Daily Archives: March 25, 2013

A look inside the EPA’s contentious MPG ratings (CNET On Cars, Episode 13)

Episode 14, EPA Mileage Ratings Explained

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If you like high-tech cars, the Audi A7 is very high on your list. It’s just about the techiest ride out there and far from the most expensive. Add the hot sauce of S trim and the 2013 Audi S7 becomes a favorite of ours. I’ll take you for a ride in this episode.

I’ve never received more sustained email on a single topic than I have on EPA mileage ratings lately. Many of you ar… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

2013 Nissan Pathfinder

Blue exterior

2013 Nissan Pathfinder Overview

For the longest time, the Nissan Pathfinder has always retained its renowned discipline in hauling, occasional off-road adventuring and towing capabilities.  However, its downsides include cramped rear seats, truck-like driveability and unsatisfactory fuel economy in today’s strict standards.  In Nissan’s attempt to fall in phase with consumer expectations, the 2013 Pathfinder now offers a more comfortable ride quality and better fuel economy.

Nissan also figured out the demand for rugged off-road  capabilities has phased out.  This is why the Nissan Pathfinder inherited much of its design efforts from the Infiniti Jx35 Crossover.  The vehicle is merely 500 lbs lighter than its predecessors.  As what you might have guessed, the lighter and better fuel efficiency sacrifices for less towing capacity than its older brothers, but it can still haul up to 5,000 lbs.

A lot of positive comments can be said about the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, namely the silky smooth acceleration and luxurious cabin space.  Even so, it still faces stiff competition from other automotive giants including the Mazda CX9, and Ford Explorer, and Honda Pilot.

Powertrain and Performance

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is propelled by its well renowned 3.5 liter six cylinder engine, producing 260hp, and 240 ft-lbs of torque.  The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder comes standard with front wheel drive coupled to a CVT transmission.  The powertrain can be upgraded to Nissan’s all-wheel-drive system, which allows the user to select between all-wheel-drive mode, which dynamically splits power delivery between the front and rear axle, or locks the power delivery to 50/50 between the front and rear axle.  The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder fuel economy scores in at an estimated 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 22 combined.  These numbers are not mind boggling, but for its power capability and features, these scores deserve honorable mention.  Our 0-60 acceleration test scored in at about 8.0 seconds, which passes the average score numbers.   When equipped properly, the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder towing capacity is rated up to 5,000 lbs.

Interior and Styling

The interior cabin space of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is unbeatable to any other in its class.  The cabin space is very welcoming with its soft-quilted leather, and beautiful wood trim surrounding the center console.  Once seated, you will notice the panels are also bordered with soft leather and economic controls.  The front seats are designed around aeronautical research, and by no surprise, are one of the comfortable seats we’ve sat in.  The same can be said about the second row seats.  The third row provides adequate  headroom for 6-foot passengers, but clearance will begin to diminish beyond this point.

Nissan’s infotainment system deserves compliment.  It is intuitive and responsive to user feedback.  Steering wheel controls are also very conveniently placed for changing stereo settings and answering phone calls over Bluetooth.  We also like to mention one of Nissan’s amazing panoramic camera system (only included in the platinum trim level), which projects a bird’s eye-view image of the vehicle while parking to avoid colliding with obstacles.

Driving Impression and Final Thoughts

The 2013 Nissan Path finder shares its genetics with its upscale sibling, Infiniti JX35.  As a result, the ride quality of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder falls nothing short of expectation.  It delivers a very quiet and pleasant ride.  Acceleration is very smooth and the overall ride quality is very calm and composed.  Compared to beefier 7 seater vehicles such as the Ford Flex and Mazda CX9, acceleration is a bit sluggish when pulling off from a standstill.  The steering and handling of the Nissan Pathfinder also feels lazy and susceptible to body roll when cornering.  Nevertheless, the silky smooth ride, unbeatable interior cabin space and great fuel economy is difficult to beat in its class.

2013 Nissan Sentra Review

The new and improved 2013 Nissan Sentra is making quite a comeback. The last time the Nissan Sentra was redesigned was in 2007, and let’s face it, modern technology and innovation have surpassed it. The 2013 Nissan Sentra is a modern, spacious, fuel economical and upscaled car. The 2013 Nissan Sentra has a complete new look compared to the previous generation. The 2013 Nissan Sentra is now about 2 inches longer, 150 pounds lighter, has a new continuously variable transmission (CVT), a better fuel economy and refined looks inside out.
Under the hood of the 2013 Nissan Sentra is an entirely new engine. The 2013 Nissan Sentra is offered in several different trims; the S, FE+S, SV, FE+SV, SR and SL trim. The particular “FE+” trim has promoted fuel economy with the help of less rolling resistance and under-body aerodynamic reflectors. Each of these styles, except the standard version, comes with Nissan’s well received CVT as standard. The standard version, S, comes with a six-speed manual transmission with the CVT as an option. The new CVT allows the Sentra to have more flexible gear ratios, by changing gears more effectively. This refreshed car also has a new 1.8 liter four cylinder engine now and gets 130 horsepower with 128 pound-feet of torque power. This new engine and transmission allows the 2013 Nissan Sentra to get one of the top gas mileage economies in its class. The 2013 Nissan Sentra renders 30 miles per gallon in the city and 39 miles per gallon on the highway with an average of 34 miles per gallon. The FE+ versions are expected to render 40 miles per gallon.
The outside and inside of the 2013 Nissan Sentra has also changed considerably. Each different style offered includes different features for the exterior. The standard version comes with 16 inch steel wheels, a manually adjustable driver’s seat, air conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a trip computer, full power accessories and a four-speaker sound system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack. Each version also offers different packages for the 2013 Nissan Sentra. The SR and SV also offer a drivers package. The FE+ versions of the S and SV also add extra features to the Sentra. The SL comes with the SV’s standard features and equipment from the Driver’s package. The SR, SV, and SL also offer a premium package which includes sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an eight-speaker Bose audio system. The Navigation package gives the Sentra more options for those who travel a lot. The Leather package (SL only) gives the Sentra a more comfortable style inside. Each of these features offers a modern and upscale look for the 2013 Nissan Sentra and the new length of the 2013 Nissan Sentra also allows for a more comfortable ride with more passenger space and more luggage capacity.
Driving the 2013 Nissan Sentra around town provides quite a pleasant ride.  The new CVT allows for smooth driving in the city and for merging onto highways.  Most people despise CVT transmissions, but Nissan has managed to beat the odds. The CVT allows for smooth and less frequent shifting, and a quieter ride.  As much as we enjoyed the ride quality, the steering is numb as a result of softer suspensions.   The 2013 Nissan Sentra could also have a better throttle response and a  crisper acceleration.  Stomping on the throttle at a green transition traffic light results in a capacitive delay in acceleration.  Even with these cons the 2013 Nissan Sentra is still a very satisfactory car for every day driving.  The 2013 Nissan Sentra is very competitive on the market within its midsize sedan class. The manufactured selling retail price is also very good typically starting at $16,770. The 2013 Nissan Sentra having a modern, upscale, spacious, and fuel economical sedan makes this car hard to beat if the everyday commute is your priority.