Nissan Sunny - Introduction
The Nissan Sunny is the company’s second Indian made vehicle and forms an important part of the company’s product portfolio in the country after the Micra hatchback. If truth be told, despite Nissan being a globally recognised brand, the Indian consumer failed to take notice of its existence when it forayed in India with the Teana and X-Trail. And then came along the Micra hatchback which helped the company grab the attention of car buyers across the country. The company soon followed it up with the Sunny sedan and Nissan was finally on it way to becoming a company that finally made its presence felt in the Indian market. Now, the Sunny actually sells more than its smaller hatchback stable mate.
First to arrive was the petrol variant in September 2011 and in less than three months, the company launched the diesel variant keeping in tune with the market demand and rising petrol prices across the globe. On a winter afternoon, we got behind the wheel of the XV diesel variant of the Nissan Sunny and took it for a spin down Rajarhat. Read on to find out how it fared.
Nissan Sunny - Design & Engineering
If truth be told, one of the main short comings of the Nissan Sunny is it's looks. With it sober yet some what boring external appearance, the Sunny for sure is no head turner. In fact, its rebadged road sibling, the Renault Scala is still a tad better looking in comparison. Those among us who have a penchant for style might just get turned off at first glance. But if you are prepared to look beyond appearance then there just might be some good news in store.
The Nissan Sunny sports big headlamps and wide slatted grille at the front which seem Teana-inspired. The tail lights at the rear also seem inspired from its stable mate. The side profile of the car has straight clean lines and is absolutely identical to the Renault Scala, although it was the French sedan which lifted the design from the Sunny.
Take for instance that the Nissan Sunny has a 2600mm wheelbase which translate into a more spacious cabin giving the Sunny an edge over its competitors. The suspension system in the Nissan Sunny comprises McPherson Struts at the front and torsion beam at the rear, which is again the same for most cars in this class.
The engine which powers the Sunny diesel is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel, codenamed K9K. This particular diesel engine is used by Renault Nissan Automotive India Private Limited in a number of their vehicles which includes the Renault Scala, Flunece, Pulse and Duster and the Nissan Micra, but of course, in different states of tune. In the Nissan Sunny diesel, it produces 85 PS of power and 200 Nm of torque, same as the Renault Scala diesel.
The Nissan Sunny diesel is offered in two trims namely the XL and top-of-the-line XV. The Sunny sedan is available in six colour options – Bronze Grey, Blade Silver, Storm White, Sapphire Blue, Onyx Black and Brick Red.
The top diesel variant that we tested came with alloy wheels which add a bit of style quotient to the otherwise simple looking Sunny.
Nissan Sunny - Interiors & Comfort
Plastic quality isn't class-leading, but overall fit and finish is decent.
Once you step inside the Nissan Sunny, you will find it similar to the Renault Scala. The Sunny boasts of class-leading 2600mm wheelbase which is 48mm more than the Skoda Rapid and Volkswagen Vento and 30mm more than the Hyundai Verna. No prizes for guessing that longer wheelbase results in the Sunny getting a more spacious cabin offering ample leg room for rear passengers. In fact, you will be pleasantly surprise to learn that Sunny’s wheelbase is identical to that of the Toyota Corolla Altis which is positioned in a higher segment and price point.
The Nissan Sunny has a 490-litre boot which provides enough luggage space for your weekend trips. The seats are quite comfortable and provide decent lumber and under thigh support. However, headroom for tall passengers is slightly compromised at the rear due to its sloping roofline.
Acreage at rear is impressive, with more than enough space to stretch your legs.
The Nissan Sunny XV diesel that we tested came with start-stop button, steering mounted controls, electronically adjustable mirrors, rear air blower and rear arm rests. The absence of the USB and Bluetooth in the music system came as a big disappointment considering that nowadays it comes as standard even on inexpensive hatchbacks. We have been told that Nissan is considering adding these features to the Sunny's audio system, based on customer feedback. The factory fitted music system too didn’t impress me much and if you happen to be a music buff with an eye for quality, then you might consider getting it replaced with a more premium one.
The Sunny doesn’t get leather seats even as an option, as oppose to the top trim of the Scala which comes with leather seats. In fact, when compared to the Skoda Rapid and Volkswagen Vento, the cabin lacks the premium feel and leaves much to be desired, especially with regards to plastic quality.
Ergonomically too, there are a few drawbacks in the Nissan Sunny which also ails the Renault Scala. Say for instance, the buttons for the adjustments of the outside rear view mirrors are rather small and tucked away near the driver’s knees which make them difficult to use while on the move, especially at high speed. Also, the button for the trip computer is located smack in the middle of the instrument panel, which requires you to put one hand through the steering wheel in order to access the various read-outs. A more conveniently placed button would have surely been far more comfortable.
There is some road noise at speed, probably due to the light build of the car. Amazingly, the engine sound barely filters into the cabin when on the move.
Nissan Sunny - Performance & Handling
The Nissan Sunny diesel is powered by 1461cc, 4-cylinder, common rail diesel engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The engine produces 86 PS of maximum power at 3750 rpm and 200 Nm of peak torque at 2000 rpm. This engine in the same state of tune also powers the Renault Scala, and some variants of the Renault Duster SUV.
The Sunny boasts of excellent driveability. The K9K engine is smooth and quiet under most throttle applications and situations. In the city, you might feel a little lag but the engine starts to pull really well from 1,200 rpm. There onwards, the engine delivers adequate power at all engine speeds and ideally one should restrain from revving it to the 4500 rpm mark where it begins to strain.
The gearbox though felt very notchy in its shift action, and rubbery through the gate, which is disappointing. I also felt some vibrations through the pedals, but this being a test mule which had been flogged quite substantially, one must hope that this doesn't plague all diesel Sunnys.
The diesel Sunny weighs 70 kilograms more than the petrol Sunny, and most of this weight is obviously concentrated over the front axle. Evidently, this hampers the overall balance of the car, and the diesel Sunny doesn't have the composure of its lighter petrol brother. Quick lane changes are where you experience it the most, with a slight recalcitrance which requires to be less nonchalant with the steering wheel. Under braking, the weight transfer to the front is more pronounced as well, and you get the feeling that the rear end of the car is getting light. Thankfully, the good brakes and effective ABS ensure that you have some margin of error. In the handling stakes, the diesel Sunny cannot hold a candle to the Skoda Rapid diesel, for example.
Other than this slight flaw, the Sunny handles decently and the long wheelbase aids its overall stability. During our brief high speed stint on Rajarhat, the Sunny remained poised and calm. Light controls means it is quite effortless to drive in city traffic and the steering has a bit more weight to it at high speeds which only adds to your confidence.
Nissan Sunny - Fuel Efficiency
Cam-cover branding says Nissan, but we all know it's actually a Renault.
The Nissan Sunny diesel boasts of an ARAI ratified mileage of 21.64kmpl and although we didn’t get an opportunity to a fuel efficiency test, however, our observation has been that the real world figures generally tend to be about 33 per cent less than the ARAI figures. So it would be fair to expect the Sunny to deliver about 14kmpl in the city, which isn't bad at all.
Nissan Sunny - Safety
Safety is an important issue in the automotive industry. With every passing day, more and more car manufacturers are realising the importance of making their vehicles safer. This not only ensures the safety of the customers but would also go a long way in fetching better resale value in countries where certain safety regulations are observed with strictness.
Nissan has done a commendable job with the Sunny by providing safety features engine immobiliser, door ajar alarm, ABS with EBD and brake assist and driver side airbag as standard across the model range. It’s difficult to think of another car in this segment and with the same price tag which can boast of such a feat. ABS with EBD will particularly prove useful in Indian driving conditions and can sometimes save you from severe accidents.
The top-of-the-line Sunny XV diesel that we test also came with speed sensing auto door lock, anti theft device with alarm, front fog lamps and front passenger airbags. Full marks to Nissan for putting ‘safety first’.
Nissan Sunny - Verdict
The Nissan Sunny diesel is priced in the range of Rs 8.29 for the XL and Rs 9.12 lakh for the XV, both ex-showroom Kolkata. When compared to its road sibling (base variant), the Renault Scala is almost Rs 50,000 costlier. Will you splurge that amount of extra cash practically for the same car? The truth is that I would. Simply because that the Scala is better looking and for me, similar to many car buyers, looks matter. Further when we compare the base Sunny diesel variant with the Skoda Rapid which is just Rs 20,000 costlier, it will face tougher competition as the Rapid boasts of a premium cabin feel and better driveability. So the Sunny clearly has a tough battle to fight.
However, all said and done, the Sunny has got a spacious interior with comfortable seats and the best legroom in this class. The car boasts of a decent balance between ride and handling, albeit not quite as good as some of the competition, like we stated earlier. Nissan has done a good job on the safety front by providing features like ABS with EBD and brake assist as standard across model range. Overall, it makes for a decent buy if you are looking for a spacious, safe and fuel efficient which won’t burn a hole in your pocket, but the value proposition that the Sunny petrol presents is lacking in the diesel variant. A worthy contender, no doubt, but without much 'wow' factor.
Nissan Sunny - Competition Check
|Length x Width x Height (mm)||4425 x 1695 x 1505|
|Turning circle dia (m)||5.3|
|Fuel tank capacity (lt)||41|
|Engine & Transmission|
|No of cylinder & configuration||4|
|Valvetrain||16 Valves (petrol), 8 Valves (diesel)|
|Capacity (cc)||1498 (petrol), 1461 (diesel)|
|Power (PS @ rpm)||99 @ 6000 (petrol), 88 @ 3750 (diesel)|
|Torque (Nm @ rpm)||134 @ 4000 (petrol), 200 @ 2000 (diesel)|
|Gearbox||5-speed manual, CVT|
|Suspension & Brakes|
|Front suspension||Mcpherson Strut|
|Rear suspension||Torsion Bar|
|Front brakes||Ventilated Disc|
Nissan’s second made-in-India product, the new Sunny sedan. The new Nissan Sunny is global car, and will be sold in 170 countries around the world. Indian production will be exported to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
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The Nissan Sunny is the company’s second Indian made vehicle and forms an important part of the company’s product portfolio. First to arrive was the petrol variant in September 2011 and in less than three months, the company launched the diesel variant keeping in tune with the market demand and rising petrol prices across the globe.
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