Category Archives: Nissan

Cute Perky Fun To Drive – The Nissan Kicks

Nissan Kicks SR Premium
Nissan Kicks SR Premium

Little cars are back in a big way, be it because people do not want to spend a lot, or they do not need much more than fun transportation.  The New Nissan Kicks is now on sale and steps in a field of outdated competitors with a lot of safety, looks, and room for the price.

 

Nissan is known for Sport Utility Vehicles and Crossovers from the larger than life Armada, family hauler, Pathfinder, classic Cross over’s Rogue, Murano and Rogue Sport. Now a little brother has joined the lineup for 2018, the new Nissan Kicks. It is new, and not a replacement for the recently departed Nissan Juke, which is still available in other world markets.

 

What is new with the Kicks?

Nissan Kicks white roof, blue body and blacked out B and C pillar.
Nissan Kicks white roof, blue body and blacked out B and C pillar.

Smart styling and expressive design, with colors that POP out in a quick little four-door hatchback. We love it that automakers are bringing back COLOUR as a major part of the styling of their vehicles. The Kicks has bright, expressive color choices, blacked out pillars and the option of five different two-tone contrasting roof color choices, which brings this small crossover to life. Add Nissan’s Color Studio options which bring about even more excitement to the exterior.  Built on the Versa Note platform, with the signature V-Motion Grill, boomerang lights, and floating roof, this may be a little car on the outside, but on the inside, it is very spacious, even in the back seats with front passengers, and has an amazing amount of cargo room.

 

Intelligent Driving

Nissan Kicks 7 inch screen with an all around camera.
Nissan Kicks 7 inch screen with an all-around camera.

Standard on all trim levels of Nissan Kicks is Automatic Emergency Braking, which you will not find on other small CUV competitors even as an option. Available as an option Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Alert, and Intelligent All-Around View® Monitor, a 360-degree camera option. All safety items you can afford are worth the investment.

 

Nissan Kicks fits the engine in with plenty of room to spare.
Nissan Kicks fits the engine in with plenty of room to spare.

Kicks is a front-engine, front wheel drive platform with Nissan’s 1.6- Liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine with continuously variable valve timing. Producing 128 horsepower @5800 RPM, 115 lb-ft of torque @ 4000 RPM connected to Nissan’s Xtronic transmission®, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) provides Kicks with class-leading fuel mileage with 31 city, 36 highway, and 33 combined.

https://www.nissanusa.com/experience-nissan/news-and-events/xtronic-cvt-continuously-variable-transmission.html

Independent strut front, multi-link independent rear suspension, both with twin tube shocks and a stabilizer bar provide Kicks a solid ride for a short wheelbase vehicle. All Kicks come with ventilated front disc and rear drum brakes with ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and brake assist.

 

What Drivers and Passengers Will Appreciate & May Not

  • No question the Kick’s easily accessible and visible 7” touchscreen to control the audio. Large symbols make It is easy to read. Some of the drop-down menus can be confusing and hard to find again. To prevent finger smudges a screen protector on the glass, as you can apply to a tablet would be a helpful addition. (This should not be hard to find an item in a local electronics store, custom cutting, installing, and fitting it is the hardest part.)
  • Standard Bluetooth streaming audio with available Apple Car Play and Android Auto is almost a necessity today in any vehicle. Only the front USB port (there are three easily accessible USB ports in the Kicks,) direct wires into that desirable technology.
  • Nissan Kicks Bose Personal AudioBose® Personal Plus Audio System with 360 degrees of immersible sound, available on SR Premium Package. (While it was good, only the driver’s headrest has the built-in speakers. You may want to explore the Rockford Fosgate® Audio System for $595 as an option.) I was not enamored with the Personal Plus’s sound quality, for a Bose system, while it is pretty darn good, I expected it to be a bit better. I did not get to experience the Rockford Fosgate®; the large rear cargo area-mounted sub-woofer is where the optional $195 Cargo Load Floor may interfere with it.
  • While the standard seating upholstery has a diamond pattern stitched in, the more upscale Perma-Tex™ seats have little decoration. To many, the diamond stitching can be perceived as a higher level of trim.
  • The expansive back seat and cargo area is a big plus in a small car; I would want to add $200 interior accent lighting, or the $555 interior electronics package, as it is hard to see the interior door handles and lock and window switches at night with a black interior.
  • While the driver’s seat has a fold-down center armrest, the right front passenger seat does not, nor do we see a spot for an optional one to be attached to the seat back.
  • Closed compartments are not a Kicks thing, there is a glovebox, but the openings on the doors and trays on the center console are open, while you can get $45 optional rubber mats for those.
  • No spare tire, while there is a well under the cargo, it is filled with a Styrofoam block that holds the jack and inflator kit. Weight reduction and quality of the modern Firestone Tires are no doubt a consideration in not providing a spare.
  • The optional $211.29 rear cargo cover and $195 cargo load floor are handy but seem easily damaged or could end up as part of the stash of junk in the garage. Though turning over the cargo load floor it looked useful to hold shopping bags in place, but not if you had the sub-woofer in the back.

 

Money Talks

Nissan Kicks RearThe Nissan Kicks is made in Mexico and the basic model, the S starts at $17,990, $19,690 for the SV, $20,290 for the SR (more of a sports package), and $21,290 for the SR with a premium package that includes the Bose® Personal Plus 8-Speaker sound system, Perma-Tex™ appointed seats, heated front seats, and a security system. A $975 destination charge, taxes and tags. Minus any incentives, you may be offered from the dealer or through an organization you belong to such as AAA, Costco, USAA, or a buying service. The SR Premium model I found most desirable with optional rear sonar, and interior ambient lighting came to $23,720. Build a Nissan Kicks for yourself.

In Conclusion

Nissan Kicks LRKicks are all about fun; this little four-door is a great get up and go vehicle.  While its trendy styling may be more youth-oriented, Fun Grannies and Grandpop will be attracted to this easy to drive, economical, roomy, small crossover. We found it light and easy to drive, with plenty of power and pickup, tight turning radius and great visibility.  The Kicks is a very light vehicle at 2672 lbs curb weight, while it handled well on a hot breezeless summer’s day, I would want to try it on the interstate during a Spring wind.

Check out the Nissan Kicks in person at your nearest Nissan dealer.

 

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We are looking forward to the World Car Awards

With the New York International Auto Show on the horizon, one of my personal favorite events each year is the World Car Award. This year held on March 28th.

2018 will be the 14th year for the annual awards and the for the fifth consecutive year based on Prime Research’s 2017 media report. The World Car Awards were inaugurated in 2003 and launched in 2004.

2018 marks the 12th year of World Car’s partnership with NYIAS, and the fifth consecutive year that the World Car Awards have retained their ranking as the No.1 automotive awards program in the world in terms of media reach. While the awards and ceremony are a recognition of automotive excellence is on an international scale and intended to complement and not compete with other national and regional Car of the Year celebrations.

The awards are administered by a not-for-profit association, under the guidance of a Steering Committee of pre-eminent automotive journalists from Asia, Europe, and North America. Peter Lyon (chair – Japan), Jens Meiners (vice-chair – Germany), Mike Rutherford (vice-chair – UK), Tim Stevens (director – USA), Siddarth Patankar (director – India) and Gerry Malloy (director – Canada and president, WCOTY Association).

 

Automobiles Nominated for the
World Car Awards


2018 World Car of the Year:

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– Mazda CX-5
– Range Rover Velar
– Volvo XC60


2018 World Urban Car:

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 – Ford Fiesta
– Suzuki Swift
– Volkswagen Polo


2018 World Luxury Car:

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– Audi A8
– Porsche Cayenne
– Porsche Panamera


2018 World Performance Car:

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-BMW M5
– Honda Civic Type R
– Lexus LC 500


2018 World Green Car:

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– BMW 530e iPerformance
– Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
– Nissan LEAF


2018 World Car Design of the Year:

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– Lexus LC 500
– Range Rover Velar
– Volvo XC60


The Road to the World Car began in Frankfurt on September 19, 2017, and was followed by the first-ever Tokyo Test Drive conducted at the BMW Tokyo Bay facility in October giving jurors yet another opportunity to evaluate contenders that might not be available in their home markets. Then, the fourth annual “L.A. Test Drives” took place across a six-day period in November with a record number of 35 jurors participating. At the Geneva show in March, they close in on the end of the Road to World Car journey which will end on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, when World Car opens the New York International Auto Show and also declares all winners in all categories.

New York International Auto Show

Owned and operated by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, the New York Auto Show is an awesome combination of new ideas, technological innovation, exceptional concept cars and nearly 1,000 of the latest new cars and trucks.  Over one million visitors are expected to visit the show this year to see what is truly possible from the automotive industry.

 

Information for this post is from the World Car Awards Press Release. Photos are from the various automotive media sites. Collated and edited by William West Hopper.

American Sweethearts the SUV & CUV

American family favorites, Crossovers and SUV’s dominate the market due to their versatility. So understandably there are plenty of them at all price points, a mix of high and middle-end models. I have taken these out over the past few months for quick around the block drives as well as extended time periods. Here are my thoughts on them. Some, not all we have done full reviews on which are featured elsewhere on the site.

Fiat 500X – Cuteness seems to be a staple with the Fiat brand. Though with the whinnyFiat 500X engine and a transmission hunting for the right gear provide a less than enjoyable drive experience. I took this funky Italian breadbox up the mountain roads of New York State in May. Pluses are plenty of space and a very attractive interior design. Lots of trim levels and features are available. Discounts are plentiful at year end. Minus are: A clunky exterior, a noisy drivetrain, and a transmission always hunting for the right gear. Prices start at $19,995 and with generous year-end allowances you can put a lot of cute Italian into a small payment for a Fiat.

 

Nissan RogueNissan Rogue – An overall everyday crossover, easy to get in and out of, with plenty of cargo space. I kept expecting more from the Rogue considering the amount of hype this vehicle has gotten from Nissan’s  PR department to the auto media. Including being heavily featured in recent Star Wars movie promotions and #RogueTrip events. Pluses are a well-made dependable vehicle. Minus are that the Rogue is not so memorable in the overall scheme of things.  Starting at $24,680 and going up depending on trim levels and options. My heart does not go pitter-patter over this model as it does with Nissan’s other products. Though I may need a #RogueTrip to experience this vehicle in more depth.

 

 

 

Toyota Highlander

 

2018_Toyota_Highlander_SE
2018_Toyota_Highlander_SE

When did this crossover become so large and in charge? What once was a mid-sized big SUV replacement seems to be growing. While right in the middle of Toyota’s extensive lineup of SUV’s and Crossovers it is a good option for those looking for a dependable, and long-lasting vehicle with plenty of options. Pricing starts at $31,030, incentives are not aggressive due to this being a top-selling model. I was not expecting a WOW, and the Highlander followed suit by not making me squeal for joy while behind the wheel. Though in the long run, the Highlander will be there, dependable and safe as any of Toyota’s vehicles.

 

 

 

GMC Acadia Denali

 

2017 GMC Acadia Denali
2017 GMC Acadia Denali

GMC is an upmarket luxury truck maker showing that GM is paying a bit more attention to the details. Bringing luxury and utility together in an elegant package. While not as finely outfitted as the Terrain (which was not available to drive, though I attended a presentation on it earlier this year, see another post.) The Acadia is available starting at $42,255 and the Denali (upscale) trim starts at $45,415. While this is not a sports car, nor is it a luxury boulevard cruiser, the Acadia provided a very comfortable drive experience, one that I would find enjoyable on a long road trip. It was a nice both inside and out with a lot of attention to detail, especially for the front seat passengers.

 

 

 

Hyundai Tuscon

 

2017 Hyundai Tucson
2017 Hyundai Tucson

Sorry to say, this is one that I took out of the parking lot and quickly brought back. A cheap fit and finish made it memorable, and not in a good way. Even in the next to the top of the line Night Edition drag, there were some basics that could be improved. I have been very impressed with what Hyundai and Kia have brought to market recently and comparing the Tuscon to other Hyundai models driven in the past year, this one was a disappointment. While the Tucson starts at $20,200, it could be so better from a company that offers America’s best automotive warranty and well-known customer service. Hyundai is pronounced like Sunday for those who wrestle with the pronunciation of the brand name.

 

 

 

Land Rover Discovery

 

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Well now we are talking, no longer the boxy wannabe of its forebears, the odd exterior design is not unpleasing to the eye, just reminded me of a bathtub, a luxury spa tub. The Disco, as it is known, would not take long to get used to. The interior was quite comfortable, though not as impressive as I would expect from this legendary British Empire Automotive brand. This is one we would like to spend more time with to get the full Rover experience. Starting at $52,090 it is right at a price point with some strong competitors offering top-notch larger size SUV’s. The Discovery and it’s twin the Discovery Sport are positioned just under the famed Range Rover. The brand is owned by Tata, a large multi-national, multi-product-service company based in India. Which may be why this vehicle and the Jaguar F-Pace seemed to be so closely related, almost cousins. (Jaguar is also owned by Tata.)

 

Diesel powered Jaguar F-Pace
Diesel-powered Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar F-Pace  – Here is a sleek and sumptuous SUV that I was very excited to get to drive for a few days this Fall. While it was an enjoyable ride, it was not everything I had hoped it would be. The 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel-powered version provided excellent fuel economy power and responsiveness. Comfort was nice with heated and cooled seats and all that one would expect in a proper English road car. Some of the technology was substandard compared to the competition, such as a limited vision camera, the center console display and the tinting on the windows rendered my two separate electronic toll pass devices inoperable, which was a tad embarrassing, as I was driving a Tata executive from China to an automotive media event. With prices starting at $42,065 for the basic model, topping out at over $62K for The pinnacle of F-Pace luxury, the Portfolio Edition. With a great ride and wonderful styling and fuel economy in the upper 20’s on diesel fuel, it is not one we would ask to leave the stable. But maybe send back for some more training.

 

 

Kia Niro

Kia Niro Hybrid
Kia Niro Hybrid

Stepping into a Kia, the last thing you would expect is to fall in love with an economy car, a hybrid at that. That is what I did, within a few moments of driving this odd little crossover, I said to myself, I would buy this car. It was nimble, spacious and had plenty of technology aboard. A bit quirky and awkward at first, but it grows on you like a loveable, nerdy, best friend. I could easily see loading stuff in this car and be heading out on adventures. Prices start at $23,240 for the base model going up to $31,900 for the top-of-the-line Touring model. All feature a 1.6 L 4-cylinder and Full Parallel Hybrid System and provide anywhere from 40 to 52 miles per gallon. Even more of a reason to love this little Korean Crossover. Yet another vehicle from Korea that will give the Prius some challenges in the marketplace.

 

Cadillac XT5
Cadillac XT5

Cadillac XT5 – For me, it is hard to see Cadillac as a crossover, or even as an SUV. In my mind, Cadillac is a luxury car that says you have made it in the game of life. I have fond memories of the powder blue Eldorado Convertable (with a white top) that I drove to my Junior and Senior Prom in High School (it matched my Tux, hey it was the mid-1970’s and I still have the clip-on bow tie and button on ruffles for the shirt! And even the tux jacket somewhere.) The XT5’s interior rear-view mirror (the same on all Cadillac models) is a bit unnerving as it is a live video feed out the back, which for some reason played havoc with my sense of equilibrium, and eventually, I did find a way to switch it off. As a Crossover, it was a nice, but not as roomy or easy to get in an out of as I would like. And as a Cadillac, it was quite plain. I just would like it to be more elegant, more luxurious, more everything that a Cadillac is. Which also means different from the other GM products on the market, which the XT5 really is not. Prices start at $39,395 and with a number of add-ons it could be a contender. I especially like all of the safety features that Cadillac is offering on its current line of vehicles.

 

 

 

Jeep Compass

 

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When you think America, the original SUV is just one name JEEP. While it may not be what we see on today’s roads, it was the World War II Jeep that the soliders brought home with them. Realizing that this rugged little four-wheel drive workhorse that took them all across the world’s battlefields. Now it has now become a staple in US driveways. No longer simple or even little, the Jeep has many iterations and is as capable as ever. The 2018 Jeep Compas is as close to the original as you might want to get, just now with a battalion of safety and technology features, not to mention and comfort that was unknown when it became a civilian product.  The Compass may not have much more room, but four guys in this Jeep can be an interesting experience. We all found the engine noise annoying, especially on long drives. The Compass is a great size for urban runs. Prices start at $20,995 and discounts can be had depending on the dealer or buying service you are using.

 

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

 

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A much-anticipated SUV that feels direct from the Italian Alps is this upscale
ride from the legendary automaker, Alfa Romero. With prices starting at $41,995 the Stelvio will be one that will sell quickly, even adding lots of options. This is one great looking SUV, sales will happen due to the Stelvio’s exceptional style, if for no other reason. Size is not enormous, but the driving experience is all European. Fit and finish need some work, though as with an Italian lover, you get the good with a few rough edges. We have not spent enough time in this vehicle as we would like, and hope to do so in the coming year.

 

Volkswagen Atlas

 

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We reviewed this full-sized 3-row American style SUV from the company that built the People’s Car earlier this year. The Atlas will fit the needs of many Americans due to the amount of interior space it offers. The Atlas is not going to win beauty pageants, it is a rolling bread box with very square angles. Made in Tennesee, it looks like a Ford Explorer just with a little some German styling cues. This is not the SUV for you If you are looking to make a statement about what you drive. Starting at just over $30K, this one will be a dutiful and dependable workhorse, as VW’s are well known for.

 

 

I was able to drive these vehicles due to membership in several professional automotive media organizations or by invitation of the manufacturer. I received no compensation or incentives for driving and reviewing the vehicles mentioned, other than the loan of the vehicles for up to seven days.

William West Hopper and the Kia Stinger
William West Hopper and the Kia Stinger

Words and Photos by William West Hopper
Photos of the Toyota Highlander, GMC Acadia, Hyundai Tuscon were from their respective automotive media sites.

 

 

The Humble Four-Door Sedan, the Nissan Sentra

Nissan Sentra SV a frugal and dependable car
Nissan Sentra SV from Avis Car Rental

While brand new cars are exciting, it is only that once. We want a car to be able to wow us after the passage of time and thousands of miles of driving. That is where our 2016 Nissan Sentra SV from Avis Car Rental comes in. On a recent January road trip from Washington DC to Detroit MI, this mid-level car average everyday 11-month old car intrigued me, as to how good it was after 22K hard-driven rental miles. And I was more impressed with it at the end of the 1200 mile trip than when we started

 

The Nissan Sentra SV provided great average fuel economy.The first thing that you notice is that the Sentra’s 1.8 liter 1.8-liter DOHC 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine Front wheel drive with Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission) is just as peppy as you will need. Fuel mileage averaged 28 mpg, this car shows you get better economy at slower speeds. I saw 25 mpg in fuel consumption when average speed was higher v/s 30 mpg at a slower pace.

 

Nissan Sentra's dash is clear and easy to reach and understand.
Nissan Sentra’s dash is clear and easy to reach and understand.

Ride comfort was fine, handling was not like a sports car, but it is not one either!  Cabin noise was acceptable without squeaks or rattles no matter driving the interstates or streets of downtown Detroit. Modern touches were there, push button start, keyless entry, a rear camera, and Bluetooth connectivity that in the past would have been expensive add-ons for any car, and unavailable in a lower priced mid-line model such as the SV.

 

Nissan's NissanConnect Bluetooth systems connects the apps in your phone to the car's entertainment system.
Nissan’s NissanConnect Bluetooth systems connects the apps in your phone to the car’s entertainment system.

The Nissan Connect program that connected a phone to the audio system through Bluetooth was available on the Sentra. While a USB plug connected to an older iPad, never seemed to connect to the device. Even an old school single disk CD player was part of the built in entertainment with a decent sized 5-inch screen.

 

 

 

The Nissan Sentra had plenty of trunk space for all the gear you may want to haul.
The Nissan Sentra had plenty of trunk space for all the gear you may want to haul.

Overall Impression: While this is a basic 4-door sedan, it was powerful and efficient, as well as comfortable for a long drive.  Technology may not have been over the top, with the basics of what you need, and nothing more. Interior space was plenty as was trunk space. Complaints, for the purchase price of this vehicle it would be a great buy providing the technology and safety that one needs.

 

 

This vehicle was rented by me and not provided as a press vehicle, and this review is my personal opinion of the Nissan Sentra SV.

William West Hopper bundled up for a winter road trip in the Nissan Sentra SV.
William West Hopper bundled up for a winter road trip in the Nissan Sentra SV.

Big, Burly, & Handsome, the Nissan Titan X D 4X4 Diesel Pickup Truck!

How does shopping for a full-size pickup truck compare to the reality show The Bachelor? The smart, well educated, girl, can have her choice of any one of a number of strapping, macho, attractive, strong, and smart, men. Just like today’s pickup buyer.

The 2016 Nissan Titan XD SL 4WD CC in Deep Blue Pearl w/ running board lights and splash guards out in the fields of New York State.
The 2016 Nissan Titan X D SL 4WD CC in Deep Blue Pearl w/ running board lights and splash guards off road in the fields of New York State.

 

We went out on a date with the 2016 Nissan 4×4, Titan X D SV CC, powered by a Cummins 5.0 L V-8 Turbo Diesel.  “It’s BIG!” “and thirsty” was the comment I heard from a colleague. Before the truck arrived, I thought, great, I will have a huge fuel bill!  Heavy duty pickups are not required to list fuel consumption on the sticker, though we were impressed with the mid 19 mpg with the Titan with the Turbo Diesel engine averaged. Impressive for a truck of this size and with the Nissan’s new square shouldered styling.

 

The 5.0 Liter V-8 Cummins Turbo Diesel Engine powering the 2016 Nissan Titan XD SL 4WS CC
The 5.0 Liter V-8 Cummins Turbo Diesel Engine powering the 2016 Nissan Titan X D SL 4WS CC, delivered 19 plus mile per gallons over an 1100 plus mile trip at a variety of speeds.

Big, and Strong, is not a bad thing when you have to do the hard work this truck has been designed for: hauling, towing, all the while carrying five full sized passengers. While we never asked the Titan to flex its muscles, we could see them bulging and ready whenever we needed them. Everywhere it went the Titan got looks of admiration, and sometimes, jealousy from other diesel pickup drivers.

The Nissan Titan XD and the Ford F250 Heavy Duty are the same size.
The Nissan Titan X D and the Ford F250 Heavy Duty are the same size. Both feature a lot of chrome on their grills.

 

While a truck this size is most at home where there is plenty of space, it also was well mannered in town. We used the front and rear parking sensors and a rear camera to help guide it into tight spaces along the quaint streets of Cooperstown and Sharon Springs, in New York State. Taking this big-boy out on unpaved country roads, as well off road across a farmer’s field, was a lot of fun.

Everywhere we went, the Titan made us feel safe and secure within its comfortable cab. The off road, the heavy duty suspension and four-wheel drive came in handy. During a particularly rough summer storm that shut down the interstate we were driving along, the Titan’s size and weight gave us a feeling of comfort in the midst of a raging rain and hail that had other vehicles pulled over to the roadside waiting for the storm to pass.

Inside we really appreciated the seating for five full-size men, with Man-Cave heated leather Captain’s Chairs with 8-Way Power Driver’s Seat w/Adjustable Lumbar Support and 4-Way Power Passenger Seat, and a 60/40 split Rear Flip Bench Seat. No seat fatigue in these extremely comfortable seats, even after hours of a long drive. Though power outlets were limited, with a single USB  on the dash.

The Nissan Titan XD features Leather Captain's Chairs w/heated seats. 8-Way Powerd Driver Seat w/ Adjustable Lumbar, and 4-Way Power Passenger Seat.
The Nissan Titan X D features Leather Captain’s Chairs w/heated seats. 8-Way Powerd Driver Seat w/ Adjustable Lumbar, and 4-Way Power Passenger Seat.

It was nice to have a 110v in the rear, and 3 old style lighter outlets for chargers, which meant you need USB adapters if you wanted to plug modern devices. Big boys like to have cup holders, and the Titan has four large gulp sized ones, two for the front and 2 for the dudes in the rear bench seat.(That third guy will have to hold his.) That rear seat is not skimpy, while it is not as ample as the front seats, it is still large enough for the guys. When not in use, you could fold it back for carrying things in the cab, or use it as a platform. Underneath the rear seats featured small, partitioned lockable compartments.

Speaking of interior storage, the center console is very large, enough to fit a lap-top in, with plenty of cubbies in and around the console as well as on both the driver and passenger door pocket, bigger than simple map pockets, that will fit log books or other things. And a normal size glove box. A well detailed dash and controls, no funny modern gear shifter here! The Titan features a trusted, olde style, steering column mounted shift lever with a tow mode and manual gear select to control the Alsin®6-Speed Automatic. When you wanted to go from 2-wheel drive into 4WD or 4-Lo, it is simple to control with the dash mounted rotary dial for the Shift-on-the-Fly system.

The Titan’s Sight lines were excellent, we could see everything around us with the extendable and heated outboard side mirrors. This ensured you saw all the little cars sneaking up beside you. Blind spots were few, except right beside the truck’s front fenders. Though parking in normal parking spaces took some practice. Sometimes big guys don’t fit in small spaces.

The Chevrolet Silverado 4x4 (front) and the Nissan Titan XD (Rear,) are both full size 4X4 Pickup trucks and take up plenty of space.
The Chevrolet Silverado 4×4 (front) and the Nissan Titan X D (Rear,) are both full size 4X4 Pickup trucks and take up plenty of space.

While we did not put the Titan to work as a heavy hauler, this big boy was built with an integrated gooseneck receiver as well as a class IV hitch receiver mounted under the rear bumper. Combine that with a trailer light check and brake management system from inside the vehicle, and extendable, folding, heated, tow mirrors, and you are ready to tow just about anything out there. The factory installed bedliner combined with the Util-track® system with 4 adjustable Tie-Down cleats, and plenty of LED lighting, in the bed, under the step rails, even a puddle light built into the mirrors, to make loading at night simple and safe.

The bed of the Nissan Titan XD Pickup has a factory installed spray-on bedliner, and a factory built, integrated Gooseneck hitch receiver, as well as a Class IV hitch receiver on the rear frame.
The bed of the Nissan Titan X D Pickup has a factory installed spray-on bedliner, and a factory built, integrated Gooseneck hitch receiver, as well as a Class IV hitch receiver on the rear frame.

No American truck is complete without big tires and nice wheels, the Titan is rolling on twenties, with nice looking factory rims, and a full-size spare tire. To make sure you see the Titan has bright headlamps, low mounted fog/driving lights and LED lights all over the truck..

Nissan Titan XD features On/Off headlights, with integrated DRL's, Fog lights, and LED lighting.
Nissan Titan X D features On/Off headlights, with integrated DRL’s, Fog lights, and LED lighting.

So while you have a lot of big strong good looking trucks to choose from, the Nissan Titan X D is worth a look if you want a full-sized heavy duty pickup that has a lot of niceties and is pretty to look at.

Check out Nissan’s website or a dealer near you for more information.

Just as we turned this 4-door cab Titan back, Nissan released a 2-door cab version, more like the work trucks of old. Still full of the goodies and extras we like, outfitted with the V-8 engine (gas or diesel), and full-size pickup bed. Just without the extra interior space of the rear seating area. So now there is a Nissan Titan in a couple of muscular sizes to fit your needs.

An update from Nissan, is that the 2017 Titan and Titan X D models will come with a bumper to bumper 5-year 100K mile waranty. So this hot hunk of truck, and his family will be committed to you for a good long while. When a manufacturer puts this kind of warranty behind their vehicle, you know it is going to be a long lasting vehicle.

 

The author William West Hopper with the 2016 Nissan Titan XD SL 4WD CC Pickup.
The author William West Hopper with the 2016 Nissan Titan X D SL 4WD CC Pickup.

    Photos and article by:      William West Hopper

 

Driving in NYC – Nissan’s Twizzy, a Battery Powered Mobility Concept Vehicle

Driving the Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle in New York City

The Nissan "Twizzy" or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, a small battery powered people transporter.
The Nissan “Twizzy” or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, a small battery powered people transporter.
Nissan’s Mobility Concept Vehicles NMC in New York City.

We were welcomed to New York City prior to the New York International Auto Show by Nissan to take a drive in their Mobility Concept Vehicle (NMC), an ultra-compact, all electric, four-wheel runabout. This was an informal meet and greet with the #NissanFutureLab Team.

Nissan invited journalists to experience a new mobility concept vehicle.
The Nissan “Twizzy” or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, a small battery powered people transporter.
Nissan held an informal gathering prior to The New York International Auto Show
to drive their Mobility Concept Vehicle.

Prior to our taking this little quad out for an exciting drive in New York City’s crazy traffic, we sat down with Nissan’s Josh Westerhold, an Urban Planner by training and mobility guru by profession, to hear all about this vehicle.

The Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle relies on mirrors to see out the back.
The Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle relies on mirrors to see out the back.
No rear window on the Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle.

The NMC is all electric with a top speed of 45 mph and a range of 40 miles on a single charge. Designed for the sole purpose of transporting one or two people from place to place. The NMC vehicle has a rugged look with outboard fenders, exposed wheels and struts.

While it has a cabin with a windshield and scissor-like doors that swing forward. It is open to the elements with no side windows.

Looking inside the cockpit of the Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle. A very simple dashboard with basic controls.
Looking inside the cockpit of the Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle. A very simple dashboard with basic controls.

The interior is clean and simple, with a single driver’s seat. It can either be fitted with a tandem rear seat, or a package tray, to carry a second person or a small cargo of items. The NMC is without HVAC, but has an instrument cluster that tells you speed and battery life.

#NissanFutureLab's Mobility Concept Vehicle instruments are basic.
#NissanFutureLab’s Mobility Concept Vehicle instruments are basic.
#NissanFutureLab’s Mobility Concept Vehicle is a single/tandem seat, open air vehicle .

Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle has exposed fenders, headlights and a mono-blade windshield wiper.
The Nissan “Twizzy” or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, a small battery powered people transporter.
Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle has exposed fenders, headlights and a mono-blade windshield wiper.

Outside it has the basics of a road vehicle, a mono-blade windshield wiper and turn signals, headlights and rear view mirrors, as there is no back window.

Segway Expericmental Vehicle
Segway Expericmental Vehicle
Segway showed this single passenger, two wheeled, self-balancing experimental vehicle at the New York Auto Show in 2008.

 

This little runabout is more like a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle or a Golf Cart that you would see in private suburban gated communities. It reminded me of the Segway/GM experimental vehicle shown at NYIAS about ten years ago.

Indeed the NMC is on the tiny side of compact, smaller than the NYC Pedi-cabs, and a Nissan Leaf is a behemoth in comparison. So wrangling for space on NYC’s crowded streets with taxicabs and black car limousines was like flying an RC plane alongside 747’s.

The view of the streets of New York City from inside Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle.
The view of the streets of New York City from inside Nissan Mobility Concept Vehicle.
Cars appear bigger while driving a small vehicle.

Driving on NYC streets in any vehicle is a testimate to your metal. Driving the NMC reminded me of when I was a kid, hot-rodding the riding lawnmower at full speed. While the NMC does have a suspension, you did get to feel every bump, and driving over rattling manhole covers, made you wonder if they were going to swallow you before a bus ran over you!

Charging port on the front of the NMC.
Charging port on the front of the NMC.
Charging port and windshield washer fluid resivor located on the front of the NMC.

But size has its advantages in the jungle of NYC, the NMC slipped into small openings in traffic, pulling into the space between vehicles, that the drivers of larger vehicles thought were already tight. The NMC was nimble enough to slip in, and the battery powered electric motors were powerful enough for you to speed off when you had the chance.

The Nissan Twizzy seemed strangely at home on the crowded streets of New York City.
The Nissan Twizzy seemed strangely at home on the crowded streets of New York City.

Nissan, Innovation that excites.
Nissan, Innovation that excites.
#NissanFutureLab

The Nissan Mobility Concept is a product of the joint partnership between France’s Renault and Japan’s Nissan, known as theTwizy, debuting a concept vehicle in 2009, and has been on the market in Europe since 2012.

Nissan Twizzy Electric Mobility Vehicles got a lot of attention, even from street-wise New Yorkers.
Nissan Twizzy Electric Mobility Vehicles got a lot of attention, even from street-wise New Yorkers.

This little Electric Vehicle is already in use in European cities, and here in the USA, it is part of a test fleet in San Francisco’sScoot Network, (a scooter rental service) and labeled the Scoot Quad.

 

While not planned for the consumer market, other than a few urban test fleets, you can find out more about this vehicle on Nissan’s website.  #NissanFutureLab

Photos and article by: William West Hopper

Posted by William Hopper at 5:32 PM No comments:

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Labels: Mobility Concept Vehicle, Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, New York City, New York International Auto Show, Nissan, NissanFutureLab, NYIAS, Renault, Scoot, Scoot Quad, Twizy

Location: Pennsylvania Station, New York, NY 10119, USA

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Infiniti QX60 Is Better Than an a Luxury SUV or Crossover, Much Better!

We had a chance to put 1800 miles on a 2015 Infiniti QX60 out of the Mid-Atlantic press fleet for a trip to Florida, it arrived with just shy of 25K on the odometer.

Infiniti’s QX60 the luxurious modern full-size Station Wagon.

While the PR Staff from Infiniti apologized about the high miles, and that it was last year’s model, for me, it is good to see how a car holds up after the initial new car smell is gone.

The inside of the Infiniti QX60 features wheat colored leather
and maple wood trim accents.

This one was doing just fine! Its bright wheat beige leather seats and black carpeting were not heading to the rough trade of being a press car that gets a new driver every week. Hint, press fleet cars have a rougher life than rental fleet cars.

The long muscular hood of the Infiniti QX60.

The first thing I noticed getting into it, was the size of the and muscular look of the hood, not unlike that of a Porsche Cayenne.

The dash of the QX60 lacks the iconic Infiniti oval analog clock.

While the inside was clearly an obsessively designed Japanese dash with plenty of buttons and controls to manage everything from the headlights, to the heated seats. The only thing I felt was missing was the oval analog clock that Infiniti was chastised for when it came to market in the 1990’s.

Infiniti’s 3.5 6-cylinder engine under the muscular hood.

What I enjoyed while driving it, was the power from 265 hp, 248-pounds of ft.-torque, 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder engine and intelligent all-wheel drive with continuously variable transmission. The good fuel economy (in excess of 24 mpg on this trip.) And the wide range of active safety features, such as forward and rear collision warning systems, blind spot warning and prevention, intelligent cruise control with distance cruise assist, which kept an eye on the vehicle in front, and matched its speed without running up onto its tail.

Infiniti’s Active Safety Display
features lane departure and
blind spot warning systems.

Lane departure warning and prevention system was helpful during the long drive, especially in the dark, (where it continued to work, even though visual distances were impaired by rain.)

Blind Spot Warning light on each door.

Blind Spot Detection was especially helpful in heavy traffic on the interstate, when drivers appear out of nowhere, though the rear view mirrors were ample in size, it was great to have the assistance of this technology.

 

The Caravan of cars to Florida featured a BMW Z3,
a rare Marcos GT, the Infiniti QX60, Ford Roush Performance
Mustang with Track Package and a Jaguar XKE Coupe.

The intelligent cruise control and distance control assist was especially handy as we were part of a multi-car caravan of classic, and vintage cars heading to theAmelia Island Concours, made up of a diverse group of vehicles from a 2016 Roush Performance Mustang with Track Pack to a 1960 Jaguar XKE, from a BMW M Series to a rare Marcos_GT. AModel A Boat Tail open roadster that had recently gone on a race from New York City USA to Paris France recreation of one done a century ago, joined the group during the trip.

 

The QX60 sporting the Amelia or Bust sign at a lunch stop.

While one would think that our Infiniti QX60 would not seem to be in step with this Caravan of classic and exotic vehicles, organized by a Hagerty Insurance. The Infiniti QX60 took it all in stride, holding its own, being the car that passengers from other cars wanted to ride in, when they were being overwhelmed by the journey, or just tired of riding in an old classic.

 

Wonder where does this the QX60 fit in, in this modern world of vehicles? Without sliding side doors, it can’t be a minivan! Without big tires and a discernible 4X4 drive train, it is more refined than an SUV. And its size and stature make it a hard fit for a crossover. In reality it is a little bit of all three.

2nd & 3rd row rear seats fold down to extend the cargo area.

The QX60 succeeds as a luxurious and capable mover of people and cargo. Like a classic full sizestation wagon of yesteryear, with plenty of room, comfort and luxury. Passengers who jumped in after riding in the vintage classics, enjoyed the infinitely adjustable, heated and cooled seats, and the quietness of the cabin. And as the QX60 had plenty of cargo room with the rear seats down, it ended up carrying luggage and other large items.

Around View® monitor gives a new meaning to backup camera.

The QX60’s luxury appointments seemed almost like the standard features you need. It remembered the driver’s seating position, and provided a great view of the road, fore, and aft, as well as with the Around View® monitor with moving object detection and front and rear sonar, which made a simple backup camera seem like an outdated polaroid photograph, as this system gave you an aerial view of the vehicle’s surroundings.

The QX60 features plenty of glass roof as well as interior space.

Our 2015 model stickers at $56,090 with options of Roof Rails, $95. Infiniti’s Technology Package, $2,800 (included much of the safety features we really benefited from on a long trip like backup collision intervention, intelligent brake assist, forward collision warning, blind spot and lane departure warning, intelligent cruise control and distance control assist.) Deluxe Touring Package, $3,450 (20-Inch alloy wheels, Bose ® cabin surround sound, advanced climate control, climate-controlled front seats, heated second row seats, power moon roof and maple interior accents, that did not appear to be fake plastic.)   Premium Package, $1,550 (Bose® 13-speaker premium sound system, dual occupant memory system heated steering wheel and enhanced intelligent key, and remote engine start.) And Premium Plus Package, $3K, (Infiniti Connection™ and hard drive navigation, 8-Inch VGA Color touch screen, voice recognition, Sirius XM’s NavTraffic &NavWeather, Around View® monitor and moving object detection, rain-sensing windshield wipers.) That brought the price up from a base of $43,800. As I used all of those packages and options on this trip, except for the remote start, I would say they were an essential part of my positive Infiniti experience.

Hagerty Classic Car Insurance’s Motto
“Life is too short to drive Boring Cars.”

My overall impression of this vehicle is it is a great if you travel long distances or have people and cargo to haul. It will work as a great family mover, or as a vehicle for a traveling business person who needs to carry thing with them. The safety features made me feel secure and the luxury features made the drive comfortable and enjoyable, especially on such a long trip.

Infiniti Logo on the grill of the QX60.

Nissan’s Infiniti line debuted in the 1990’s bringing together what American automobile manufacturers were not providing consumers at the time, dependability in a luxurious vehicle. Since then, they have evolved as the American drivers looked for carry-all vehicles with luxurious touches. At a mid-fifty’s price, this QX60 is a vehicle that gives the buyer a lot of value for the money. The 2016 model, has been refreshed with new Infiniti design language, the chassis dynamics have been returned for a more engaging and comfortable drive, and the interior has been enhanced luxury for up to 7 passengers. An augmented suite of safety and driving assistance technology which include predictive forward collision warning and emergency braking with pedestrian detection. All of which are perfect for this or any other model.

Build your own Infiniti QX60. We built a 2016 model to the specs of the 2015 QX60 Infiniti provide us with, and came out with a price less than the 2015 model. Price includes the $995 destination & handling fee. As a prudent buyer, make use of your membership in a credit union, AAA, Costco, or similar organization. Often they have connections to local dealers which result in a lower price.

Take a test drive today at your neighborhood Infiniti dealer of the QX60, and also check out the new Infiniti Q50 Sedan, which is also a pretty nice ride.

The new Infiniti Q50 Sedan, a pocket rocket dressed in a nice suit.

Remember buying from a dealer for a lower price, miles away, may not be the most prudent purchase decision. Supporting local businesses within your community is important to everyone.

Enjoy the Drive – William West Hopper