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TechnoFILE's
Automotive Section


NISSAN

Nissan adds a famed diesel name to its Titan line

It's big, it's brawny - and, for those who want maximum hauling performance, now you can get it with a torquey and businesslike Cummins diesel engine.

It's the Nissan Titan, and I just spent a week in Nissan Canada's sample 2016 Nissan Titan XD Platinum Diesel Crew Cab 4x4 (one of five versions offered), tooling around the city and environs, cutting a swath through lesser vehicular traffic - which is most vehicular traffic!

If you're a regular reader of my stuff - and thanks, by the way! - you'll know I'm not really a truck guy, so to ensure as much fairness and accuracy as possible I enlisted the help of a couple of friends, one of whom owns a first generation Titan and one of whom owns two big Ram trucks, including a diesel. I defer to their knowledge and experience, though of course I also have my own opinons for whatever they're worth. more...

Nissan Micra-sizes and Micro-prices its entry level car

The smallest Nissan in Canada has been reborn after a several year hiatus, and its new incarnation is a fun little vehicle that packs a lot of punch - as long as you don't mean "horsepower" - into an affordable package.

And all for an advertised entry level price of under 10 grand! How can this be?

Well, it probably can't. But if you pony up a few thousand dollars extra you can have a pretty decent car that's actually quite a bit of fun to drive. more...


Nissan Altima: efficient, powerful family sedan

It may not get the kind of attention that some of its midsize sedan competition does, but Nissan's Altima definitely deserves a look - and a test drive - if you're shopping for a new vehicle in this niche.

This fifth generation Altima, new for the 2013 model year, offers a heckuva lot of stuff and, while it looks a tad more conservative than the fourth generation model, it's still an attractive design, good to drive, and full of features. more...


Nissan upgrades and updates the Altima

It's one of the Japanese company's bread and butter cars, a mid-size sedan they hope you'll think is the "altimate" family car.

And it's brand new for 2013, the fifth generation of a car that started out as a roly-poly roller but which has evolved since then into a handsome and reasonably priced and high tech entry into the mid-size sedan market. The car feels more up market than before – just like the competition – in this case, almost "Maxima-lite." And a mid-sized car that feels as substantial as a larger, supposedly more luxurious vehicle is hardly something at which to snort.

The new Altima adds a bit of a sport flair to its exterior, via such stuff as raised front fenders and reasonably swoopy body work. The car is longer and wider than the outgoing model yet, as is the happy trend these days, it's also lighter. more...


Nissan Versa has few vices

It screams "entry level," but if you can get past that, and the continuously variable transmission, you might find the Nissan Versa a decent little car.

It certainly tried to win me over in my week with the 2012 Versa SL sedan supplied by Nissan Canada. It came in at a quite reasonable $17,233 Canadian, which included the "Technology Package," an $800 option that includes a five inch LCD screen, satellite radio, a navigation system and USB audio. Eight hundred bucks is pretty reasonable for a  navigation system, but the affordability might be because many competing nav systems come bundled with a bunch of other stuff, whereas this one is nearly stand alone.

That's a nice way of doing it; so often, carmakers will load stuff into packages that you may not want, so this "a la carte" method has its merits.  more...


Titan and Tacoma: A tale of two tough trucks

Big or small, there's a Japanese truck for nearly all.

That's what the Japanese – in this instance, Nissan and Toyota – would have you think anyway. Both companies offer "compact" pickups and "full size" pickups, going head to head in both markets with the established North American manufacturers – in what has been at least one of their most lucrative niches traditionally. After all, the Ford F-150 has been a, if not the, top seller for years upon years, so it's no wonder others would want a piece of that action. And with Nissan's Titan (and Toyota's Tundra), that's exactly what they're doing.

On the other hand, even though they're relative newcomers to the full size market, the Japanese have been a fixture in the compact pickup niche. In fact, the one showcased here – the Toyota Tacoma – has a history that stretches back decades, to the nearly indestructible Hilux. more...


Subaru Legacy, Nissan Rogue – Affordable All-wheel Drive

All-wheel drive can come in a handy if you're looking for the most traction or flexibility in where you can take your vehicle – such as in snowy climes or to off-road locations.

Nothing is free, of course, and all-wheel drive technology also adds weight and complexity to a vehicle, and any time you add something to a basic vehicle you can assume the price is going to go up as well. Fortunately, all-wheel drive doesn't have to break the bank, as witnessed by the two vehicles under discussion in this column: the Nissan Rogue and Subaru Legacy. more...


Mitsubishi and Nissan - A Tale of Two CVT Crossovers

One has a schnoz like Darth Vader's mask, the other looks like a legless frog on a skateboard, and the makers of both vehicles think they represent compelling solutions to customers' need for a small and capable crossover/wagon.

Mitsubishi's RVR (or "Outlander Sport" in the U.S.) is the tall wagon whose proboscis causes a great disturbance in the force. It's more like a conventional wagon than the Juke – the second vehicle under dissection, er, discussion here. Between them, Mitsubishi and Nissan have a lot of bases covered for people seeking a reasonably small utilitarian vehicle. more...


Nissan Z Roadster an Open-top Blast 

The new Z's front end has an aggressive beak reminiscent of the GT-R supercar. It's very cool. I'm not as in love with its butt, with its crescent-like taillights, but they're an improvement over the previous generation's. 

The new Z Roadster features an aluminum hood, door panels and trunk for lower weight, and extra structural reinforcement (compared to the coupe), including in the A-pillars and side sills. This is so the car doesn't twist itself apart the first time you hit a tight corner, since hard top cars tend lose some structural integrity when the can opener's taken to the roof. more...


Nissan cube a Square Deal

It may be a little funny-looking, in a kind of cute way, but Nissan's new cube "van-like object" is a pretty nifty vehicle overall.

And while it does tend to perform somewhat like the brick on wheels that it resembles, it actually acquitted itself better than I'd expected, especially when I took it onto a handling course set up on a regional airport a few weeks ago. It was no Porsche Panamera, of course, but it was pretty good. more....


Murano 2.0 a Family Friend

If you thought Nissan Murano Version 1.0 was a pretty decent vehicle, you'll probably love what they've done to it in Version 2.0.

The 2009 Murano is distinguishable from its older self immediately, via a grille that no longer looks as if you can grate cheese on it and tail lights that are now mostly horizontal instead of mostly vertical. It's still an attractive vehicle, with a clean and modern design that features a dynamic front fascia, large integrated headlights, 18-or-20-inch wheels (my test car had 18 inchers) and LED taillights. more....


Is Sporty New Coupe the "Altima-te" Nissan?

Take a popular mid-sized sedan, weld two doors shut and what do you get?
Not the Nissan Altima coupe, apparently. Nissan says this attractive and sporty entry only shares its hood with the Altima sedan, and who am I to call them liars?

Regardless of how much DNA it shares with the four door Altima, the two door version is recognizable as an Altima, with genes spliced in from its upscale brother the Infiniti G37 coupe. And that is not a bad thing at all. more....


New Sentra – Wheels for the Mainstream

Nissan's all-new Sentra won't set the world on fire, but it's a pleasant and efficient vehicle that should serve its target audience very well.

Nissan says this new Sentra is "all about you." If you're an enthusiast you might find this a tad insulting, but if you're one of the millions who looks upon a car as simple transportation and not a means to an exciting end, it may speak volumes to you.

And so it should. The front engine/front wheel drive car is unpretentious and features a good list of standard features and that, for many, is exactly what the doctor ordered. more....


Nissan Quest – one "Haul" of a Vehicle

In the epic quest to create the perfect minivan, Nissan's entry offers a lot, from a great engine to plenty of room for people and/or stuff.

And for 2007, Nissan has tweaked the Quest in numerous ways the company thinks will make the van even more attractive to customers.

I drove last year's Quest and found it a decent vehicle that performed well and offered a lot of standard features. It still drove like a minivan, but what minivan doesn't? And what's wrong with that anyway? You want a sports car, buy a sports car. Just don't expect to haul an armoire in it. more....


Nissan Maxima Goes Shiftless

Forget Nissan’s “Shift” advertising slogan: the 2007 Maxima is the most shiftless version of the car ever.

That’s not to say it’s sedentary (far from it!), but rather that the new version of Nissan’s flagship now comes standard with a continuously variable transmission that makes gears, and the shifting of them, a thing of the past.

Nissan’s Xtronic CVT uses pulleys and belts instead of gears to transfer power from the engine to the wheels (the front wheels in this case) and the transmission is said to balance optimal performance with gas mileage. CVT's seem to work well and are getting increasingly popular in the marketplace. more....


Nissan Quest - Spacious, Spacey

It may look like a shuttlecraft from the starship Enterprise, but the Nissan Quest is an Earthbound minivan through and through.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Nissan's 2006 Quest is quite pleasant to drive, and it's certainly a decent performer. And it offers some very thoughtful touches that, unfortunately, are at least partially offset by some frustrating aspects. more....


Japanese Carmaker Turns Up the Heat - Nissan Goes Straight for Drivers' Hearts

Nissan appears bent on making some big time automotive music.

The Japanese carmaker has had its share of great vehicles over years, from the legendary Z to the old 510. Some of its more recent efforts, however, have appeared more than a tad bland to these opinionated eyes. And while one shouldn't get too hung up on a vehicle's looks, it's usually a car's styling that first grabs (or pushes away) one's attention.

The Maxima has always been a Really Nice Car, but the Altima began as a roly poly design that evolved into a car that, while not as ugly as the Pontiac Aztek, wouldn't garner too many "aaahs!"

Those days appear to be over, at least as far as the completely redesigned 2002 Altima is considered. I haven't driven it yet, but from what I've seen the muscular new edition of the four door sedan appears determined to push its way into consumers' hearts. more....


Reviews by Brand

Acura Audi BMW Cadillac Chevrolet Chrysler Dodge Dodge Ford GMC Honda Hummer
Hyundai Infiniti Jaguar/Land Rover Jeep Kia Lexus Lincoln Mazda Mercedes-Benz Mini Mitsubishi
Nissan Pontiac Porsche Saab Saturn Scion Subaru Suzuki Toyota Volkswagen Volvo

Jim Bray is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. His columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

We welcome your comments!