2006 New York Show, Part IV

April 12, 2006


 

 

 

 

2006 New York Auto Show Coverage by TCC Team (4/10/2006)

 

 

New Altima from Nissan

 

2007 Nissan Altima

2007 Nissan Altima

In the past six years, Nissan nearly doubled the number of models offered in North America . Sales have doubled as well, surpassing one-million in total for the last two years, led by the Altima, the highest volume Nissan at 255,000 units during 2005. Now comes a fourth-generation Altima. The 2007 model, on sale this fall, has a more powerful 3.5-liter V-6 engine and optional continuously variable transaxle. There is also a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Both engines are said by Nissan to have significant performance enhancements. The Altima is based on all-new Nissan "D" platform with improved body rigidity and a redesigned suspension aimed at making Altima one of the best performing large front-wheel drive sedans in the world, according to Nissan. More significant is the ongoing marketing shift to CVTs. In North America in the near future, all Sentra, Altima, Maxima, and Murano models sold with automatic transmissions will come equipped with CVTs. A hybrid version of the Altima is also under development. — Ken Zino

 

See more '07 Nissan Altima pics

 

 

 

Maxima Gets Subtle Facelift

 

The new Altima sedan is the volume leader at Nissan, but the Maxima remains the flagship, the company says. So, early this summer the 2007 Maxima will appear with a minor exterior freshening — grille, hood lights, side sills, and bumpers — and a markedly upgraded interior with real aluminum trim, revised gauges and controls, new bucket seats, and “available” leather seating surfaces. The glass-paneled roof continues as standard equipment. Underneath remains a 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6 engine, now rated at 255 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque, down from last year’s 265 hp and 255 lb-ft due to a change in the SAE testing protocol. However, all automatic transmission models will now come with a continuously variable transaxle, that Nissan claims will provide the best performance, efficiency, and feel in the $30,000 sport sedan class. The CVT has a manual shifting mode and is a more aggressively tuned version of the CVT used in the Murano. While Toyota has clearly staked out the hybrid leader claim, Nissan remains the industry leader in CVTs, with three designs in production. All Sentra, Altima, Maxima, and Murano models sold with automatic transmissions will come equipped with CVTs in the U.S. in the near future. Traction control is also standard on all models. This is now the sixth-generation Maxima in the U.S. since its 1981 introduction, and Nissan says that its Maxima buyers are its most loyal customers. Ken Zino

 

 

Next GT-R Coming in ’08 — As A Nissan

 

2000 Lexus LX470

2000 Lexus LX470

Nissan also confirmed in New York that the GT-R sportscar, shown as a GT-R Proto concept at recent shows, will be coming to the U.S. in 2008. To some surprise, the GT-R will be coming over as a Nissan vehicle, not as an upmarket Infiniti, suggesting that it will be the most expensive Nissan ever. The production version of the vehicle will be shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, and will be on sale in the U.S. and Canada in the spring of 2008.

 

We preview the Nissan GT-R

 

 

 

 

 

Saturn Has New Outlook

 

2000 Chevrolet Blazer Xtreme Concept

2000 Chevrolet Blazer Xtreme Concept

The Saturn Outlook is a three-row, eight-passenger crossover vehicle that goes into production late this year inMichigan. The Outlook is based on GM’s new crossover vehicle platform, Lambda, that will also see a new Buick Enclave wagon and a GMC with the unconfirmed name of Acadia, and a new Opel. Powering the Outlook is the GM 3.6-liter V-6 with variable valve timing. It is rated at an estimated 269 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. Available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the unibody vehicle shares a six-speed automatic transmission that was developed with Ford Motor Company. While transmission components are shared with Ford, application engineering, such as for its calibration, is unique. GM says that when compared with its usual four-speed automatic, the new transmission provides performance improvements of about six to eight percent while improving fuel economy two to four percent. The Aura, Sky Red Line, and Outlook are among five new vehicles joining the Saturn family for the 2007 model year. —Ken Zino

 

Saturn: Can GM Renew the Affair?

 

See more Saturn Outlook pictures

 

 

 

Saturn Kisses Sky with Red Line

2006 Saturn Sky

2006 Saturn Sky

 

2007 Saturn Sky Red Line Bob Lutz

2007 Saturn Sky Red Line Bob Lutz

Usual auto-industry practice is to wait a year or two before introducing derivatives of a new car. This gives companies and dealers something to hawk after the initial sales surge diminishes and the line needs a promotional boost. Not at Saturn nor at Pontiac this time around. The Saturn Sky roadster just now appearing in showrooms starting at $23,690 will be joined this fall by a Red Line version. Red means 260 hp, and 260 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine in place of the base 2.4-liter, 177-hp four-cylinder. This is GM’s highest specific output engine ever at 2.1 hp per cubic inch of displacement (130 hp/liter) and the most powerful engine in the Ecotec family. The same powertrain and output numbers apply to the upcoming Pontiac Solstice GXP, the performance version of the Solstice, which starts at $20,490 with less standard equipment than the Sky. The Sky and an upcoming Opel GT version due late this year are based on the same Kappa platform as the Solstice. The turbocharged versions are not priced yet, but look for several thousand dollars to be added, especially if current initial demand remains high. Turbocharged versions should be easily capable of zero-to-60 mph elapsed times of less than six seconds. —Ken Zino

 

 

Aura Revealed at Saturn

 

2007 Saturn Aura

2007 Saturn Aura

One more time with an Opel feeling? The new Saturn Aura is a mid-size sedan, due this summer as the brand’s second attempt at expanding into a segment long dominated by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, after the unlamented and cancelled L-Series. The Aura is based on the Epsilon mid-size car platform shared with the Opel Vectra, but built in the U.S. A 3.5-liter V-6 with variable valve timing (VVT) is standard, while there’s an optional more powerful 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 with VVTi. The 3.6-liter engine is mated to a new, six-speed automatic transmission — the first GM product to receive what is called a performance-oriented, fuel-saving gearbox. Later in the 2007 model year, an Aura hybrid model will become available. It uses a four-cylinder-based mild hybrid powertrain similar to the Saturn Vue Green Line appearing this summer. The Vue hybrid is predicted to be the lowest-cost hybrid-powered SUV in the market, starting at less than $23,000, and offering fuel economy improvements of about 20 percent in stop-and-go driving estimated by GM at 27 mpg city. It uses a combination electric motor/generator mated to a 2.4-liter VVT four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission. Efficiency is increased by engine shut-off at idle, fuel cut-off during deceleration, electric power assist during acceleration, and regenerative braking. —Ken Zino

 

Saturn Aura gets six-speed transmission

 

 

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