Nissan to Offer More Fuel Efficient Models

Over the next three years, the quest for greater fuel economy will have a big influence on the look and performance of Nissan’s new offerings. The automaker says it will focus heavily on reducing the total weight, improving the aerodynamics and minimizing engine and transmission friction.

The 2013 Nissan Altima, which began arriving in dealer showrooms in June, gives a few hints as to the direction the automaker is taking.  The upcoming model delivers 20 percent higher fuel economy than the outgoing 2012 model. The company says its upcoming Pathfinder SUV, Versa hatchback, Rogue crossover and Sentra compact will also reflect the company’s commitment to improved fuel economy.

By reducing friction, Nissan is focusing on squeezing the most out of its existing engine lineup, and also plans to introduce a number of new engines in North America between 2013 and 2015.

The 2013 Sentra borrows from the Altima’s design to make it more competitive with the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Nissan will also launch a redesigned Pathfinder SUV this fall.  The 2013 model will feature unibody construction instead of the current body-on-frame construction and will deliver 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway for a combined 22 mpg – the best of any model in the mid-sized crossover segment.

The 2014 Rogue will be built at the company’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant and will feature sleek new roof lines and will reportedly be available with a hybrid powertrain in some markets. The next-generation Rogue will likely feature design elements that were showcased in the Hi-Cross concept model which was unveiled at the Geneva auto show earlier this year.  The Hi-Cross was equipped with a 2.0-liter engine and hybrid powertrain.

Nissan had planned to launch its redesigned Titan full-sized for model-year 2013, but disruptions caused by the March 11 earthquake have forced the automaker to postpone the launch until next year. The company is reportedly considering offering a regular cab body style and smaller, more fuel efficient engine options. The current Titan is only available with a 5.6-liter V-8 engine.

Nissan also plans to launch a restyled Maxima sedan in 2014 or 2015. In addition to the cosmetic facelift, the next-generation of the company’s flagship model will also offer improved fuel economy than the current model. Other refreshed models scheduled to launch in 2014 include the Juke crossover, Frontier mid-sized pickup, and Xterra SUV.

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