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Should You Reconsider Nissan Vehicles?

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author photo by Josh Sadlier December 2014

As the third-most popular Japanese brand, it might be easy for Nissan to get lost in the shuffle. But when you think about it, Nissan vehicles should have as much street cred as those from Honda and Toyota. After all, Nissan's got a similarly rich company history, dating back decades with highlights including the original Z sports car, the affordable Maxima sport sedan and the rugged Pathfinder SUV. Since 1999, an alliance with French automaker Renault has given Nissan new platforms and technologies that reinforce its status as an industry innovator.

Here are several vehicles from Nissan's comprehensive lineup that merit particular consideration.

Nissan Altima

The Altima is the company's bread and butter, and it's easy to see why. Even the base 4-cylinder engine can sprint to 60 miles per hour in under 8 seconds, a remarkable performance. Step up to the optional V6 and you'll barely need 6 seconds for the same task. The 4-cylinder gets a whopping 38 miles per gallon on the highway, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), while the V6 returns a satisfying 32 mpg. Either way, Nissan's refined continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) provides perfectly smooth operation along with gear-like steps in acceleration to simulate the experience of a conventional automatic.

Inside, the Altima's NASA-inspired zero-gravity front seats serve up great support for many miles at a stretch, and the materials quality is above and beyond the norm for this segment. Nissan is known for sporty handling, and the Altima delivers when you throw it into a bend, thanks to quick, precise steering and good body control. Yet the car remains smooth and serene under normal circumstances, perfectly content to while away the hours on the interstate. It's no wonder that the Altima is one of the best-selling family sedans every year.

Nissan Murano

The 2014 Murano has an aging design, whereas the redesigned 2015 Murano is a decidedly modern crossover. The avant-garde exterior styling actually reminds us of the original Murano, an early product of the Renault collaboration that had a distinctly European flair. The dashboard is similarly daring, with dramatic curves and cutting-edge technology. If you want a midsize crossover that'll get you noticed, the 2015 Murano is a class leader right off the bat.

Interestingly, the Murano continues to be strictly a 2-row crossover, making it more of a reasonably priced Lexus RX competitor than a workhorse for growing families. That should preserve its exclusive status within Nissan's lineup; if you want a minivan substitute, there's always the related 3-row Pathfinder. As usual, power flows from a 3.5-liter V6 through a CVT, and available features include Bose audio, power-folding rear seats and a panoramic sunroof. The new Murano should continue to be a uniquely appealing option in this segment.

Nissan Rogue

The Rogue picks up where the previous-generation Toyota RAV4 left off, offering the convenience of three seating rows at a compact-crossover price point. The current RAV4 doesn't offer a third row, leaving the Rogue as one of the only entry-level crossovers to do so. The Rogue is also one of the most fuel-efficient 3-row crossovers in the game, carrying a remarkable EPA rating of 33 mpg hwy with front-wheel drive. A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is the only available engine, and for most folks, it should work just fine. Throw in classy cabin materials and appealing features like a surround-view parking camera and Bose audio, and you've got a well-rounded crossover that's a great fit for young families.

Nissan LEAF

The LEAF hatchback is arguably the car that introduced the benefits of electric power to mainstream drivers. Until this sleek runabout came along, EVs were generally the province of the wealthy, exemplified by the frivolous Tesla Roadster with its sky-high price tag and minimal versatility. The LEAF showed that EV technology could be brought to Main Street in a practical, affordable package, and it continues to impress with its useful 84-mile range, handy hatchback cargo area and futuristic dashboard layout. We also like its instant-on electric power; when you give a LEAF the spurs, it can surprise you with its enthusiasm. For purpose-built EV excellence on a budget, it still doesn't get any better than the LEAF.

AutoTrader Says

Nissan's a true full-line automaker with cars, crossovers, trucks and vans, so if you're in the market for a new vehicle, chances are there's a Nissan that fits the bill. If you haven't thought about Nissan vehicles lately, it might be time to reconsider.

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2014 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV w/ Sport Package
Used 2014 Nissan Maxima
$14,980
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2014 Nissan Juke S
Used 2014 Nissan Juke
$13,192
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2014 Nissan Rogue S
Used 2014 Nissan Rogue
$15,534
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2014 Nissan Altima 2.5 S
Used 2014 Nissan Altima
$12,112
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Should You Reconsider Nissan Vehicles? - Autotrader