Roll over!Nissan is also having some trouble with recent rollover tests. The 2006 Nissan Xterra, Frontier 2WD and Titan 4x4 pickup truck all got the worst results in National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) new testing, scoring a 21 percent or greater chance of rollover -- with or without electronic stability control. Nissan was one of the few automakers to fare poorly in the test, which covered 2006 vehicles. The administration found that the inclusion of electronic stability control systems, or ESC, caused an almost 10 percent rollover improvement, compared to 2005 model year vehicles. That’s why NHTSA is contemplating making ESC required on SUVs, and why automakers that don’t already offer it as standard are quickly jumping on board. DaimlerChrysler, for example, plans to make ESC standard on all SUVS by the 2007 model year, while GM and Ford are pledging to make ESC standard on all trucks, SUVs and vans by 2011 -- which may be when the new standards will take effect. The recent test did show, however, that ESC is not the answer all the time. Among the new vehicles tested, the Chevrolet HHR earned four stars out of five and had just a 14 percent chance of rollover in a single-vehicle crash, even though stability control is not available. Power, in the case of the HHR, is also not available.
At least Jeep won’t have to worry about people rolling new diesel Liberties. This week they dropped their diesel Liberty for sale in the U.S., citing a tougher federal emissions standard that goes into effect next year. That’s not to say that Chrysler is moving out of the diesel game, however. Coming next year will be the 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel, with a new engine that uses technology developed by brother luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz. The new 2007 Grand Cherokee's 3.0-liter common rail turbo diesel engine is based on Mercedes' Bluetech diesel engine technology. No word on when we may see the Jeep Liberty diesel make a comeback, but for 2007, it’s out.