Usually when there is a transmission failure, it is something internal that, after many years of dutiful service, is expected to start breaking down. However, Nissan has announced that some of their best selling trucks and SUVs (2005-2010 Nissan Frontier, Xterra, and Pathfinders) are experiencing radiator leaks that are finding their way into the components of their automatic transmissions. This leak is causing premature wearing of the automatic transmission that warrants replacement often at less than 100,000 miles. The New York Times reports that even after Nissan extended warranties on the effected models by 5 years/50,000 miles (for a total warranty coverage for 80K miles/8 years) owners still reported that "the radiator issues have affected the vehicles transmissions, causing premature failure...Lance Wiggins, Technical Director of the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association points out ’what’s happening is the radiator cooler tanks are rupturing, forcing coolant into the five-speed automatic through the transmission cooler lines." Motor Trend also points out that for many of the owners of these vehicles (particularly the older models) are beyond the extended warranty. If the transmission fails, they will have to put forth a substantial investment for a new one. Nissan says they "would cover transmissions damaged by coolant, as long as they met the extended warranty guidelines." No warranty, no fix.
Although Nissan says "only a small proportion of models are affected," we are perplexed by their actions. They seem to be doing enough to belay a lawsuit, yet don’t seem to be real concerned about maintaining a loyal customer base, which is a real pity because we love the ruggedness and the utility of the Nissan trucks and SUVs.
In the world of mid-size mom mobiles, style is often a hard thing to find. When you examine the field most fit in the background as opposed to the centerfold. As Benjamin Franklin once said "A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body." Most of the luxury mid size SUV’s fail to deliver this food and fire to the consumer. This precedence of indifference ended when we walked to the parking lot and gazed at the 2012 Mercedes Benz GLK 350.
What struck us about this is the graceful angles of the GLK that set it apart from the rest of the field. Although the GLK has only been in production since 2009, it has taken lessons from others in the field. The interior looks like it can stand up to your Lab and yet also haul the kids to school in the morning. The teflon interior is very comfortable which makes that early morning commute with kids in tow that much more bearable. On top of all this utility, you actually get some sport in your SUV (imagine that!). The GLK makes the most mundane tasks like merging onto the interstate quite fun. When you press the loud pedal you are pleasantly surprised and the engine emits a raspy bark akin to Tom Waits impersonating a seal.
More details on the 2012 Mercedes Benz GLK 350 after the jump.
Have you ever wanted a luxury SUV that would let you soak up the sun? Well, you may just get one that is fully capable. We’re not talking fancy glass sunroofs either; we’re talking about an Evoque convertible. LandRover is reportedly considering a drop top model of their new jewel and when AutoExpress talked to them about this rumor, they did not deny it.
"A convertible Evoque wouldn’t be the maddest brand extension. It isn’t a totally crazy idea," a spokeperson admitted. “All I can say is watch this space. We’ve got lots of ideas for the Evoque."
There’s no word about what will power this Land Rover convertible, but it will most likely be the 2.0 liter turbocharged engine that pumps out 237 horsepower and 250 ft/lbs of torque. As for pricing, expect a base cost north of the premium Evoque Coupe Dynamic ($52,895).
Competition for this cabrio will emerge from Nissan, who premiered a convertible version of their Murano SUV called the Cross Cabriolet. We are supremely excited to see how this new market segment develops because before these vehicles, the only full size SUV that had a drop top was the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. This vehicle was made to pound the dirt trails as opposed to the streets of Dana Point and is about as elegant as a pair of cargo pants. The Land Rover would offer people the convertible experience combined with both luxury amenities and the practicality of a Land Rover. Who can say no to a car that offers you all that?
Porsche has introduced new 911 variants to its model lineup since the beginning. Every few years the car get a redefined shape, slightly higher engine output and increased track performance. Since the company believes that the original 911 had the general shape of the sports car correct to begin with, the evolution has been a slow process more akin to refinement vs. redevelopment.
The year 2003 saw the introduction of the companies first SUV, the Cayenne. Critics loved to hate it and the consumer basically just loved it. They flew off dealer lots in record numbers and gave Porsche a big stick in the premium SUV market controlled by Mercedes and BMW. Few may have realized that the Cayenne was close to a rebodied Volkswagen Touareg, but few also cared. For its first complete redesign, Porsche engineers knew they had to push the boundaries with the Cayenne, give it far better performance and help it fit better within the portfolio.
There is no better way to establish whether or not they succeeded than by driving the new 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Your average Porsche Cayman or Porsche Carrera 4S may be exciting, but Turbo models are the epitome of every line – bringing performance to new heights.
Hit the jump for more details on the 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
Good driving and braking performance on easy terrain. Open outer shoulder and offset rows provide for grabbing traction and a stylish off-road look.
Hydroplaning safety and minimal stone retention: The grooves are designed in fours - wide and deep, with a submitted steep taper angle that minimizes stone retention.
Precise steering response and very good directional stability: The solid center rib provides good driving stability.
All-season performance. Excellent durability for (...) > Full story
All-season performance and light off-road use. Excellent durability for exceptionally quiet ride. Enhanced resistance to hydroplaning for comfort and safety. Balances traction, mileage, ride comfort and noise performance
The ContiTrac is a premium tire providing the driving comfort and safety required by today’s generation of SUVs and Light Trucks.
Good driving and braking performance on easy terrain: Open outer shoulder and offset rows provide for grabbing traction and a (...) > Full story
The BFGoodrich Radial Long Trail T/A`s asymmetric all-season tread design and stabilized outside shoulder provides exceptional dry traction and control and minimal highway noise.
The excellent wet and snow traction is given by the aggressive, open inside shoulder elements and full tread depth
Two full-width steel belts assures a superb traction and control, precise steering response and good bruise and puncture resistance
ETEC System™ (Equal TEnsion Containment System) (...) > Full story