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Ride, Handling and Braking – The Evalia is based on the Nissan B-platform. It is a front-wheel drive vehicle and uses a monocoque chassis. The front uses a fully independent strut type suspension mounted on a separate sub-frame while at the rear is a compact and lightweight leaf spring rear axle. Ride quality is good but the leaf springs do tend to give the rear passengers bouncy ride on really bad roads. The tyres are 165 section in width, while the Innova comes with 205 section tyres as standard. Clearly Nissan has designed the Evalia for mileage but even then the MPV does offer decent dynamics. You never feel the Evalia is under-tyred even with such puny tyres on offer!

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The Nissan Evalia is quite a tall vehicle but has fairly good high speed manners. Handling is good but there is some bit of body roll which can be felt on cornering with enthusiasm. The small turning radius is a boon, while the steering wheel is really light, making city driving a breeze. Braking is very good too and Nissan has equipped all the variants with ABS, EBD and BA as standard. This is indeed a commendable decision by the company and we hope other manufacturers follow a similar approach with their cars.

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Performance – The Evalia is powered by the tried and tested 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine, which produces 85 BHP of peak power output at 3750 RPM and 200 Nm of torque at 2000 RPM. This engine is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and is the same motor which does duty in the Sunny and Renault Duster. We love the way this diesel motor works in the Sunny but were a bit worried when he heard the heavier Nissan Evalia features the same powertrain. On paper, this motor looks underpowered to move a car that weighs 1400 kgs, but on the road, this dCi motor is just about adequate for the job.

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The k9k unit is butter smooth throughout and pulls cleanly with negligible turbolag. Even at around 1200 RPM, the Evalia makes decent progress but its only past 2000 RPM does the MPV really move. The gear ratios have been chosen carefully to ensure the Evalia is very driveable both in the city and out on the highways. While the Innova is more powerful and boasts of a full 1000cc more, the Evalia’s smaller engine can keep up without any fuss. The Innova produces the same amount of torque and has 15 more horses than the Evalia, but is heavier too. The Evalia’s smaller engine and lesser weight will give it much better mileage than its competitors and Nissan is claiming an ARAI mileage of 19.3 km/l. This makes the Evalia the most fuel efficient vehicle in its segment.

Head over to the next page to read our conclusion on the Nissan Evalia.