Nissan NEXT goes West
The Nissan NEXT event is a traveling information center showing people the latest lineup of models from Nissan's bevvy of automobiles. The event is crossing the country westward, hitting local events, and stopped at the Rocky Mountain Air Show near Denver, Colorado this weekend.
Both Don Bain and myself were there and we teamed up to get the latest information from Nissan's reps that were on hand as well as to put our hands on the steering wheels of some of the company's most exciting new rides. The flagship of the show and Nissan's new lineup is the all-new 2013 Altima, featuring the first-ever zero-gravity seating system that has to be experienced to be believed. Also on hand were the all-electric Nissan Leaf (in red!), the massive and aptly-named Titan pickup, the Maxima with its amazing full-length sunroof, the agile Frontier pickup, the versatile Pathfinder, and many more.
From Colorado, the Nissan NEXT showcase is moving westward, with show dates in California, Oregon, and Washington. A full schedule and link to the NEXT website are below.
NEXT from our perspective
With both of us Torque News contributors there, it was easy to get plenty of photos and pump multiple Nissan representatives for as much information as we could get. Don, seen in the photo at right grilling the Altima expert on-hand for intel, will be forthcoming with full details on individual cars.
For visitors to the Nissan NEXT tent, the first step is to sign in with your driver's license and give them any information you'd like local dealers to have for follow-up (totally optional). From the get-go, you can see that this is a no-pressure situation as friendly red-shirted people show you to the computer, scan your driver's license (if you want to test drive), and show you how to enter to win your own 2013 Altima free of charge (Nissan will even pay the tax, title, and registration fees). If you enter to win, however, you must test drive the new Altima too. What's the point of getting a new car if you don't already love it? Right? After registration, you receive a wristband that has an RFID chip in it so that the rest of the NEXT experience is tailored to you.
Next, you enter the big tent where one of four big screens let you Minority Report your way through the model lineup of Nissan's offerings, pointing and sliding your fingers around the screen to get full 360-degree views of the cars, request more information be mailed or emailed to you, and get very familiar with NIssan's offerings.
When you're finished looking through what's there, you exit the tent to the test drive lot. More computers await and you can choose from available models on the screen and tell the computer which you want to drive first. A rep will take you to the car and a friendly iPad presentation will accompany you both showing you the test drive route and giving you information about the vehicle you're piloting.
Best of all? You can test drive all the cars you want as many times as you'd like. No pressure, no worries. I recommend getting there early and driving all of them at least once. Try the innovative Leaf in at least two colors (I'm partial to the red one) and definitely climb your way up into the Titan (bring your climbing shoes, it's HUGE) and feel the raw power of that massive machine.
Welcome to Our World
Of course, not everything always goes to plan. Don and I decided to both take out the 2013 Altima as this is a car that neither of us had driven before. Don picked the red one and our friendly rep, who we'll call "Bobbi" as she wasn't sure she wanted her real name used, accompanied, iPad in hand. The car, being as advanced as it is, sensed that we were not interested in rules and pre-mapped routes, so it instructed the iPad to bugger off. The iPad, being the latest high-IQ gadget from Apple, obliged and refused to perform any of its tricks for Bobbi.
So I piloted the car to where I thought it should go. Bobbi radioed in to say we were off-track and things were OK. So we glided in the zero gravity seats around the outskirts of Broomfield, Colorado and its airfield. Don drove us back, since he'd been paying attention and knew how to get to the airfield again.
From there on, every vehicle we drove magically didn't go on the test drive route. Don't try this at home, folks, we had the excuse of press credentials and a camera for photo taking.
Between us, Don and I drove about half the vehicles on hand before we ran out of sunlight for photography. The Altima was followed by the Maxima, a truly impressive luxury car with every trimming you can imagine. A sunshade on the back window keeps it cool, the plush seating is topped by the most amazing suede-like fabric you've ever witnessed, and the double-sunroof that opens up nearly the entire top of the car to the sky is beyond awesome.
After the Altima came the Frontier, a great and powerfully agile little pickup truck with good handling and a lot of utilitarian conveniences that experienced truck owners will appreciate. For all of its off-road and cargo hauling capabilities, though, the Frontier is a smooth road ride as well.