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Click above for high-res gallery of the 2009 Nissan Maxima

Sales of Nissan's first clean diesel in America could be severely hampered before the car even gets a chance at life. According to Nissan, the diesel engine slated to power the Maxima could come equipped with a manual transmission as its only option. We honestly can't imagine Nissan going through with this idea. Diesels already have a mildly bad reputation in the states due to some of the not-so-great oil-burning products our market has been cursed with in the past, and Americans have a profound penchant for choosing an automatic transmission over a manual. Therefore, endowing the Maxima diesel with a stick as the only option seems like a death knell in terms of sale, although it's probably the gearbox that we'd choose as enthusiasts. Considering how well Nissan has done with its CVT transmission, we wonder if the company could find a way to pair it with the Renault-derived diesel slated for the Maxima.

For what it's worth, the Japanese market has not been properly introduced to the diesel engine, either. Nissan's first product with a new clean diesel for its home turf will be the X-Trail SUV. The assorted powers-that-be at the company have already decided that a manual tranny shall be the only option on that model due to the M9R engine's inherent turbo-lag.

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

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Unless the CVT can be modified so that the input to the CVT variators is overdriven, the diesel V6 will have too much torque.

      A double clutch is a better idea.

      depending on how much torque this engine will make.
      • 7 Years Ago
      On another board I read occasionally, one guy's signature line reads, "everytime someone buys an automatic, Jesus kills a baby seal with a kitten." So I guess he is a hardcore manual transmission fan.

      I like driving manual shift cars but don't know if I would still like it long term. Now you see MPG numbers for automatics are higher than with a manual which eliminates the better gas mileage argument.
      • 7 Years Ago
      While an auto a legitimate option for a vehicle, for the most part you either buy auto or manual cars, and all the new DSG and F1-magnesium-paddleshift crap is just autos trying to BE a manual...but lazier. Seems to me the only reason to choose an auto is 'its too much work' to drive a manual, or you want the newest acronym to tell your friends about how your car shifts gears for you. In a diesel, the benefit of a manual is you can maximize the potential of the low-revving, high-torque motor. I'm sure they'll have an autobox in the petrol car.
        • 7 Years Ago
        rypt- in a word- no.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Automatic transmission are more versatile than manual shift transmissions.

        Double clutch transmissions are WAY closer to automatics than manuals.
        They have parking pawls.
        The clutches, by default are open, unlike manual transmissions.
        It doesn't matter that traditional automatics have planetary gearsets, Honda doesn't.
        CVT's are autos, Audi's Multitronic has a dual mass flywheel and wet multiplate clutch instead of flexplate/torque converter.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The DSG actually IS a manual transmission. It just uses computer to control its twin clutches. Tiptronic is a different story, it's just an auto that lets you mess with the computer. Autos use torque converters and flex plates. Autos use planetary gearsets also. None of those are present in the DSG.

        I agree with your point that auto pretending to be manual is bad. But manual pretending to be auto is perfectly fine.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "and all the new DSG and F1-magnesium-paddleshift crap is just autos trying to BE a manual...but lazier"

        wow. no dummy, they're not trying to be a manual, they're evolving technologically to become more efficient and better performing - something a manual transmission can't do because it's hobbled by century-old driver-manipulated clutch dis/engagement design.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Double clutch transmissions are WAY closer to automatics than manuals."

        "CVT's are autos, Audi's Multitronic has a dual mass flywheel and wet multiplate clutch instead of flexplate/torque converter."

        I would disagree with both of those statements, perhaps more on opinion than fact. A CVT is not an automatic transmission in the traditional sense of an automatic transmission. Not even close. Also not even really relevant to the discussion at hand.

        Certain concessions do need to be made with the DSG transmission to adapt it to everyday consumer use. How many people who drive autos do you know set their parking brake every time they park? I don't know of any personally. This would be a big liability, so if you're trying to sell a transmission as an automatic you must make certain adaptations to make it appeal to the general public.

        It's really not worth arguing over what makes what a certain kind of transmission. It's pretty clear to everyone in general what makes a manual and what makes an automatic.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Aren't you taught to engage the handbrake when you park the car over in USA?
        • 7 Years Ago
        John IS smart ;).

        I agree with you about the enthusiast thing. Given the choice between the DSG and manual, I'd go with the manual. That's just me. Not only for the feeling, but for the reliability as well. If I had a bad knee or something and couldn't use a third pedal, I'd insist on DSG rather than a regular autotragic transmission.
      • 7 Years Ago
      glad to see that there is going to be a manual avail.

      hope that honda offers manuals in their whole up coming diesel lineup

      • 7 Years Ago
      I get sick of driving a manual. Once in a while is fine but in traffic for any amount of time it gets real old real fast. It will hurt sales of this car.
        • 7 Years Ago
        In a compact car being 6'4 wearing a size 14 (American not sure on the UK size) generally the cabin on the drivers side is not wide enough and there is not enough leg room and with giant feet my knee twists to get to the small pedals. It gets pretty painful after a while. In my younger years it was not a problem but after years of American football I am paying the price.

        Although the Euro versions of the U.S cars are different so I can't say all manuals but my last was a 2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec-V and it caused me problems.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @ right above

        No, you fail to understand other people just prefer autos over stick. not everyone makes the same 'lame' choice as you do.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Renault 3.0L(common rail fuel injection system) dCi for Maxima.
      The Renault variant of the engine gets 261hp and 406 lb-ft / 1,750 rpm of torque, B30 biodeisel compatible.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Those headlights are a bigger turn-off than any transmission Nissan puts in the Maxima.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Remember that Maxima rides on the D-platform of Renault-Nissan, the same use by Renault to make the Laguna. So, if the Laguna uses the dCi engines mated to auto transmissions, so Nissan can do the same with Maxima, almost in a plug-and-play way.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I certainly think this will be a hindrance, but not to the extent some folks do. I know that a Maxima is not a VW Jetta, but remember that the diesels VW has sold in the U.S. have tended to be a much less lopsided mix between automatic and manual. I'm not sure if it's a 50/50 mix, but it's certainly closer to that than the 20:1 ratio across the U.S. market at large.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's almost like they WANT it to fail.

      "Here's another crappy diesel for US consumption, don't buy it so we can say we tried and go back to making something less efficient."
      • 7 Years Ago
      In all reality, the typical market demographic for this car is NOT going to want a manual transmission. Sad, but true. You'd be amazed at the number of people who are complaining that you can't get a manual with most of Chrysler's line up. Even the Dakota lost it's 6 speed, which was a blast behind the 4.7L.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The US is not necessarily indicative of performance or spirited drivers. Again, that is why the UK, Germany,
      Australia, etc. have hotter versions of Fords and GMs e.g. Focus, Mondeo, Falcon, Opel. Yes, only about 15% of new autos in the US are manuals. And that number will grow smaller, with more and more posers feeling more sporty with DSGs, and F1, and the likes. But, reality
      check, most people who choose that 'performance' edge, don't really drive like they mean business, and to greater extent, they don't use the silly paddles (which are necessitated in cramped F1 cars but not in sports cars). I drive a manual in one of the top rush hour congestion spots in the country, and I always will. Did you ever
      notice how many mid-lifer/Seniors there are driving slush box Corvettes and Hemi Magnums thinking that they are cool, verus drivers driving M3s and 911s with the proper 3rd pedal? (perhaps there is an indirect linkage there of why GM is able to sell a 6 figure car with a window to a plastic cover). Drive, or be your own DSG passenger.

      E.S. Romero
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