• Jun 16th 2008 at 2:27PM
  • 9

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According to Yo Usaba, senior veep of powertrains for Nissan, the upcoming clean diesel engine for the next Nissan Maxima may be paired only with a manual transmission. Although the stick would likely be the most efficient transmission choice, it doesn't seem all that appropriate for the American market, where automatic transmissions are the rule. It seems that Nissan is concerned with turbo-lag, which is the lull before the turbocharger kicks in and delivers the power. For this reason, the new diesel X-Trail for the Japanese market will come only in a shift-it-yourself flavor.

Apparently, diesels have the same poor reputation in Japan as in the U.S. and many Japanese drivers are stick-shift neophytes. Since this information hasn't kept Nissan from launching its first diesel in its home market with a manual transmission as its sole option, many are concluding that the same could be true in the states. We hope not, as sales would surely be negatively impacted by such a decision. A CVT would likely be a decent choice for this application, and Nissan has proven rather adept at making its seamless transmissions sell in America. We hope that it can make that combination work.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Among the many other good reasons for the automatic is the fact that every new car I look at is rated higher city mpg with the automatic.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Please, not all auto transmissions are slushboxes!

      A DSG is nearly as efficient as a manual.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There are two other approaches that could be used with a turbo diesel. One is to use the hybrid technology that Nissan has licensed from Toyota. It could compensate for any "turbine lag", and it comes with a very reliable efficient planetary geared CVT as well.

      The other would be to "hybridize" the turbocharger, adding 2 motor/generators to give near instant throttle response, and to regeneratively recover turbine power when throttling down, instead of wasting it with a "boost valve".

      Of course, those approaches have additional costs, the question is, "Is the extra benefits worth the extra cost?"
      • 6 Years Ago
      Of course this desission will hurt sales for that particular car. the typical american driver do not embrase manual trany. even do manual trany's are more efficient putting more power out with a small engine + the cost of additional trips to the shop very expensive trips to the shop. well we all know this is not gonna work for Nissan great feature wrong choice.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If people were really so concerned about fuel economy, they would be demanding more stick shift transmissions anyways. True, this may hurt sales, but I for one think it's awesome. So very few vehicles are worth driving when they are missing a pedal.
      • 7 Years Ago
      they wont sell many... autoboxes are the future also in europe and the new double clutch boxes are more fuel efficient than the manual boxes... Nissan, like toyota until recently, simply doesn't have the right auto box available at this point... that's the real and only reason the offer it stick shift only.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It would not make sense for an automatic transmission to be more fuel efficient than a manual transmission in the real world. A manual box is lighter and the clutch provided a direct connection engine/transmission instead of the slippery torque convertor. In the early days we would tune an emission system to provide the best readings on a dyno using the EPA driving cycle. This, of course, did not translate into the best driveability or mileage on the street, but that wasn't the goal. I don't doubt that, fuel mileage being as important as it is, the same game is being played with auto trans shift points. One also has to wonder if the final drive gear ratios are different.


      • 7 Years Ago
      I just want to say, Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You

      I hate automatic transmissions, why have a lux sports coup and put an automatic transmission in. If you don't know how to drive stick go else where. There is little doubt in my mind that the manual transmission will only increase sales for Nissan. After all if they want an automatic version so badly I am sure there will be a gasoline hybrid powertrain with similar performance and fuel efficiency.

      Logically it is simple, I bet they will have a 6 speed transmission, more gears are always better with diesel. The higher torque of the diesel won't be felt or enjoyed in an automatic transmission, plus an automatic transmission will likely fail much sooner then a manual transmission.

      In the eyes of Nissan this is a radical step to use a diesel powertrain. The resources needed to to engineer both an automatic and manual transmission would be great.

      Additionally I still believe a automatic transmission is slightly cheaper to mass produce then a manual transmission though I am not sure. Those savings will help offset ever so slightly the increased cost of the diesel.

      Not to mention if your paying extra money for the increased fuel efficiency, shouldn't you put the most efficient transmission option?

      I believe this is a step and if I had to make a random guess perhaps they will incorporate some sort of auto clutch of F1 transmission like Ferrari does. That way people to stupid to count to 3 can still get the performance of a manual transmission and only need to remember the location of 2 peddles.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Like I said on Autoblog- BIG MISTAKE.
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