Nissan Sunny Automatic Review
Car Tested: 2013 Nissan Sunny XL CVT AT
Price ex-showroom Mumbai: Rs. 8,92,559/-
The CVT gearbox in the Nissan Sunny makes driving hassle free, without compromising on mileage.
The Nissan Sunny has created a niche for itself in the Indian market, offering customers acres of interior space, good ride quality and frugal performance. The caaaar has been well received in India and is Nissan’s best selling model in the country, recording more than 1000 units consistently on a monthly basis. Now the automaker has given the Nissan Sunny a CVT automatic gearbox, which makes it very practical for commute in crowded city conditions. The Japanese automaker first introduced a CVT box in the Micra in 1992 and claims to be the largest producer of CVT transmissions in the world, with more than 10 lakh CVT equipped cars being sold.
An automatic gearbox makes a lot of sense in today’s age with traffic increasing at an alarming rate. Women drivers also prefer automatic transmission cars and Nissan is looking at targeting them with the Sunny CVT, which is only offered in mid-range XL trim. The only exterior difference is the XTRONIC CVT badge on the boot. Called the XTRONIC CVT, this unit is very different from a conventional automatic gearbox, offering better mileage than its manual counterpart. The Sunny CVT returns an ARAI certified mileage of 17.97 km/l, while the manual version returns 16.95 km/l.
This fourth generation XTRONIC CVT gearbox in the Nissan Sunny is the world’s first CVT with sub planetary gear set (resulting in 10% reduction in size, 13% in weight and 30% in friction over conventional CVTs). It also has the world’s highest transmission raio (7.3:1) and gear ratios vary unlike being fixed in non-CVT units. This automatic gearbox uses two pulleys with a steel belt running in between, adjusting the primary (drive) pulley and secondary (driven) pulley in tandem to transfer torque from the engine to the wheels continuously. This results in a smooth and jerk free drive with no shift-shock which is seen in regular auto boxes.
Powering the Nissan Sunny CVT is a 1.5-litre DOHC petrol engine which produces 101 PS of power at 5600 RPM (2 PS more at 400 RPM less) and 134 Nm of torque. Although the CVT equipped car weighs 18 kgs heavier, there is no notable difference in performance. Driving the Sunny CVT in crowded Mumbai traffic, we found the engine to be very silent on part throttle with good amount of linear grunt when needed. Floor the throttle that the CVT gearbox makes itself heard, with the engine getting coarse and feeling strained near the redline.
Overtaking in traffic is a breeze as the CVT box is quick to pick up momentum and get you moving. There is also a Sports button on the gear lever which keeps the revs high to extract more power. Performance on the open roads is adequate but one needs to plan high speed overtakes as the tachometer continuously revs around the 5000 RPM mark. That said, driving in the city is completely stress free and that is where the real boon of this transmission lies. No jerks, no shift shocks and adequate performance to keep moving in stop-go traffic make the Sunny CVT even more practical than its manual counterpart.
The rest of the characteristic of the Nissan Sunny are intact, which means you get average handling, good ride quality and decent brakes. While the exteriors are not very attractive (the CVT version gets wheel caps), the styling is neutral and grows over you with time. The interiors are the strongest point of the Sunny. There is so much rear legroom that both front and rear passengers can stretch comfortably without having to comprise on comfort. The dashboard is well laid out and is rich in quality with good amount of storage spaces. The practical Sunny now becomes even more appealing to the head with the CVT gearbox, which performs terrifically in city conditions. The slightly higher cost of the CVT variant is definitely worth the convenience on offer.
* Performance in city conditions
What’s Not So Cool
* Engine gets noisy as you floor the throttle
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