Nissan Sunny CVT : First Drive

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  • by , Photography : kunal khadse   |
  • April 5, 2013 14:48 IST
  • 57157

Heavy traffic can be a terrible situation to drive in and is the most common cause for high blood pressures and failing tempers. Could the Nissan Sunny Xtronic CVT be the answer to those problems?


Nissan Sunny CVT model



Self-shifting transmissions are a good thing – regardless of whether they’re proper automatics or of the constantly varying gear ratio type. They help us be better human beings, especially when you’re stuck in the worst traffic jams on this planet and you’re slowly inching forward by a few millimetres or so every fifteen seconds. In that sense, a well-tuned automatic can actually offer up the best anger management therapy to deal with road rage emanating out of overheating engines and rising tempers. 



Nissan Sunny passenger legroom



The only problem with most automatics has been that they’ve generally been perceived to be less efficient than their manual counterparts up until recently, but quite frankly, modern technology has changed all that. So what would you think of a mid-size sedan with enough space in the rear to let a camel stretch its legs comfortably, the convenience of a CVT and an expected sticker price lower than most of its competitors? That just about sums up the Nissan Sunny CVT then!



Nissan Sunny CVT gearbox



By now almost everybody who reads an automotive magazine or website knows what a CVT is and how it works, so we’re going to leave that piece of gyaan alone. But Nissan’s Continuously Variable Transmission is a little different than most of the other ones out there. This isn’t the first time India has seen it though – Renault managed to trump its sister company when they launched the Scala CVT a few months back, which essentially is the same car as the Sunny under the cosmetic surgery on the outside. 


Nissan’s Xtronic CVT boasts of having the highest transmission ratio in the world (currently) at 7.3:1, achieved by employing an auxiliary gearbox on the driven side pulley. That actually gives this particular gearbox more than just bragging rights – it turns out to be 10 percent smaller in size, quite a bit lighter and also 30 percent better at reducing friction than conventional CVTs. All that sounds good on paper, but it translates into some great going in the real world too.



Nissan Sunny CVT model drive



Firstly, Nissan’s Xtronic turns out to be faster in the 0-100 km/h by all of 2 seconds compared to a 5-speed auto’box on a comparable car. And then there’s the improved fuel efficiency too – the Sunny Xtronic rated at 17.97 kmpl, 20 percent higher than its manual counterpart.


Of course, those figures are what Nissan is using in its marketing campaigns so we will put them to the test once we get to strap on our own data logging instruments to the car sometime later. What we can tell you for certain though, is that the Nissan Sunny Xtronic CVT is a breeze to drive with its super-refined engine no matter how choc-o-bloc the traffic might get. The car revs smoothly up the tachometer and with what Nissan likes to call Adaptive Shift Control, the car assesses driving styles to automatically adjust the CVT for the best efficiency in any given situation.



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