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2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo - Driven

2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo - Driven

Godzilla is a fitting name, but you’ll never understand why until you get behind the wheel

The R35 Nissan GT-R has been on the market since 2009, so it’s getting pretty long in the tooth. Be that as it may, car enthusiasts everywhere paint it as one of the world’s best cars. It is, quite literally, one of the fastest point-to-point cars on the planet, something it can lay claim to thanks to its precisely tuned chassis, sophisticated AWD system, a monstrous twin-turbo V-6, and race-proven roots that cannot be denied. But, being more than a decade old, makes paying six figures a tough pill to swallow, so it begs the question, is the Nissan GT-R actually worth buying? Is it still one of the best-driving cars in the world, and does its performance hold a candle to the new sports cars on the market?

We set out to find answers to those questions and more, and Nissan was kind enough to lend us a 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo for an entire week to do with as we please. Needless to say, it’s been a very fun week and, despite the GT-R’s age, Nissan has done a fairly decent job of keeping things somewhat fresh and interesting. This is our story with the Nissan GT-R Nismo.

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2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

Forget (most of) what you knew about Nissan’s compact sedan

The last two generations of Nissan Sentra have followed a simple formula: a spacious interior, a smooth ride, great gas mileage, and low prices. For plenty of compact-sedan buyers, that’s a winning formula. But it came at the expense of driving pleasure — to the extreme. Last year’s Nissan Sentra wasn’t merely dull, but downright awful if you try to get some grins. Its wheezy 124-horsepower engine struggled under all but the gentlest acceleration, and its handling betrayed an alarming lack of composure for a modern small car. And while its upright styling could be considered elegant from some angles, it just looked tall and narrow from others.

For the 2020 model year, Nissan has worked to reinvent the Sentra. A striking new body sits atop a more sophisticated suspension and wraps around a more potent engine and a fancier interior. All the while, Nissan has kept prices in check and even improved the Sentra’s gas mileage.

Do the changes turn the Sentra into a class leader? Not exactly. Even after this year’s improvements, you can still find quicker, sharper-handling, more luxuriously-finished small sedans. And if you loved the old Sentra because you could get a huge backseat and trunk at a fire-sale price, the new model will feel like a step backward.

By becoming more similar to competitors like the latest Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, and Kia Forte, the 2020 Sentra loses the old model’s standout spaciousness and value — but it brings fresh advantages to the table all while keeping costs in check.

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2020 Nissan Murano - Driven

2020 Nissan Murano - Driven

An SUV that covers all the bases well but doesn’t excel in any of them

The Nissan Murano has been around for quite some time now and is fairly popular in the market. It isn’t the best-selling SUV in the segment, but it rakes in decent sales numbers for the Japanese automaker.

Named after an Italian city, the Murano slots between the Rogue and the Pathfinder in Nissan’s lineup. The Murano’s last generation change came back in 2015, which means the next-gen is on the horizon. The company has given the SUV a few facelifts that make it look fresh, though. The Murano arrived at TopSpeed’s HQ recently, and here are our impressions about this SUV.

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2020 Nissan Altima - Driven

2020 Nissan Altima - Driven

Ultimately, an honest set of wheels

For the past two years, Nissan has been selling about 210,000 Altimas, the mid-size sedan that’s been lurking in the shadows behind its Japanese peers from Honda and Toyota since 2014. The introduction of the sixth-generation model in 2018 didn’t turn the tides in Nissan’s favor and we drove a range-topping Platinum with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine to see why more people and businesses choose an Accord or a Camry over the Altima.

Fresh-faced and with a variety of clever features such as semi-autonomous driving functions, the Altima is Nissan’s bid to regain the lead in the once-booming mid-size sedan segment. While people generally moved away from sedans in favor of MPVs and SUVs, the big players in the market still move in excess of 320,000 units a year of their best-selling models and Nissan hopes the Altima, a $24,000 proposition in its cheapest form, can keep the company’s otherwise leaking boat from sinking.

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2020 Nissan Titan - Driven

2020 Nissan Titan - Driven

A lot of tweaks in all the departments, but it still lacks the pizzazz

The Titan is in Nissan’s lineup since 2004. The pickup truck’s current-gen was launched four years back and now the company has already rolled out the facelift. The 2020 model brings in a few significant changes to the truck. On the outside, the changes are subtle, but they are noteworthy under the hood.

Nissan dropped the Cummins mill and the Titan can now be had only with the 5.6-liter V-8 mill. What’s more, it comes with a new transmission and a power boost. However, is the Titan a worthy alternative to the established trucks like the F-150 and the Silverado?

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2020 Nissan Armada - Driven

2020 Nissan Armada - Driven

Nissan’s biggest isn’t exactly its greatest

Nissan launched the second-generation Armada – the brand’s full-size, flagship SUV – in 2017 and, while it was a huge step forward in terms of luxury (relatively used, of course) and rigidity, it was also knocked for its lack of technology. Comfortable seating and cabin space rank high on the list of notable features, but things like the infotainment system and instrument cluster feel dated. With this kind of impression, we thought it would be a good idea to spend some time with the 2020 Nissan Armada to see just what it has to offer and if it can really compete with models like the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition. It was a long week, and this is what our experience taught us about the Nissan Armada.

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2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

The car that was once unappealing in so many ways has moved upmarket

The Sentra might be Nissan’s best-selling model of all time, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s been labeled as “cheap,” “uninspired,” or “sluggish.” Those claims to fame come courtesy of the last-generation model that has, thankfully, been replaced. For the 2020 model year, the Nissan Sentra ditches its old digs for a new Maxima-inspired design that sits atop a new platform. That old, sluggish 1.8-liter engine has been replaced with something a little more responsible and powerful, the 2.0-liter from the Nissan Rogue.

With the Nissan Sentra set to hit dealers in late February, Nissan invited us to give its updated compact sedan a test drive to see just how much better it really is. This is our experience.

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2020 Nissan Rogue - Driven

2020 Nissan Rogue - Driven

This aging compact crossover still has the goods

It’s far too easy for car aficionados to dismiss an aging vehicle. “Just look at that dashboard — straight out of 2014. And that hopelessly uncompetitive engine, ugh; to keep up, it needs at least 11% more horsepower. Junk!”

Now, we’d never suggest that cars never fall behind the curve. Quite the contrary, it happens all the time in today’s fast-paced marketplace. But when a vehicle gets the important stuff right from the start, especially if it also benefits from updates over the years, it can still be a great choice in its segment throughout its lifespan. And that’s precisely the case we’re finding with the 2020 Nissan Rogue compact crossover, one of America’s best-selling vehicles. The Rogue still brings a handsome face, a pleasant driving experience, great gas mileage, and a spacious cabin. And it’s now laden with advanced driver-assistance technology, even on the base model.

True, the Rogue hasn’t changed much since its current generation debuted as a 2014 model. Yes, its interior still has the sort of humdrum plastics and plain shapes that most newer competitors have moved away from. And its 170 horsepower is undoubtedly on the low side for the segment these days. The Rogue isn’t one of the compact crossovers that brings a high degree of luxury, sporty performance, or overall pizzazz. But we’d challenge its critics to spend a week in one, study how it compares to its competitors, and still write it off as a tired relic. We found the Rogue to be a solid family vehicle at compelling prices, and we were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed our time with it — and with the glowing praise it received from passengers. Prices start at $26,39, including destination charge.

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2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven

2019 Nissan Rogue - Driven

In a world where SUVs and crossovers constantly evolve, the Nissan Rogue falls in the middle

The Nissan Rogue is in its second generation, but it has been soldiering on since it was introduced in 2014 with only a mild facelift in 2017 and a safety equipment update in 2018. With all of the wide selection of compact SUVs on the market, we thought it would be a good idea to see how the aging Rogue holds up on an oh-so-competitive market. Does the Rogue’s appearance, interior comfort, safety systems, and technology hold up against the ever-growing crop of small crossovers or is Nissan in dire need of majorly updating the Rogue? Well, we found that out for ourselves and more – this is our experience with the 2020 Nissan Rogue.

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Best Electric Cars of 2018

Best Electric Cars of 2018

The battery battles are heating up, but who walks away the winner?

Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular these days, and manufacturers are responding by pouring in the investment and releasing oodles of new models. As such, competition between EV’s is growing, and 2018 was no exception. But the question is, which of these machines is the “best”? To find out, we lined up the usual suspects up and looked at all the critical specs, including range-per-charge, battery capacity, charge times, interior space, interior tech, and more. Read on to see which EV came out on top!

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2018 Nissan Maxima - Driven

2018 Nissan Maxima - Driven

The Nissan Maxima is something of an oddity in the automotive landscape. It used to be that the Max was the biggest car in Nissan’s lineup — hence its maximum name. But for the last couple of generations, the Maxima’s size has been matched by its cheaper sister, the Nissan Altima.

This creates all sorts of confusion for some consumers. A friend saw me comparing a Camry to an Altima and said, “Shouldn’t you compare Camry to Maxima?”

No, no you should not. The Maxima is much more of a driver’s car than any Camry, though I admit the new-for-2018 Camry closes the gap a little (more on that in a minute.)

As for anyone else who may be confused by Maxima’s place in the family sedan world, let me put it this way: It punches well above its weight — so much so that, if I were considering spending my money on an entry-level luxury car like a Mercedes CLA or Lexus ES, I’d honestly consider the Maxima in that same pack.

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The New 2018 Nissan Leaf Might Be The Best Replacement for the VW TDI

The New 2018 Nissan Leaf Might Be The Best Replacement for the VW TDI

Last night Nissan finally unveiled the all-new 2018 Leaf, and it’s a massive improvement over the old car. The biggest news for EV fans will be the new 150-mile range. That’s nearly double what the original Leaf launched with. It’s even easier on your wallet with a starting price under $30,000, making it nearly $700 cheaper than the current model. But the best improvement is the all-new electric motor. The old car made a useable, but unimpressive 107 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque. But the new 2018 car makes 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, and that is more amazing than you realize.

Let us put those power numbers into perspective. The Volkswagen 2.0L TDI engine, the best “performance” fuel-economy engine on the market before the Dieselgate scandal destroyed everything, produces 150 horsepower and 238 pounds of twist.
Nissan just made a viable alternative to scorned TDI buyers.

True, the TDI had some other advantages like a massive 600+ mile range before needing to be refueled, but on a pure day-to-day performance perspective, the new Leaf might work. If you bought a TDI to make your daily commute, and you still want something that is good for the environment while providing the same level of thrust, maybe you should call your Nissan Dealer.

Yes, we do know that other alternatives like the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 have even more power and performance, but those cars also have much higher price tags. We aren’t sure about you, but we feel like people buying $26k Volkswagen’s might not be able to afford the $38,000 asking price of a Bolt.

But what do you guys think? Is the new Nissan Leaf good enough to be a real competitor in the market now? And if you are a former TDI owner, please let us now, and be sure to give us your thoughts on this new car.

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Nissan's Midnight Edition Package Is Plain Silly and Shows Why Marketing Sucks

Nissan’s Midnight Edition Package Is Plain Silly and Shows Why Marketing Sucks

Black wheels and mirror caps don’t make a car special, period!

I’ll be honest here, Nissan is among my favorite car brands nowadays. The Japanese firm has a solid lineup, an attractive design language, reliable drivetrains, and offers great value for the buck in just about any segment. But this new Midnight Edition package introduced in the U.S. is a silly attempt to improve sales and proves once again that there’s a thin line between tasteful and ridiculous when it comes to marketing.

Needless to say, the Midnight Edition was a big success on the Maxima SR, accounting for 85 percent of sales, since its introduction in 2016. For this reason alone I can fully understand why Nissan is expanding the bundle to Sentra, Altima, Rogue, Murano, and Pathfinder. However, a quick look at the Sentra Midnight Edition promo (hit "play") shows why this package isn’t anything to get excited about.

Yup, black wheels, black mirror caps, a black rear bumper insert, and "Midnight Edition" floor mats and that’s it. Seriously now, does anyone care about the lettering on their floor mats?

I’m going to be fair here and mention that other models also get features like LED headlamps, remote engine start, roof rails, and illuminated kick plates (not all at once of course) and that pricing doesn’t exceed $1,195 in its most expensive configuration, but calling it an "Edition" is still too much. Special editions are supposed to be special, and a few black body parts don’t cut the mustard if you ask me. At least Chevy’s Redline bundle, also introduced at the Chicago Auto Show, has a few unique elements and not just body parts of different colors.

But hey, it seems that marketing departments work just like tabloids nowadays. All show and no go if you will, with "show" being the bad habit of calling every little option added an "Edition." And I say "departments" because Nissan isn’t the only automaker in this.

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