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First Drive: 2016 Nissan Titan XD
Carving out space in the heavy-duty truck segment

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You tow things. You have toys that get dirty, a camper or a boat. You’re going to need a truck that can handle the heft you’re hauling, and this means deciding on playing within the 1/2-ton segment or jumping into the world of the 3/4-ton. There’s a fair difference between those trucks, and one can often find themselves either wishing they’d stepped up to the 3/4-ton pickup or perhaps finding that they barely use the capabilities of a 3/4 and could’ve saved tons of dough by opting for the 1/2 ton.

This is where the 2016 Nissan Titan XD comes into play, and it’s an “in-betweener” truck that’s hoping to capture those fluctuating between big boys toys and, well, bigger boys toys. It’s tough to make a name for yourself in the full-size truck segment unless you’ve got a Ford of Chevy badge on the front (Fine, Ram too… but to a lesser degree, based on sales numbers). Nissan is looking to carve out its own niche with the Titan XD, and snag some market share from both sides of pickup party fence.

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Nissan GT-R Nismo: Do you love the latest & greatest?

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The Nissan GT-R has been a bit of a polarizing machine since it’s arrived years ago. Some love it while others feel it can be a bit soulless.

Regardless, there’s no denying its potent performance. Additionally, the car has only gotten faster, better, and more potent year after year. The latest and greatest version has spent time with the capable hands from the Nissan Motorsports division; otherwise known as NISMO.

The GT-R Nismo ups the crazy speed. It ups the crazy levels of grip, acceleration, stopping performance, and overall track-focused insanity.

Maybe it finally ups the number of people who love it for the absolutely focused machine that it is…

[Disclaimer: Nissan tossed us the keys to the GT-R Nismo for a few days. Our heart and brain thank them… our back has different feelings.]

2015 Nissan Rogue SL AWD – The “Gettin’ Hitched Review”

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At the beginning of June, I had to fly back to the Midwest (where I’m from) for a couple of weeks. While I was there, Nissan let me borrow the keys to a brand new Rogue crossover (NOT the Rogue Select, it should be mentioned). I logged a surprising amount of miles, and used the car for pretty much everything it was built to do. I hauled some stuff, I hauled some people, I commuted, I road tripped, and I took it for a nice night on the town. If you’re in the market for a small-ish SUV style thing, you might want to continue reading this review. Oh, and to make this plug a bit more enticing, I was in the Midwest because I got married!

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Going Back In Time with the Nissan Juke

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I only had a short period in the company of Nissan’s high-riding mechanised toad, the Juke, so the following can’t really be called a review. Well, it is and it isn’t, if you see what I mean.

I was certainly able to get an impression of the car. I was able to determine that, give or take, I actually quite like the look of it. If the Juke was a person you were meeting for the first time you would find conversation difficult. His nose would be on his forehead, his eyes would be in his cheeks and he would have several little mouths dotted around his chin- which is in the wrong place in itself. Yet, for all his challenging visage you would probably get on with him all right. He speaks sense and is reasonably witty.

On the face of it he seems reasonably up to date, too. His CV bristles with all today’s De Riguer acronyms, his location is satellite pinpointed and his innards are climatically controlled. Furthermore, his breath is fresh and his stamina is long, thanks to Nissan’s PureDrive Diesel technology. Yes, it’s fair to say that my ugly-handsome new acquaintance can stand shoulder-to shoulder with his peers without being too embarassed.

In private, though, he exhibited one or two character traits that I thought had gone the way of empire building and casual racism. Yes, the Nissan Juke does things that I thought we had moved away from years ago.

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First Drive: 2015 Nissan Murano

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Designers are an optimistic bunch. They are asked to create a vision that is then whittled down, distilled, and changed. What starts as a concept, moves to a drawing, then clay, and finally scale models before it is adjusted to fit the needs of marketing, engineering, and those sitting at the top of the automakers food chain. Occasionally, a designer gets to see his or her work stay a bit more true to an original concept, but that’s rare these days.

Today is a rare day, because this is the 2015 Nissan Murano and it is a mixture of everything Senior Designer Ken Lee envisioned when he set out to craft the brands latest flagship crossover. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is up for debate…

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Nissan NV Taxi: Angeles Crest Confessions

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What do you do when you’re given a Taxi to drive for the week? Well, normally people might pick up friends and family, and then shuttle them around town.

…I’m not normal.

I decided to hustle the Nissan NV Taxi over Angeles Crest highway on my way to Willow Springs. No, the taxi didn’t get track time, but it did get “exercised” along the way to the track.

Also… RIP little birdie.

[Disclaimer: Nissan lent me the NV Taxi for a week and included a tank of gas. I earned zero dollars from zero passengers. I should’ve trolled the airports…]

Quick Spin: 2014 Nissan NV200 Taxi

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Sometime ago New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission solicited bids for the Taxi of Tomorrow. Four companies were finally selected with Nissan ending up with the winning bid. Unfortunately the bidding process and vehicle development took some time. There were also court hearings regarding Nissan being the only choice. In the end, the replacement for the venerable Crown Victoria has been opened to many automotive makes and models, and the NV200-based cab has become just another choice for the independent cabbies and taxi companies in New York City.

When hailing a cab in New York City today, one may end up with anything from a dying Crown Vic to a diesel Volkswagen Jetta. There are also Altimas, Camrys, Sonatas, Priuses, Escapes, Malibus, Highlanders, Transit Connects, even a Lexus RX. There are a slew of minivans, too. The really lucky riders can end up in one of several Mercedes E or ML diesels. Never before has NYC seen this much variety in its choices for a cab. The bad news is that you still can’t get a cab when you really need one.

Of all the above mentioned vehicles, only the NV200 is developed for taxi duty from the factory. The other ones, even if they are commonly seen as taxis, have been modified with aftermarket taxi equipment. The NV200 is not limited to New York City and can be purchased by anyone at their local Nissan dealership for around $29,000 and it comes with a 150,000 mile warranty. Hit the jump to see more details of the Nissan NV-200 taxi.

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Review: 2013 Nissan Sentra SV

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Being a car enthusiast, chances are that even you did not know about an all-new Nissan Sentra was introduced for 2013. I certainly had no idea until Nissan lent me this little car for a review. And that’s a good thing, judging by how much negative press Toyota has received about its new 2014 Corolla. Since an overwhelming majority of people who write about cars are car enthusiasts, they cannot possibly comprehend the idea of a new, reasonably priced, fuel efficient, and affordable compact sedan – their answer is always Miata, and hence the bad press for the Corolla.

I have put all of my preconceived notions aside when I got into this car. I did not go to Nissan’s website, I did not read any press releases, and I did not look at any pictures. I had no idea how much power it has, what the brake set-up was, what kind of steering it has, or from where the chassis originates. I put myself into the shoes of the typical potential buyer of this car, and I just did not care about those things.

I just got into it and started driving.

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Review: 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo
The funky freaky fun flagship

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I have a thing for ugly cars. Their unloved lines appeal to me. A battle-scarred 1967 Ford wagon is a beautiful piece of machinery in my eyes. I was one of the few who admired the bulbous behind of the Porsche Panamera right from the get go. The Nissan GT-R is ugly science pushed to the limit. All of those vehicles are certainly not beauty queens, but I’m a big fan of each of them.

There’s another Nissan product besides the GT-R that can also be considered to have a style that’s… different. It’s the Nissan Juke, and you can probably guess that I like the way it looks. If you did guess that, congratulations and you’re correct. There’s a new version out now, however, that attempts to inject a sporting edge to the eyeball affair. Does it work?

To find out, I spent a week with the 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo. 

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Review: 2013 Nissan 370Z Roadster

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In these days of Nürburgring times, imaginary performance figures, and spec-sheet competitions, it is easy to forget what a sports car is, or should be, all about. While car manufacturers try to sell us horsepower, acceleration times, and laps times, we should remember that driving a sports car should be about having fun. Unfortunately there is no measurement for fun, and that’s why some fast cars (BMW M6) aren’t necessarily fun, and some slow cars (Subaru BRZ) are a whole lot of fun.

Nissan’s Z cars were never the fastest or the best handling, but despite that they were very popular. Perhaps it was the strong six-cylinder engine, or the rear-wheel drive setup, or the just-right dimensions, or the just-right price that made them so popular. More likely it was the sum of all those things, with the just-right amount of fun and good looks sprinkled on top that made everyone want one.

The 2013 (2014 is pretty much identical) Nissan 370Z (Z34) continues on the path set by its ancestors. Its 3.7 liter V6 engine makes 332-hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. It can be matched up to either a six-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic transmission. That power can then be put to the ground via an optional limited-slip rear differential. The chassis features double wish-bone suspension in the front and multi-link rear suspension in the back, and big disc brakes with available multi-piston calipers. This is Sports Car 101 type of stuff and the Z gets it just right, as it always did.

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