The Nissan Magnite is poised to help revive the brand in the Indian market. Aimed squarely at the sub-compact SUV segment, Nissan aims to rival the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Kia Sonet, Hyundai Venue, Ford Ecosport, Tata Nexon, Mahindra XUV300, Toyota Urban Cruiser and also the Honda WR-V. That is a long list of choices already on offer with more models still to come. That makes the segment one of the most competitive. But when the product is done right, can also be highly lucrative. So it is imperative that the Magnite is a success for Nissan for Indian consumers to look back with desire and trust for the brand.
While the launch of the Magnite is expected soon, we were allowed to spend some time with the upcoming vehicle. From the initial impressions, we were able to find somethings about the car that we feel will help achieve the goals the Magnite is meant to, but also a couple that may not work in its favour.
Digital Instrument Cluster
The Magnite will come equipped with an all-digital colour display for the driver’s instrumentation. While it’s not something new, other automakers do offer similar equipment. But if you take a closer look, most of them are only digital MID with a digital speedo. Other ancillary dials are still analogue. With the Magnite, you will get a proper digital screen and something we loved was the graphics. They seemed crisp and vibrant. The colours pop out well and its fairly easy to read. The style and colours of graphics soft of remind me of Japanese Anime for some reason. But that may just be a personal analogy.
Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
Most modern cars in India are coming equipped with wireless smartphone charging pads. While Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have been pretty much standard across most cars in India. If you must use CarPlay, plug in the phone via USB. If you want to use the wireless charging pad, no CarPlay for you. But, if you wish to use them both and live an untethered lifestyle, it has been impossible. Some modern luxury cars have started to offer a wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto experience like BMWs. However, the Nissan Magnite is the first mass-market vehicle in India to offer the feature which is something I personally appreciate very much.
Nissan plans to price the Magnite competitively. So if you find yourself looking at the brochure (when it is released of course), some features would be missing from the spec sheet. But if you will look closely, there will be a “Tech Pack” as an optional extra add on that can be equipped for an additional fee. The Tech Pack will include a wireless charging pad, air purifier, puddle lamps, ambient mood lighting and premium JBL speakers. Nissan has not revealed how much extra one will have to pay for the Tech Pack. But this does hint at the fact, that Nisan plans to launch the Magnite at a competitive price, possible lowballing the competition in the segment.
Being a compact SUV, it is obligatory to have a good amount of ground clearance. Otherwise, what’s the point? So Nissan went to work and ensure that the Magnite offers sufficiently in that aspect. That is why, not only does the Magnite offer 205 mm of ground clearance, it is also the best in its segment. So tackling rough Indian roads should be a little more of a breeze.
Safety is paramount, there is no question about that. With the Magnite, Nissan has thrown is nearly everything you can expect. Dual airbags, ABS with EBD will be available in the Magnite. Additionally, Nissan will also equip the Magnite with Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), Hill-Start Assist System (HAS), Traction Control (TC). Along with that, the Magnite will come with tyre pressure monitors and suspension and chassis will come with an anti-roll bar for added stiffness through the corners.
While that takes care of all the things about the Magnite that we like and feel will help make its case. There are a couple of things which we feel will play against its favour.
I personally couldn’t care much for a sunroof in a car of its nature. However, when it comes to Indian consumers, the sunroof for some reason is a high priority on their list of things they want in their car. A large part of the Indian population wants one, and Nissan not offering a sunroof in the Magnite could be a deterrent for these folk. But, maybe when the mid-life cycle facelift comes along, Nissan could throw it in later.
When it comes to proportions, the Magnite is fairly a good looking car. It doesn’t shamelessly beg for attention, nor is it too subtle to be ignored on the road. All the proportions from the side and front look perfect, and very compact crossover SUV like. However, there are a few gripes I have with the design. Firstly, following the new Datsun design language for the front look is something I cannot wrap my head around. Nissan claims that it felt using that look would make the Magnite look bolder. I can understand, but for a premium product, pulling a budget-friendly feature out of the bag seems counterintuitive.
Additionally, to achieve the “dual-tone floating roof” the A-Pillar of the car has been finished with a black plastic panel. Now over time, these panels will begin to discolour and that look will begin to fade. If only a little more thought was put into these two design elements, the Magnite would have been a more solid product visually.
However, we are still to find out the details about the engines in the Magnite, how it will be like to drive and also more importantly, what it will cost. So stay tuned as we will bring you all the details about that when we get a more hands-on experience on the road with the Nissan Magnite.
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