Nissan Magnite turbo manual review, road test; most value-for-money small SUV

In a day and time when customers are seeking more with less money, there are still manufacturers that do the reverse. Some charge you big monies but at the same time don’t provide any standout features – we are referring to Maruti Suzuki here. However, late bloomers like Nissan India seem to have got the concoction just right. Case in point is the new Nissan Magnite. The compact SUV, launched at Rs 4.99 lakh, has caught the fancy of buyers. So much so that the company claims to have got more than 12,000 enquiries and 6,000 bookings. We happened to spend some time with the car and in the process managed to find out few oddities as well as good points about it. Read on to find out what these are and should you be buying the new Nissan Magnite.

Nissan Magnite design, features

The new Nissan Magnite is heavily designed on the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. Nissan designers and engineers have rightfully targeted the segment leader. Right down to the paint schemes, you can see that the Brezza played a vital role. The grille of the SUV is a bit more fleshed out whereas the hood is sloping. This is one of the few cars that come with projector fog lights.There are 16-inch alloy wheels and these look good too. The tail lamp is an LED again and there are no variant badging here as well. Only a turbo sign to distinguish it from the regular version.

This is a sub-4m SUV and while the dimensions haven’t been revealed, it looks proportionate for the segment

Inside, the layout is fresh and the cabin is slightly tilted towards the driver. There is the 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with an India-first wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system is easy to navigate and use but can sometimes freeze. We like the colour scheme on offer though. The TFT instrument binnacle is something similar to that of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno. However, it is quite bright and the user will appreciate its useability as well as simplicity.

 

Storage spaces are abundant in the Nissan Magnite. You get a wireless phone charger, space for one-litre water bottles in the door pockets, and enough room in the front and back. Everything works the way you expect it to. Sound quality from the JBL speakers is decent enough too and doesn’t feel as tinny as the unit on the Brezza. Boot space at 336 litres is lower than what the competition offers and the loading lip is high as well.

Nissan Magnite review: Engine, performance, mileage

The new Nissan Magnite boasts a 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine that has been developed from ground-up. This engine makes 100PS of power and 160Nm. A 5-speed manual or CVT can be optioned though with the latter, the engine produces a lower 152Nm torque. Outright what we can tell you is that this engine is fun. Coupled to the lower than 1,000kg kerb weight of the Magnite, it makes for a good combination. There is turbo lag below 1,800rpm but the engine has trundle along in a higher gear with low revs. This allows the Magnite to post some fantastic fuel efficiency numbers, the best we tested so far on a compact petrol SUV in India – 14.8kmpl in city and 22.9kmpl on the highway.

This is a new turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine. It makes 100PS of power and 160Nm. It is paired to a 5-speed manual and X-CVT.

The SUV does have good bottom and mid-range, however it lacks enthusiasm at the top. We believe this will make for a very good city car with the occasional highway runs thrown in. NVH is low but above 100kmph, tyre noise seeps in while at idle, you can feel the 3-cylinder thrum on the steering as well as door pads.

Ride and handling

New Nissan Magnite
The New Nissan Magnite looks quite bold for a design from the company. Hopefully, in person it should have a substantial stance

The Magnite’s build quality will be its Achilles heel. You see the metal feels tinny and even the way the doors shut, it is apparent that there is cost-cutting. The Brezza feels like it has better build quality and we’re talking of a 4-star GNCAP rated car. The Magnite’s ride quality doesn’t really settle as it is sprung a bit too stiffly. Go around a corner and this will reward you immensely with the light steering wheel adding to the ease of operation. The ideal trade-off then should have been a wee bit softer suspension. There are no blind spots whatsoever and the 360-degree parking camera is an overkill for such a small car. We also like the slim A-pillars. However, omission of an auto dimming IRVM is sacrilege though in no way does it hamper the car’s daily operations.

Conclusion

There are only a couple of days left for the New Year to drop in on us. If you book the Magnite now, you get it for the introductory pricing – Rs 4.99 lakh-Rs 9.59 lakh, ex-showroom. At this price point, the Nissan Magnite beats all its competitors hands-down. It is a winner in that sense but given the sparse Nissan dealer as well as service network around and the growing uncertainty, you might want to invest in some other compact SUV. Don’t get us wrong! The Magnite is very competitive and it will serve your purpose for years to come. However, the service part is what bothers us as are the spare parts.

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