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Nissan GT-R goes on Rockies Alberta adventure with Epic Drives

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Nissan GT-R Epic Drive

Years after its original debut, the Nissan GT-R remains a much-feared, well-regarded entry in the sports car landscape. Sure, many of its original competitors are onto new generations these days, but Nissan has continually improved the GT-R, giving it meaningful tweaks almost every year since it came to the US market for 2009. Reviewers also just seem to keep finding things to praise about the all-wheel drive, turbocharged coupe. In this episode of Epic Drives, the GT-R proves that in addition to being a quite pleasant road trip companion around the province of Alberta, Canada, in a pinch it can go off-road to herd some horses, too.

At its heart, Epic Drives amounts to half travelogue and half driving review. So in between snaking the GT-R through some picturesque roads, host Arthur St. Antoine takes a tour of Alberta and the Canadian Rockies. If you're in the mood to take a drive in the Nissan through a landscape that blends the looks of a prairie, the Alps and fjords, then have a seat and check this video out.

Continue reading Nissan GT-R goes on Rockies Alberta adventure with Epic Drives

Nissan GT-R goes on Rockies Alberta adventure with Epic Drives originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NHTSA releases updated Takata airbag recalled cars list, but it still has errors

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2003 Honda Civic

Unfortunately, the government's list still contains errors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an updated list of vehicle models that it's urging owners to repair under the mushrooming Takata airbag inflator recall. The latest version adds vehicles from new automakers like Subaru and Ford that are missing from the original announcement, and it also removes erroneous entries from General Motors, leaving only the 2005 Saab 9-2X (a reskinned Subaru WRX), and the 2003-2005 Pontiac Vibe, a joint project with Toyota.

According to a statement sent to Autoblog by GM, the inaccurate entries on the earlier version came because, "The original NHTSA advisory incorrectly listed a group of 2002-2003 GM models that were part of a 2002 recall involving airbags made by other suppliers."

This campaign has been spurred by recent discoveries from Takata about the risks from these inflators. It's possible for the airbags to rupture in a crash and spray shrapnel at occupants. The problem is known to have caused serious injuries and several deaths, and the likelihood of a malfunction has been determined to be especially likely in high humidity areas.

The recalls related to the faulty parts go back to at least 2001, and most of the vehicles on the latest list are also among the same ones from a campaign in June. Since this isn't a new recall and NHTSA is simply urging people to take action, it's possible some of these models might already be repaired.

NHTSA appears to be having serious problems with the stress the Takata airbag issue is putting on its consumer website. According to The Detroit News, the agency's VIN lookup service is down, and its daily listing of new recalls is also not working as of this writing.

Unfortunately, the government's list still contains errors.

Continue reading NHTSA releases updated Takata airbag recalled cars list, but it still has errors

NHTSA releases updated Takata airbag recalled cars list, but it still has errors originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action

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2003 Honda Civic

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are taking the unusual step of issuing a followup press release urging owners of certain recalled vehicles "to act immediately" to fix their cars and trucks. The problem in question concerns the repair campaigns for rupturing Takata airbag inflators issued in June and covers a long list of models from Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Infiniti, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Oldsmobile and Pontiac.

While NHSTA doesn't specifically say why the recall is vital in the new release, Toyota's own explanation in its newly announced renotification campaign earlier today sheds some new light on the topic. According to the Japanese automaker, in testing, Takata found a possible link between the rupturing airbag inflators and high humidity. NHTSA is advocating that all owners pursue repairs immediately if they haven't already done so already. This is especially crucial for those drivers especially in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii because of the humid conditions there.

We don't need to tell you how dangerous an inadvertent airbag deployment could be - even in a stationary vehicle - but adding to the Takata issue is fears that the deployment could lead to shrapnel being sprayed into the cabin.

If you're unsure whether your vehicle is covered under this campaign, NHTSA has a new VIN lookup tool for all recalls recently that could be handy in this situation. Scroll down for the full list of potentially affected models and the agency's statement - there are upwards of nearly five million vehicles that could be affected.

Continue reading NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action

NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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What you missed on 10.17.14

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uturn

Review: Driveclub for Playstation 4

Every new video game comes to market with high expectations. But a title like Driveclub - set to be the first PS4-exclusive racing game yet, and already delayed by more than a year - has more to achieve than most. We've been playing the socially augmented racer for the last few weeks, and report in with a full review. Do Forza fans have an excuse to jump systems?


Ladies and gents, your 2016 Nissan Maxima

When Nissan showed off its Sport Sedan Concept at the last Detroit Auto Show, hopes were immediately brightened for the next-generation Maxima that it foretold. Now, thanks to some crafty lens-work, or spies in the field have captured concrete evidence that bits of the concept will make it through to production. Get a glimpse of the future, here.



LeBron James to rep Kia K900

When one thinks about vehicles that all-world pro basketball players drive, names like Range Rover, Mercedes and even Cadillac Escalade come to mind. The Kia K900... not so much. So consider how surprising it was to learn that the best baller in the NBA drove Kia's flagship, even before he got the gig repping it. Find out why King James is such a fan of sensible luxury.


Top Stories

What you missed on 10.17.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 17 Oct 2014 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2016 Nissan Maxima spotted for first time

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Nissan Maxima Spy Shots

Nissan teased the look of the next-generation Maxima at the 2014 Detroit auto show with the Sport Sedan concept, and it was quite a looker with an aggressive front end and cool floating roof. Now, we're getting out very first glimpse at the production version in some new spy shots. Although, It's plastered with camouflage, underneath you can still see the concept's design inspiration.

Starting from the front, the biggest influence from the concept is the V-shaped grille with smaller inlets on each side and jagged headlights. Running back from there, on one side the Maxima mule has a black A-pillar, which at least suggests that the floating roof is making it to the production model too.

In profile, it's hard to make out, but the hard creases that run down the side of the Sport Sedan appear to be underneath this camouflage, and there's a ton of masking around the rear pillar seemingly to hide the shape. However in the close-up photo, you can get a better view, and it doesn't look quite as sharp and coupe-like as on the concept.

At this point, the back also lacks the concept's angular rear bumper in favor of something more conventional. All the cladding there makes it hard to tell what is hidden underneath, though.

The Sport Sedan concept has a version of Nissan's 3.5-liter V6 with over 300 horsepower and a CVT powering the front wheels. Though, our spies think it's possible the production version could offer a hybrid 2.5-liter supercharged four-cylinder to give V6-like power, like the Pathfinder Hybrid.

From these early spy shots, it certainly looks like Nissan is trying to bring the major parts of the concept to the road. We can't wait to see the Maxima without so much being hidden. Until then, check out the gallery for a first look.

2016 Nissan Maxima spotted for first time originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nissan Canada offers box-fresh racecar for $19,998 [w/video]

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Nissan Micra Cup racing

Nissan Micra CupNissan is seriously emphasizing its commitment to motorsports with projects like next year's GT-R LM endurance racer at Le Mans and the company's participation with GT Academy. At least in Canada, the automaker is adding another opportunity to get people onto the track with the new Nissan Micra Cup one-make race series. Sure, the Micra might not as quick as a GT-R, but this series offers Canadians a chance to start racing for a reasonable price. Nissan claims the events have "the lowest running cost of any Canadian series," and we can't think of a cheaper turnkey new racecar in all of North America.

The cars are all based on the not-for-US Micra 1.6 S M/T model with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine making 109 horsepower and 107 pound-feet of torque and a five-speed manual gearbox. The only real performance upgrades are a Nismo suspension kit, new exhaust, improved brake pads and sticky Pirelli tires. For added safety, the interior is entirely stripped out and is replaced with a full roll cage with a driver protection net, FIA-approved racing seat with five-point harness, fire extinguisher and front and rear tow hooks. The whole, race-ready package will set competitors back $19,998 Canadian dollars before taxes.

The inaugural Micra Cup series begins in May 2015, and the first season is exclusively taking place in Quebec, with the promise of moving to other provinces if it's a success. Each event includes a half hour of practice, a half hour of qualifying and a pair of half-hour races. Nissan is estimating impressive fields of over 25 cars of competitors.

Drivers obviously shouldn't expect to set any track records in these little hatches, but they do look like a ton of fun to pitch around a circuit. Scroll down to see the Micra in action and read the full release.

Continue reading Nissan Canada offers box-fresh racecar for $19,998 [w/video]

Nissan Canada offers box-fresh racecar for $19,998 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nissan teases Sao Paolo CUV concept, production future likely

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Teaser photo of unnamed Nissan CUV concept for 2014 Sao Paulo Motor Show

Back in 2012 at Brazil's São Paulo Motor Show, Nissan showed off an angular subcompact crossover concept, Extrem, that seemed to to portend the future of the Nissan Juke. Now, the Japanese automaker is teasing an as-yet-unnamed CUV concept for this year's show. The new showcar, set for an October 28 unveiling, is expected to be a closer-to-production version of the Extrem ethos.

Why should we care? Autoblog has reason to believe that this vehicle is under consideration for global distribution. The production Extrem - or whatever it ends up being called - is likely to be positioned size-wise in between the Juke and the recently upsized Rogue, offering more space and still-adventuresome styling, yet at a less expensive price. If accurate, that sounds like the production model will be a fair bit larger than the conceptual Xtrem, which was built atop a modified version of Nissan's V-platform, a model that underpins its March supermini (and speaking of the March, Nissan has also teased what looks to be a sporty concept version of it for the Brazilian show, too).

It's important to note that Nissan already has a bustling small CUV portfolio globally, what with its popular Qashqai / X-Trail models in markets beyond ours. There continues to be persistent rumors that Nissan is considering bringing over the Qashqai, as well, a model seemingly already quite close in size and execution to the Rogue. Despite this, Nissan has shown no hesitation in exploring every niche of the burgeoning CUV market, and while not every derivative has been a success, models like the Juke have rewarded the company's bravery with handsome sales.

CEO Carlos Ghosn is apparently very keen to further diversify Nissan's utility offerings and he's pushing his team hard to innovate, but it won't happen right away - a North American Extrem descendant is likely a few years away.

Nissan teases Sao Paolo CUV concept, production future likely originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Datsun’s lackluster initial sales fall below Tata Nano

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Carlos Ghosn with the new Datsun Go

When Tata introduced the Nano back in 2008, everyone was amazed at how cheap it was. They called it a game changer, but no game was changed. In fact, it took Tata five years to sell the 250,000 units it had the capacity to build in a single year. As it turns out, even buyers in what economists call "developing markets" like India aren't necessarily interested in buying an ultra-cheap automobile. And now it appears that Nissan may be falling into the same trap.

A little over a year ago, Nissan revived its old moniker Datsun to serve as a budget brand - similar to what ally Renault did with Dacia. Its lineup (consisting of models like the Go hatchback, Go+ minivan, On-Do sedan and Mi-Do hatch) is largely based on old architecture, packaged with little more than basic equipment and sold at rock-bottom prices. But Bloomberg reports that, even in the brand's core markets like India and Indonesia, the new Datsuns haven't been selling.

According to local industry figures, Datsun has sold fewer than 10,000 units of its $5,100 Go hatchbacks in India since its introduction back in March. Maruti Suzuki, by comparison, sells twice that many of its similarly priced Alto hatchbacks every month. In fact, after peaking in April, Datsun only sold 607 units in India this past July, dipping 77 percent to drop below even the number of Nanos which Tata sold that month.

That could be bad news for CEO Carlos Ghosn, who has pledged to increase Nissan's global market share by one-third to eight percent by March 2017. The news could get even worse if the market continues to shrink as expected in Russia, another cornerstone market for the Dacia brand and where the notion of buying a Romanian-made Dacia has, according to our contacts at Renault, proven unpopular.

It is, of course, too early to predict how Datsun will perform in the long run. The brand is still new and may need some time to gain public recognition and market share. Otherwise, we may have another Tata Nano on our hands: an astonishingly cheap car that no one actually wants to buy.

Datsun's lackluster initial sales fall below Tata Nano originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 15 Oct 2014 19:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nissan recalls over 220k Altima sedans over hoods that could fly open

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2013 Nissan Altima

Nissan will be recalling 220,000 Altima sedans, according to a new recall bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Apparently, model year 2013 Altimas built between March 6, 2012 and February 28, 2013 are at risk of their hoods flying open at speed.

According to NHTSA, debris, corrosion and interference between the hood's inner panel and the secondary latch lever could bind the mechanism in the unlatched position. While this in itself won't cause the hood to fly open - there's still a primary latch that needs released from within the cabin - it presents a potentially dangerous situation should the primary latch be accidentally released.

Nissan will begin notifying owners of the affected vehicles, who will need to report to their local dealer for free repairs. Scroll down for the full bulletin from the government safety watchdog.

Continue reading Nissan recalls over 220k Altima sedans over hoods that could fly open

Nissan recalls over 220k Altima sedans over hoods that could fly open originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 10 Oct 2014 10:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nissan Altima and Sentra to get Murano-inspired design redo

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Nissan Altima

Nissan Sentra sedanThe Nissan Altima and Sentra sedans are both very competent, economical, comfortable and well-equipped ways of getting from A to B. They're also both decidedly boring to look at, which is not a good trait in their increasingly style-driven segments.

To rectify this, Nissan is planning design overhauls for its mainstream, with the Sentra adopting the sportier, Euro-style looks of the Pulsar, according to The Car Connection. While that (sadly) won't mean the five-door Pulsar will come to the US market, fitting the European stylings to the Sentra should go a long way towards broadening the car's appeal.

That parcel of information comes from Nissan design boss Shiro Nakamura, who spoke to The Car Connection at last week's Paris Motor Show.

Like the Sentra, the Altima's styling upgrades will be handled, at first, with an upcoming mid-cycle refresh being targeted for 2016 or 2017. The larger sedan won't, however, draw its design inspiration from Europe. Instead, the Altima will look to the more aggressive stylings of the new Murano crossover (an Autoblog favorite) and the Sports Sedan Concept-inspired 2016 Maxima.

The sportier updates will be even more sweeping, Nakamura explained, when the next-generation Altima and Sentra arrive.

"We are pulling these cars closer to a new generation with minor change. So with the minor change we will have a front end very strong, consistent with the new lineup - Murano, Maxima, Sentra, Altima - all very coherent," Nakamura told TCC. "And the next generation, they're also becoming more sporty, but still very affordable and practical - not just sporty."

Nissan Altima and Sentra to get Murano-inspired design redo originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 07 Oct 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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