Nissan Issues Recall for Certain 2021 Rogues

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Mar 282021
 

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is recalling certain 2021 Nissan Rogue vehicles. Incorrect wheel nuts may have been installed on the all-new Rogue, redesigned for the 2021 model year, that may loosen causing wheel vibration.

Nissan will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the wheel nuts and replace any incorrect ones, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin May 7, 2021. Owners may contact Nissan customer service at 1-800-867-7669. Nissan’s number for this recall is PC799.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

The Third Annual LTR Truck Guide

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Mar 042020
 
Chevy Silverado

For the last two years, Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has produced a truck guide, recognizing the appeal pickups hold, not just in the state of Texas, the number-one truck market, but also among Latinos. For 2020, we present our third installment. This guide includes models test-driven for at least a week by LTR and offers an overview, not a ranking, of what they offer or lack. For additional truck info or to compare and contrast, check out last year’s guide as well as the original.

Nissan Frontier

Coasting on a redesign that’s fifteen years old, the Nissan Frontier continues to offer utility and off-road capability, plus the lowest starting price in its segment.

Rumors of a redesign for the Frontier had been circulating for years but nothing definitive was announced, until this year at the Chicago Auto Show. According to Tiago Castro, director, Commercial Vehicle Business Unit, Nissan North America, Inc., there will be an all-new Frontier in 2021 and while 2020 will be the final year of this generation, it will include the 2021’s powertrain, an all-new 3.8-liter V6 engine matched to a nine-speed transmission.

Last year the Frontier was the most-affordable pickup in its class, with a starting price of $18,990, excluding destination fees, but the test model, Frontier SV Crew Cab SWB 4×4, sat well above the base.

The list of optional features included on the test model began with the powertrain, namely the 4.0-liter V6 with 261 horsepower and 281 lb.­–ft. of torque. It will be replaced later this year by the previously mentioned V6. It was matched to a five-speed automatic transmission and included a two-speed transfer case with 4Hi and 4Lo options for off-road capability.

Functionality sells trucks and the test model offered a maximum towing capacity of 6,380 lbs. as well as 60/40 split rear seats that flipped up, as well as down, to reveal added storage.

On the drive, however, the Frontier was capable but clearly outdated, especially on the inside. The Value Truck Package ($1,890) added upgrades like a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rear sonar for parking, a factory-applied spray on bed liner, and sliding bed extender, among several features, bringing the as-tested price to $33,560. But it lacked basic new technology like a blind spot monitor or navigation.

The 2020 Frontier will go on sale this spring.

Ford Ranger

Like the Frontier, the Ranger remained unchanged for many years before it disappeared in 2011. But in 2019, Ford also decided to re-enter the midsize truck segment by bringing back its venerated “little” truck. The new version, however, joins its enlarged competition, measuring 210.8 inches in length.

Toyota Tacoma

On the outside, it appeared to borrow design cues from the Toyota Tacoma. Can you tell which is which? While it borrowed some design cues from the Tacoma, it didn’t adopt one of its best, a dampened tailgate.

When LTR last tested the Ranger, before the redesign, it too suffered from being dated as well as guzzling gas. The new model, however, included the 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline four-cylinder with 270 horsepower and 310 lb.–ft. of torque matched to a ten-speed automatic transmission, giving it an improved EPA estimated fuel economy of 20 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway. The as-tested fuel economy came to an average of 22 mpg.

The Ranger has a maximum towing of 7,500 on all trims but payload varies and the test model had the lowest figure of 1,560 lbs.

Priced above the Frontier, the test model also included popular technology that its competitor did not, like a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, a digital TFT in the instrument cluster with an average fuel economy calculator among other features, and an eight-inch touch screen in the center stack to display navigation or audio information, or both with a split screen option.

Like the Frontier the test model included heated front seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel, satellite radio, a spray-in bed liner, and dual-zone climate control but the Ranger added leather seating.

Pricing for the 2020 Ranger starts at $25,605. The as-tested price, including the FX4 Off-Road Package ($1,295) came to $44,960.

Chevrolet Silverado

For 2019 Chevrolet completely redesigned, the Silverado and entered the market with a range of eight models and six engine/transmission choices. The test model was the two-wheel drive double cab RST trim, powered by the turbocharged 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder (I4).

The real competition for trucks happens under the hood and Chevy’s range of engines, from the four-cylinder to a diesel, gives it a definite advantage.

Matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the I4 should produce 310 horsepower and 348 lb.­–ft. of torque. Maximum tow rating for the Silverado is 13,400 lbs. with the V8 but maximum towing for the test model came to 7,000 lbs.

Body-color trim, full LED lighting (foglamps, headlamps and taillamps) and up to 22-inch wheels distinguish the RST trim from the others. The test model, however, included 18-inch bright silver painted aluminum wheels.

With redesigns, the focus begins with the exterior and in the case of the new Silverado, at first glance, its features can be polarizing compared to the clean lines of its predecessor, but it does improve on closer inspection. The new pickup is also 1.6 inches longer and has a bed that’s seven inches wider giving it a best-in-class cargo volume starting with the short box’s 63 cubic feet. Maximum payload on the test model came to 2,190 lbs.

The test model also included Active Fuel management to give it an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 20/23 mpg respectively. During the test drive, it achieved an average range of 23.2 in the city and up to 32.4 mpg on the highway.

The test model did include signature GM technology like Stabilitrak, OnStar, Teen Driver, a rear seat reminder to encourage drivers to check the back seat before locking the vehicle, and a dampened tailgate that releases with the push of a button.

Pricing for the 2020 Silverado starts at $29,795. The as-tested pricing included multiple packages from Convenience with Bucket Seats ($1,655) to Safety ($890), which brought the price up to $47,795.

Ford F-250

The Ford’s F-Series has held the top-selling vehicle title for 42 years. The F-150 has made-up the bulk of these sales but it’s bulkier super duty siblings, the F-250, F-350, and F-450 provide the utility that work truck buyers demand. LTR recently drove the F-250 SRW 4×4 Crew Cab Limited.

Best in class achievements help super duties stand out in this highly competitive segment. For 2020, the F-250 will offer a choice of three engines including an all-new 7.3-liter V8 with best-in-class 430 horsepower and best-in-class 475 lbs.–ft. of torque. The third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 powered the test model. For 2020 it has been upgraded to deliver best-in-class 475 horsepower and best-in-class 1,050 ft.–lbs. of torque. A 6.2-liter V8 is the F-250’s standard gas engine. While the 6.7-liter diesel on the test model was matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, an all-new ten-speed heavy-duty TorqShift automatic transmission is standard with the 7.3-liter V8 and 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 for 2020.

Technology on a work truck is essential and as a Limited trim level, the test model added FordPass Connect, embedded 4G LTE modem with Wi-Fi access for up to ten devices and charge up with wireless charging and USB-C ports as well as the Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera. The test model also included a tailgate step, ambient lighting, voice activated navigation, and adaptive cruise control. Capacity specs for the F-250 test model maxed out at 19,100 1bs. towing and 3,470 lbs. payload.

While fuel efficiency ratings are not required for super duties, the text model achieved an average fuel economy of 15.5–16.6 mpg during the drive.

Pricing for the 2020 F250 starts at $35,300. The as-tested price came to $84,500, including extra charges for a gooseneck hitch kit, 3.55 electronic locking axle, a fifth-wheel hitch prep package and a bed spray-in bed liner.

A Rogue of Many Colors

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Apr 282019
 

With competition among sport utility vehicles (SUVs) neck and neck, it helps to have a winner, or two, in the lineup. Introduced in 2008, the Nissan Rogue, and its sibling, the Rogue Sport, have been Nissan’s top-selling nameplate in both calendar year 2017 and model year 2018. Latino Traffic Report (LTR) received four models to test drive in the past year, offering an extended experience in the Rogue and a chance for greater evaluation and appreciation.

Rogue Palatial Ruby
Rogue Sport Magnetic Black
Rogue Sport Gun Metallic

While all test models were the top-of-the-line SL trim equipped with all-wheel-drive (AWD), each included different packages and interior appointments so that not one shared the same MSRP.

Tested colors included Magnetic Black Pearl, Palatial Ruby, Gun Metallic, and Monarch Orange (top). All included leather seating but the seats on the Rogue in Monarch Orange featured the Platinum Package with Premium Tan seats and distinctive quilting on the inserts as well as a heated steering wheel. The black and/or beige leather seating in the other models was perforated.

Platinum Package seating.

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder matched to the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with Sport and Eco modes, powers all Rogues, and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with the Xtronic CVT and Eco mode, powers all Rogue Sports. The 2.5-liter can produce 170 horsepower and 175 lb.–ft. of torque and achieve an EPA estimated fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 32 mpg on the highway with AWD. The 2.0-liter offered 141 horses, 147 lb.­–ft. of torque, and an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 24/30 mpg with AWD. During the test-drive, the 2.5 and 2.0 averaged a city/highway mpg of 17/28 and 25/31, respectively.

In an urban setting, the Rogue stood out for its convenience, versatility, and maneuverability. Convenience features included a standard back-up camera (around view on the SL), easy to fold seats, Nissan’s easy tire fill alert, and maximum cargo room of 70 cu. ft. on the Rogue and 53.3 cu. ft. on the Sport (61.1 cu. ft. on the base S model). Both offered seating for five but the Rogue Sport has a 2.3-inch shorter wheelbase and a 12.1-inch shorter overall length than Rogue for better maneuverability.

All Rogues come with satellite radio (sans the subscription), a CD player, Apple Car Play and Android Auto,  cruise control, and a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert. The SL trim level included more luxury features like heated front seats, Nissan Connect with navigation, and intelligent cruise control that can be programmed to maintain a set distance from the lead vehicle. Programming preset radio and XM channels, however, was a little difficult to do via the touchscreen, which began to lead to distracted driving.

For 2019 the standard features list expands to include Rear Automatic Braking and a Rear Sonar System on SV and SL trims, Rear Door Alert on all grade levels and ProPILOT Assist for semi-autonomous driving and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels on the SL grade.

At the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, Nissan unveiled a refreshed version of the Rogue Sport for 2020, with new front fascia features, hood, Vmotion grille, and bumper. Improvements for 2019 include the available ProPILOT Assist, Nissan Safety Shield 360 that includes a blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert, an updated audio system with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the availability of the Bose Audio System with nine speakers.

Pricing for the 2019 Rogue Sport and Rogue starts at $23,385 and $26,065, respectively. Stepping up to the SL trim will be costly. The as-tested prices ranged from $31,365—$36,915.

The LTR Second Annual Truck Guide

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Apr 032018
 

Nissan Titan XD Single Cab

Based in the Lone Star State, home to the top truck market in the country, the Latino Traffic Report (LTR) team appreciates a nice pickup. A voting member of the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), LTR’s editor also helps choose the Truck of Texas each year—the Ford F-150 is the current winner. Each year we offer an overview of the trucks we test. Here’s the list for 2018.

GMC Canyon Denali

Denali doesn’t just refer to a mountain in Alaska. It’s also the name of GMC’s top-of-the-line trim and as such, expectations can be high.

GMC returned to the midsize truck market with the 2015 Canyon. It added a diesel engine in 2016 and the Denali trim for 2017. LTR recently tested the 2018 Canyon Denali Crew Cab.

On the outside, a unique chrome grille and 20-inch aluminum wheels distinguish the Canyon Denali. Though they were a nice idea, the standard chrome running boards were unnecessary considering that the Canyon sits lower than a half-ton. All Canyon’s include convenience features like a sidestep in the bumper and a locking tailgate.

Fancy features inside the test model included leather seating with heated and cooled front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a Bose stereo system, a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, the GMC Intellilink infotainment system with navigation, and an eight-inch touchscreen.

Capability on the truck came from the 2.8-liter Duramax turbo diesel engine with 181 horsepower and 369 lb.–ft. of torque, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain has a maximum tow rating of 7,700 lbs. and during the test; the 5.2-foot bed proved to be the right size to carry a lawnmower that needed repair. A 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder is the base engine and a 3.6-liter V6 and six-speed manual transmission are also available.

Few trucks can claim bragging rights for fuel economy but the Canyon’s diesel powertrain helps enhance its performance. The two-wheel-drive (2WD) model offers a segment best fuel economy of 31 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway, while the four-wheel-drive (4WD) has an EPA estimated city/highway rating of 20/29 mpg. The 4WD test model achieved a city/highway average fuel economy of 21/25.5 mpg.

GM safety features included signature tech like the rear seat reminder—it chimes when the ignition’s turned off to remind the driver to check the rear seat—Onstar, and Teen Driver. But the lack of a blind spot warning system was a noticeable exclusion, particularly on a Denali.

Pricing for the 2018 Canyon starts at $22,095. The as-tested price of $48,190 included options like the engine and transmission that cost more than $4,000.

Toyota Tundra TRD Pro*

Hecho en San Antonio, Texas, the Toyota Tundra comes in more than four-dozen possible configurations. LTR tested the Tundra Limited with the TRD Pro 4×4 package built for the off-road enthusiast. For 2018, the TRD Sport Package gets new distinctive exterior design cues including a body-color surround for the honeycomb-style grille, 20-inch silver-painted aluminum alloy wheels with black accents, and the TRD Pro bedside graphic.

When it comes to functionality, the test Tundra had a towing capacity of up to 9,800 pounds and payload capacity of up to 1,560 pounds. During the weeklong test, the TRD Pro exhibited that capacity by helping out Cine Las Americas during the nonprofit’s annual film festival, and delivering a truckload of donated Dos Equis. Maximum towing and payload on the Tundra when properly equipped can reach 10,200 and 1,730 pounds, respectively.

All Tundra’s are powered by either of two V8 engines. The test model came with the 5.7-liter i-Force V8 engine, with 381 horsepower and 401 lb.–ft. of torque matched to a six speed automatic transmission. It had an EPA estimated fuel rating of 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway. It averaged 14.7 mpg during the weeklong test.

While most Tundras come with three cab styles and three bed sizes, the TRD Pro is available only in Double Cab and Crew Max models. LTR tested the latter matched to the shorter 5.5-foot bed.

The test drive remained on road, but the TRD Pro did demonstrate its off-road capability at last year’s TAWA Truck Rodeo. Tundra 4X4 models use the electronically controlled 4WDemand part-time 4WD system with 4×2, 4×4 Hi, and 4×4 Lo ranges.

For added climbing ability, the TRD Pro sits two-inches higher than its siblings and lacks running boards. While that enhances ground clearance, it can be hard to climb onboard, especially for the vertically challenged.

All Tundra models come standard with a backup camera, essential equipment on a truck, and Toyota Star Safety is now standard for 2018. The test model added a blind spot monitor and parking sensor as part of the Entune Premium package ($785).

Pricing for the 2018 Tundra starts at $35,395. The as-tested pricing came to $51,589.

 

RAM 1500 Lone Star

Recognizing the top position that Texas holds in national truck sales, Ram created the Lone Star package in 2002, specifically for the Texas market. Not surprisingly, it’s become the top-selling Ram model in Texas and the Ram 1500 earned the Truck of Texas title for 2013 and 2014 from TAWA.

With eleven possible models, the Lone Star sits in the middle of the lineup along with the Big Horn, so that it includes additional features beyond its distinctive badging, like dual-zone climate control, a front and rear parking sensor, a 60/40-split folding rear bench seat with underseat storage, and fold-flat load floor storage.

The test model, Ram 1500 SLT 4×2, also included welcome features like a rearview camera (standard on all 2018 Rams), and Uconnect infotainment and GPS navigation with an 8.4-inch touchscreen ($795).

Powered by the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine, with 395 horsepower and 410 lb.–ft. of torque, the Ram has an estimated EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy of 15/22 mpg. It achieved an average fuel economy of 20.3 mpg during the weeklong test drive. The Hemi and eight-speed transmission on the test model added around $2,000 to the price. A 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 and 3.6-liter V6 are also available.

Some folks prefer an open bed on a truck, others like a lid. The test model came with the latter, specifically a three-fold tonneau cover ($595) to shield the 5.7-foot bed. It proved useful while moving my nephew to San Antonio for the summer. The load included cargo that presented a flight risk, even if strapped down, so while the tonneau may limit cargo height, it was perfect for our needs and easy to maneuver. The bed also included the innovative Ram Box Cargo Management System ($1,295).

Towing and payload capacity for the test model topped out at 10,330 and 1,700 lbs., respectively.

While leather seats may reflect a premium status, cloth seats can make more sense on a truck, plus the standard cloth seats on the Lone Star showed some attention to detail.

With a Ram redesign on the horizon for 2019, there’s still time to grab a Ram with the current look, particularly for fans of the crosshair grille.

Pricing for the 2018 Ram starts at $27,990. The as-tested pricing came to $45,760.

 

Nissan Titan XD Single Cab**

Blazing a new trail in the truck market, Nissan positioned its Titan XD (all-new for 2016) between a half-ton and super duty. It did so by giving it more capability by virtue of its 5.0-liter V8 Cummins turbo diesel engine that produces 310 horsepower and 555 lb.-ft. of torque. The move so impressed TAWA members that it named it the 2016 Truck of Texas. For 2018, a factory-authorized suspension lift kit will be offered on select models of the TITAN and TITAN XD.

The Cummins is matched to a six-speed automatic transmission but a seven-speed automatic is available on the 5.6-liter V8. The unique position the XD holds also excludes it from fuel economy ratings by the EPA but on the test drive, it averaged 14.3 mpg.

Available in three cab configurations, Single, Crew, or King, the Single is the newest and was featured on the test model, as well as an eight-foot bed, one of two available bed sizes on the Titan. Built to appeal to entrepreneurs, the Single Cab earned the TAWA 2017 Commercial Truck of Texas title in 2016. It has a payload capacity of 2,910 lbs., a maximum towing capacity of 12,640 lbs. (when properly equipped), and a super dampened tailgate that practically lifts with one finger.

The understated interior on the test model included cloth seats, a tiny display for the AM/FM/CD stereo. As a single cab, interior storage was limited but there was seat back and underseat storage in the rear.

The test model, Titan XD SV, was also equipped with 4WD, remote keyless entry with push button start, plus the SV Comfort and Convenience Package ($1,360) that added a rear view monitor and parking sensors, dual air conditioning, a blind spot warning system with rear cross traffic alert, running boards, and 20-inch alloy wheels.

All Titan XDs are covered by Nissan’s “America’s Best Truck Warranty” featuring bumper-to-bumper coverage for five-years/100,000-miles, whichever comes first.

Pricing for the 2018 Titan XD Single Cab starts at $33,335. The as-tested pricing came to $46,625.

With redesigns on the way for the Ram, Chevrolet Silverado, and GMC Sierra, 2019 will be a model year for trucks. A new Truck of Texas could be in the mix.

Note: All prices include destination fees.
*Toyota recently announced separate safety recalls in the United States of approximately 8,800 Model Year 2017 Tundra and approximately 65,000 Model Year 2018 Sequoia and Tundra vehicles. For more information, go to toyota.com/recall and enter the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).  Safety Recall inquiry by individual VIN is also available at the NHTSA site: nhtsa.gov/recalls.

**Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is recalling certain 2016-2018 Nissan Titan, 2016 and 2018 Nissan Titan XD vehicles. The recall is expected to begin on June 16, 2018. Owners may contact Nissan customer service at 1-800-867-7669 or NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Click here to find past recall notices posted by LTR.

Mexicano Racer Takes Leno for a Spin

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Mar 062018
 

Jay Leno’s Garage looks into the amazing story of our first Nissan PlayStation GT Academy International winner, Ricardo Sánchez

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Nissan GT Academy winner Ricardo Sánchez recently showed Jay Leno just how well the racing game Gran Turismo translates to on-track skill in an appearance on Jay Leno’s Garage.

In 2014, the Mexican driver beat out 100,000 of his fellow countrymen, as well as hopefuls from five other regions, to become the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy International Winner. As a NISMO athlete, Sánchez has since gone on to compete at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and in the Pirelli World Challenge series in the U.S.

Despite having never been to Willow Springs track in California, Sánchez was on pace immediately in the Nissan GT-R thanks to practice laps on Gran Turismo.

Leno was initially doubtful of how well the virtual track driving would translate to real life. However, his fears were quickly appeased as Sánchez hit his marks perfectly and didn’t put a wheel wrong over during the run. When Leno asked Sánchez if he pushed the GT-R as hard on the track as in the game, Sánchez responded: “A little less in real life because if you make a mistake, it’s going to be a hard one.” To which Leno replied: “I’d shake your hand but you’re driving.”

SUV Review: Chevy Equinox vs. Nissan Rogue

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Nov 242017
 

At Latino Traffic Report (LTR), the chance for a back-to-back comparison of automotive competitors is rare, but sometimes, lightning strikes. Such was the case with the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2017 Nissan Rogue. Sharing a similar shade of exterior paint (Cajun Red and Palatial Ruby, respectively), they looked like brothers from another mother, but they were not. They were rivals that distinguished themselves in several ways.

Testaments to the increasing popularity of the small SUV segment, both models are top sellers for their brands. Equinox sales have reached nearly two million units since its launch and it is Chevrolet’s second-best selling vehicle overall, after the Silverado. Similarly, new sales records designate the Rogue as Nissan’s top-selling vehicle in the United States.

The two were nimble for city driving but the redesigned Equinox, also lighter by 400 pounds, felt much smaller compared to the outgoing model. It arrived in the mid-range LT trim as opposed to the Rogue, which came in the top-of-the-line SL AWD trim.

Under the hood, the Equinox offers three engine choices, all turbos—a 1.5-liter, 2.0-liter, and a 1.6-liter turbo diesel (a segment exclusive). I drove the 2.0-liter with 252 horsepower and 260 lb.–ft. of torque.

Rogue SL seats

The Rogue can be equipped with a choice of two four-cylinder engines, a 2.0-liter on the hybrid or a 2.5-liter matched to the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission with Sport and Eco mode switches. I drove the latter that produced 170 horses and 175 lb.–ft. of torque, giving the Equinox the power advantage. The Rogue, however, should have been more fuel efficient, with an EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy rating of 25/32 mpg compared to the Equinox’s 22/29 mpg rating. But I averaged 25.4 mpg with the Rogue and 26.7 mpg with the Equinox.

Equinox LT seats.

An SUV earns its stripes with utility, beginning with seating and cargo capacity. Both offer seating for five but the Rogue can also seat seven on lower trim levels with an optional third row. On the test model, the heated, two-tone leather seats elevated the Rogue’s interior, while the Equinox had quilted cloth seats. Both have 60/40 split second-row seats that fold flat. Inside, the Equinox there’s up to 63.5 cubic feet of maximum cargo space with the second row folded but the advantage goes to the Rogue with 70 cu. ft. of cargo room.

These family vehicles are not without safety innovations. Both SUVs equip all trim levels with rearview cameras but the Rogue tops that with its optional and innovative around view monitor on the SL trim. For the 2018 model year, a blind spot monitor will be standard on the Rogue but not on current models.

Rogue dash.

Chevy, however, offers its own signature safety technology, starting with Teen Driver (standard) that allows parents to set controls in order to encourage safe driving habits, even when they are not in the vehicle. The optional and improved Safety Alert seat on the test Equinox buzzed the left or right upper thigh as a warning and the available Rear Seat Reminder, also on the test model, pinged when the ignition was turned off to remind me to check the back seat before locking the SUV.

Equinox dash.

The standard MyLink infotainment system on the Equinox that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, can be matched to a standard seven- or an available eight-inch-diagonal color touchscreen, included on the test model via the Sun and Infotainment Package ($1,995). Other convenience features included cruise control, air conditioning, and keyless start. The Confidence and Convenience Package ($1,945) added a power liftgate, heated front seats, and side blind zone alert.

Nissan Connect with Navigation was included on the Rogue SL along with a seven-inch display, Nissan Voice Recognition for navigation and audio, and a motion activated tailgate. The SL Premium Package ($2,020) added a panoramic sunroof, and the Platinum Package ($770) added intelligent cruise control, among other features.

Available in four trim levels, and FWD or all wheel drive (AWD) combinations, pricing for the next-generation 2018 Equinox starts at $24,525. The as-tested price came to $34,375. The Rogue comes with three trims as well as a hybrid and the all-new Rogue Sport and a choice of FWD or AWD. Pricing starts at $24,795. The as-tested pricing came to $31,365.

Sí The Equinox included innovative safety technology like Teen Safety, OnStar, and Rear Seat Reminder.

The Rogue offered better value, with seating versatility, five or seven, as well as convenience technology like a power liftgate, plus a blind spot monitor that will soon be standard.

No: Important safety technology, like a blind spot monitor, was unavailable on the base trim levels of the Equinox.

The Rogue was less fuel-efficient than expected.

 

 

Chicago Auto Show 2017—New Trims and Special Editions

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Feb 212017
 

Auto shows offer a peek at what consumers may expect to see on car lots soon or in the near future. The largest auto show in the country, the Chicago Auto Show, just wrapped up and during the media preview, attended by Latino Traffic Report, manufacturers revealed more choices for a diverse consumer market.

More than two years since the first Titan was unveiled, Nissan completes the tale of this groundbreaking pickup-with the intro of the King Cab or extended cab version of the 2017 Titan. Nissan VP Fred Diaz held a tailgate chat with journalists, expressing satisfaction with the King Cab and announcing that the Titan line-up is now complete.

Tailgate chat with Nissan VP Fred Diaz.

“The launch of the new King Cab body is the last step in a journey that began in December 2015 with the debut of the breakthrough TITAN XD, which continues to carve out a unique white space between competitors’ heavy-duty and half-ton trucks,” said Diaz, division vice president and general manager, North America Trucks and Light Commercial Vehicles, Nissan North America, Inc. “Now, with the addition of a half-ton TITAN, our new Endurance V8, three body configurations, three bed lengths and a range of grade levels and equipment packages, we’re covering nearly every segment in the personal and commercial full-size truck markets. Add to that the industry’s best five-year/100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and the TITAN family is even more compelling.”

Offered in 4×4 and 4×2 and on both the half-ton and XD versions of the Titan, the King Cab (not to be confused with the four-door Crew Cab) features wide opening rear-hinged doors for added convenience. Potential commercial truck users will appreciate a first-in-segment “rear seat delete” option that removes the rear seat, rear heater duct, and rear roof-mounted assist grips and adds a flat rear load floor and rear wall finisher with tie-down hooks.

Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition

The Titan and Titan XD King Cabs should go on sale this spring.

Continuing to leverage the Rogue via its marketing alliance with LucasFilm. Ltd. and its latest blockbuster, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Nissan displayed the Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition package featuring Star Wars badging on the kickplates, floor mats, and Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire logos in cupholder inserts and interior accent lighting. Only available on a Rogue SV trim equipped with the Sun and Sound Touring Package makes it more accessible and unique, but not fancy. Nissan plans to produce only 5,400 with the package costing approximately $1,990 extra.

Finally, Nissan expanded its lineup of Midnight Edition vehicles, previously only available on the Maxima, introducing five new models in Chicago, namely the Sentra, Altima, Rogue, Murano and Pathfinder The trend of “darkened” accenting on vehicles appears to have its appeal as more and more brands introduce them. The black wheels, spoiler, mirror caps and available special floor mats with additional equipment added by model will set the new Midnight Editions apart.

Midnight Edition Nissan Rogue

“The six models offering Midnight Edition packages account for more than 75 percent of our U.S. sales, so we think they will find a receptive audience.” said Christian Meunier, senior vice president, Nissan Sales and Marketing and Operations, Nissan North America, Inc.; chairman, Nissan Canada.

On sale now, available exterior colors include Red Alert, Super Black, Aspen White, and Gun Metallic.

For drivers with special needs, Chrysler displayed a modified Pacifica with wheelchair access, part of its new partnership with a leader in aftermarket modifications for the disabled, BraunAbility. Included in the FCA US Automobility Program, the modified Pacifica will help ease the financial burden of drivers and passengers with physical challenges. Through this program, customers can be reimbursed for up to a maximum of $1,000 for out-of-pocket expenses to install qualifying adaptive driver or passenger equipment on a purchased or leased new Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram or FIAT vehicle.

Alex Fedorak introduces the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Limited Edition.

Marking its centennial, Mitsubishi also introduced a Limited Edition of the Outlander Sport, its most popular vehicle. Positioned directly above the ES trim level or base model, it will include 18-inch wheels, a rearview camera, an aluminum-alloy fuel door, and high-intensity discharge headlights.

Interior details include black cloth seating, red accent stitching on the steering wheel, shift knob, and brake lever, aluminum-covered pedals, and heated front seats.

“A lot of things have happened over the course of the last 100 years,” said Alex Fedorak, public relations manager for Mitsubishi. “A lot of innovations, and I’m proud to say that we were one of those innovators along the way.”

The Outlander Sport Limited Edition will be in dealerships later this month for $21,995 and available through the end of the model year.

For more views and information about the vehicles featured at the Chicago Auto Show, go to http://www.chicagoautoshow.com.

 

CUV and Car Launch: 2017 Rogue, Rogue Hybrid, and Sentra SR Turbo

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Jan 152017
 

It’s a happy coincidence when the name of your product matches that of a blockbuster movie. So it is with Nissan Rogue and Rogue One, the latest tale from the Star Wars franchise. Nissan recently launched the refreshed 2017 Rogue, all-new Rogue Hybrid, and Sentra SR Turbo in Greensboro, Georgia and Latino Traffic Report was there.

Impressive fuel economy from an all-new hybrid version—the first ever for Rogue— and enhanced technology and versatility should help the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) remain the top-selling Nissan model, while the new SR Turbo trim for the Sentra adds sportiness to the lineup.

Efforts to refresh the Rogue include a new front fascia with integrated fog lamps, and bumper. It now features the Nissan signature “V-Motion” grille and revised headlights with LED signature Daytime Running Lights and LED boomerang signature taillights in the rear. A new rear bumper and chrome-trim side door moldings complete the freshened appearance.

Versatility improves on the CUV with wide opening (77 degrees) rear doors for easier entry and exit to the rear passenger space. Available technology, like a new Motion-Activated Liftgate, uses a kick sensor system to open and close the tailgate. It’s standard on Rogue SL and available on Rogue SR as part of the SR Premium Package.

Refreshing changes continue on the inside with a new D-shaped steering wheel and leather-booted sport-mode shifter. Premium options like a heated steering wheel, memory for driver’s seats and mirror, and remote engine start are also now available, giving the Rogue a more premium look and feel.

It comes with two rows of seating for five but a third row can be added (except on the hybrid version) to expand seating to seven. Nissan’s innovative EZ Flex Seating System allows every seat except the driver’s to fold down—the front passenger seat folds rearwards—expanding versatility as well as cargo room to 70 cubic feet. But the Rogue’s configurability doesn’t end there. It also offers the Divide-N-Hide Cargo System that provides eighteen adjustable variations (two-row models only, not available with Rogue Hybrid) between the cargo and occupant areas.

Standard safety features include a RearView monitor, remote keyless entry, traction control, and Vehicle Dynamic Control. The available Rogue Safety Shield expands that list, adding a blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, Intelligent Cruise Control, and Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection.

As mentioned, the new gasoline-electric hybrid version offers an additional powertrain option to the standard 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. Fuel economy on the all-new hybrid should reach 33 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, dropping slightly on all-wheel-drive (AWD) models. On the test drive, we achieved an average of 34.6 mpg.

This compares to the expected city/highway fuel economy for the non-hybrid of 26/33 mpg, and 25/32 mpg on AWD models.

Pricing for the 2017 Rogue starts at $24,760.

Nissan introduced a limited edition of the Rogue with a Star Wars theme and branding at the LA Auto Show in November and partnered with Lucasfilm Ltd for a fully integrated marketing campaign. The additions and improvements on the 2017 version, including the all-new hybrid, should continue to grab attention, even after the blockbuster comes out on DVD.

2017 Sentra SR Turbo

For an added treat, Nissan also revealed a new, sporty trim level for the 2017 Sentra, the SR Turbo. The best news is that it comes with a responsive six-speed manual transmission that put a smile on my face as I drove it on a quick route in Greensboro. For those who can’t drive a manual, an Xtronic transmission is also available.

The SR’s four-cylinder, 1.6-liter Direct Injection Gasoline turbo engine with 188 horses also improves performance. Enhancements to the suspension, front brakes, and electric power steering complete the driving experience.

Like the base model Sentra S, the SR base model lacks options. The next level, SV trim, can be upgraded, but only the highest trims, SR and SL, can be upgraded with premium packages that bring features like leather-appointed seating, a Bose Premium audio system with eight speakers, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Pricing for the 2017 Sentra SR Turbo starts at $17,855.

 

Truck/SUV Launch: Nissan Titan, Pathfinder, and Armada

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Jan 132017
 

It’s one thing for a manufacturer to launch a new vehicle, it’s quite another to launch several at a time.  Nissan recently invited Latino Traffic Report to Northern California where it presented four new vehicles for 2017, the Titan (half-ton) and Titan XD Single Cab, Armada, and Pathfinder. Of the four, the Armada represents a complete redesign. The other three add a new model, transmission, configuration, and engine.

2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab

Titan

The Titan XD made quite an impression when it was launched in 2015 with a 5.0-liter V8 Cummins Turbo Diesel that produced 310 horsepower and 555 lb.–ft. of torque and a capability that placed it in a class by itself between a half-ton and heavy duty. It was so impressive that the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) named it the Truck of Texas in 2015, a rare feat for an import.

2017 Titan XD Single Cab

Nissan adds the Titan, a half-ton model for 2017, plus a Single Cab configuration to both the Titan and Titan XD models, a first for any generation of the truck, giving the lineup more appeal to business owners as a basic work truck. Once again TAWA members appreciated the latest Nissan products, naming the Titan XD Single Cab the Commercial Vehicle of Texas and the half-ton the Full-Size Pickup of Texas at the 2016 Truck Rodeo.

On the first day of the three-day launch, I drove the gasoline-powered Titan Crew Cab with the 5.6-liter V8 and new seven-speed automatic transmission. Producing 390 horses and 394 lb.–ft. of torque, the V8 will have a maximum towing rate of 9,390 pounds when properly equipped. Maximum towing capacities for the XD gasoline and diesel are

Under seat storage in the 2017 Titan Platinum Reserve

11,590 lbs. and 12,640 lbs., respectively. All Single Cabs come with an eight-foot bed for maximum payloads of 1,930 pounds (half-ton), 2,910 (XD gas), and 2,420 (XD diesel).

Available in five trim levels, from the base S to the Platinum Reserve, and two-wheel or four-wheel drive (2WD or 4WD), the Titan continues to give truck owners utility for work and comfort for families.

Pricing for the 2017 Titan starts at $35,975 and $30,775 for the Single Cab. Pricing for 2017 XD Single cab starts at and $32,285.

 

Armada

The next day we drove the all-new 2017 Armada, Nissan’s biggest sport utility vehicle (SUV). It shares the same powertrain as the gasoline-powered Titan, the 5.6-liter V8 and the seven-speed transmission, but not the same platform. Still, based on a truck-like body-on-frame construction, it embodies its segment, with a standard towing capacity of 8,500 lbs. for both 4WD and 2WD models (when properly equipped).

Like the Titan and Pathfinder, we tested the Armada on-road and off-road at the launch (see videos below), but we also enjoyed its comfort and convenience. This is after all, a premium SUV, in accoutrements as well as pricing. Like the Titan, it was also recognized at the 2016 TAWA Truck Rodeo, winning the title of SUV of Texas.

The all-new body design offers a 20 percent increase in twisted body stiffness for better handling and ride comfort. With seating for eight, it can be configured for seven with the optional Captain’s Chairs in the second row. Both second- and third -row benches are split 60/40 and fold flat to expose 95.4 cubic feet of cargo room. New technology includes a power folding feature for the third row that is optional on the base model SV and standard on the SL and Platinum grades.

Standard Armada creature comforts include, a push button ignition, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, an eight-inch color display, and Bose audio system. The Armada SV offers premium cloth seating surfaces, while leather-appointed seating is standard on SL and Platinum grades. The Platinum adds a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and heated second-row sets.

A suite of available safety and security features includes the class-exclusive Predictive Forward Collision Warning that warns the driver of risks that lie beyond the driver’s forward field of vision, Backup Collision Intervention, and Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection. Lane Departure Prevention, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, and class-exclusive Blind Spot Intervention are available, though not on the base model. It would be nice if at least one of these were standard.

Available in three trims and 2WD and 4WD, pricing for the second-generation Armada should start at $45,995.

Pathfinder

Before heading to the airport, we spent the last morning in the Pathfinder. Redesigned in 2013, it turned heads when it traded its body-on-frame construction for a unibody (car-like) construction. For 2017, it gets a refreshed exterior, increased performance, and new technology.

One of the oldest Nissan nameplates, the 2017 Pathfinder has a new hood, front bumper, and fog lights for a more aggressive style plus a new “V-Motion” grille and boomerang-shaped headlights with LED daytime running lights. It also receives a new, more powerful V6 for an increased tow rating of 6,000 lbs.

For added convenience, the new Motion-Activated liftgate can now be engaged with a sweeping motion below the rear bumper and takes technology from Infiniti to bring intuitive touch for the eight–inch entertainment display. The Pathfinder’s instrument cluster now includes the standard Advanced Drive-Assist Display (ADAD) with additional infotainment and driver assistance displays.

New available safety technology includes Forward Emergency Braking, Intelligent Cruise Control, and  Moving Object Detection that has been added to the available Around View Monitor. The Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert systems remain optional.

Pricing for the 2017 Pathfinder will start at $31,240.

Part of Nissan’s “Year of the Truck” campaign, these three models capture its efforts to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and families.

Young Mexicano Wins Nissan Racing Camp

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Nov 072016
 

Johnny Guindi Hamui from Mexico realized his motorsport dreams today as he was crowned the 2016 Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy International champion at Silverstone Circuit.

Johnny Guindi Hamui celebrates with teammates from Mexico after becoming the 2016 Nissan PlayStation GT Academy International champion.

Johnny Guindi Hamui from Mexico realized his motorsport dreams recently as he was crowned the 2016 Nissan PlayStation GT Academy International champion at Silverstone Circuit.

The 22-year-old triumphed above 35 other elite Gran Turismo gamers from around the world, winning a place on the comprehensive Nissan Driver Development Program and a race seat in the 2017 Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai race, alongside 2011 GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough.

The decision came after an epic eight-day Race Camp in the UK, with Hamui chosen as the winner due to his consistent pace and adaptability throughout the week, as well as a willingness to listen and take on all the advice given to him throughout Race Camp.Mexico’s Johnny Guindi Hamui crowned 2016 GT Academy Internati

In a new format for 2016, Race Camp came to an end with a 16-lap endurance race around Silverstone International Circuit, with two competitors from each territory taking part in the final race. In previous years, mentors have selected just one competitor to contest the race, but this new format gave a more in-depth look at how a larger range of competitors perform on the big occasion.

When the race got underway, Mexico initially made a quick getaway and led into the first corner. However, they were hauled in by the quick starting Mohamed Wally from North Africa who took the lead and built a gap in his eleven-lap stint. Mexico pitted early, changing Enrique Manjarrez for Hamui, who within two laps had set the fastest lap of the race.

When North Africa eventually stopped, Hamui had narrowed the gap completely and the pair went into the first corner side-by-side after North Africa emerged from the pits. Hamui then went on to take and consolidate the lead before seeing the checkered flag.

“I can’t believe it,” said Hamui. “What I’ve just achieved is going to take a while to sink in! It’s been an unbelievable experience with some seriously tough competitors, and I’ve had the best time of my life. In the race I was just so concentrated on doing a good job that my eleven laps in the car flew by … I can’t describe the feeling when Jann read out my name as the winner.”

Hamui’s journey with Nissan will begin almost immediately, as he takes to the track for a national event at Brands Hatch this weekend with Nissan’s RJN Motorsport team. RJN Motorsport, who run Nissan’s participation in the Blancpain Sprint and Endurance Series throughout Europe, will also be the team that Hamui will race for in Dubai in the Nissan 370Z GT4 NISMO.

Mexico’s Johnny Guindi Hamui crowned 2016 GT Academy Internati“The final race was just phenomenal,” said Mike Carcamo, director, Nissan Motorsport. “Hats off to all the teams who did a great job with the new format with the two drivers. It made for a really exciting race. Johnny did a great job in his second stint, having to come from behind and also overtaking guys and pushing hard. This was a real-life racing scenario and another great year for GT Academy!”

Hamui earned his place at Race Camp from the hundreds of thousands of Gran Turismo gamers that entered the competition across the world.

Having won through the Mexico National Final, he arrived at Silverstone as one of six to represent Mexico, alongside 35 International competitors overall, split into six territory groups. Each group formed a close bond with their territory judge who acted as a mentor, but then had to make the difficult decisions when it came to eliminations from the competition.

The on-track action got underway last Wednesday with six finalists from Australia, Indonesia, Mexico, North Africa, Philippines and Thailand. Throughout their week at International Race Camp, a series of both racing and physical challenges whittled them down to twelve  that took part in the final race.