Nissan Prices 2008 Altima Coupe


We were surprisingly impressed with the Altima Coupe after getting up close with and sitting in one at the New York auto show. It’s certainly a good-looking two-door, inside and out. Now Nissan has given us the last piece of the puzzle to determine if it really is an appealing value.

The base coupe 2.5 S with a 175-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual will start at $20,490; the 2.5 S with a continuously variable automatic transmission will start at $20,990. That’s actually a very low premium for the bump to an automatic or CVT transmission.

Move up to the Altima Coupe 3.5 SE with its 270-hp V-6 and the cost moves up to $24,890 for the six-speed manual and $25,390 for the CVT. None of the prices include the $625 destination charge.

The Altima Coupe goes on sale May 25, but Nissan is taking pre-orders starting today.

2006 L.A. Auto Show: Nissan Altima Coupe

By David Thomas | April 17, 2007 | Comments (13)

L.A. Auto Show Flashback: In Video


The L.A. Auto Show closed its doors Sunday, and auto fans across the country are a bit depressed at the prospect of waiting until January for more auto show news to filter out from Detroit. At, we’ll have a ton of coverage from Cobo Hall, but for now you can check back on all the happenings from L.A. Our content includes three videos focusing on concept cars, production cars and the all-important “reveal” — when a new model debuts to the press. It’ll give you something to break up your day of mindless holiday shopping on the web. Oh … and work.

By David Thomas | December 12, 2006 | Comments (0)

A Tale of Two Schwarzeneggers


The last time I saw and photographed Arnold Schwarzenegger at an auto show, he stormed down Broadway into New York's Times Square amid a phalanx of law-enforcement vehicles, flanked by two Hummer H1s — military SUVs in civilian garb. He drove up onto the sidewalk and into ABC’s ground-level studio in an open-bed version of the Hummer H2 SUV.

He was helping promote what was at the time a relatively new and more refined Hummer that he had helped design (at least according to AM General, a GM partner that manufacturers the Hummer). Ahh-nold was one of Hollywood's few remaining action heroes and one of the biggest box office draws the film industry had ever seen, and I was in my fourth year as senior editor of

It was April 11, 2001.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | December 6, 2006 | Comments (2)

Stranded at the L.A. Auto Show

Stranded for 24 hours after a couple of long days covering the L.A. Auto Show, I did what any sane person would do: went back to the auto show. It was more fun this time around, surrounded by the show-going public instead of the rest of the media, and I noticed some things I hadn’t seen over the past few days.


Why does Porsche project Lincoln symbols in the corridor that leads to its display?

By Joe Wiesenfelder | December 5, 2006 | Comments (3)

Nissan Sneaks 2007 350Z Into L.A. Auto Show


During the mad rush of last week’s media days at the L.A. Auto Show, we somehow forgot to mention there was a pre-production 2007 350Z sitting in the same area as the all-new Sentra SE-R and Altima coupe. The new 350Z, while looking just like the 2006 version, will sport the same engine as the all-new Infiniti G35 and produce 306 hp. 

That may not sound like a lot more than the 300 hp the previous 350Z put out, but with a new method of calculating power ratings in place, the 306 hp figure is roughly 17 - 20 hp more than the 2006’s actual output.

Don’t expect a new design for the 350Z next year, but we’re hoping that by 2008 it will get the same treatment the G35 did.

Update: Autoblog was on its toes at the L.A. Auto Show and snapped this picture of the 2007 350Z complete with a new bulging hood to harness its upgraded engine.

Related: Nissan Improving 350Z for '07

By David Thomas | December 4, 2006 | Comments (0)

Winners & Losers at the L.A. Auto Show: Concept Cars


We already recapped the production cars from L.A., now it’s time to take a look at the forward-thinking and often radical designs that make up this year’s crop of concept cars. Most of these will never see the assembly line; many won’t even influence future models. Here are the cars Joe Wiesenfelder and David Thomas thought won and lost on the show floor.

Volkswagen Tiguan
DT - Winner:
This one’s not hard to pick. The Tiguan is the most likely to be produced, has the best proportions and, if they do build it, will probably sell pretty well.

JW - Winner: Yep. It looks great, and it would be several things the Touareg SUV isn't: lightweight, fuel-efficient and quick. Maybe the folks at VW have learned some lessons; they obviously missed the one on car names.

By David Thomas | December 1, 2006 | Comments (5)

Winners & Losers at the L.A. Auto Show: Production Cars


There were some wild concept cars here at the L.A. Auto Show, but it’s the production cars that have the most impact on everyday car buyers. The models we saw are on sale now or will be next year, and some of them are extremely important to their makers’ bottom line. Mike Hanley and David Thomas took some time to dissect the winners and losers — plus a few cars they couldn’t agree on — in this photo blog.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster
DT - Winner: Pure sensuality in this British roadster. Though it’s more exotic than the Audi R8, I still prefer the German car. I wouldn’t turn down a ride in this, though; it turns heads standing still.

MH - Winner: You really have to see this car in person to appreciate its perfect proportions and sleek profile, so if you live near L.A., stop on by the convention center; I give it the nod for best in show.

By David Thomas | December 1, 2006 | Comments (11)

Recapping Day 2 of the L.A. Auto Show


Day 1 might have been busy, but the second of the L.A. Auto Show’s media days wasn’t as slow as we thought it would be. We were able to catch a few more debuts and finish our reports on every significant vehicle we could find. Check out all the full stories and live photos of the vehicles we caught yesterday in the main Auto Show section. It’s a must-read if you’re headed to the show in person today through next Sunday, or if you’re just visiting it via the web.

Concept Cars

Production Cars

By David Thomas | December 1, 2006 | Comments (0)

Checking Out the Tesla Electric Roadster


One of the cool things about the auto show this week has been the chance to see all the cars that debuted overseas, or at other much smaller events, we were unable to get to. One of them is the Tesla Roadster, which is completely electric. GM may be promising a plug-in hybrid in the future, but this plug-in, totally-electric car is here now.

OK, so it’s not produced yet, but Tesla’s chief technical officer, JB Straubel, says the company is in the middle of crash and durability tests of the car right now and will start filling its orders in the early fall of 2007. The company has 250 orders in hand that have been paid in full at $100,000 per car. Straubel pointed out that’s $25 million in funding right there.

My initial thoughts of an alternative-fuel repeat of Tucker went out the window when I heard that figure.

By David Thomas | December 1, 2006 | Comments (8)

2006 L.A. Auto Show: 2007 Kia Rondo


In a press conference that spouted oddball terms dubbed “Rondoisms,” the North American public was introduced to Kia’s new SUV/minivan/wagon/we-don’t-know-what called the Rondo. The big deal with this thing is that there‘s room for seven people with a third row of seats wedged into the back. That’s about all the Rondo can do.

In a rare auto show move, the company announced the starting price along with the model itself. The four-cylinder Rondo LX will start at $17,985 and get 21/29 mpg city/highway. A V-6 Rondo will also be available with a minimal gain in horsepower, from 162 hp in the four-cylinder to 182 hp in the V-6. Keep reading for more photos of this auto oddity.

By David Thomas | November 30, 2006 | Comments (30)

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