Arctic blue metallic paint – Heated cashmere leather buckets – 5 passenger seating – 8” touchscreen w/navigation – Weighs 3,900 lbs. – Bose premium 10 speaker stereo with subwoofer and 552 watt amplifier – V-6 with 3.5 liter – 260 horsepower / torque is 240 lb. ft. – Continuously variable automatic transmission – All wheel drive and power tailgate – Backup camera and intelligent cruise control – $44,165.00 Window Sticker – 28 MPG on the highway – 24 MPG combined rating – 21 MPG city. 19 gallon tank – Made in Canton, Mississippi
Hermosa Blue metallic
Almond leather buckets – heated – 7 passenger – Technology Package with Navigation system with 7” touchscreen plus rear entertainment system – blind spot monitor, land keep assist – Radar cruise control – Power moonroof – LED headlights, daytime running lights, fog lights – Bose 13 speaker centerpoint surround sound stereo – Backup camera and navigation – 390 horsepower 5.6 liter V-8 (394) – 7 Speed manual transmission and four-wheel drive – $61,585.00 – 5,963 lbs. – 18 MPG on the highway, 13 MPG city – 26 gallon tank
This past week I received for review a new Nissan pickup, the Frontier 4×4 (PRO-4X) four-door crew cab. Nissan, formerly Datsun, has been in business for 102 years (since 1914), and is now the sixth largest vehicle manufacturer in the world. The original company name was derived from the three founders’ initials, DAT. “Sun” was added 17 years later when the company introduced a small car (son of DAT). “Son” means loss in Japanese; hence the name Datsun.
At one time, I actually owned a brand new 1971 Datsun pickup when I lived near Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was the model 1600 and I don’t think it cost over $1,600, even though it was brand new. I bought it for going to the beach with surfboards loaded up in back, but I subsequently gave up surfing for marriage, and traded off the Datsun for an automobile.
This Nissan pickup I recently tested was the PRO-4X upgraded model with Bilstein performance shocks, triple skid plates (oil pan/fuel tank/transfer case), 16” two tone finished, six-spoke alloy wheels, locking rear differential, P265/75R16 white-letter tires, hill descent/start controls, Rockford Fosgate CD/XM satellite stereo, spray-on bed liner, Bluetooth phone, and special white-faced gauges. The Frontier pickup comes in a rear-wheel drive configuration, but the PRO-4X that I tested is four-wheel drive.
The M.S.R.P. for the 2016 PRO-4X is $36,525.00, including freight ($900.00), floor mats ($135.00), and the Pro-4X luxury package ($2,100.00). The luxury package included navigation (5.8” screen), moon roof, hands-free text messaging assistant, and heated outside mirrors. Power is supplied by a 4.0 liter, 261 horsepower V-6, backed up by a smooth, five-speed automatic transmission. Torque rating in this truck is 281 lb. ft. The four-wheel drive is “shift on the fly”, up to 62 mph – 2 speed transfer case included. Weight of the vehicle is 4,548 lbs., and the wheelbase/length numbers are 125.9” and 205.5”, or just over 17 ft. long. The fuel economy figures are 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway, with a 21.1 gallon tank. My observance for the week turned out to be 17.3 mpg.
I didn’t anticipate that the Frontier would offer such a comfortable ride and quiet cabin. I enjoyed the smooth five-speed automatic, and the vaunted V-6 performed a lot like a V-8. Nissan builds this Frontier with a fully-boxed frame and they provide 10” of ground clearance, factors helping the pickup when encountering the bumps and boulders. For my type of driving the 5’ bed keeps the vehicle manageable for maneuvering in traffic and parking.
The leather seating was coupled with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and console-mounted emergency brake. The buckets (driver side – eight adjustments) kept me comfortable all week and the floor shift and storage compartments were sensible. Styling of the truck is fine, and a feature that I liked was the Forged Copper metallic paint as well as the husky luggage rack on top of the cab.
Nissan has little competition in this mid-size pickup segment, so they get to enjoy brisk sales of the Frontier; 52,255 for the first seven months of 2016. They’ve gotten it just about right with this model, and to me it would be a safe pick if I were in the market for a new pickup.
For a recent test my wife and I went to Kearney, NE, for Memorial Day and a stop at Fort McPherson National Cemetery, where relatives’ remains are located. The cemetery was created on a 20-acre plot over 140 years ago on the grounds of Fort McPherson, near North Platte. The Fort was finished in October of 1863, and served as an outpost to protect travelers between Fort Kearny (now Kearney, NE) and Colorado.
The Cemetery has over 10,000 interments located there, and we visited the site in a 2016 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL sedan. It was painted Pearl white and had beige leather seating for five inside. I photographed it at the Julesberg, CO rest stop, and got over 31 miles per gallon on the round trip to Kearney.
Power for the front-wheel-drive Altima SL is supplied by a 2.5 liter, four cylinder engine with 182 horsepower (6,000 rpm) and 180 lb. ft. of torque (4,000 rpm). Nissan gave in to the 4-cylinder trend with this car, and my trip was pleasurable, even thoughin the past I drove the V-6 Altimas. A continuously variable automatic transmission is mated to the four cylinder engine, and acceleration was fine. EPA mileage figures are 27/39 mpg for city and highway (18 gallon tank), and the combined rating is 31 miles per gallon.
The white Altima SL I tested had as options a moonroof package ($800.00), carpeting floor and trunk mats ($210.00), premium pearl paint ($395.00), and technology package ($1,700.00). Total M.S.R.P., counting the $835.00 for freight, came to $32,510.00. With rear backup camera, moon roof, navigation system, keeping this sedan under thirty-three grand is an accomplishment. Of course it had key-in-your-pocket ignition, tilt/telescope, power locks and windows, cruise control, satellite radio/CD, Bluetooth, and UBS connection. Seating, as I mentioned, was for five, and the trunk held 15.4 cubic feet of cargo.
Styling for the new Altima, introduced in July of 2012, is an improvement over prior Altimas. It looks bigger than it actually is, which is 191.5 “ in length and 3,177 lbs. in weight. Chrome door handles are attached to the Nissan, and dual fog lights are up front along with a bold grill. Ride is great, and it’s quiet in the cabin (71 decibels). Ten-spoke, two-toned 17” alloy wheels are surrounded by P215/55R17 Michelin Primacy MXV4 all season radials.
Nissan’s best seller, this Altima, should hold up well in the sales wars with Honda’s Accord and Toyota’s Camry, as it doesn’t offer a person many opportunities to complain. I spent a long couple of days on the Interstate with it, and the driving didn’t get tiresome, the audio was great, and time flew on our trip to Nebraska.
A Versa Note SR was delivered to me last week for reviewing, and the first thing I noticed was that it was a model I had never tested (nor seen) before. It was more attractive than prior Notes in that it had interesting ten-spoke black-accented wheels and lower-body sporty fascia on both ends of and the sides of the car. This Note is 11.7” shorter (at 163.7”) than the Versa sedan that Nissan sells while resting on the same wheelbase of 102.4”. Thus, maneuverability is enhanced in this car without a reduction in interior space. My test Note was painted Metallic Peacock (blue-green) and inside it was equipped with charcoal sport synthetic suede seating for five. Not only does it seat five, it does it quite comfortably and has a large 18.8 cubic foot cargo compartment behind the back seats. Two buckets are up front and in the rear is a 60/40 split fold down bench seat with plenty of legroom for back seat passengers.
The cloth front buckets have a console in between, a single armrest attached to the driver’s seat, and also a hand brake that I always prefer. Four cup holders are included as are power windows and locks, cruise control, steering wheel audio controls, intermittent wipers, Bluetooth phone setup, Ipod interface, remote keyless entry, power mirrors, and MP3 playback stereo. As an SR, the car is also equipped with a rear vision camera and satellite radio. The car has five doors counting the hatchback, 16” alloy wheels with P195/55R16 Bridgestone Ecopia Grand Touring EP422 low rolling resistance, all-season radials, chrome-trimmed fog lights, and chrome accented mesh grill. Under the hood rests a 1.6 liter, four cylinder, DOHC, 16 valve engine that puts out 109 hp with 107 lb. ft. of torque. Redline is 6000 rpm, and reportedly 0 to 60 time is 9.8 seconds. Fuel economy ratings are 31 city and 40 highway, 35 combined (10.8 gallon tank), and I observed 35.9 mpg during my week at the wheel. That is pretty darn good for running around, mostly in town. As usual, I took a trip to Denver on the Interstate, and found that the ride and handling were compliant, and wind noise was minimal.
Base M.S.R.P. for the Note SR is $17,530.00, as my test car was equipped with the CVT automatic transmission, SR convenience equipment package ($660.00), carpeted cargo and floor mats ($180.00), and freight ($825.00). The total came to $19,195.00. CVT stands for continuous variable transmission, part of the PureDrive system on this 2015 Nissan Versa Note, enabling the car to exceed next year’s Cafe fuel economy and CO2 emission standards. In addition to the transmission, this PureDrive Versa Note has aerodynamic body styling, friction-reducing micro-finished engine components and variable valve timing. I earlier bragged about the fuel economy, and these features are the reason why.
My week in possession of the Versa Note was pleasing, both to the senses and the pocketbook. I would like a different color, but seven alternates are available, as are 3 other models that are less expensive. The Versa Note SR is a little car I could see myself owning.
Two years ago I wrote of Al Hirt, famed New Orleans trumpeter and bandleader, owning a bar on Bourbon Street in the 60’s, and that I was sure that I had been in it at some point while serving in the Air Force nearby. My favorite watering hole, however, was Larry & Katz (pictured), an establishment a few blocks away from the French Quarter, where only white patrons were allowed inside. Everyone else had to drink outside on the sidewalk in front of the bar. That wasn’t my attraction to the place; that’s just the way it was all over Louisiana in 1967.
Al Hirt closed his Bourbon Street Club in 1983 because, as he said, the area had become “too dirty and dangerous”. His career, on the other hand, was illustrious, and included production of such hits as “Java” and the theme song to TV’s “The Green Hornet”. Java, and its accompanying album “Honey in the Horn”, sold a million copies.
What does all this have to do with my latest test car, the 2014 Nissan Altima? Not much, really, except that the color was called “Java”, and I had never seen that name associated with factory paint. The car, as you can see, looked a little like black coffee and this Altima had the charcoal cloth interior. It was the SV model, next the top of the Altima lineup. Their SL, perched at the top, has leather seating and a Bose stereo.
Power for the front-wheel-drive Altima SV is supplied by a 2.5 liter, four cylinder engine with 182 horsepower (6,000 rpm) and 180 lb. ft. of torque (4,000 rpm). Nissan gave in to the 4-cylinder trend with this car, and my week was pleasurable, even though two years ago I drove the V-6. A continuously variable automatic transmission is mated to the four cylinder engine, and acceleration was acceptable. EPA mileage figures are 27/38 mpg for city and highway (18 gallon tank), and during the week with the car, I averaged 32.4 miles per gallon.
The Altima SV I tested had as options a convenience package ($1,350.00), carpeting floor and trunk mats ($185.00), and technology package ($1,090.00). Total M.S.R.P., counting the $810.00 for freight, came to $27,615.00. With rear backup camera, moon roof, navigation system, keeping this sedan under twenty-eight grand is an accomplishment. Of course it had key-in-your-pocket ignition, tilt/telescope, power locks and windows, cruise control, satellite radio/CD, Bluetooth, and UBS connection. Seating was for five, and the trunk held 15.4 cubic feet of cargo.
Styling for the new Altima, introduced in July of 2012, is an improvement over prior Altimas. It looks bigger than it actually is, which is 191.5 “ in length and 3,177 lbs. in weight. Chrome door handles are attached to the Nissan, and dual fog lights are up front along with a bold grill. Ride is great, and it’s quiet in the cabin (71 decibels). Ten-spoke, 17” alloy wheels are surrounded by P215/55R17 Michelin Primacy MXV4 all season radials.
Nissan’s best seller, this Altima, should hold up well in the sales wars with Honda’s Accord and Toyota’s Camry, as it doesn’t offer a person many opportunities to complain. I spent a long day condo-hunting in Denver with it, and the driving didn’t “Hirt” too bad because I had a “Honey” of a car to accomplish the task.
This past week my wife and I traveled to Illinois to visit an elderly relative, see the Cubs/Rockies games at Wrigley Field and test drive a 2014 Nissan Rogue SL all-wheel drive Crossover. Ruth and I picked up the car at O’Hare and immediately set out for Freeport, Illinois, 100 miles west of Chicago. Wonderful weather was on hand and responsible for taking some of the grief out of Illinois road construction, particularly on Interstate 90. Through the windshield I would estimate that I viewed one million orange signs on the vacation.
The Rogue is a popular Nissan offering, and the company has sold nearly 750,000 units since the introduction of the model in 2007. A year ago I wrote a review of the 2013, first generation Rogue, and at that time their sales were up 13% for the year. Now I have tested a 2014 Rogue, much redesigned, and as I understand it, sales are up again this year to the tune of 14%. That percentage also applies to the change in fuel efficiency of this new Rogue, and nicely, it is an increase in such, through the employment of a reduced drag coefficient, among other things.
My test Rogue was an SL model, which is the top offering of Nissan, with leather interior and sunroof. It was painted Midnight Jade (green) metallic and the interior was almond leather. M.S.R.P. of the Rogue was $32,395.00, including the base price of $29,420.00, freight of $860.00, and a couple of options. Those included carpeted floor mats ($125.00), and an SL Premium package ($1,990.00). The SL Premium package included the following: power panoramic moon roof, LED headlights with auto levelizers, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and moving object detection. Also included on this SL was 7” touch-screen display, navigation, satellite radio, around-view monitor for parking, power lift gate, and mud and snow tires all around. They were Dunlop Grand Trek P225/60R18s, and they provided a quiet highway driving environment.
Power for the Rogue comes from a four-cylinder, 170 horsepower engine with 175 lb. ft. of torque. The all-wheel drive vehicle has an Xtronic CVT (continuously variable) transmission with a sport mode switch and hill start assist. Acceleration is adequate, but fuel economy is above average for this class of vehicle – 32 mpg highway, 25 mpg city, 28 mpg combined. This is, after all, a 3,532 lb. crossover. I observed 25.1 mpg with the Rogue in a combination of highway and city driving for a three-day weekend. The fuel tank holds 14.5 gallons.
The interior of the Nissan is tasteful, with soft surfaces in abundance and a stylish dash and console. The front buckets are power, pushbutton start is on hand as well as tilt/telescope, folding 60/40 second row seating, backup camera and Bose 9-speaker stereo. Luggage space behind all the seating is 39.2 cubic ft. Ride is good, not sporty, and guidance, visibility and handling are similar in nature.
Styling for 2014 of the Nissan Rogue is an improvement over last year’s offering, and LED daytime running lights adorn the new, bolder front end. The new car is an inch longer, 1.5 inches wider, and an inch taller than the 2013 Rogue. Dressy chrome door handles, deep tint rear windows, and ten-spoke alloy wheels all serve to enhance the look, and devotees of the 2013 Rogue can buy what is called the Rogue Select, a carryover SUV. In front of the Ulysses S. Grant home in Galena, Illinois, a lot of tourists were checking out the Rogue SL.
Inside, the Rogue probably holds the right number of people, whereas a seven passenger Rogue is a bit much. I have to admit I like the Rogue. Its evident to me why it is a top seller (#2 in Nissan’s lineup).