Teasing a new car is an automaker’s 2015 Legacy

Subaru Legacy teaser shot

Subaru Legacy teaser shot

BY GERRY MILES

They’re a cross between a bad Rorschach Ink Blot and an under exposed photograph. In PR parlance they’re known by another term: the ‘teaser’ shot.

Subaru of American (SOA) released this teaser today of its all-new 2015 Legacy sedan that will debut Feb. 6 at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show.

Soobie said its new Legacy offers a sleeker, coupe-like profile with a faster windshield rake angle and narrower A-pillars that create a sporty and modern sedan.

Nissan’s new 2013 Pathfinder wins ‘Best Large Utility’ in Chicago

Pierre Loing, Vice President, Product Planning, Nissan Americas (right) accepts the 2013 Drivers' Choice Award from MotorWeek senior executive producer and longtime host John Davis on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at the Chicago Auto Show. (Photo by Tim Cadet)

Pierre Loing, Vice President, Product Planning, Nissan Americas (right) accepts the 2013 Drivers’ Choice Award from MotorWeek senior executive producer and longtime host John Davis on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at the Chicago Auto Show. (Photo by Tim Cadet)

 
By Gerry Miles

Never underestimate the power of an award. After redesigning its Pathfinder this year, the folks at Nissan were rewarded by MotorWeek  who named it “Best Large Utility” in its 2013 Drivers’ Choice Awards, recognizing the move to providing additional comfort and luxury over past SUV editions.

Pathfinder and the other 2013 Drivers’ Choice Awards winners will be featured in a special episode of MotorWeek, beginning Feb. 9.

Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, said: “The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder was completely redesigned to provide best-in-class standard towing capacity with cargo space for the entire family, and neither were compromised in pursuit of class-leading fuel efficiency. This honor solidifies the Pathfinder’s unparalleled versatility, and we sincerely thank MotorWeek for their recognition.” ;

The Drivers’ Choice Awards recognize the best models in a variety of lifestyle categories ranging from family sedan to luxury car, large utilities and pickups. Awarded annually since 1983, MotorWeek bases its Drivers’ Choice Awards on superior performance, technology, practicality, dollar value and driving experience. Unlike other industry benchmarks, MotorWeek’s award categories reflect consumer buying trends and the full range of buyer preferences.

MotorWeek’s longtime host John Davis added: “With a lighter unibody chassis and V6-only power, the Nissan Pathfinder remains plenty capable off road and can still tow 5,000 pounds.”

The all-new 4th generation Pathfinder features a completely redesigned chassis and body, with a class-exclusive Xtronic CVT® transmission to get a class-leading fuel economy of 26 mpg highway and a more comfortable ride than the previous edition.

While most vehicles “downsize” to increase fuel economy goals, Nissan says its 2013 Pathfinder is slightly larger than before with best-in-class interior passenger volume and best-in-class front headroom and front legroom.

Adding to the convenience items is Nissan’s Around View Monitor***, a class-exclusive 3rd row recline* and Easy Fill Tire Alert. Pathfinder claims it maintains a class-leading standard towing capability* of 5,000 lbs and intuitive 4WD, featuring class-exclusive selectable 2WD, Auto and 4WD lock modes.

All-new 2014 Toyota Tundra bows in Chicago

2014 Toyota Tundra Limited

2014 Toyota Tundra Limited

  • New Chiseled Exterior Styling
  • All-New Interior Design Combines Refinement and Improved Function
  • Segment-Leading Standard Backup Camera and Bluetooth® on All Grades
  • Available Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Engineered, Designed and Assembled in the United States
By Gerry Miles

Toyota rolled out its 2014 version of it vaunted Tundra pickup that was totally redesigned, showing its first major overhaul since its debut for the 2007 model year and will be assembled exclusive at the marque’s San Antonio, Texas plant.

The 2014 Tundra will have a grade strategy consisting of the hard-working SR, volume-leading SR5, an upper/middle line Limited, and two premium grades: “Platinum” and the all-new “1794 Edition.”

The new 1794 Edition is a tribute to the ranch, founded in the year 1794, on which the Tundra plant is located in San Antonio.Tundra75Percent

Tundra will be offered in three cab styles:

  • two-door Regular Cab
  • four-door Double Cab
  • four-door CrewMax, all available in 4×2 and 4×4.

Power will be available from three proven powertrains:

– A 4.0-liter, 270 hp, (278. lb-ft. peak torque) Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) V6 is standard on Tundra Regular and Double Cabs and paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission with uphill/downhill shift logic.

– An optional 4.6-liter, 310 hp,  DOHC i-Force V8 offers 327 lb.-ft. of peak torque
– The 5.7-liter, 381 hp, DOHC i-Force V8 produces 401 lb.-ft. of peak torque, in both gasoline and “Flex Fuel” variants

Both V-8’s come standard with a 6-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.  All Tundra engines feature an aluminum cylinder block and DOHC heads, along with Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) for a broad torque curve and optimized efficiency.

The interior is roomier – hard to believe in a way – and the use of all the major controls with a gloved hand as demonstrated when it first debuted – carries through out – making it a snap for anyone wearing snow gloves or work gloves … an idea some other large pickup truck makers ought to examine and re-think in their center console stack design.

Significantly New, Unique Exterior Designs; Distinct Look for Each Grade
Inside and out, each grade embodies a specific theme through distinct designs that go beyond just badging.

The all-new front design integrates the hood and grille for a chiseled and modern industrial image.  The chrome grille has a taller, bolder look visually connecting the upper intake to the lower bumper. The front lower bumpers are now a 3-piece design, allowing for grade differentiation and less expensive replacement parts.

An all-new bed design helps carry the chiseled character lines all the way down the profile, leading to a rugged new bed and tail gate, with an integrated spoiler and “TUNDRA” stamped into the sheet metal, creating a one-piece forged look. The integrated spoiler in the deck helps with fuel efficiency, while the tail lamps express a tool-like quality to match the appearance of the body.  Like the front bumper, the rear bumper changes from one piece to three, for lower replacement costs.

2014Tundra Platinum

2014Tundra Platinum

The Platinum grade has been completely redesigned for the next generation of personal use truckers.  It features perforated black leather-trimmed seats with double-stitched diamond plate leather, door and instrument panel inserts, and chrome seat and console accent badging for an upscale yet urban feel.  In addition, Platinum uses premium leather never before used on a Toyota truck and comes with many standard amenities, including a 12-speaker JBL audio system with Entune™, heated and ventilated front seats, navigation and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

2014 Tundra 1794

2014 Tundra 1794

The 1794 Edition reflects a western lifestyle theme and includes exclusive premium saddle brown leather seating with embossed leather and ultra-suede accents and added content such as heated and ventilated front seats, JBL audio and Entune, navigation and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Handling Enhancements Several enhancements have been implemented on the 2014 Tundra to improve performance.  Shock-absorber valving has been re-tuned to improve Tundra ride quality over harsh surfaces.

Steering feel and straight line stability has been improved due to steering system improvements.  These improvements reduce the inputs from road variations and imperfections, resulting in improved straight line stability and less driver fatigue.

Patented aerodynamic stabilizer fins are added to the outside surface of the rear tail lamp lens, and the outside mirror bases.  These patented “Aero-Fins” reduce the air turbulence along the sides of the vehicle resulting in improved straight-line stability during normal driving conditions and while towing.

The SR and SR5 grades will ride on 18-inch styled steel wheels, while the Limited, Platinum and 1794 Edition will ride on all-new 20-inch alloy wheels specific to each grade.

Tundra remains the only full-size pickup in the segment to adhere to the SAE J2807 towing standard.  When equipped with a tow package, Tundra has a maximum tow capacity of 10,400 pounds (4×2 Regular Cab).

All 2014 Tundras Feature a Number of Segment Firsts
Tundras will feature a number of segment firsts, including a new Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a standard back-up camera (viewed from the audio display screen), and standard Bluetooth.  Additional standard features include a 3.5-inch multi-information display in the gauge cluster.

The Limited grade adds eight-way power driver seat, standard chrome door handles and outer mirrors, 20-inch alloy wheels and a deck rail system.

The Platinum and 1794 Edition come standard with a 10-way power driver’s seat with memory and a four-way power passenger’s seat, both with heat and ventilation, power moonroof (CrewMax only), parking sonar, and Display Audio with Navigation, Entune and JBL.

First Blind Spot Monitor with Cross Traffic Alert
The 2014 Tundra will be the first in its segment to be equipped with a standard backup camera on all grades, and the first truck in its segment to offer a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (Platinum and 1794 Edition).

All Tundra models will also feature the standard Toyota Star Safety System™ that includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop (SST) brake override technology.

Smart Stop Technology is designed to automatically reduce engine power when both brake and accelerator pedals are pressed at the same time under certain conditions, helping the driver bring the vehicle to a stop.

Tundra will be equipped with eight standard airbags including front seat-mounted side airbags, and front and rear Roll-sensing Side Curtain Airbags (RSCA) in all models, driver and front outboard passenger airbags with an Advanced Airbag System, and the segments only driver and front outboard passenger knee airbags.

Additional safety features include manual headlamp leveling and standard LED Daytime Running Lights (Platinum and 1794 Edition).

The redesigned 2014 Tundra will reach Toyota dealers in September.

2014 TUNDRA PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS
POWERTRAINS
4.0 Liter V-6
270 H.P. @ 5600 RPM
278 lb-ft Torque @4400 RPM
5-Speed Automatic Transmission
4.6 Liter V-8
310 H.P. @ 5600 RPM
327 lb-ft Torque @3400 RPM
6-Speed Automatic Transmission.
5.7 Liter V-8
381 H.P.@ 5600 RPM
401 lb-ft Torque @ 3400 RPM
6-Speed Automatic Transmission
DIMENSIONS (inches)
Overall length:                  228.7 (Std Bed)
Overall width:                   79.9
Overall height:                  76.2
Wheelbase:                    145.7 (Long Bed)
TRUCK BED DIMENSIONS (inches)
Bed length                      78.7 (Std Bed)
Bed width
(between wheel wells):    50.0
Bed width
(wall-to-wall):                  65.0
Bed depth:                     22.2

Information used in this report was received from Toyota.

Nissan shows off performance lineup in Chi-town, Juke Nismo revealed, GT-R Track Edition

013 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van

2013 Nissan NV200 Cargo Van

All-New 2013 Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo Van Also Makes U.S. Debut

 By Gerry Miles

Performance was the name of the game in Chicago for Nissan, with its performance department, NISMO, showing off a 2013 Juke NISMO  and 2014 370Z NISMO.

Also making its first U.S. appearance is an even higher-performance version of the 2014 Nissan GT-R, the limited-production GT-R Track Edition.

The new performance vehicles share the spotlight with the production debut of the all-new 2013 Nissan NV200 cargo van, Nissan’s Commercial Vehicle third model.

“With the global expansion of NISMO-branded products like the new JUKE NISMO and 370Z NISMO, we want to make NISMO the most recognized and respected performance brand from Japan,” said Simon Sproule, Nissan’s Corporate Vice President, Global Marketing Communications. NISMO vehicles are designed to be cutting edge performance, technology, aspirational and inspirational.

2013 Nissan JUKE NISMO

2013 Nissan JUKE NISMO

The new JUKE NISMO, 2013 Nissan JUKE NISMO, with 100 revised components, will go on sale nationally in March 2013. It is offered in all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive models in three exterior colors – white, black and silver.

Power comes from a NISMO-tuned 197-horsepower 1.6-liter DIG turbo engine, a tuned suspension, bold styling with a 37 percent improvement in downforce, NISMO interior with deeply bolstered front seats and red accents and lightweight 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.

2014 370Z NISMO

2014 370Z NISMO

The 2014 370Z NISMO, which goes on sale this summer, features a number of exterior and interior enhancements is powered by a 350-horsepower, 3.7-liter DOHC V-6 engine.

2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition

2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition

Completing Nissan’s performance lap in Chicago was the new, limited edition, Nissan GT-R Track Edition, the third and most exclusive model in the 2014 GT-R line. Only 150 models will be offered for sale in the USA.

If it’s possible to make it any more powerful than it already is, the firm’s 545-horsepower street supercar has a firmer suspension, special brake cooling guides, front spoiler with carbon fiber air ducts and a lightweight quilted cloth mat where the rear seats usually reside. It is set to go on sale at select GT-R certified Nissan dealerships nationwide beginning in May 2013.Also announced is an extension of the popular Nissan “Project 370Z,” a group-sourced custom-built version of Nissan’s popular sports car. Introduced at the Chicago show in 2012, the project’s goal was to utilize the passion and knowledge of Nissan Z fans online to help direct the creation of a unique, one-off Nissan 370Z utilizing readily available aftermarket parts and accessories.

A 500-horsepower 370Z has emerged, and in phase two, social media followers will select a privately owned Nissan Z to compete against Project 370Z in a showdown at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in mid-March in conjunction with Motor Trend magazine.  Details are available at https://www.facebook.com/NissanPerformance.

Nissan has also posted a link (http://nissannews.com/en-US/nissan/usa/releases/video-report-project-370z-fans-invited-to-find-a-challenger-for-the-car-they-created) at its news page for the project faithful to follow as well.

2013 Nissan NV200

2013 Nissan NV200 with its rear sliding door.

In addition to the array of performance vehicles revealed at the show, the all-new 2013 Nissan NV200 cargo van is aimed at offering an affordable option to fleet and small business owners versus the traditionally larger, cargo vans. In short, it’s aimed squarely at the Ford Transit Connect.

With a best-in-class starting M.S.R.P. of $19,990* and segment-leading** fuel economy of 24 miles per gallon City, the NV200 offers a large, 122.7-cubic foot cargo capacity within a compact overall exterior footprint.

Said Nissan Commercial Vehicles Vice President Joe Castelli: “For business owners who have been making do with larger, more costly vans and pickups than they really need, or re-purposing passenger vehicles, we’re providing relief with this all-new ‘right-sized’ Nissan NV200. Here in North America we’re projecting the compact van segment to nearly double in size in the next few years. The Nissan NV200 will be a major part of that growth.”

The NV200 goes on sale at 300 Nissan Commercial Vehicle dealers nationwide in April. Among its many features are a commanding driving position, “mobile office” style console and fold-flat passenger’s seat, sliding side doors and standard tall, 40/60-split rear doors that open 180 degrees, a low 19.5-inch cargo floor height for easy loading and unloading, and segment-exclusive standard integrated mounting points. It is powered by a fuel-efficient 2.0-liter DOHC 4-cylinder mated to an advanced Xtronic CVT® transmission.

Edmunds.com has your primer for the Chicago Auto Show … right here

By Gerry Miles

If the threat of Blizzard Nemo has you chilled to the bone and wanting to stay home – and that’s not a bad idea given the amount of wind and snow blowing through the Northeast right now, Edmunds.com has put together a wonderful primer of new vehicle introductions that will take place up in the Windy City. They’ll save you time, travel and the the trouble of deciphering what’s hot and not, from the comfort of your recliner.

You can find the latest “Drive by Numbers” column from Edmunds.com Sr. Analyst Jessica Caldwell by clicking on this link: http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/analysis/drive-by-numbers-2013-chicago-auto-show-primer.html.

For updated analysis of this week’s show, please visit Edmunds.com’s Chicago Auto Show page at http://www.edmunds.com/auto-shows/chicago/.

Highlighted facts include:

  1. Chicago is the third-largest car buying market in the country, accounting for nearly 3% of retail sales in the United States.
  2. Chicago retail auto sales increased 28% last year from February to March. That was 10 percentage points higher than the national increase of 18%. What does that mean? The pressure is on for automakers, since people who go to the Chicago show are ready to buy.

Redesigned Tundra to bow in Chicago Feb. 7

Toyota released a spartan press release declaring the new 2014 Toyota Tundra will make its debut at the Chicago Auto Show. No teaser image was released. Stay tuned to the Windy City for the presser on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 9:00 a.m. (CST) in the Grand Ballroom at McCormick Place.

The reveal of the redesigned Tundra will be broadcast live via Livestream at: http://new.livestream.com/toyota.