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First Drive: 2019 Nissan Altima

One very good reason why the sedan isn’t ready to die.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.28, 2018

For 2019, the new Nissan Altima will be offered in a heavily equipped First Edition trim.

The sedan is dead. Long live the sedan. Or so goes what currently passes for conventional wisdom, backed by the decision to slash the number of four-door models, indeed, eliminate them entirely at Ford Motor Co.

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But I have seen the future and it is not an entirely SUV and CUV-driven world. If the complete makeover that is the 2019 Nissan Altima is any indication, there’s a clear place for sedans for the foreseeable future. And among the many new features that would seem to make the Altima a natural alternative for Snowbelt buyers who might really want a more conventional set of wheels: Altima marks the first time Nissan is offering all-wheel-drive in one of its sedans. That is, in fact, a relatively rare feature among mainstream four-doors, and not available on segment leaders Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

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First Drive: 2015 Nissan Murano

A flagship crossover that remains a design benchmark.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.08, 2014

The 2015 Nissan Murano shows off its V-Motion grille and floating roof design.

When the original Nissan Murano made its debut a dozen years ago, it stood in sharp contrast to the rest of the SUVs of that era. Conventional wisdom suggested that U.S. buyers wanted rugged utes capable of serious off-roading – or at least looking like they could handle the roughest trails.

One of the first car-based entries in the midsize segment, the Murano didn’t try to disguise what it was with lots of macho cladding. Instead, Nissan’s five-seat crossover put a premium on edgy styling, improved handling and reduced fuel consumption.

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Today, Murano has plenty of competition in a booming segment where car-based crossovers handily outsell traditional, truck-based SUVs. In fact, it’s becoming all but impossible to find a classic body-on-frame ute in a market where even the Ford Explorer and Nissan’s own Pathfinder have migrated to car-based platforms. But as Nissan makes clear with the launch of the 2015 Murano, its midsize model remains a styling trendsetter. (more…)

First Drive: 2011 Nissan Juke

Quirky, for sure, but plenty fun to drive.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Aug.26, 2010

The 2011 Nissan Juke isn't just another urban cruiser.

Pulling up to the ferry terminal at Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay, it doesn’t take long for a crowd to form.  We’re just waiting for the boat to take us over to the Sunshine Coast, but seemingly everyone has to come and check out our new set of wheels, ask questions and offer their opinion

Nissan has a history of coming up with quirky, provocative crossover-utility vehicles – think Murano or Infiniti FX – and the Japanese maker’s latest offering certainly lives up to that reputation.  Based on the same B-car platform as the Versa minicar, the 2011 Nissan Juke is certainly not just another plebian SUV wannabe.

There are the muscular wheel arches and the sloping roof line that is vaguely reminiscent of the little Z-car, at least a Z on steroids.  The bubble back could be borrowed from Murano though the Nike swoop-like lights might easily be lifted from one of the Volvo XC models.  Then there’s that nose.  Everyone has a thought to offer.

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Juke’s headlamps aren’t where you’d expect them.  A pair of large, clear blisters erupt from the hood and would suggest that the car is using the latest in project lamp technology.  But they’re actually just turn signals.  The headlamps are mounted in the circles that rise from the bumper, where you might expect foglamps.  Those, if your car is so –equipped, are tucked almost out of sight in the lower fascia.

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