2014 Nissan Sunny Review
Car Tested: 2014 Nissan Sunny Facelift
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 8-11 lakhs (est.)
The facelift to the Sunny boosts its visual appeal massively, more features added too.
Competition in the C-segment is as intense as ever. While most cars in this class were enjoying a small chunk of the large pie, Honda came and simply conquered the complete segment with their path breaking new City. Clearly, the City is the very best in this class and with the Japanese car boasting of as much space as the Sunny, Nissan’s one time best seller has seen a considerable decrease in demand. We have lived with the Nissan Sunny for a long time before and were quite impressed with the car, it’s a vehicle which has acres of space, frugal engines and a good ride quality. Now to bring back the slow selling Sunny in contention, Nissan has given it a facelift, re-positioning the car. Are the changes enough to put the Nissan Sunny back on the sales chart? We head all the way to Port Blair to find out.
Exteriors – The Nissan Sunny has never been a looker, it’s a car with neutral styling and the massive length gives it quite the presence on our roads. The Japanese automaker has made multiple changes on the outside which make it look fresh amongst a sea of sedans now vying for buyer’s attention in the C-segment. At the front, the Sunny gets new headlights which are bigger and seem to have taken a slight inspiration from the Altima and Teana with its arrow boomerang shape finishing on the side running deeper into the body. The grille too is new and bigger with thicker chrome surrounds. The front bumper is new as well with a chrome lip while the new fog lamp housing gets a chrome surround. The side remains quite similar, the rear view mirrors are new with side indicators while new wheels caps/alloy wheels (Y-shaped 12-spokes) make a debut.
The rear carries the same tail light while the rear bumper is new with the lower half getting a faux black diffuser to reduce the visual bulk. A sedate rear spoiler is being offered as an accessory, the same is standard on the Sunny in some markets. A new short antenna has been added (shifting the position from the front to the rear), while the boot lid gets a chrome garnish. The Sunny continues to look like its predecessor but the minor changes do make it look appealing. Nissan wants to position the car towards the more mature audience and thus sporty colours (like red) have been discontinued, being replaced by more stately shades, a new black colour has been added which appears purple in the sun.
Interiors – Nissan had updated the Micra last year and that facelift had transformed the interiors of the car drastically. Similar changes now flow into the Sunny, which also gets a new centre console with piano black finishing. The AC controls see minor changes while Nissan has made heavy changes to the dashboard of the car. The instrument cluster gets a new fine vision meter which changes the way the console is lit, the multi-information display now getting white lighting. Lower variants still get a basic cluster. The steering wheel too has been ditched for a new and sportier unit. The new 3-spoke steering feels much better to hold and doesn’t come across as too big, the audio control buttons having a slick feel. The beige and grey interior has been replaced by an all black interior which looks so much better, invoking a sporty feel inside the cabin.
The rest of the Nissan Sunny remains identical. You get a cabin which truly has acres and acres of space, more so for rear passengers who can sit and stretch like they are in a lounge with 636 mm of legroom, easily class leading. Good headroom, decent under-thigh support (a bit lacking for tall passengers at the rear), two reading lights at the rear (there are four cabin lights), a chiller of an AC (with rear fan vents which pull AC air from the front), all play a big role in ensuring the Sunny is among the best cars in its class to be chauffeur driven in, the airy cabin further accentuating the backseat appeal. Our only gripe with the cabin is the doors don’t auto lock. Nissan has given the Sunny Bluetooth connectivity and the 2-DIN audio system with a 5.1-inch screen is new as well. The top variants (XV and XV Premium) also get reverse parking sensors and a reverse camera. The XV Premium variant is available in two optional packs – Safety Pack adds side airbags while Luxury Pack consists of genuine leather seats along with a leather wrapped gear knob.
Performance – Nissan continues to use 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines to power the Sunny. The 1498cc, HR15 petrol mill outputs 99 PS of power and 134 Nm of torque (minuscule more output in the CVT), it’s paired to a 5-speed manual and a CVT automatic gearbox. This motor offers the Sunny good drivability but NVH isn’t the best, more so post 4000 RPM. The tall gearing robs the Sunny of good performance post 120 km/hr and it can take quite the time to accelerate from low speeds in high gears. Still the Sunny is decently frugal, returning 9-10 km/l in city conditions. The gearbox is slightly notchy, although the clutch is light. With the CVT variant, the convenience is there but the rubber band effect is prominent at high revs.
The diesel engine on the Sunny is of course the more popular unit, it’s the 1.5-litre, k9k mill. Nissan has tweaked the ECU of the 85 PS of power, 200 Nm of torque motor resulting in an increase in mileage of 1 km/l (ARAI), but there is no boost in output, still the Sunny feels slightly more eager in the low-end. This is one of the best engines in its class, while down on power compared to most of its rivals, this powerplant has more than enough pep for both city and highway duties. Turbo-lag is almost non-existent and the Sunny is always eager to pull, be it stop-go traffic or highway cruising. The 5-speed gearbox offers decent shifts and the clutch is well weighed too. One can expect a mileage of more than 15 km/l (in the city) from this car, which is very impressive indeed.
Driving Dynamics – The Sunny will continue to be positioned towards back benchers and thus this car isn’t about handling. Still, the vehicle is light on its feet, handles decently well and has decent grip on offer, as long as you don’t push it. The steering isn’t feedback rich but is light and that makes the Nissan Sunny easy to manoeuvre at all times. It does weigh up better than some of the cars in the segment and high speed stability left us nothing to complain about. The NVH levels could have been better though as road noise is apparent inside the cabin at high speeds. Braking performance is good and the ABS has been calibrated well.
Where the Nissan Sunny totally excels is in the ride quality department. It’s a sweet riding car, absorbing most of the bumps in its stride with relative ease. The suspension set-up is on the softer side, yet it feels mature and more than up for the job. The mature calibration of the suspension prevents bounciness over bad roads while also ensuring the car remains stable and tackles bad roads in its stride without much vertical movement. Lots of interior room along with a good ride quality makes the Sunny a very comfortable car for occupants.
Verdict – The Nissan Sunny was a hot-seller but new rivals have come and dented sales of what the company likes to call a caaaaaaaaar. Still, the Sunny has a lot of potential as Nissan is very clear and focussed on whom it’s targeting with the car. Nissan is wooing the chauffeur driven and in that regard, the Sunny is still difficult to beat. While other cars in the segment are offering a lot of features, none offer this level of comfort at this price point. With fresher looks and a new positioning, the new Nissan Sunny is sure back into contention.
The facelift to the Nissan Sunny boosts its appeal, it gets a lot of features as well. It’s a good quality car which rides well and offers a lot of comfort to the passengers, that too at an attractive price.
* Diesel engine performance and mileage
* Interior space
* Ride quality
What’s Not So Cool
* Not very involving to drive