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2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo

2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo is so good it could be a holy grail for car enthusiasts and car collectors in 20 years.

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo, revealed at the 2019 New York Auto Show, is the latest evolutive step for the aging Godzilla. Some major hardware migrated from race spec GT-R GT3 to it and made it as good as humanly possible. It’s angrier, more impulsive at the wheel, and more capable.

After Nissan showed it in New York, I figured that the GT-R is something like an excellent phone app. There’s someone that always works on it and makes it better in what it does. Back in 2007, when we saw it for the first time, the GT-R R35 rewrote the rules of affordable performance. CarMagazine in the U.K. clocked it at 3.6 seconds in its 0-62mph attempt. In the same test, the 2008 Nissan GT-R comfortably topped 190 mph.
Eleven years later (yes, it is that old), and the 2019 Nissan GT-R Nismo can manage 62 mph in 2.7 seconds. That’s a fantastic improvement and surprising result in its own. However, 2018 was not the last year of the Nissan GT-R Nismo. Lately, Godzilla has reached its latest evolution as the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo.

I will say right now. The 2020 Nissan GT-R is the best Nissan GT-R of all time!

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2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition

2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition

The king of monsters is getting special digs for a special occasion

The year was 1969. The “Skyline” name had already been introduced 12 years prior, first by Prince Motor Company, and then by Nissan in 1967 after the two companies merged. Two years after the merger, Nissan introduced a sports car based on the Skyline, and, among other things, it carried a three-letter nomenclature that has arguably become one of the most famous names in the entire industry: the GT-R. Fifty years later, the GT-R is still used today as the name of Nissan’s all-conquering supercar. It’s fitting then that the Japanese automaker that created the line of performance cars wearing the GT-R name is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the model with a special edition version, appropriately called the Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition. In line with its stature, Nissan debuted the GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition at the 2019 New York Auto Show.

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2019 Nissan Sentra - Short Review

2019 Nissan Sentra - Short Review

A Bit More Expensive And Finally With A Smartphone Integration System

As a compact sedan, the Nissan Sentra never was what one may call "popular" among gearheads. Yet, Nissan is eager to improve it, even going so far as to release a spirited Nismo version in the process a few years back. Now, we have the 2019 Nissan Sentra with only a handful of upgrades, most notable of which is the integration of the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on all models, save for the entry Sentra S.

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2019 Nissan Leaf Nismo

2019 Nissan Leaf Nismo

For Japan only. At least for now

Introduced in 2010, the Nissan Leaf set many benchmarks in the electric car market and has become one of the most popular EVs out there. But, after seven years on the market, the Leaf got a bit long in the tooth, and with other companies having introduced more modern EVs in this niche, Nissan had no choice but to develop a second-generation model. Unveiled for the 2018 model year, the new Leaf is better in just about any department and it finally spawned a Nismo version.

Previewed by a concept unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, the Leaf Nismo is heavily based on the show car. However, the Nismo isn’t the "higher power, longer range version at a higher price" promised by Nissan, as the upgrade is far from comprehensive under the skin. The EV was also launched in Japan only, and it doesn’t seem as if Nissan wants to sell it in Europe or the United States anytime soon. Information is still scarce, but until more data becomes available let’s have a closer look at what we already know about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan Leaf Nismo.

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Nissan Teases the Next-Gen Altima Before it Debuts at the New York Auto Show

Nissan Teases the Next-Gen Altima Before it Debuts at the New York Auto Show

We’ll see what the Nissan Altima is all about at the end of the month

The Nissan Altima is going to make its debut at the 2018 New York Auto Show. We already know that much after Nissan released a teaser video a month ago. The Japanese automaker isn’t just stopping there, though. It also unveiled a sketch of the new model, complete with exaggerated design cues that suggest that the Altima will receive its share of stylistic updates.

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2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo

2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo

Not exactly a Nismo, but it’s the most powerful Sentra you can buy

Redesigned for the 2013 model year, the Nissan Sentra received a complete overhaul inside and out. Similar to Nissan’s other sedans, the Altima and Maxima, as far as design goes, the Sentra also gained more upscale features such as LED lights, a new navigation system, and premium options such as an eight-speaker Bose audio system. The 2016 facelift brought an even more attractive exterior, with sporty cues borrowed from the Maxima, and an interior that longer lacks dual-zone climate control, navigation, and a backup camera. Although the 1.8-liter engine carried over mostly unchanged, the sedan received a turbocharged mill for the 2017 model year, when Nissan launched the Sentra SR Turbo.

Powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder backed by a turbocharger, the new SR Turbo packs nearly 50-percent more horsepower and almost 40-percent more torque than the standard model, making it the most powerful Sentra ever sold in the United States and the first full-fledged competitor for range-topping Honda Civic and Mazda3 models. This new model comes at no surprise, as Nissan not only toyed with various concepts in recent years, but is also looking to enhance the sales momentum of its third best-selling vehicle in North America.

"The Sentra SR Turbo is designed for buyers who want all the attributes of traditional compact sedans but also desire some serious turbo performance. It’s truly the complete package for compact car buyers and enthusiasts alike" said Michael Bunce, vice president of product planing at Nissan North America.

Keep reading to find out what makes it special among other Sentras and how it stacks against its main competitors on the compact market.

Updated 09/26/2016: Nissan announced prices for the 2-17 Sentra SR Turbo that will be put on sale at the company’s dealers nationwide in October. Check out the "Prices" section for the full details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo.

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2017 Nissan Rogue

2017 Nissan Rogue

A careful refresh brings all the right goodies for shoppers

Nissan reworked the Rogue for the 2017 model year to be more attractive to buyers in the highly competitive compact crossover segment. An aggressive new exterior look complements a handsome interior redesign, combined with new-for-Rogue safety features and in-dash technology. Nissan’s goal: to make the Rogue its best-selling model in the U.S. Not surprisingly, Nissan succeeded thanks to these updates and the explosive crossover market. But Nissan isn’t leaving the Rogue alone. For 2018, more enhancements have been added.

"There are so many enhancements to Rogue for 2017, with every one of them designed to enhance its appeal with the fastest growing segment of buyers in the industry," said Michael Bunce, vice president of product planning for Nissan North America. "The crowning achievement is the addition of the new Rogue Hybrid, which increases fuel efficiency without compromising passenger roominess or cargo utility."

And while Nissan should be proud of adding a hybrid model to the Rogue’s lineup, the gasoline-electric won’t likely be the Rogue’s most popular guise. For those interested in the Rogue Hybrid, check out TopSpeed’s full coverage here. No, rather than the new 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 30-kW electric motor, most Rogues will come equipped with the familiar 2.5-liter four-cylinder, CVT Xtronic transmission, and the choice of FWD or AWD.

Since its introduction for the 2008 model year, the Rogue has been growing its annual sales figures by leaps and bounds. Impressively, Nissan moved 287,190 Rogues during the 2015 calendar year – that’s more than the Jeep Cherokee at 220,260 examples sold and far more than either the Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage, both of which were under 64,000 units sold. Still, there’s room to grow. Honda’s CR-V leads the pack with 345,600 examples sold in the 2015 calendar year and Ford was right behind with 306,500 examples of the Escape moving off dealer lots.

There’s no doubt 2017’s improvements pushed the Rogue upward in popularity, but 2018’s addition of self-driving tech and a few appearance package options should bring even more customers to Nissan dealerships. Let’s have a detailed look at what Nissan has done with the Rogue for 2018.

Update 10/18/2017: Nissan announced upgrades for the 2018 Rogue, including ProPilot Assist, NissanConnect coming as standard, and changes to the Midnight Edition.

Continue reading for the full review.

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2017 Nissan Titan PRO-4X – Driven

2017 Nissan Titan PRO-4X – Driven

The new kid that looks like his big brother

Nissan released the Titan back in 2004 and basically sat on its laurels for more than a decade. Thankfully the automaker has seemingly more than made up for lost time with the 2016 Titan XD and this, the 2017 Titan. While both trucks share nearly identical designs, both inside and out, they are two trucks built for different purposes. I had gotten some quality seat time with the Titan XD at Nissan’s launch event in Arizona last year, but had yet to experience its half-ton little brother. That’s all changed.

I spent a full week with the Titan around my home turf of Central Florida. It’s not exactly truck country with rolling hills and grazing cattle, but I’m not picky. My tester came loaded out in the PRO-4X package with nearly every conceivable option besides a sunroof and Nissan’s in-bed storage boxes. Leather seats? Check. All the modern in-dash tech? Check. Trailer brake controls? Check. Enough 4WD equipment to make a Jeep Wrangler jealous? Check, yet again.

Early production units, like my tester, are only available in crew cab, short bed form. While more cab and bed configurations are coming, Nissan is smart to target the pickup segment’s core buyer first – the family. And that’s how I used this truck. I hauled my four-year-old in her car seat, the wife, and several other family members around town to various errands and destinations. Mall parking lots and smoothly paved residential streets were the norm.

So how’d the Titan handle daily living? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

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2017 Nissan Titan XD Single Cab

2017 Nissan Titan XD Single Cab

Nissan’s first single-cab Titan aims for the workin’ man

The second-generation Nissan Titan and its heavy-duty counterpart, the Titan XD are the newest members of the full-size pickup segment. The “heavier-duty” Titan XD arrived in dealers for the 2016 model year, while the half-ton Titan will hit showrooms for 2017. Missing until now was a single cab version. Now as both the Titan and Titan XD roll out for 2017, both trucks can be had in a regular cab, long bed configuration.

Nissan’s obvious target is the fleet and commercial segment where regular cab, work trucks offer all the capability of their extended and crew cab counterparts, but with less buy-in cost. Sure, there’s only room for three, but until the late 1990s, that was normal for most pickups.

"Once we complete the roll-out of all Titan cab, bed, powertrain, and grade level configurations, our all-new Titan family will cover about 85 percent of the total light pickup marketplace," said Rich Miller, the chief product specials for Titan and Titan XD. "More importantly, “ he continues, “the Titan XD and Titan single cabs will have the power, torque, heavy duty chassis, and durability demanded by today’s demanding worksites – including the highest towing capacities and payloads in the lineup."

Did you catch that? The regular cab versions of the Titan trucks will have the highest payload and towing specs of the trucks’ lineups.

The addition of a regular cab also means Titan XD customers can choose from the three traditional cab sizes with three bed lengths. Like all trucks in the industry, the available wheelbase lengths limit the number of cab and bed configuration. You can’t get a regular cab, short bed Titan XD even if you wanted it. Nissan could potentially make that combination available on the half-ton Titan in the future.

Both the Titan and Titan XD regular cabs will be available the S and SV trims, giving fleet managers a choice between the base and mid-grade levels. In the Titan XD, two engine options and two drivetrain options are given. This includes the heavily revised 5.6-liter Endurance V-8 and the new 5.0-liter Cummins V-8 turbodiesel, along with the choice of 2WD or 4WD with either engine.

So let’s dive into the Titan XD regular cab for all the details.

Continue reading for more information.

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2016 Nissan Sentra – Driving Impression And Review

2016 Nissan Sentra – Driving Impression And Review

A strong showing from Nissan’s levelheaded compact four-door

U.S. auto sales continue to march forward, and while growth is strongest in the SUV/crossover segment, the sedan remains steadfast as a core passenger vehicle platform. Simply put, the appeal of the sedan is enduring and undeniable, combining versatility and a sleek body style with high fuel efficiency and an affordable price point. Nissan knows this, and has deemed 2016 “The Year Of The Sedan,” first ushering in the new Maxima, followed by the updated Altima. Now, it’s the Sentra’s turn, and as such, the compact four-door arrives with fresh exterior styling, a variety of new technology for safety and comfort, and a few tweaks to the ride and handling.

Nissan claims 20 percent of the Sentra is new for 2016, and while not necessarily revolutionary, the update is definitely a breath of fresh air, bringing the compact inline with its competitors without outgrowing its original affordable positioning.

I got a chance to test the new car in Southern California, and overall, I was pleased with what it brought to the table. That said, the Sentra is still up against some very heavy-hitting competition, so how does it stack up? Read on to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Nissan Sentra.

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2020 Nissan Z

2020 Nissan Z

Not a lot is known about Nissan’s next Z-car. Early in December of 2014, Nissan’s vice president and global head of marketing, Roel de Vries, hinted that the 370 Z’s successor could have a variety of engines, depending on a given market. Then, a week later, word spread that the next Z-Car would be launched as a convertible (they were calling it “The Z”) and would probably have a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, hybrid engine.

Once that news hit the world, things went stagnant for a while – until June of 2015, when Shiro Nakamoa, Nissan’s senior vice president, and chief creative officer, came out and admitted that the Z-car idea needed to be “rethought.” He also strongly hinted that the upcoming car would be smaller and lighter, potentially looking back to the roots of the original Datsun 240Z. Once that news broke, the information trail went cold, and we’ve been left waiting.

Well, at TopSpeed, we’re tired of waiting, so we went ahead and rendered up what the next Z-car could look like. Of course, it is a bit smaller and low slung, but it also shares some design cues with the current Nissan Sentra and Nissan Murano. The hole rendering is speculation based on what we’ve heard in the past and Nissan’s current design styles, but we think we have nailed it pretty well. We’re hoping to see the official debut of the next Z by 2018, but until then let’s take a look at our rendering and what we hope to see when it makes an official debut in the coming years.

Click past the jump to read our full, and constantly growing, review on the upcoming Z-car.

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2016 Nissan Titan XD - Driven

2016 Nissan Titan XD - Driven

The Titan made its debut back in 2004 and hasn’t changed much since. Sure, there was a mild refresh back in 2008, but the bones remained unchanged. Nissan only offered two cab and bed configurations, one engine, and the choice of two- or four-wheel drive. That’s all changing for the 2016 model year.

Nissan has decided to expand the Titan into a pair of pickups – the regular Titan carrying the half-ton designation, and the Titan XD, a sort of go-between for customers who need the extra towing and hauling capabilities of a heavy-duty, but who don’t want to pay for 900 pound-feet of torque and a 30,000-pound tow rating. When asked to describe the new Titan XD, Richard Miller, Director of Product Planning for the truck, says to think of the Titan XD as a three-quarter ton truck from 2003. It has 500-plus pound-feet of torque and can tow roughly 12,000 pounds. That’s exactly where mainstream 2500-series trucks were at in the mid-2000s.

Miller and his design team know they’re marketing the Titan XD to a niche customer. Still, their research apparently shows there’s profit to be made in this middle ground. Helping expand the Titan’s marketability is an increased number of build configurations, trim levels, and (coming soon) engine options. No longer will the Titan be a one-size-fits-all truck. Single cabs, base trim levels, and eight-foot beds are part of the mix, as well as the range-topping Platinum Reserve trim with all the proper luxury trimmings. The combinations won’t be as extensive as those from Ford, Chevy, or Ram, but are said to cater to a much wider audience than before.

In order to find out more about the Titan XD, I took a trip to the Arizona desert just outside Scottsdale. These roads are very familiar to the Titan XD. Nissan’s R&D testing center is a two hours’ drive south and engineers spend many hours tuning the Titan XD on the six-percent grades found in the mountains outside of town.

So how’d the Titan XD stack up? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review

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2016 Nissan Titan XD - Driven

2016 Nissan Titan XD - Driven

The Titan made its debut back in 2004 and hasn’t changed much since. Sure, there was a mild refresh back in 2008, but the bones remained unchanged. Nissan only offered two cab and bed configurations, one engine, and the choice of two- or four-wheel drive. That’s all changing for the 2016 model year.

Nissan has decided to expand the Titan into a pair of pickups – the regular Titan carrying the half-ton designation, and the Titan XD, a sort of go-between for customers who need the extra towing and hauling capabilities of a heavy-duty, but who don’t want to pay for 900 pound-feet of torque and a 30,000-pound tow rating. When asked to describe the new Titan XD, Richard Miller, Director of Product Planning for the truck, says to think of the Titan XD as a three-quarter ton truck from 2003. It has 500-plus pound-feet of torque and can tow roughly 12,000 pounds. That’s exactly where mainstream 2500-series trucks were at in the mid-2000s.

Miller and his design team know they’re marketing the Titan XD to a niche customer. Still, their research apparently shows there’s profit to be made in this middle ground. Helping expand the Titan’s marketability is an increased number of build configurations, trim levels, and (coming soon) engine options. No longer will the Titan be a one-size-fits-all truck. Single cabs, base trim levels, and eight-foot beds are part of the mix, as well as the range-topping Platinum Reserve trim with all the proper luxury trimmings. The combinations won’t be as extensive as those from Ford, Chevy, or Ram, but are said to cater to a much wider audience than before.

In order to find out more about the Titan XD, I took a trip to the Arizona desert just outside Scottsdale. These roads are very familiar to the Titan XD. Nissan’s R&D testing center is a two hours’ drive south and engineers spend many hours tuning the Titan XD on the six-percent grades found in the mountains outside of town.

So how’d the Titan XD stack up? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review

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2014 - 2016 Nissan 370Z Roadster

2014 - 2016 Nissan 370Z Roadster

It isn’t as hardcore as a Nissan GT-R, but it certainly is very sporty. The Nissan Z-cars have been around for a long time and the 2014 370Z is the latest iteration of a long line of Z-cars that have come and gone.

Last year, Nissan updated the 370Z Roadster with new features like daytime running lights, an updated front fascia without compromising on the looks. The coupe has nice high shoulder and confident looks. Chopping off the roof hasn’t ruined the handsome exterior of the 370Z either.

For 2014, the Nissan 370Z Roadster employs a 3.7-liter V-6 naturally aspirated engine with 332 horsepower on tap. The engine is capable of churning out 270 pound-feet of torque @ 5200 rpm. For driving enthusiasts, Nissan offers a 6-speed manual gearbox which comes with Nissan’s SynchroRev Match system, while a 7-speed automatic with paddle-shift is also on the list.

The 2014 370Z is capable of delivering similar performance as the 2013 model. Combined fuel economy figures released by Nissan confirm that the 2014 model is rated at 20 mpg and 21 mpg for manual and automatic version respectively.

Updated 04/09/2015: Nissan announced prices for the 2016 370Z, which is now on sale at Nissan dealers nationwide unchanged from the previous year. The model is priced from $41,820, and the only update is a new Deep Blue Pearl exterior color.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan 370Z Roadster.

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2014 Nissan Juke NISMO - Driven

2014 Nissan Juke NISMO - Driven

The Juke NISMO is a hilarious riot to drive. If you take one thing away from this full review, that should be it.

Highway fast lanes clear rapidly when any hint of GT-R or NISMO is coming up from behind.

As the second NISMO-tuned effort after the incredibly transformed 370Z Nismo, the Juke is the perfect combination of economy-car basics, but with the highest-tech racing components outside, inside and under the hood.

A similar upgrade in a past Nissan phase would have been the Nissan Sentra SE-R. Nismo isthe new hotness.

There are amazing details all over the Juke Nismo, especially with its very fun and entertaining persona on the roads. This car loves to be floored in AWD V-spec and Sport modes, slamming through seven virtual - and seriously sporty — upshifts at the red-line. In a CVT!

It is true. A huge part of the NISMO magic in the Juke is the reprogrammed ECU that makes sport mode a mandatory button push - right after lighting up the push-button ignition.

TopSpeed’s Juke Nismo press loaner is the $25,000 AWD automatic with the navigation system upgrade, but all the joy and fun cornering stance is also on offer in the manual-transmission, front-drive Juke Nismo from just $22,990.

The Nissan Juke NISMO is an incredible machine for sports-car fans and hooning boy-racers alike.

Click past the jump to hear all the reasons why this might be the smartest Fiesta ST alternative on the market.

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2014 Nissan Pathfinder - Driven

2014 Nissan Pathfinder - Driven

The new Pathfinder is lighting up the sales charts with its seven seats and a newly luxurious, efficient and smooth driving experience. Far from going soft, the Pathfinder is still able to do all the truck-like things that made its previous body-on-frame models so memorable.

The TopSpeed Garage is much classier with the 2014 Pathfinder Platinum in "valet 1st position" out front.

Have kid-friendly features totally stomped out the lenedary toughness of the chiseled hardbody Nissan SUV’s from the 1980s? The irrelevance of this question is pretty clear. This is a business, and Nissan knows it.

We’re thrilled to report that the Pathfinder has not lost its way.

Guiding the trails like it did as one of the first semi-premium, imported SUVs in the 1980s, the Pathfinder is on a new trail now — a much smoother trail. One that has dual video monitors in back, a sliding/reclining second row to stretch out with the wireless headphones, and even a heated rear seats for the ultimate in couch potato lounge amenities in back.

But what about the irritating and non-premium character of most previous CVT automatics?

As confessed CVT haters and without rug-rats (yet), our expectations were quite mixed before the 2014 Pathfinder Platinum rolled into the TopSpeed Garage. The latest CVT automatic is standard and truly is a new breed of lightweight and economical transmissions, and we took a quick video of a brake torque launch to show how snappy this new Xtronic box is.

Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Garage review of the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4x4, by far one of the most impressive seven-seat crossovers on the market.

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2014 Nissan Rogue

2014 Nissan Rogue

The all-new 2014 Nissan Rogue crossover broke cover today ahead of its arrival in U.S. showrooms this November.

The biggest news for the Rogue is a hugely revamped interior layout and level of tech integration. Now offering a third row of seats, for a total of seven seats, the Rogue also offers a longer wheelbase and wider-opening rear doors to provide easier access to the second and third rows.

The second row is now limousine-comfortable, with nine inches of fore and aft sliding capability, and a deep recline adjuster. A third row in a crossover and a starting price of just $22,490 is quite an achievement.

The exterior style is also virtually unrecognizable versus the last Rogue, which started strong as one of the first compact crossover launches. The current Rogue’s styling is not quite distinctive enough in the face of huge competition from all over the automotive world: so this redesign will inject some concept-car emotion into the surfaces and high-tech options to the exterior, including available LED headlights.

Standard automatic transmissions and a choice of front- or all-wheel-drive puts the Rogue right at the cool bull’s-eye of the crossover market. It is also much more distinctive than the RAV4or CR-V, and is the first Nissan to wear the company’s new V-bar grille — a look that will be soon be rolling out across the globe on Nissan cars and trucks.

Click past the jump for all the details on the brand new, seven-passenger 2014 Nissan Rogue, including its pricing, features and options information.

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2016 Nissan Maxima Nismo

2016 Nissan Maxima Nismo

The Nissan Maxima’s replacement is finally on track for arrival next fall as a 2015 or early-2016 model, with a shift in focus toward performance to better differentiate Nissan’s flagship sedan from the popular (but bland) Altima sedan.

Exclusive TopSpeed Renderings show a speculative preview of this hot new sports sedan, which looks to shake off the front-drive proportions and goofy grin in favor of a wider, lower and meaner style like the 370Z and GT-R.

Nissan’s sports car lineup has never been this strong, and continued support for the company’s two tiers of performance cars has really helped the brand’s image, despite being diluted from selling millions of basic Sentra’s and Versa econoboxes to pay the bills.

The Maxima was really at a crossroads before this current re-alignment to its 4DSC roots. The next generation was even mooted to go the full EV route, with the cab-forward styling of the 2011 Nissan Ellure concept thought to be previewing both the just-launched Altima and next Maxima.

Another option on the table would adapt the 370Z’s latest chassis for use in a rear-drive sedan, or even a stretched GT-R of our dreams. These two scenarios are far less likely than a continued front-drive layout, but low and dramatic proportions that evolve the boring Nissan look very nicely.

Keeping the existing Maxima layout is a safe bet because it is the only way to continue the current model’s $31,000 to $36,000 price range. Nissan’s ability to sell a volume sedan for more than $40,000 is less than a sure thing, especially with Infiniti’s billion-dollar name changes and new Q50 sedan to replace the G37.

Click past the jump for a closer look at these exclusive renderings, with the 2015 Nissan Maxima debuting as soon as this fall or winter at one of the major auto shows.

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2010 Nissan Leaf

2010 Nissan Leaf

In a very bold move Nissan Jidosha Kabushiki-gaisha has made history by unveiling their first zero emissions vehicle intended for mass production. In an attempt to skip the gas/electric hybrid craze and jump directly into plug in electric vehicles, it might appear that Carlos Gohsen is set on taking over the world like a James Bond villain with the long awaited lithium ion beattery technology. This past Sunday the Japanese automaker unveiled the Nissan Leaf, a five door electric vehicle with a 100+ Mile range at their home base in Yokohama. The Leaf features a sharp, upright V-shaped body with a pair of slanted LED headlights that were designed to cleverly split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors, thus reducing wind, noise and drag.

Those top secret batteries that we were talking about are made up of laminated lithium ion cells that are capable of delivering over 90 kW of power and weigh only 440 pounds. The battery pack sends it stored energy to the Leaf’s front mounted electric drive motor that only outputs 80 of those kilowatts for a maximum output of 107 HP. The interesting thing about an electric motor is that they make their peak torque at 0 RPM, we know this sounds crazy, but unlike the internal combustion engine, the amount of energy an electric motor can do is based upon how it was made and it delivers that power at one constant amount. That is a healthy 208 lb-ft of torque. The instantaneous power should provide off the line acceleration comparable to the Infiniti G35 sports car.

Of course the question with any purely electric vehicle is how long will it take to charge? Nissan claims that the Leaf will take 8 hours for a full charge from a 200 V source; so a high capacity 220 V outlet is recommended, otherwise it will take twice as long for a full charge from a standard 110 V AC outlet. There is an impressive 50 kW AC fast-charge capability. This allows for an 80% charge of the lithium ion batteries meaning you can go up to 80 miles with only a 30 minute charge, or if you are really in a hurry, you can get an additional 31 miles after being plugged in for only 10 minutes. Although the hardware necessary is a little too expensive for in home use, leave that up to your local municipality. The disadvantage of having to run with all that electronic gear onboard is the excess weight, however because it can be mounted low in the chassis it should make for a decent handling package.

Press release after the jump.

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2009 Nissan Cube 1.8 SL

2009 Nissan Cube 1.8 SL

The Nissan Cube may be new to the U.S. market, but the miniature box shaped people mover has been on sale in Japan for over a decade. For 2009 Nissan has redesigned the Cube and decided that they can compete with other space conscious small cars like the Scion xB and the new Kia Soul. Our car came with a 122 HP 1.8 Liter four cylinder engine connected to a fuel efficient Xtronic CVT, continuously variable transmission.

Our $22,780 Cube Mobile Device came complete with the optional Ginormous Kit that adds some bulging bodywork and a healthy dose of personality to Nissan’s boxcar. The interior was equally as interesting with a few carbon fiber trim pieces and a piece of funky looking shag carpet smack dab in the middle of the dash. The only thing better than the spacious interior of our Cube was the way it drove. The Cube was softly sprung and extremely comfortable. The 2009 Cube is all new for the U.S. and it might take some getting used to for domestic consumers, however one quick fix for any hesitant new car buyer would be a test drive.

Continued after the jump.

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2009 Nissan 370Z

2009 Nissan 370Z

When I found out that Top Speed would be getting a 2010 Nissan 370Z in our test fleet I was excited to say the least. I have been a Nissan fan since I found out about drifting and an owner for the last five years. You could say that I love Nissans. So although I had dreams of clutch kicking the new 332 HP VQ in the Z car, and run up and down the 6 speed gearbox, taking full advantage of the new Syncro RevMatch transmission that is said to be able to replace the need for heal-toe while down shifting. I am proud to say that the updated Z car is the first car I’ve ever gotten to take on the Top Speed Test Track. Unfortunately, being a first timer I could only muster up the courage to stand on the throttle at corner exit. I can confirm that the Nissan 370Z has no problem stepping the back end out.

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