Best Engine(s) Ever

by
Sep 7, 2001


The Bottom Line The best engines are from Nissan. Now where's my bag of money you corporate monkeys promissed me?

Surprised? Maybe there are lots of Honda fans out there that would debate that, but lets face it: Nissan does build the best STOCK engine. Would probably STILL be better when Hondians and Nissians modify them to hell and back.

Why else would JD Power rate the Nissan Maxima's engine the best 5 years in a row? Nissan pays attention to details when it comes to their engines.

Case in Point
They have cared so much about their engine, their cars actually lack style! Of course, this is a matter of taste, but their flagship, the Maxima, has veered off road into Uglysville if you ask many Maxima fans. The body may be growing on us now, but the fact remains: Jerry (the Californian-based styler for Nissan) isn't changing his style.

To make the case stronger, compare the cars that are competeting directly with Nissan. Can you really?

For one, let's take their flagship:

2002 Nissan Maxima
3.5-liter DOHC
24-valve V6
255 hp @ 5,800 rpm
246 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm

2002 Toyota Camery
3.0-liter DOHC
24-valve V6
192 hp @ 5,300 rpm
209 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm

2002 Honda Accord
3.0-liter DOHC
24-valve V6
200 hp @ 5,500
195 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700

Now looking at these, you can already tell that the Maxima has bigger numbers. But bigger numbers don't mean squat, right? Well, this time it does. To keep things a little more even, when last year's Maxima had a 3.0 liter engine, it puts out 222 HP and 217 lb-ft of torque. That still beats out the other 3.0-liter engines Toyota and Honda are offering.

And it doesn't matter what car and in what class, either. The Maxima obviously out-classed itself out of the mid-size family sedan catagory. Nissan pushed the weaker Altima into this range, which leaves the Maxima in a class of it's own. The Altima uses the same engine as the Maxima, but it only puts out 240 HP (still alot compared to the others there).

And the compacts? Lets see:

2001 Nissan Sentra SE (Sports Edition)
2.0-liter DOHC
16-valve I4
145 hp @ 6,000 rpm
132 lb-ft of torque @ 2,400 rpm

2001 Toyota Corolla S (Sports Edition)
1.8-liter DOHC
16-valve I4
125 hp @ 5,800 rpm
125 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm

2001 Honda Civic EX (with VTEC-E)
1.6-liter SOHC
16-valve I4
127 hp @ 6,300
114 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm

As you can see, even when compared with the best trim each car maker had to offer, Nissan still comes with the better performing engine (even just by looking at the specs).

Numbers don't tell the story, but as tested, they have confirmed that none of these cars have beaten a Nissan yet. What about a more fair comparison between the older (1999) Honda Civic Si? The one that puts out 160 HP into the tarmat? Well, sorry to tell you this, but with only 111 lb-ft of torque, that baby won't go anywhere. Once it gets started though, it will overtake the Sentra SE, but how long or far would they be racing before the Civic Si catches up?

Nissan has pushed their engine design limits to the point where EVEN NISSAN doesn't know what to do with all of this technology. What car are they suppose to compare the Maxima to now, since that the Altima has taken over the mid-sized ring? Is it on to full-sized contenders for the Maxima?

The Ultimate
And not to even mention my favorite car, which comes with the engine many long to have. The Nissan Skyline GT-R. Motorex (http://www.motorex.net) imports them here from Japan and makes them street legal, but other than that, there is no other way of getting your hands on one. They are $50k cars in Japan (after conversion, of course) which will cost $90k if you thanks to the equipment to make them street legal, and the paperwork you must go through to make them legal.

In either case, the engine there is a turbo charged V6 which is rated (though it's much higher) at 276 HP (though many says it actually puts out close to 308 hp). The reason for the descrepency is that the Japanese automaker imposed a 276 hp limit, so everyone who went beyond that just rated their engine at the limit.

This potent car is a AWD dream come true, and many have dreamed of Nissan bringing it over the states.

Recomendations
Powerful and reliable engines are the only thing going for Nissan, though. Their build quality for the rest of their car rests on Mexican hands, as most of the cars made from Mexico had many problems. My Sentra, for one, is the most squeakiest car I've owned. Nissan cars before this fact were built solid.

Style is another thing hindering on Nissan's greatness. If those two issues are to be delt with (FIRE JERRY!), then Nissan would have a great potential in breaking up the "big 2" (Honda/Toyota).

As for Jerry? Sorry, man...but I liked the Japanese way of styling. :)

Phil Colins says:
"And that's my story and I'm sticking with it!"
And so will I.

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