So, you’ve probably seen that commercial on television in which this woman is unable to find her keys and calls out to her husband asking, “Honey, have you seen my caaaaaaaar keys?” By the third time I saw it, it really started to bother me. I mean, I got the concept, but how much caaaaaaaar could there be. I had to travel all the way to Port Blair in the Andamans to find out what made the new version of the Nissan Sunny different.
The Sunny was first introduced to the Indian market in 2011 and sold in relatively good numbers. Three years later, Nissan sized up the competition and decided innovation was the need of the hour. So, this year, the Nissan Sunny gets not only a facelift but also some technical upgrades. To begin with, the features are sharper than its predecessor. Chrome trim on the headlights, the new grille and the fog lights add a touch of elegance. New tail lights brighten up the rear end, and the y-shaped 12-spoke alloys give the Sunny a shot of sportiness.
Step inside, and the differences are even more pronounced. The first thing you notice is the bright new trim. It’s definitely more welcoming than the mundane grey of the old model. A well laid out centre console in piano black doesn’t only liven up the dashboard but also makes it easy to tweak creature comforts and adjust your audio system without getting too distracted. The steering wheel gets conveniently placed phone and audio controls, which feel good, and work well. Safety features such as ABS, EBD and air bags for the driver are standard on the XE and XL models, and the XV model offers the option of side airbags too.
They say the devil is in the detail. In the Sunny, the devil is under the hood. It is available with a 1.5-petrol, 101-bhp engine with a CVT or a manual gearbox, as well as a 1.5 -litre, 86-bhp diesel engine. I drove both variants in the Andamans, and, while the CVT is effortless and brisk, the diesel was a pleasure to drive. The electronics on the diesel engine have been remapped for negligible turbo lag, and the mid-range offers a superb punch. This means less gear changes and oodles of torque to play around with. If that’s not enough, Nissan claims the diesel engine Sunny will give you 22.7 kilometres per litre while the petrol CVT returns 17.9 kpl.
The Sunny has always offered astonishing amounts of leg room, head room and even room in the boot, but the new version offers more in terms of fuel economy, creature comforts and style. It’s got great ride quality, and, at Rs 7.29 Lakh (ex-Mumbai), is cheaper than the competition. The next time I watch that ad on the telly, I will now know just how much caaaaaaaar is in the new Nissan Sunny.
By Joshua Crasto