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Want to buy a small (mini-small) car with auto transmission.

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Want to buy a small (mini-small) car with auto transmission. Empty Want to buy a small (mini-small) car with auto transmission.

Post by TrueBrit on Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:46 pm

Having found out we have a non-nationalizable car, we are looking for a small runaround.  I like the Nissan Note, VW Crossfox. Chevy Spark, and the like - but they only seem to be available in manual.  Are there any models of a similar size that are automatic?

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Post by Zedinmexico on Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:44 am

TrueBrit wrote:Having found out we have a non-nationalizable car, we are looking for a small runaround.  I like the Nissan Note, VW Crossfox. Chevy Spark, and the like - but they only seem to be available in manual.  Are there any models of a similar size that are automatic?

For new you can't beat a Nissan March. Two airbags, beams in the doors, and modern crash design. My roommate bought one and it is great.
Go see Spenser at S&S. Yes it has automatic and it goes over topes without hitting Because it is made for rough conditions. She drove it to
Texas and back so it can go on the toll roads without being to slow. We take our Nissan Micra (older version of march) everywhere in Mexico
and no problems. These small cars can go 100/110 KM/h all day and get great fuel mileage. They also fit in the local environment. Nobody
even gives us a second look in a Jalisco plated Nissan micra. If you keep your mind open these small cars turn out to be very smart buys
down here as they are cheap to insure, cheap to buy, and wonderful to park. One does get over how small they are after a short period of
time. We also feel safe in at least the Small Nissans we drove. Nissan note is a new car based on the versa which is a bigger car than a March
for your information. I know nothing about it.

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Post by TrueBrit on Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:55 pm

I have been checking this out, and it does seem to have all we need - and one of the few, if not only, micro car with automatic transmission.  Thanks for the advice Zed.

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Post by sundown on Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:03 pm

Stay away from the Nissan Platina-  Ask any mechanic

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Post by TrueBrit on Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:09 am

Just the Platina, or is this an indictment on Nissan cars in general?

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Post by CHILLIN on Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:49 pm

Small cars usually have manual transmissions because automatics suck more horsepower, could be as high as 20%. The other reason is they use the transmission a lot in higher RPM`s  and an automatic is extremely expensive to repair compared to a manual (usually just the clutch). If an automatic transmission has trouble, it is usually the K.O.D. (kiss of death) for that vehicle.

Turbo diesel is the way to go for small 4 cylinders, but the only ones I am aware of in Mexico is the Smart Car, some Volkswagen models, perhaps Peugot and Mercedes too. Diesel engines are made much stronger than gasoline and run much cooler.

I would also say try to avoid cars with a lot of plastic body parts. The sun is merciless and the parts are expensive. No body shop seems to know how to repair plastic body parts.
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Post by CanuckBob on Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:05 pm

Agree with diesel however is diesel fuel widely available at all the Pemex's? I have never noticed. Also I hear the diesel fuel here in Mexico is very dirty which clogs filters and injectors.
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Post by CHILLIN on Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:31 pm

The low sulfur diesel is widely available - anywhere there are cargo trucks. The ultra low sulfur diesel is slowly being introduced in Mexico. The newest diesels specify this fuel, but I don't think that anything built for the Mexico market would require it. My own engine is a 1992 with super low mileage, it can burn anything, home heating oil or even filtered cooking oil (or biodiesel if want to pay extra). This is the engine that the Chinese military chose for all their 2 door S.U.V.s, it also the backbone to 1,000's of generators and farm equipment. Another thing I like about diesel, but hopefully never have to test, is that if you are running low on fuel, and no stations, there is always someone who has a drum you can buy from. To store gasoline like this would be very dangerous, and modern gasoline blends lose much of their strength in as little as six weeks.
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Post by Zedinmexico on Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:56 pm

TrueBrit wrote:Just the Platina, or is this an indictment on Nissan cars in general?

Platina is actually a Renault assembled in Mexico by Nissan with Nissan badges.
It is not a bad car but French and the mechanics think it is a Nissan when it is
a Renault thus the bad press. Mechanics expect it to be a Nissan it is not. March/Micra
are true Nissans. So are Tsuru,Sentra, Versa, Urvan, Altima, Juke  and all the trucks.
One other Renault was sold in mexico as a Nissan but I can't remember the name and
it was sold a few years ago so you won't run into it unless you buy used.

Z


Last edited by Zedinmexico on Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:05 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Zedinmexico on Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:02 pm

CHILLIN wrote:Small cars usually have manual transmissions because automatics suck more horsepower, could be as high as 20%. The other reason is they use the transmission a lot in higher RPM`s  and an automatic is extremely expensive to repair compared to a manual (usually just the clutch). If an automatic transmission has trouble, it is usually the K.O.D. (kiss of death) for that vehicle.

Turbo diesel is the way to go for small 4 cylinders, but the only ones I am aware of in Mexico is the Smart Car, some Volkswagen models, perhaps Peugot and Mercedes too. Diesel engines are made much stronger than gasoline and run much cooler.

I would also say try to avoid cars with a lot of plastic body parts. The sun is merciless and the parts are expensive. No body shop seems to know how to repair plastic body parts.

Ten years ago I would have agreed on Auto versus Standard. I believe differently now. I have a unique opportunity as I own a Nissan Micra Standard
and my roommate owns a Nissan March with automatic. Basically they are the same car and for the first time I like the auto better than the standard.
Very little MPG penalty these days for an automatic. They also now have many automatics that have up to 9 gears. This is how the newer pickup
trucks get the high mileage on the highway. I like the Micra as a car better but I like the March transmission better even with a small engine. I never
thought I would say this as I always drove standards until recent years.

Z

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Post by CHILLIN on Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:45 am

That's interesting about the multiple gears - I had always thought that is why the big rigs get so many miles on their engines. Two speed axles - up to ten forward gears. My 4x4 has a manual transfer case, so I have two gear shifts and 15 forward speeds - no wonder the wife refuses to drive it!
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Post by sundown on Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:33 pm

Back to the Nissan Platina -
The fuel injectors are notorious for failing often
The mechanics hate to touch because of so little space to work.
It takes a very small arm/hand to check the oil. The Timing belt has to be changed at 70,000 km , and is expensive & difficult.
I had one & it was in the shop every month. I say it again "Ask mechanics about cars, rather than general public. They will tell you that the Nissan Tsuru is a very dependable, economical car(but does not have airbags)
FYI Renault owns Nissan.

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Post by Zedinmexico on Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:06 pm

sundown wrote:Back to the Nissan Platina -
The fuel injectors are notorious for failing often
The mechanics hate to touch because of so little space to work.
It takes a very small arm/hand to check the oil.  The Timing belt has to be changed at 70,000 km , and is expensive & difficult.
I had one & it was in the shop every month.  I say it again "Ask mechanics about cars, rather than general public.  They will tell you that the Nissan Tsuru is a very dependable, economical car(but does not have airbags)
FYI Renault owns Nissan.

It is a Renault Cleo with a Nissan Façade. It Chassis is the same as a Nissan Micra but as you noticed the engine is different very different.

Below is something from Neil on Yahoo about the Platina. It is a billion dollars to design a chassis nowadays so nobody just builds there own
anymore. For example Subaru and Toyota basically sell the same sports sedan these days to save money.

Z






Renault owns 44.4% (a controlling interest) of Nissan.
Nissan owns 15% of Renault.

The companies have developed two shared platforms for passenger cars through to production, and are developing more.

The platforms in production are:
B-platform, used by Nissan Micra, March, Note, Tone, Tiida, Versa and Cube, and Renault Clio and Modus. The Dacia Logan uses some components of this platform.
C-platform, used by Renault Mégane, and probably the new Nissan Sentra.

These are not Nissan platforms used by Renault, nor Renault platforms used by Nissan. They were developed by engineers from both companies working together. Hence there is as much Nissan underneath the Clio as there is Renault underneath the Micra.

There are a few cases where Renaults have been re-badged as Nissans. These are the European-market Primastar and Interstar light commercials (which were originally developed as joint-ventures between Renault and GM-Europe, so are part Renault and part Opel/Vauxhall), and the Mexican-market Platina (a re-badged Clio II saloon, similar to the Central-European market Symbol and Thalia).

Nissan and Renault have used each others' powertrain strengths where appropriate, so the 6-speed manual transmission in a Mégane, Laguna or new Clio is a Nissan unit, as is the 3.5-litre petrol engine in the top versions of the Espace, while the 1.5-litre diesel engine in a Micra comes from Renault.

Renault is using Nissan's know-how to improve the build-quality, durability and reliability of its vehicles.

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