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Old 21st August 2012, 13:02   #1
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Default Nissan Evalia : Official Review

The Nissan Evalia has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 8.49 - 9.99 Lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• Light steering, gearbox and tight turning radius. Easily driveable in the city
• Fuel efficient 1.5L diesel engine is a proven workhorse
• Generous cabin space, very usable 3rd row of seats and a large luggage capacity
• Features include a colour MID, reversing camera, keyless entry/go, 3rd row air-con etc.
• Safety kit : ABS, EBD & BA are standard. 2 airbags on all, except the lowest variant

What you won’t:

• Boxy looks & sliding rear doors give it a commercial van look & feel
• Middle row missing basics like roll-down windows, A/C vents and door armrests
• Small 1.5L engine has mediocre highway performance. Overtaking needs to be carefully planned
• Thin 165/80 R14 tyres are a joke on an MUV of this size
• Nissan's patchy dealer network & service quality

Ashok Leyland Stile:

Link to Review

Last edited by GTO : 18th November 2013 at 10:48. Reason: Link to Stile Review
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Old 21st August 2012, 13:03   #2
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Default Exterior

It's raining UVs (Duster, Ertiga, Q3 etc.) and with good reason too; the Indian market has developed an insatiable appetite for this breed of vehicle. In a significant market development, UVs have started consistently outselling sedans (July sales figures).

After Nissan dibble-dabbled in the luxury & SUV segments with the Teana & X-Trail, it began to establish the brand with the Micra hatchback & Sunny sedan (currently its cash cow). It was only logical for Nissan to want a piece of the ever-growing Indian UV pie too, since the company has a wide portfolio of UVs on sale internationally.

The segment leader Innova (selling 6,500+ units per month) is now thought to be pricey, especially considering the little you get in terms of features. Yet, the Xylo hasnít managed to snatch much away from it, coming in at an average of 2,400 units a month. Chevyís Tavera sells at sub-2000 figures, and though Marutiís Ertiga is a hit, you canít really compare it to any of these UVs in terms of interior space. There aren't many true 7 / 8 seater competitors that have the solid, reliable and relatively upmarket image that the Innova enjoys. Nissanís opportunity here is to have the Evalia match it ďto the TĒ on reliability and beat it on features, space, running cost and fuel efficiency. Interestingly, most of the interest in the Evalia during our test drive came from Innova drivers!

Specifications comparison of the Evalia and its competitors:
Nissan Evalia : Official Review-specs.png

Pricing comparison of the Evalia and its competitors:
Nissan Evalia : Official Review-pricing.png

Feature comparison of the 4 Evalia variants on offer:
Nissan Evalia : Official Review-features.png

But wait a minute - Thereís one thing about the Evalia that stops some prospective buyers in their tracks. It looks like a delivery van!! When I first saw pictures of the Evalia, I imagined it being driven by an Italian plumber or a UK florist - as seen in the movies (albeit in panel van form Ė i.e. No rear windows). In the flesh, the design takes a little getting used to, but Iíll admit itís more personable, more so if in the right colour shade.

The question is : Do Indians value comfort, practicality and space over looks in their UV? The success of the questionable looking Qualis might have proven this true; however, there weren't too many worthwhile competitors back then. The Innova isnít special looking either, but the reasons behind its success are clear. Nevertheless, Nissan will surely put off a large number of private owners due to this factor alone.

On first impressions, the Evaliaís front can be considered futuristic, imposing or even stylish. The sides and rear end are bland and boxy though. When viewed from the side, itís almost like the front and rear halves are distinct. There are no unifying design elements or flowing lines across the length of the body. The Evalia is a good 12 cm taller than the Innova, and nearly matches the Xylo in height. Width wise, the UV is 6.5 cm narrower than the Innova and 15.5 cm narrower than the Xylo. Itís even shorter in length than the Toyota and Mahindra by 18.5 cm and 12 cm respectively. To sum it up, the Evalia is tall, but not particularly wide or long.

Paint quality is decent, however we noticed the paint on the front bumpers had more of a matte effect when compared to that on the body panels. Nissan has some really nice colours on offer. The maroon, dark grey and blue-green (of our test car) look particularly nice. The Evalia in black has the potential to look good with some dark tints, after-market alloys and thicker rubber (visualized here). Panel gaps are on the larger side in a few places at the front and rear, but at least the gaps are consistent (unlike on the Sunny & Micra).

The Innova is a bit longer, but not as tall:

The Xylo is bigger than the Evalia in length, width and height:

The front looks stylish, albeit the sides & rear appear to have lost the designer's interest:

Rear 3/4th view is very blocky:

Almost a perfect square! Thankfully, the large reflectors help break up the slab-like rear to an extent:

No unifying design elements / curves running the length of the car, making the two halves look fairly disjointed:

Tiny 165/80 tyres on 14" alloy wheels for a vehicle of this size is just plain shocking. Probably, a huge contributor to the high ARAI fuel efficiency rating:

Notice the black request sensor button of the keyless entry system. Awkward positioning due to the outdated flap-type door handles:

Intercooler visible through the front grille:

To put the 165 mm of tyre width into perspective, here's what it looks like:

Headlamps integrate nicely:

On the left is a well-placed reverse camera. In the center is the handle for the rear hatch, while the black button (on the top right) is a keyless unlock request button:

To illustrate just how flat sided the Evalia is. Probably great for interior space optimization, not so much for aesthetics:

Dual reversing lights, but no rear fog-lamps:

An increased 180 mm of ground clearance and a different suspension tune are the India-specific changes:

Large ORVMs and a small quarter-glass. Visibility isn't an issue:

Ribbed roof for structural strength & mounting points for a roof-top carrier:

Sliding rear doors - something India is most used to seeing only on commercial-passenger vehicles:

Nice selection of colours on offer:

Last edited by Rehaan : 26th September 2012 at 13:45. Reason: Adding pricing chart
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Old 21st August 2012, 13:03   #3
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Default Interior (Front)


The Evalia has a fairly high seating position for the front occupants. It’s more like sitting on a chair than in a car. Ingress too involves taking a step up into the Evalia, and neither the driver nor the front passenger get any kind of grab handles to aid with pulling themselves inside. Thankfully, the front door sill has a cut-out that functions like an in-built step, making entry that much more accessible.

Once seated, frontal and side visibility are good. Despite the fairly thick A-pillars, their upright angle and the high driver viewpoint doesn't let them hinder your vision. The front seats are firm and have good lateral support. They don't have any height or lumbar adjustment though. The foot well is roomy with plenty of space between the pedals, and a sizable dead-pedal too. The plastic quality is decent, although there is no premium feel in here. The grey brown & light beige colour combination is specifically chosen for India. The steering wheel is a straight lift from the Micra. It is chunky, relatively small and nice to hold. On the Evalia though, even the top-end variant doesn’t have the metallic inserts (on the steering spokes) or steering mounted controls (the top end Sunny gets them, as do the Innova & Xylo).

The instrument cluster is dominated by a large speedometer in the center. There is no dial for a tachometer; instead, the MID screen houses a digital tacho (located to the right of the speedo). The MID is quite versatile and shows information such as real time fuel consumption, suggested gear indicator, average speed, distance to empty, driving time and more. Given that the MID has so many functions, it’s rather sad that the indicator stalk doesn’t have a button to toggle the display. You need to reach through (or around) the steering wheel to press the rudimentary looking small sticks poking out of the cluster (the type you normally reset the trip-meter with). The left stick also can be turned clockwise and anti-clockwise to cycle through the multitude of MID display items and menus.

The outside rear view mirrors (ORVMs) are just wide enough to do the job, and are also very tall. If angled right, they help a lot when parking close to the curb. The ORVMs are electrically controlled via the adjustment buttons on the dashboard. Even with passengers in the rear seats and the head-rests up, the rearward visibility is decent for a van of this type. However, the D-pillars are thick and the rear window is quite high, so for reversing, you’d need some help from the reverse camera (offered on the top-end variant only). The reverse camera displays a distance as far as 10 feet back. The angle of view is very wide – giving roughly a 165 degree field of view. The fact that part of the bumper is shown in the image also helps the driver to gauge distances. The downside is that the camera is shown on the vertical & small MID screen. Add to that, as you turn the steering wheel, the steering spokes and your arms tend to block the display. You might spend more time moving around, trying to see the display, than actually concentrating on whether you are about to hit something or not!

The lighting and wiper stalks have a chunky and solid feel to them. The front fog lights have a switch on the light stalk while the wipers get 7 intermittent speeds.

The top end Evalia is equipped with the much loved true keyless entry and start/stop system, just like the other top-end Nissans. The difference here is that there is no Start/Stop button; instead, you have to turn a plastic grip on the ignition key slot (like you would if you had a key inserted).

There’s plenty of space to drop your knick-knacks. Two small tray areas on the center console, a large one on the dash-top and a big open glove-box. No idea where owners are supposed to store their documents...the glove-box is permanently open as it doesn’t have a lid! There is an enclosed storage space in the center console, but it’s intended more for canned drinks, CDs and the like. Cup holders are scattered throughout the cabin. Each passenger gets at least one place where they can drop their <500ml drink. 1 liter bottles won’t fit.

Our test car had the exact same head unit found on the Sunny. The sound seems to come from the foot-wells at the front, and when seated in the middle row, it is noticeably behind you (speakers are placed in the 3rd row). The bass is rather empty, with the sound lacking depth. I’d give the OEM stereo's sound quality a 7/10. No USB input was present, a glaring omission in today's times. The A/C controls feel plasticky and dated. The A/C mode dial takes some effort to turn – it feels like it’s cable operated and mechanical. Unfortunately, we can’t comment on the cooling efficiency in harsher conditions, since it was a cool monsoon day in Bangalore. It chilled the cabin well on our drive. We were told that the system has one compressor and 2 evaporators.

Safety wise, Nissan has kitted up the Evalia impressively. All 4 variants get ABS + EBD + BA (Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake-force Distribution & Brake Assist) and the last seat row gets 2 proper 3-point seatbelts. Dual airbags are offered on 3 of the 4 variants.

Micra / Sunny steering wheel, but without any metallic inserts or audio control buttons:

Big speedo dominates the instrument cluster. Area for warning lights on the left, full-colour MID (including Tacho) on the right:

A large selection of info screens that the MID can display:

Front seats are nicely contoured and placed fairly high; very chair-like. The seat back has a gradual spring-back action when being adjusted:

Large seat adjustment levers. Also note the steering wheel angle (set to the highest rake level, but can drop about 2"):

Center console houses the Sunny's audio system and basic air conditioner controls:

The gear-shift is mounted to the dash. Vid6639 says the finish on the gear-knob reminds him of his decade+ old Maruti 800:

Foot well is roomy, pedals are well spaced out and a dead pedal has been provided:

The top-end has keyless go; however there is no start / stop button. You need to turn the ignition switch:

Chunky stalks. The usual settings + front fog light control:

Basic A/C controls and the central locking button below:

The 3-speed blower fan of the rear-A/C won't work until the main control switch has been turned on by the driver:

Front door cladding. Only 2 power window switches. Driver's side gets one-touch up and down:

Several trays and levels on the center console storage area:

A large dash-top storage slot above the audio system:

The glove box is ginormous, but gets no lid whatsoever. That's a Galaxy S cell phone in there to show the relative size. Notice the hook on the RHS to hang plastic bags:

Large ORVMs do the job. First time that I've seen a convex mirror without the usual "Objects in the mirror may appear..." warning. Localization?

Rear view camera display on the MID. The lines are distance markings and show the projected vehicle width too:

Rearward visibility is decent for this class of vehicle, although thick D-pillars do create blind spots. IRVM is non-prismatic:

Last edited by Rehaan : 11th October 2012 at 13:54. Reason: No USB present in launched models.
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Old 21st August 2012, 13:04   #4
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Default Interior (Rear)


Let's be clear on this – the Evalia was designed to be a vehicle capable of hauling cargo. For easy loading and unloading, sliding doors were an obvious choice. Unfortunately, the sliding doors have brought along their own set of problems for passenger use. Primarily, the windows don’t really open beyond popping out 3-4 inches at the rear end! This is a huge negative, especially if the car is used as a people carrier on longer trips, where passengers need some fresh air and a few might even wish to offer their lunch back to the outside world. An openable window is a must; even a primitive sliding window (ŗ la Maruti Omni) has an advantage over this pop-out “butterfly type” window set-up. Look at the Eeco, it has large roll-down windows on its sliding doors – thus it is technically possible. Also, the massive plastic panel door-cladding looks a little plain and doesn’t have any moulded arm-rests built in – something that Vid6639 sorely missed. Another complaint about the middle row is that it doesn’t get its own set of A/C vents.

The rear half of the cabin doesn't have a very airy feel due to the comparatively smaller size of the windows back here. Though the windows are very wide, they are only 12” high. The middle-row windows pivot at the front, opening outwards by about 4" at the rear end. When the windows are opened within city limits, outside noise gets reflected right into the passenger's ears. If that’s not enough, the sound of the open window clanking around when the car goes over rough patches is quite evident too. These windows are best left closed.

Ingress at the rear is far from easy. The step up into the cabin is about half a meter high! What makes it noticeably worse is the fact that the seat is further inset by about 4 inches from the edge of the vehicle. It’s not possible to just rest your rear on the seat from outside the car. My grandmother can get into our Innova relatively easily by first sitting onto the seat, and then lifting her legs in; this just wouldn’t be possible in the Evalia due to the sides of the seat-base not reaching close to the edge of the door frame (pictured below). I did find the wide B-pillar interfering with ingress / egress too (hit my knee twice when entering, and foot whilst exiting), though Vid6639 didn’t face the same issues. The large sliding doors are easy to operate, and lock into place when opened to their maximum. This prevents “decapitation by sliding door” if you’re ever trying to jump in whilst the car is pointing downwards on an incline.

Seat cushioning is rather basic, giving it that "Maruti Eeco" feel. The seat benches are relatively flat and non-contoured. The compound is on the firmer side, yet it’s quite comfortable to sit on over long periods. The floor is completely flat too. There is no center hump, thus allowing the middle passenger to be accommodated comfortably. The middle row backrests have 3 settings for recline. The most upright setting is unusable (almost vertical). The middle setting is comfortable, and the most reclined is similar to the relaxed seat back angle of cars like the Manza. As far as I can tell, there’s no real reason for the middle bench to have been as narrow as it is. It could have easily been extended by 3-4 inches on each side (6-8” more overall width). The bench is roughly 49” wide, making it 3” narrower than the Innova. Vertical space in the cabin is huge and headroom in all seats is excellent.

With the driver’s seat set for a 5’8” driver, the middle bench gets a good 3 inches of knee room more than in the Innova. It would be even greater, but the foldable trays eat into that knee room by an inch-and-a-half. Even though the middle row is fixed in place and doesn’t slide forward / backward (ŗ la Innova), the Evalia still has more legroom in both (the middle row and the last row of seats). This is when compared against the Innova with its middle row slid forward (necessary to make acceptable space in the 3rd row). However, with the Innova’s middle row slid all the way back, it definitely has more leg and foot room, but the last row is almost unusable. One downside of the Evalia is that the structural base below the front seats is positioned rather far back, and that somewhat limits where you can place your feet (4th picture below). This makes the Evalia have excellent legroom / knee room, but it's iffy for foot room.

A massive 50 cm step up into the Evalia, not easy for the elderly. Vid6639 is 6 feet tall and it's still a large step up:

Minimum legroom (far side) and maximum legroom (closer) shown:

That's me (5'8") sitting behind my own driving position. Good legroom, but notice what my toes are touching:

If I want more foot room, I have to move my feet close together to avoid the black metal legs ahead of me which are placed very far back:

Rear pop-open windows opened as much as possible:

Minimum and maximum recline for the middle row. There are 3 recline settings:

Tray tables for the middle row are quite sturdy in their open position. They come with a cup-holder too:

Yet another bottle holder for the middle bench. Door lock and handle visible here:

Grab handle to aid ingress:

Excessive gap between the seat and the door makes sitting right into the seat impossible:

Front door gets a smaller step up, whilst the rear is one big step:


Flipping the middle row forward (to access the last row) is not as convenient as some other vehicles make it. First, you need to pull a loop on the top of the backrest to collapse it forward. Next, you need to reach behind the seat and pull another tag near the floor to detach the legs and flip the entire seat forward. It’s a lot more taxing on the right side (the larger side, due to the 60:40 split) as there are two loops that need to be pulled. This requires both hands, and it’s quite the reach-over exercise. The loops are mounted so low that even the 3rd row passengers might have a hard time reaching them. The space left on the side of the middle row of seats makes it somewhat possible for last-row passengers to exit when only the seat backrests are flipped forward. I wish Nissan had made this process more accessible and user friendly.

That aside, in terms of amenities, the last row seems to be the place to be, especially in comparison to the middle row. The seat-backs have 6 recline settings (unlike the 3 settings of the middle row) and they can also recline much further back. There is an individual 3-speed A/C control and vents (only on the right side). A neat trick is to point the vents forward towards middle row passengers (when the 3rd row is empty). Both the 3rd row passengers get 3-point seat belts. The windows back here do not open at all.

To maximize its load-carrying width, the Evalia has been designed such that the wheel arches barely intrude into the cabin. This enables a wide last row (only 10 cm narrower than the middle row). It would be possible to squeeze 3 small-built people in here if it was absolutely necessary. Unlike the 60:40 split of the middle row, the last row splits 50:50.

When opening the rear tailgate from the outside, you need to take a step back because it’s very tall (it starts at the high roof and ends at the very low loading height). In addition, anyone shorter than 5’3” will have a hard time reaching up to close it. There are no hanging grab handles like some cars have to overcome this problem. Luggage space is impressive. Even with all seating rows in place, 3 large strolleys can fit in without a problem. For larger hauls, the last row can be folded up to liberate 2,100 liters of space and, if you’re moving house, the middle row folds forwards. You then have a completely flat floor and 2,900 liters of usable space.

That's 6 foot tall Vid6639 in the last row. He could just about squeeze in with the seats up. Wouldn't have been possible in the Innova's last bench:

5'8" tall me in the last row. A few inches of space between my knees and the seats ahead:

Bottle holder, A/C controls and a set of speakers for the last row:

Plenty of room to access the last row when the seats are folded away:

The two loops on the middle row seat that need to be pulled to flip the seat assembly forward:

An alternate way to enjoy the last row of seats:

1,235 mm opening height. 540 mm loading bay height is conveniently low. Storing 2-3 medium bags is a breeze, even with all seats in place:

With the last row folded up, you'll have more storage space than you'll ever need (2,100 litres):

Middle row flipped forward. You could camp out in here:

Last edited by Rehaan : 21st August 2012 at 13:50.
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Old 21st August 2012, 13:04   #5
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Default Engine

The Indian Evalia is only offered with a common-rail direct injection diesel engine - Renault’s very well-known and much adopted 1.5 liter K9K unit. The engine puts out 85 BHP @ 3750 rpm and 200 Nm of torque @ 1750 rpm. The output figures are almost identical to the Sunny’s state of tune, but bogged down with an additional 400 kilograms of weight in this pairing, due to the Evalia’s heft. Displacement wise, the engine is a good liter smaller than the direct competitors (2.5 liter blocks of the Innova & Xylo). However, don’t let that fool you. The Evalia’s front-wheel-drive monocoque construction is the ace up its sleeve. This makes the Nissan 235 kgs lighter than the Innova, and 404 kgs lighter than the Xylo, as the Toyota & Mahindra are RWD with body-on-frame constructions. The power-to-weight and torque-to-weight ratios are very comparable between the 3 vehicles, with the Evalia having a significant fuel efficiency advantage.

Fire the engine up and there is a significant amount of diesel clatter. Once warmed up though, the clatter quotient decreases noticeably and what’s left is just the regular diesel thrum. Turning the Micra-esque steering is easy and light. Yes, it's much lighter than even the Innova's steering. This helps a lot when maneuvering about within the city. The Evalia also has a compact 5.2 meter turning radius. That's respectable for a vehicle of its size.

Unlike the Innova (where the gear lever feels like it’s from a truck with the tall profile, long throws and constant vibration), the Evalia’s gear shift could be lifted straight out of a hatchback. It has short throws and is completely devoid of any vibrations. It’s not the smoothest box as it feels a little notchy, yet it’s easy to operate and sure-slotting all the same. The clutch pedal’s weight is not feather light and it’s not UV heavy’s par for the course. Overall, the manageable gearshift, light steering, tight turning radius and good visibility make the Evalia a breeze to maneuver within the city.

Drivability of the engine is good and very similar to the Sunny. Though, the low-down torque seems weaker, probably due to the extra weight it has to lug around. 1,700 rpm is when the power starts to come in, and the Evalia begins to pick up speed. Even on hairpin turns, with 5 people in the van, you’re okay in 2nd gear as long as you don’t drop below 1,500 rpm. If you do go below 1,500 rpm, the life slowly gets sucked out of the engine in demanding situations such as this (fully loaded + incline). A hill start in the same situation definitely requires some clutch slipping; you have to rev the engine up to 1,700 rpm before letting go of the clutch. The throttle isn’t very responsive and the engine doesn’t revv up super fast, so this takes some pedal juggling to do smoothly.

On flat roads and in the city, the engine is very malleable and has controlled turbo lag (one of the highlights of the K9K). On the highways though, there is no “punch” when you put your foot down whilst trying to overtake. You need to work the gears, and even then, plan your overtaking moves well in advance. Despite the Innova’s larger 2.5 liter engine, both these cars perform similarly on the highway (the Innova is much noisier). Both cars seem to complain if you wish to go past 120 km/h. The Evalia has gearing that’s been optimized for its small engine, whereas the Innova has awful gear ratios for the highway. The Evalia’s 1st gear tops out @ 38km/h, 2nd @ 75 km/h and 3rd @ 105 km/h. That’s fairly short gearing and is one of the ways Nissan has managed to succeed in using a relatively small 1.5 liter motor in a large vehicle.

In 5th gear, cruising along at 80km/h, the engine will be turning over at 1,900 rpm. The turbo whistle is quite prominent when you put your foot down, and a large amount of wind noise gets through from the A-pillars at as low as 70-80 km/h.

We were initially concerned about ride quality because the Evalia has leaf springs at the rear (usually seen on load-carrying commercial vehicles). Suffice to say, if we didn’t know it was riding on leaf springs, we’d never have guessed. Ride quality is on par with the Innova. The Evalia is a tad firmer and lacks the softer long-travel suspension feel of the Toyota, yet the ride is composed and there is no bobbing or bouncing at highway speeds. The 80-profile rubber on small 14” wheels probably helped smooth things out too, especially in combination with the leaf-spring setup. Overall, the ride quality exceeded our expectations and left us impressed. On the other hand, passengers in the last row (sitting right above the rear axle) definitely have a harsher time, more so over larger bumps which come through sharply. Due to the high center of gravity and raised 180 mm of ground clearance, there is noticeable body roll. Even when doing a quick single lane-switch at about 80 km/h, the body roll and the fact that you are on merely 165 mm of rubber make it a bit scary.

In terms of stopping power, the brakes have a decent feel to them (unlike the dull and unresponsive Sunny B-pedal). Unfortunately, we didn’t really get a chance to do any high-speed or panic braking tests. With the super skinny 165 tyres, we really hope that the ABS, EBD & Brake Assist work as intended.

ARAI figures: Evalia = 19.3 kpl, Innova = 13.7, Xylo = 12.92, Tavera 13.7 & Ertiga = 20.77 kpl.

The underside of the hood, the firewall and the engine cover are all lacking in terms of NVH insulation:

A rare combination of a monocoque vehicle with leaf-spring at the rear. These are not conventional semi-elliptical leaf springs, but instead parabolic leaf springs (better ride quality):

Note the forward-angled dampers. This (and the leaf spring) set-up doesn't require much vertical space, minimizing the amount the rear wheel arches intrude into the cabin:

Underbody protection at the front:

Fuel filler location below the driver's side door:

Last edited by Rehaan : 21st September 2012 at 18:14.
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Old 21st August 2012, 13:04   #6
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Default Other points

Other Points:

• Standard warranty: 2 years / 50,000 kms. Extended warranty: up to 4 years / 80,000 kms.

• Nissan has 68 dealerships in place and 29 upcoming ones.

• If you buy the Evalia, please upgrade to at least 185 mm wide tyres right away.

• The Evalia is built on Nissan’s B-platform (B0), as is the Renault Duster. The Sunny and Micra are based on the newer V-platform.

• Rear wiper, rear defogger, prismatic mirror and steering controls will probably be introduced as a revision later on.

Follow me home headlamps on all variants: Leave the headlight switch on, and the headlamps will remain on for 30 seconds after you've exited the vehicle.

• Though you are allowed to cycle between the different info-screens, the MID doesn’t let you change settings whilst the car is in motion.

• 5th wheel is a steel wheel. It lowers down from under the car. The cranking point is under a small, circular plastic cover on the edge of the rear loading bay.

• Sometimes, the steering lock seemed to jam up. Apparently, you need to push inwards when turning the ignition and ensure you have your foot on the brake as well.

• Though the plastic durability seemed good at the front, the middle bench had two broken / split cladding pieces, and the left window sill had developed a rattle.

• Random thought: Why buy a DC Innova when you can have an Evalia? Remove the middle row of seats for a lot more legroom and space!

• The Evalia has achieved 85% localization. However, no export plans at the moment.

• Ashok Leyland will be putting a rebadged Evalia on offer as the Stile. It will be geared more towards commercial applications. The Stile preview shown at the 2012 Auto Expo had a very nice looking front-end: view picture.

• The Evalia (aka the NV200 abroad) has been chosen as the exclusive taxi for New York City in 2013, complete with USB charging and a transparent roof panel to give passengers a view of the Manhattan high-rises above (read more). The iconic London cabs are to be replaced with the NV200 as well.

• Thanks to Vid6639 for accompanying me on this drive and adding several points & pictures.

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

Last edited by Rehaan : 26th September 2012 at 13:47. Reason: Follow me home headlamps are on all variants
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Old 21st August 2012, 13:04   #7
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Default The Smaller Things

The Smaller & Significant Things:

Width comparo of the Evalia and Innova:

Components of the rear A/C are housed in here:

Child lock switch (above), as well as electrical contacts (below) for the central locking system on the sliding door:

There are a lot of loops in this interior, making it look a little unkempt:

The base of the middle bench doesn't have any sort of cosmetic cladding on it. Looks crude:

Electric mirror adjustment controls are located on the dashboard:

Nissan's awesome true keyless system is super convenient. Top-right: in case the battery fails. Bottom-right: Lower variants get remote lock/unlock only:

Vid6639 noticed this neat trick. The speedo barrel is actually just a plastic molding placed over the continuous piece of clear plastic!

Warning lights. The blue coolant-temperature light came on for a few minutes during a cold morning start:

Huge pinch point: to close the windows, you need to pull towards the left with your thumb. I pinched my index finger quite bad while doing this:

Hang 'em up. Notice the little pouch on the bottom of the seat to stow away the plastic hook & tie. All the seats have these pouches:

Yet another bottle holder! This time with a tie-down. Visible above is a storage shelf:

Cloth interior upholstery is soft and durable. Light colour, so will probably get dirty soon, like the Innova:

Card slot (ticket holder) on the dash, with the hood and fuel flap levers below it:

Pull it out to reveal the OBD port, as well as the fuse box:

Openable center console. Don't miss the coin holder on the left edge, and another ticket / money holder clip on the inside of the lid:

Tools stowed away under the front passenger's seat:

Both visors are bare:

45 psi recommended pressure!

The engine shows you the oil level just as you start up. Cool:

The JKs and MRFs on the Evalia are actually light truck tyres (LT):

Settings menu of the MID has several options. (There seems to be a display bug on the 3rd line though):

The 3 lower variants get a monochrome MID instead of a full-colour one:

The entire huge cabin (including the boot) gets just one centrally mounted interior light:

Last edited by Rehaan : 21st August 2012 at 13:32.
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Old 21st August 2012, 13:48   #8
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Default Re: Nissan Evalia : Official Review

You know a manufacturer has mainstream aspirations when it launches a sub-10 lakh rupee UV. This is an extremely difficult segment to crack, thanks to the domination by Mahindra, Toyota & Maruti (all three target a different kind of customer though). It’s strange that Hyundai – the no.2 car manufacturer of India – still doesn’t have a people carrier on sale! Nissan will face a challenge because its thin dealer network doesn’t penetrate into semi-urban and rural India as that of its competitors.

I’m hoping that Nissan will significantly undercut the Innova on price; they are going to have to. Whoever has the budget buys the Innova, while whoever doesn’t (have the budget) and settles for a cheaper UV wishes they'd bought the Innova. It’s indeed the segment benchmark. The Xylo is 2.xx lakhs cheaper, and the facelift is a fairly accomplished product, yet the market overlooks it for the Toyota.

The Evalia might just be the Innova’s first real competitor. Unlike the Mahindras & Tatas, Nissan will be able to deliver a “hassle-free” ownership experience (like the Innova). It’s got impressive space, a usable 3rd row of seats, higher fuel efficiency, surprisingly decent ride quality (on leaf springs!!), more luggage capacity and is easy to drive. This 1.5L diesel is a known fuel miser and might draw in commercial vehicle owners by the droves. After all, operating expenses are the biggest dent on their balance sheets after depreciation. The main disadvantages I see are the sliding rear doors and that the middle row doesn’t have air-con vents (Innova folk love them, very useful!). The butterfly windows suck, but I don’t care too much about them…how often does one drive without the air-con anyway? The puny tyres are an irresponsible decision from Nissan; informed private owners will upgrade them, but the majority couldn’t be bothered. Nissan should have acted more prudently when choosing the tyre size.

Full marks to Nissan for equipping the Evalia with ABS, EBD & BA across the range. Is the Renault Duster listening?

Superb review, Rehaan & Vid6639. The attention to detail is mind-boggling. Rating your report a well-deserved 5 stars. Thanks for sharing it with us and I'm certain you two will have your own fan club amongst taxi-wallahs (even they have Android phones today ).

Last edited by GTO : 21st August 2012 at 14:00.
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Old 21st August 2012, 14:00   #9
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Default Re: Nissan Evalia : Official Review

Lovely review!
However, I am confused about the tires.
They are light truck tires and recommended filling is 45PSI.
Now if you ®upgrade® to car tires of lets say 185 width, you cannot put in 45PSI. Most of the car tires have max safe limit of 40PSI.
So you have to find light truck tires of wider section width.
I wonder if any such tires are available in the market easily
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Old 21st August 2012, 14:18   #10
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Default Re: Nissan Evalia : Official Review

Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Lovely review!
However, I am confused about the tires.
They are light truck tires and recommended filling is 45PSI.
Now if you ®upgrade® to car tires of lets say 185 width, you cannot put in 45PSI. Most of the car tires have max safe limit of 40PSI.
So you have to find light truck tires of wider section width.
I wonder if any such tires are available in the market easily
Shouldn't larger tyres have less air pressure to carry the same weight? Would be really difficult though to get the correct air pressure.

It was a surprising entry (atleast to me) from Nissan in this segment and looks a little jugaad and not a good try.

Last edited by srishiva : 21st August 2012 at 14:20.
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Old 21st August 2012, 14:20   #11
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Default Re: Nissan Evalia : Official Review

Good and detailed review,Rehaan & Vid6639,
The boxy design looks outdated and will not be challenger to Innova. Innova after all these years is still the benchmark in this segment. We have come to expect good looking, reliable and affordable vehicles.Lack of window adjustment even for second row is a let down.
The safety features is top notch and essential for these people mover.
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Old 21st August 2012, 14:20   #12
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Default Re: Nissan Evalia : Official Review

wow. The sliding doors is a big let down and I dont like the exteriors at all although the interior space is high on flexibility(despite the dull dashboard/Steering color. Why cant Nissan differentiate the color between dashboard and steering!! ). It looks like it will be used more by restaurants to ship vegetables or some other commercial establishments rather than personal users. People who want a UV will probably stick to Innova or Duster due to better looks and should i add performance as well!!.
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Old 21st August 2012, 14:28   #13
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Default Re: Nissan Evalia : Official Review

Very informative review! Love the pics! thanks guys.

The tyre profile does seem a bit skinny. Any space available to up-size the tyres without scratching the sidewall?

I am not too fond of the looks. From the interiors, it looks like a taxi upgraded to fit a passenger segment. Maybe a definite addition as a business delivery van. I am pretty sure hotels / adventure organizations will be attracted by the "openness" of the vehicle and the versatility it offers.

To put up the bet on its future, I'd say its about a 30% chance of replacing the Innova in its segment as a owner-driven vehicle and about 70% or more chance of it becoming the next Omni / Tavera.
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Old 21st August 2012, 14:39   #14
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Default Re: Nissan Evalia : Official Review

Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Now if you ®upgrade® to car tires of lets say 185 width, you cannot put in 45PSI. Most of the car tires have max safe limit of 40PSI.
So you have to find light truck tires of wider section width.
Good point!

However, a tyre's suggested inflation pressure is not linked to the vehicle per se (45 psi in this case).

Its linked to the model of tyre and its specifications (size, load index, etc).

What you'd probably need to do is find a tyre that has a sufficient LOAD INDEX for the Evalia. It should be able to handle the vehicle weight + max passengers / luggage. This shouldn't be too tall a task for passenger tyres, given that the Evalia already has a ~400 kg weight advantage over cars like the Xylo which have similar seating capacity. After picking a tyre that fits the bill, then see what the recommended PSI is for that tyre in the specific size you chose, and fill accordingly.

There'd be a small degree of safe variability on that suggested pressure (probably +/- 2 psi) depending on how laden the vehicle is, or how the ride feels.


PS - What i wondered about the specific choice of 8-ply Light Truck Tyres is whether Nissan and Ashok Leyland struck up a combined deal for OEM tyres with a supplier? The Ashok Leyland Stile will probably need the LT tyres as it would be hauling heavier loads on average. This might have made financial sense.

Last edited by Rehaan : 21st August 2012 at 15:01.
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Old 21st August 2012, 14:41   #15
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Default Re: Nissan Evalia : Official Review

Finally the much awaited review is here. The sliding doors remind me of the maruti van, though not a deal breaker. The quality of plastics and interiors is nice but there are lot of parts shared with the Micra/Sunny. The car looks quirky and I doubt how many would actually like the styling.

Do they have any plan of launching a petrol variant or another version of the diesel one in future?
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