Nissan Sunny: Comfy caaar!

Written by Rajat Guha | Rajat Guha | Updated: Apr 1 2012, 22:48pm hrs
The Sunny is a car that has put Nissan back on the Indian car buyers radar. The new Nissan Sunny is a global car and will be sold in 170 countries around the world. The cars made in India will be exported to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Well, theres a lot youve read about Nissan Sunny already, including the fact that its based on Nissans V-platform, which also underpins the Micra. Nissan says the new Sunny is aimed squarely at the mid-size segment, straddling the segment from Toyota Etios at one end and Hyundai Verna at the other.

Of the sedan this size, you expect some really good acceleration figures, dont you But when it comes to the Sunny, the huge sedan emerges just as average in terms of acceleration and, especially, smooth drive.

Start the motor, however, and you will be impressed with its refinement. Theres a little vibration and a distinct clatter at idle and a gruffness at high revs, which can get a bit disturbing.

What you get the most in the Sunny is a lot of interior space. And we mean a lot! Thats why the tagline suggests: Its not a Car. Its a Caaar!

With enough space for four tall adults and a central armrest that folds into the backrest of the rear seat, your family is going to be quite happy in this one. Remember, the Nissan Sunny is a car best suited to be driven around by a chauffeur.

Lets come to how the spacious sedan feels when you get behind the wheel. So while the gearbox is slick and easy to operate, the clutch, which has been beefed up to take the extra torque, feels heavier, especially in the petrol Sunny. And as a result, constant gear shifts can take a toll on your left leg when you constantly press the clutch. As a matter of fact, the first and second gears are very notchy. Occasionally, getting the lever into gear would take some convincing. Again, a reason for you being driven around rather than being behind the wheels.

Another facet of the Sunny that has a lot going for it is the ride quality. Over broken roads, the suspension is soft and pliant and absorbs most of the bone-jarring stuff before it gets into the cabin. However, hit a quick succession of bumps at above 60kph and the car begins to get bouncy. Around the corners, the Sunny twitches slightly; it shows that some compromise has been made for comfort, especially over potholed, broken roads.

The overall handling, though, is more comfort-oriented than sportyfair enough, given the kind of car the Sunny is.

While the Sunnys light weight helps its performance and economy, the flip side is that the Sunny lacks that solid feel you get from even cars like the Tata Manza. Its quite obvious that in its quest for saving weight, Nissan has also skimped on some essentials like sound deadening. There is quite a bit of road and tyre noise entering the cabin. The cost cutting shows through in the thin cushioning on the seats; we wish Nissan could rectify this and also give the rear seats more under-thigh support.

Priced at R5.9 lakh for the base model, the Sunny doesnt quite excite you the way a City or a Verna does, but remember the fact that the Sunny is among the oldest production cars running successfully in a 21st century world, and that says a lot about the sedan.