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Old 20th September 2011, 14:55   #1
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Default Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review

The Nissan Sunny has been launched in India at a price of 5.78 - 7.68 Lakh (ex-Delhi).

What you'll like:

• Spectacular rear leg room and comfortable rear bench
• Mature and compliant ride matched by predictable handling
• Excellent city driveability & low end torque
• Convenience & comfort features such as true keyless-entry & start, rear fan vents etc.
• Interior quality & cabin fit / finish
• Safety kit across all 3 variants (ABS, EBD, Brake Assist & Airbag/s)

What you won't:

• 1.5L Petrol engine lacks outright performance. Runs out of breath quickly
• Engine noise above 3,000 rpm is very noticeable
• Vague gearbox isn't always keen to slot into gear
• Rear head-room & under-thigh support are in short supply
• No automatic transmission offered with the diesel

The Sunny Diesel & Sunny CVT:

• Team-BHP's review of the Sunny Diesel is available at this link
• Team-BHP's review of the Sunny CVT is available at this link

The 2014 Facelift:

Link to Report

Last edited by GTO : 18th June 2014 at 14:40. Reason: Adding link to facelift report
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Old 20th September 2011, 14:56   #2
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Default Exterior

This is the first C-segment sedan from Nissan in India and is an extremely important investment for the brand's growth & market-share aspirations. In this fiercely competitive segment, the way that Nissan positions itself with regards to its brand building, pricing and after-sales service will dictate its long-term success.

The Sunny is based on Nissan's “V” Platform and is a 10th Generation model. As against the initial presumption of it merely being a Micra with a boot (ala Swift Dzire, Tata Manza & VW Vento), the Sunny is a brand new car with its own design theme, even though the platform is the same as that of the Micra. This 10th Generation Sunny was unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show (China) in December 2010. While the Indian Sunny gets a 1.5L engine and manual transmission as the only option, China, USA and other markets receive 1.6L engines and automatic transmissions. The Indian Sunny will be manufactured at Nissan's Chennai plant, which will also act as their export hub to the Middle-East & Africa. The Sunny was originally supposed to be badged as the Versa (as it is called in the United States), but Maruti has rights to that name in India.

The Sunny is priced at : 5.78 L (XE), 6.88 L (XL) and 7.68 L (XV) ex-Delhi.

Pricing comparison :
Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review-screenshot-20110920165810.png

A comparison of technical specs :
Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review-screenshot-20110920165122.png

The Sunny's front-end styling undeniably is inspired by the Teana with its trademark large front grill, slightly bulbous headlights and heavily shouldered wheel arches. The overall size of the car is very obvious, and the Sunny looks more substantial than most competitors from the C-segment. The exterior paint quality is super, and much along the lines of the Polo / Vento's paint finish. The rear design, however, seems awkward when compared to the front and side-views, and does come across as an improved Dzire look. This is especially so when viewing the car from the rear 3/4th and back-end vantage points. The most visually appealing angle of the Sunny has to be from the front & the side. Another downside to the overall design appeal would be the front and rear wheel arches that seem disproportionately bulky. Additionally, the wheel and tyre size seems woefully inadequate, considering the overall size of the car.

I noticed some uneven panel gaps near the bonnet and boot areas. There was also a considerably larger gap at the front edge of the bonnet, which was consistent on all Sunnys. You will remember the official reviews of the Micra & Fluence (both produced at the same Chennai factory) where GTO & Stratos also commented on uneven / large panel gaps.

The top-end Sunny is equipped with push button engine start / stop system, true keyless entry, power windows, electric ORVM’s, audio system + CD player + AUX input, steering mounted audio controls, rear air-con blower and alloy wheels. Good on Nissan to give due importance to safety features, and provide ABS, EBD, BA & driver airbag as standard on all variants. The XL & XV get an additional airbag for the front passenger as well.

No rear fog-lamps:

The "grinning at you" grill:

Large, neat looking, head lamps:

We noted some uneven panel gaps around the bonnet and boot. The bonnet shut-line was twice the size of the panel gap shown here:

They decided to chuck the idea of providing indicator housing on the ORVMs, even for the top-end variant. Available as an accessory though. Seems to be a classic move of “Give some now; save the rest for later upgrades"

True Key-less entry is extremely useful and convenient. Press the black sensor with the key in your pocket to unlock:

Simple, elegant 7-spoke alloy wheel design. 185/65 R15 Bridgestone B-250 tyres:

Rear wheel arches look bulky:

The XV is the top variant, followed by the XL and XE:

Rear quarter has a lot of similarities to the Dzire:

Looks like a Baby Teana from this angle, wot?

Sunny & Micra side-by-side. Except for the shared interior parts, there is barely a hint to say both are siblings:

Last edited by mobike008 : 27th September 2011 at 17:38. Reason: Adding prices
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Old 20th September 2011, 14:56   #3
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Default Interiors

The interior of the Nissan Sunny is in many ways identical to the Micra. This was expected, considering that the two are based on the same platform.

As you get into the car, you notice that it's comfortable even for a 6-footer. The door shuts with a gentle thud (none of that European tank-feeling, mind you). First thing that I was impressed with is the airiness of the cabin, it’s very spacious and comfortable. Accommodating five occupants is a task that the Sunny can easily take into its stride. The dashboard is a simple design (though it seems to lack flair and panache) and has all the essential features, buttons and knobs at the right places, without the feeling of clutter.

The front seats are also very comfortable, and provide reasonable lumbar support for the driver and front passenger, both. The seat base is not too deep, so even shorter drivers will be able to sit with their lower back pressed against the lumbar support. The foot-well is spacious, and comes with a dead pedal (molded into the floor) that isn't really purposeful, but it is still about 2 - 3" further back than the clutch.

Rear space is easily the best in the C-segment, thanks in no small part to the class leading 2600 mm wheelbase, which is equivalent to some C+ segment sedans. I felt the space available to be more than even the Manza and perhaps equivalent to the Indigo XL. Rear passengers can practically lounge around on the back seat considering the ample leg room they have at their disposal. This is one car that can seat 3 passengers at the back without a fuss, even though the rear floor has a slight mound and is not completely flat.

The rear seats are softly cushioned and provide thigh support almost till the knee. However, what was sorely missing is that the edge of the seat didn’t slope upwards for increased under-thigh support, especially for the long-legged. Another point to note is that for taller passengers, headroom is at a premium owing to the swooping roof-line (see picture below). I was fiddling with the power window buttons on the rear doors and was surprised to see that the door cladding seemed to vibrate quite vigorously as the window moved up and down.

All Sunny variants come with beige cloth upholstery (yes, not even the top-end gets leather) but the quality of material is nice and soft. Also, at first glance, it seems like it’s a dual tone interior with the beige upholstery and subtle-grey dashboard. The top-end XV gets some bling, with chromed interior door handles akin to the Micra, while the lesser variants have to make do with beige coloured door handles, similar to the surrounding door plastics. With regards to the plastics, it’s neither great nor as bad as the Etios. You can slot their quality between an Etios and a Vento. Fit and finish are good. The steering wheel is neither too chunky nor too thin. It feels nice to hold, and is edged-out at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions for better grip and feel. It is rake adjustable, but does not have reach adjustment. One thing that may not please potential owners is that the driver’s seat doesn't get true height adjustment; only the seat base moves up / down (and not the entire seat).

The area above the passenger airbag seems to be another storage bin, but it isn't! The glove box itself is quite small and is useful only for a few essentials. Another downside would be that interior cubby holes / pockets are less in number, and rather compact-sized. The front door pockets can accommodate 1 liter water bottles. There is only one seat-back storage pocket (on the front passenger seat). The inside rear-view mirror is puny in size, making it inadequate for clear rearward vision. The ORVM’s are nicely shaped and provide decent visibility.

The XL & XV variants come equipped with Auto AC, with the controls in the exact same round console as the Micra. The AC performed very well, especially considering that we were in humid 34*C climatic conditions while driving along the Tamil Nadu coast.

The OEM audio package includes 4 speakers, a CD player and Aux-in. Unfortunately, there is no USB input present. Source and volume can be controlled from the steering wheel, and the buttons feel good to operate. The sound clarity is decent by OEM equipment standards, though it starts to disintegrate quickly at higher volumes - especially when bass is involved. We'd give it a 7 / 10 rating for sound quality.

What I liked was this nice feature of an air-blower for rear passengers, with air-inlets on the front pulling in air to be lobbed back to rear passengers through the blower. It is quite effective in circulating air to the rear bench. While the front A/C vents still manage to get air to the rear passengers faces, the rear fan blows air at the leg and chest levels. The fan has 2 adjustable vents, as well as two fan-speed modes. On the 2nd fan-speed mode, the blower makes so much noise that it becomes difficult for the front and rear passengers to have a conversation!

The Sunny has a key fob just like the one found in the Micra, with the addition of a "boot open" button. Of course, the boot can also be opened via a manual lever near the base of the driver's seat, as well as the soft button found below the boot lid. The boot of the Nissan Sunny is reasonably large (490 Liters), with a wide open area and low loading sill for ease of loading. However, the rear seats don’t offer any sort of folding functionality.

Contemporary steering wheel with a nice muted color tone. Feels good to hold too:

Nissan terms these as "fine vision meters" which are only available on the top end. There's a picture of the vanilla meters later on:

Nice looking switches for the music source & volume control. Feel good to operate:

Manually height-adjustable driver's seat. Note that only the seat base moves up and down - currently at its highest level:

Notice how the clutch pedal is about an inch higher than the brake - this can get uncomfortable :

Gearbox has long throws. Not too smooth to upshift from 1st to 2nd, and sometimes gets stuck in reverse:

OEM music system looks fairly basic. USB is sorely missed:

Minimal center storage. Just enough for a cellphone or two, and not much else:

Depress the clutch, and press this button to fire up the engine. Without the clutch, it will turn on the car's electricals (accessory mode):

Inside rear-view mirror is small, providing a narrow field of view:

ORVM's are large and get the job done:

Button to open / close the ORVMs. Automatic open / close when the doors lock / unlock is not available on the Sunny. However, it's present on the Micra!

Switchgear feels fairly chunky to grip. About a 1/2" too far from the steering for short-fingers to reach. Note there are 6 intermittent wiper speed options:

Glove box space is inadequate. The slot above is a good place to keep your sunglasses or mobile phone:

Chrome door handles (another Micra-share) look nice and are available only with the top-end variant:

Doors open wide enough for easy ingress:

Rear-seat gives an aura of roominess:

On the far side, the front passenger's seat is pushed back as far as it can go. The driver's seat is set to a comfortable position for a 5"8" driver. Notice the space!

That's a 6"3" tall gentleman, sitting behind the driver's seat that has been pushed all the way back. Phenomenal leg-room. Note the shortage of head-room though:

Rear fan blower is a welcome addition. However, the blower gets too noisy at speed 2:

Sunny boot is wide lipped and has a low sill for ease of loading. Spacious at 490 Liters:

Last edited by GTO : 3rd June 2012 at 11:26. Reason: The front door pockets can accommodate 1 liter water bottles
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Old 20th September 2011, 14:56   #4
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Default Engine

The Nissan Sunny comes with a 4 cylinder petrol engine from their HR engine family, sporting 16-valves, Variable Time Control (VTC) and DOHC. It puts out 134 Nm of torque @ 4000 RPM, and has a power rating of 98 BHP @ 6000 RPM.

The base model tips the scales at a mere 998 kgs, while the top-end variant weighs just a few more at 1027 kgs. This results in a healthier power-to-weight ratio than you'd expect. Don't pay too much attention to the numbers on paper though, as they paint a very different picture from the real-life performance of this engine. This HR15DE engine has been detuned for Indian conditions whereas the same engine in other markets puts out 107 BHP. Apart from the engine tune; the gear ratios have been altered for higher fuel efficiency. The performance in the mid and top end rpm-range has been noticeably blunted; enthusiasts should look elsewhere.

Depress the clutch and press the START button to fire up the engine. NVH at standstill is like any good petrol, with no noticeable vibrations. Get moving and what you will immediately notice is the low-end torque. In-city (in-traffic) driving is a breeze, and the need to down-shift to 1st is almost negated, unless you come to a dead halt. However, the picture changes as you go up the revs. Where most petrol cars are starting to come alive, the Sunny seems to be running out of breath. What disappointed me most was the 3rd gear which is usually the sweet spot in most cars to overtake, or enjoy that sudden surge in power. In this case however, 3rd gear is rather meek. I had to slam my foot to the floor in a fairly unsuccessful attempt to extract power. Though first and second have fairly short gear ratios, third seems to have been designed really tall for efficiency reasons. What was lost due to the tall gearing of 3rd is recovered somewhat in the 4th and 5th ratios, where a jab on the accelerator will make the Sunny surge forward more eagerly than you'd expect. Overall, you should be prepared to down-shift a lot when trying to overtake on highways. That's a strange thing to say in a car that bounces off the revv-limiter at 7,000 RPM!

The Sunny's 4-cylinder double overhead camshaft petrol engine housed in a relatively spacious engine bay.

The steering (EPS) feels light at slow speeds, and weighs up nicely as the speedometer climbs. It's relatively precise but not anywhere near Fiesta territory. I was disgruntled with the gearbox which is not at all precise, especially when shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. The gates aren't very well defined or welcoming, and sometimes it requires an extra push to slot the lever into position. Reverse gear would not slot at the first attempt either, and at every gear change, there is a slight "clunk" sound which is not pleasant to hear.

The Sunny redlines in 1st gear at around 50 kph and 2nd gear at roughly about 90 kph @ 7,000 RPM. As the engine inches closer to the redline, it doesn't feel at home at all. Due to the India-specific tuning and gear ratios, the Sunny has bagged an ARAI certified fuel efficiency figure of 16.95 kpl. We await real-world figures from our membership reports.

The engine NVH is average till 3000 RPM, after which it becomes noticeably loud and feels really stressed out. This lack of NVH makes the car feel strained when cruising at speeds of above 100 kph - where progress is slow. This is unfortunate, since the Sunny feels very comfortable at these speeds in terms of ride & handling.

The low & mid variants are equipped with 185/70 R14 tyres (XE, XL) on steel rims, while the top-end variant comes with 185/65 R15 Bridgestones on alloy wheels (spare is still a steel rim). The OEM tyre quality is decent in terms of grip. Road noise was also well controlled. Perhaps due to the long wheelbase, the ride and handling are extremely good, this being one of the Sunny’s strong points. Nissan seems to have gotten the perfect balance between ride & handling after tweaking the suspension settings for Indian road conditions. Combined with the super rear seat space, this hits the sweet spot on comfort. There was no bounciness or excessive vertical movement at the back seat either. The suspension felt mature and composed at city speeds, as well as at triple-digit speeds. Bumps were absorbed without any twitching, bouncing or sharp jolts. Handling is also predictable and the car holds the road well, as we saw on some of the faster curves along the ECR road.

Braking capability is good too, as we tested the car atleast 3-4 times from 80 to 0 kph and 100 to 0 kph. The Sunny stopped much faster than we expected, and what was better was that there was no stopped in a straight line. However, the brake pedal feel could be further improved. It feels like there is about an inch of play before the brakes actually begin to work hard. There's no bite to them as such.

The Sunny Diesel has its own thread here : LINK

Last edited by Rehaan : 25th January 2012 at 19:27. Reason: Adding 1 diesel image + link
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Old 20th September 2011, 14:57   #5
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Default Other Points

Other Points:

• When the Micra was launched, Nissan's dealership network was just 13 across India. Now, they have 45 operational dealers (soon to be 50). According to Dinesh Jain (CEO of their marketing arm - Hover Automotive India Pvt Ltd), they hope to touch 100 dealerships by the year-end.

• Despite knowing that the Micra Diesel is selling better than its petrol sibling (76% of Micra sales are diesel!), the diesel Sunny wasn't made available at the time of initial launch. It reached the marked 4 months later.

• The Sunny is being manufactured at a 70% - 80% localization level. The drive-train is nearly 90% localized.

• Nissan is targeting 2,000 units of the petrol Sunny in India per month. A major restriction will be their relatively smaller dealer network.

• The Plant in Chennai has a capacity of 200,000 cars per annum, though it’s designed with a potential annual volume of 400,000 units. Naturally, these figures include export cars too.

• The Sunny will be available in 6 colors (Bronze Grey, Blade Silver, Storm White, Sapphire Blue, Onyx Black and Brick Red).

• Nissan recommends a 10,000 kms service interval for the Sunny.

• 2 years / 50,000 kms standard warranty. The extended warranty adds another 30,000 kms and 2 years of coverage.

• Thanks to Rehaan for accompanying me for this drive and also for shooting and processing all the images.

Disclaimer: Nissan India invited Team-BHP for the Sunny test-drive. They covered all the expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by Rehaan : 25th January 2012 at 19:24.
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Old 20th September 2011, 14:57   #6
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Default Smaller Yet Significant Things

The Smaller & Significant Things:

Nissan India has come a long way from their first CBU products on sale: The X-Trail (2005), Teana (2007) and 370Z (2009):

Key-fob similar to the Micra. Note the additional button for boot release:

If the battery goes dead, a mechanical key can be plucked out from inside the key fob:

Large cross-section at the front of the hood keeps it light and rigid, whilst meeting international pedestrian safety standards:

Independent front-end MacPherson struts with coil springs and a compact torsion beam rear axle. Anti-roll bars are available at both ends:

Small looking exhaust pipe won't get much attention:

MID displays 2 Trip-meters, Real-time FE, Average FE, distance to empty, Outside temperature and Odometer:

Hood & fuel flap release levers:

Air-intake for the rear fan is situated behind the handbrake. Don't mistake it for a storage bin:

Rear windows roll down all the way:

Front passenger airbag is available for the XL & XV variants, but not for the base XE:

Cabin light for rear passengers:

Armrest runs long and has a nice soft feel to it. 2-small cup holders too:

Only 1 seat-back pocket:

Soft, high-quality cloth upholstery for all 3 variants:

Steel-rim spare of the top variant:

A side-frontal view of both siblings clearly illustrating the different design approach:

This is the standard instrument cluster found on the base & mid variants. Top variant gets the more premium looking "Fine Vision Meters", as shown in an earlier picture:

Last edited by Rehaan : 20th September 2011 at 15:09.
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Old 20th September 2011, 15:01   #7
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Default In a nutshell

After spending 2 days with the Sunny, here's my view :

• Nissan has started off on the right foot here with some really great pricing for a car that can go head-to-head with the City, Vento and others in terms of features and offerings.

• On the outside, the looks aren't going to excite anyone. There are some mixed feelings about the rear - but it looks much better in person than in photographs. From the point of view of most buyers, this is a car that will blend in just fine.

• The grey-beige interior colours are a bit dull for my tastes, and nothing about the dashboard seems contemporary or stylized. It doesn't please me - yet it does nothing wrong.

• From a driver's point of view, its more suited to city commutes. Despite excellent road manners, its no highway stormer as the engine runs out of breath soon. Sedate cruising at a 100 km/h is fine, but don't expect to cruise much faster. When overtaking, I felt like i could go faster by down-shifting rather than stretching the engine to its 7,000 RPM redline! The engine doesn't like being revved. 3,000 RPM and it begins to complain. NVH could really be better - as that plays a big deal in the perception of drivability too.

• The gearbox was unfriendly in 1st, 2nd and Reverse - though hopefully this might open up with time? (Our cars had just 280 km of hard running on them).

• The brakes do impressively well, though pedal feedback is on the soft and vague side, with the first inch of travel doing little to slow the car down.

• True keyless entry and start are awesome in terms of convenience! I'm surprised more cars (even from many segments higher) don't offer this.

• Other features all all there, on par with the rest of the C-segment, and ahead of some. Though USB is missed sorely.

• At the rear seat, the legroom is incredibly impressive. With the front seat all the way back, this car can rival the average leg-room of a Vento or Fiesta. This is by far the Sunny's biggest USP. The rear bench is soft and comfortable too.

• Ride is very composed, mature and level. Nissan has struck a beautiful balance which compliments the rear seat very well.

• The swooping roofline does mean that taller passengers (or very upright sitters) will feel the constant reminder to get a haircut. Though at the same time, a slouchy 6-footer could take a ride without any problems.

• Under-thigh support could be better, especially for people with long legs.

• The rear fan is a nice touch, and does a decent job even on the lower speed - though it really is too loud on the faster speed.

• Overall, theres no deal-breaker with the Sunny. Its an exceptionally well rounded car that will cover the needs of a majority of C-segment buyers.

• The mid variant (as compared to the top-end) loses out on alloys, electric folding mirrors, some interior trim and chrome and has a different instrument cluster along with remote entry - and it's priced Rs 80,000 less. Huge VFM.

• "Nissan" in India itself is the biggest question-mark for most prospective buyers of this car. They needs to make their commitment in India clear to the public, and work on converting their international brand into a household Indian name. They shouldn't for a moment underestimate the importance brand-value plays on car sales in India.


Last edited by Rehaan : 20th September 2011 at 17:48.
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Old 20th September 2011, 16:51   #8
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Default Re: Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review

Great review! Thanks! Good pricing by Nissan, the rear leg room is amazing. looks like their sales would jump, only the diesel heart is missing. How is the sound quality of the system?
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Old 20th September 2011, 16:53   #9
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Default Re: Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review

Great review indeed. It deserves a five star.
1. How is the driving dynamics compared to other petrol sedans - Manza, Etios, Dzire, Fiesta Classic and (Sx4 and Linea - should I add them or shouldn't I).
2. Any news on "Dci" option?
3. Can you put up the comp chart?
4. Have they increased the wheel base? Or it is the same as Micra

Last edited by mohandas : 20th September 2011 at 16:54.
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Old 20th September 2011, 16:54   #10
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Default Re: Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review

Very Very detailed review Avinash. I was planning to buy a Nissan Sunny, now my decision would be based mostly on your detailed review. Thanks for the review Avinash.
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Old 20th September 2011, 16:55   #11
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Default Re: Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review

Super review Mobike008 & Rehaan. Rated 5 stars.
Typical Nissan traits, unattractive to look but good package overall.

I do hope that Nissan bring in healthy competition and forces premium chargers like Honda to price their cars sensibly.

Thanks for the review.

Last edited by acroback : 20th September 2011 at 17:04. Reason: It's mobike008's review - adding his name ;)
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Old 20th September 2011, 16:55   #12
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Default Re: Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review

Nice review. Feels like I am right there physically.

Nissan may find the selling part tough at these prices after the initial rush for a new car is over.

I would prefer to wait a year and am sure to get some good discount as they may not be able to sustain these prices.
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Old 20th September 2011, 17:02   #13
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Default Re: Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review

Thanks Mobike008 & Rehaan, Nice crisp review there (worthy of 5*) and lovely photographs. Hope Nissan gets a better foothold with the Sunny. Good introductory pricing there - trying to tap 2 segments simultaneously.

Last edited by Rehaan : 20th September 2011 at 17:14.
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Old 20th September 2011, 17:04   #14
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Default Re: Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review

A good review there. Pricing looks fairly attractive for what is on offer. Seems like Nissan is hell bent on taking on the Etios/Manza at this price point. Must say the car looks far well built & roomy with more than average interiors (unlike the Etios). Engine traits too seem identical to the petrol Etios - good low end response with average high speed performance and NVH levels.

Not launching a diesel variant is a massive disappointment. I know that would come soon. Nissan will be forced to get the diesel unit in faster than they would have planned.

Last edited by fuel_addict : 20th September 2011 at 17:06.
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Old 20th September 2011, 17:06   #15
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Default Re: Nissan Sunny : Test Drive & Review

Excellent review. Rated 5 stars. If only Nissan had given a better shape and interiors, this would have been a steal.
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