Nissan Sunny : Detailed Review

Nissan's foray into India may not have been a fairytale experience with the Teana and the X-Trail, but ever since the Micra they've been going hammer and tongs to make an impression in India. Could the Sunny be the car that changes it all for this Japanese manufacturer?




When they launched the Micra, Nissan Motor India Limited sought to set their Indian operations on course. They had been selling cars here for at least two years prior to the launch of the Micra but owing to some shoddy marketing for the Teana and the X-Trail no one really knew whether Nissan really existed on Indian shores. Then came Ranbir Kapoor and the Micra and with it Nissan had a product that fitted the bill for doing battle in the highest volume segment in India. With the Micra also came the V-platform – the V stands for versatility which means that the small car from Nissan wasn’t going to be the last product from the Japanese manufacturer in India for sure. Next up, Nissan sought to conquer sales in the entry level sedan category and it is finally time for their contender to break cover. With a 45 year history across the globe, the Sunny moniker isn’t really anything new to Indian ears either. If you haven’t heard of one yet though, ask anyone who’s been in the Gulf and they’ll tell you that it’s one of the best selling sedans there.


For a small sedan to sell in such numbers in the land of crude oil and expansive deserts, it has to have something special then right? The Sunny that Nissan is bringing to India is actually the latest generation of the car – tenth to be precise and was launched first in China in December 2010. This is a car that has sold over 16 million units worldwide. This is a car whose name was selected through a contest that invited Nissan’s customers in Japan to choose what they would like to call it. This is a car that was named to reflect a young and lively character. But how well will this car do in a market as competitive as ours?







First of all, the Sunny isn’t exactly what everyone would call a great looking car. It’s not the sort of design that makes you go weak in the knees when you lay eyes on it, but then again, it doesn’t have to be either. With slightly feminine lines that give a sense of grace to the Sunny rather than outright aggression, the Sunny is easy to look at and does have some angles that makes it look really good. But equally so, it also has angles that make it look totally out of proportion – especially if you look at it from the rear three-quarters, which is something that we personally couldn’t understand since the Sunny was designed from scratch to be a sedan.







That said, this is a pure Nissan design and there is that instant connect with its bigger siblings the Teana and the Maxima. On the inside too, the Sunny is a complete paradox to its name. While the cabin is well laid out and comes fitted with everything you can think of including steering controls, a push-to-start button and climate control, it’s the colours in there that don’t do justice to the car’s badge. Everything is a shade of grey in the Sunny all the way from the dashboard to the carpets and though the monotony is slightly broken with the lighter coloured seats and door trim, it would do a world of good to Nissan to add a little more real colour in there. Even the centre console tries to splash on a little black and some aluminium finish strips but doesn’t do too well against the massive expanse of monotone grey.






In fact the lack of colour actually takes away from the car’s appealing array of gadgets to some extent, but once you’ve gotten past the visual hurdle and sink into the Sunny’s seats it’s a completely different perspective that emerges. The Nissan Sunny has more space in its cabin than all of the universe put together! Massive legroom and kneeroom both fore and aft define the Sunny’s USP. This is a car that you can carry your whole world in without ever being engaged in an elbow fight with the rest of the car’s occupants – tall people will have a field day! Efficient engineering and creative solutions is what the V-platform is all about and the Sunny just goes to show the platform’s true character. Rear seat occupants get dedicated vents that arise from between the front seats, but don’t be fooled by their appearance. These are not directly connected to the air conditioning system but in fact suck in air from the front of the cabin and belch it out at the rear – a simple and easy way to keep your rear passengers in comfort while at the same time cutting on costs!






In India the Sunny is powered by a 1.5 litre petrol unit that makes 99 Ps and 134 Nm of torque. There are no plans for a diesel yet if the spokes people at Nissan are to be believed, but with the rise in gasoline fuel prices recently the Japanese can’t afford to stay away from the oil-burner option for long. The petrol engine features Valve Timing Control or VTC which is Nissan’s version of the now almost-universal variable valve timing systems used by most manufacturers. The result is an ARAI certified efficiency figure of 16.95 kmpl – which isn’t too bad. Power comes down smoothly and the car accelerates decently well from a standstill but more important is the fact that it is extremely driveable. Matched to well sorted gear ratios the Sunny will be a breeze through bumper-to-bumper traffic on crowded streets. The only thing we found a little off on the Sunny we drove was the gear shift itself which felt slightly tacky to say the least. Good news though is that the Sunny will come in with a decent amount of safety features across its three variants all the way from the bottom range XE to the top-end XV.





The Sunny is due to be launched soon so we will refrain from commenting on the car’s price, but judging by Nissan’s ambitions they’re looking at targeting the top-end Swift DZire as well as the likes of the Honda City, Suzuki SX4 and Hyundai Verna. The car will be sold in 170 countries worldwide and considering the that it’s a huge number of markets to be selling in, even for something as famous and frequented as one of the largest Burger chains on the planet, it speaks a lot about the Nissan Sunny’s reputation. But Nissan’s putting in efforts behind the Sunny that we’ve not seen from them before. Their 44-strong dealer network will expand to 50 by the car’s launch and customers will be supported by 1300 service points and a 24x7 roadside assistance program across the country. First impressions seem nice with the Sunny and it does seem like a good overall package, but Nissan, please splash some colour in that cabin!


Recommended Variant : Sunny XL D

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