Heisman Trophy winners Mark Ingram from Alabama and Desmond Howard from Michigan.

Nissan has been heavily involved with college football and the Heisman Trophy in particular. On Friday night they had the Heisman Trophy on display as they revealed the new Sentra, and Desmond Howard shared some stories like what was going through his head before he struck his classic Heisman pose against Ohio State. Nissan then showed some of the new and hilarious Nissan Heisman House commercials like this one below featuring RGIII.

On Saturday before the game, Nissan set up a virtual Heisman House for fans of both teams to enjoy. Outside they had two new Sentras decked out in Alabama and Michigan colors as you can see in the slideshow above. Fans loved it.

We won’t have a chance to test drive the new Sentra until next month, but Nissan had plenty of vehicles available for us to drive on Saturday morning, so I made sure to take out the blue 370Z pictured above for a spin around Dallas.

As for the new Sentra, I’m definitely looking forward to driving it. I loved the new Altima so I have high expectations for the Sentra as well. As you can see from the photos, the styling has evolved with Nissan’s new front grille standing out in the new design. Sitting in the vehicles I was also impressed with the interior as well. Check back for our driving impressions once we get a chance to take this out on the road.

  

Nissan launches all-new 2013 Altima with cool videos

Nissan is asking, “Wouldn’t it be cool if someone took mid-sized sedans and broke the mold?” It appears Nissan did just that with the all new 2013 Altima. We recently participated in a media preview of the new Altima and we left very impressed! Nissan now wants everyone to know that they took their best-selling Altima back to its essence and re-imagined it completely. The 2013 Altima offers great horsepower, best in class 38 MPG, and is equipped with a lighter and stronger body. It has improved headlight technology for better visibility and NASA-inspired zero gravity seats that reduce fatigue. It’s their most innovative Altima ever! The 2013 Nissan Altima, one of five all-new models Nissan will introduce this year, is now at dealers across the country. The 2013 Nissan Altima will be produced in Canton, MS and Smyrna, TN.

Check out these cool videos telling the Altima story that will make you smile as well.

Wouldn’t It Be Cool: http://youtu.be/bRqGa75IS04
Enough: http://youtu.be/V9xFgyv8BJI
Break Up: http://youtu.be/AM3srC7_t7U
New York: http://youtu.be/VnfeOrtoM7g

  

First Drive: 2013 Nissan Altima

The mid-sized sedan market is the most competitive segment in the auto industry with 2 million vehicles sold per year, and Nissan has ridden the popularity of the Altima to second place in the annual sales war. We were invited out to Nashville to test drive the next generation Altima that will go on sale this summer. With a fresh new look and 38 MPG on the highway, the new Altima should do just fine in this segment. This is the first of five all-new models that Nissan will be introducing in the next 15 month, representing 70% of the company’s sales.

Exterior

The new redesign is striking and will definitely grab your attention. Nissan is phasing in a new front grille that began last year with the new Versa, but the grille on the new Altima is much more stylish, with the curved edges that takes some cues from Nissan’s Infiniti line of luxury cars. With the wrap-around headlights and the new grille, the Altima features a more aggressive front end, which is then matched by an equally stylish rear end with its LED taillights. The new Altima looks great from all angles and should compete well with the flood of new vehicles in this segment.

Interior

Nissan’s designers worked on making the interior more comfortable, with more soft padding on the doors and the new NASA-inspired “zero gravity” seats. Research by NASA on a natural, stress-free posture measured in zero-gravity influenced the design of the new seats, with the goal being an increase in blood flow, decreased muscular load and lower fatigue. I can’t speak to those specifics but the seats were certainly comfortable during our drive. The overall feel of the interior was modern and comfortable.

If you choose a leather interior, you’ll find perforated leather and a woven headliner along with a leather steering wheel that feels very comfortable to the touch. It definitely creates the upscale feel Nissan was shooting for. It feels like you’re cruising in a luxury sedan when you try the decked out model with the V6. The new Altima is also very quiet with a significant noise reduction from the previous model.

The technology package offers some nice features including NissanConnect, 7” Touchscreen, Navigation, Google POI, Google Send-to-Car and Blind Spot Warning. It also includes two new firsts for this segment – Lane Departure Warning and Moving Object Detection.

Performance

I had the opportunity to drive both the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder version and 3.5-liter V6. The next generation CVT (continuously variable transmission) worked fine in both models. The CVT has been improved with 70% of its parts redesigned, an expanded gear ratio, 40% friction reduction and improved control logic. The result was seamless acceleration and a more natural feel in CVT mode. Still, I liked how the Sport mode simulated the gear shifting sensation we’re used to from traditional automatic transmissions, and naturally it also provided more acceleration. I also liked how the Sport mode option is conveniently placed right after the “Drive” slot on the center console. You don’t have to search around for it and shifting in and out of that mode is very easy. But acceleration is fine in the standard CVT mode as well and this is where you’ll get the best gas mileage.

The Altima boasts 38 MPG on the highway with the base 4-cylinder which is best in class and should be a big selling point. Weight reduction was an important factor with greater use of ultra high strength steel and aluminum. With a 79 lb weight reduction Altima has the lowest weight in the segment.

The overall driving experience was very impressive. I’m partial to cars with some power so I loved the V6, but the base model also performed well.

Overview

This is an excellent vehicle that should continue to be a hit in this segment. The styling is impressive and should appeal to both men and women, and both the base engine and the V6 offer solid performance. The base model starts at $21,500 with the excellent gas mileage, and 3.5SL with the v6 and all of the options tops out at over $31,500. With the decked out V6, you start to rival the perks of a luxury sedan for a much lower price, particularly with the new technology package.

  

2011 Nissan 370Z Coupe gallery

The 2011 Nissan 370Z Coupe Touring is one tough sports car with its 19 inch RAYS-forged wheels and sleek body design. We were already impressed with the 370Z, but after spending more time behind the wheel of this beast, we understand why there are so many Z fans around the globe. Stay tuned for our upcoming full review on Bullz-Eye.com!

  

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