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The Nissan Sunny: Sparkling anew

The Sunny was always a bright machine. Nissan just adorned it with some more shimmer

Nissan Sunny, the globally renowned bestseller, made headlines upon its arrival in India thanks to its generous back seat legroom and a good choice of diesel and petrol engines. For the initial part of its life, the acclaimed car model sold pretty well too.

Blame it, however, on the relative newness of Nissan as an automobile brand in India, the lack of robust sales and service network, or inefficiency of an external marketing partner in Hover (which Nissan have duly distanced themselves from), the popularity and sales of the very promising Sunny didn’t quite live up to its initial promise.

The steering wheel is brand new, and has all the controls positioned on the left. The rim is leather wrapped on top spec variants
The steering wheel is brand new, and has all the controls positioned on the left. The rim is leather wrapped on top spec variants

Nissan, however, believes that the Sunny is an extremely strong product and has now presented the mid-term facelift of the car with an enhanced exterior and more features. Here’s our detailed analysis of the product’s mid-life refresh.

New face
The most noticeable change made to the Sunny’s face is the introduction of the new boomerang shaped headlamps, in compliance with Nissan’s new family look. Nissan has also lent the new Sunny a big, wide grille, lined generously with chrome.

Centre console now features a brand new colour screen. The grey plastic on the previous model has been replaced by glossy piano black material
Centre console now features a brand new colour screen. The grey plastic on the previous model has been replaced by glossy piano black material

The bumper is new, too, with chrome lined lower lip on the central air dam. The black housings for the fog lamp units have also been given some chrome treatment at the lower portion.

In profile, the 12 spoke wheels are brand new and look rather snazzy. The ORVMs now features integrated turn signals and two tone treatment. At the rear, the roof mounted antenna has been made shorter. More apparent changes include a new chrome garnish over the license plant and a brand new rear bumper.

Almost all the changes made to the car’s fascia are visible the grille, the chrome garnishing on the front bumper and the new alloy wheels
Almost all the changes made to the car’s fascia are visible the grille, the chrome garnishing on the front bumper and the new alloy wheels

The rear bumper, apart from featuring a new, more aggressive wing like shape, also has a contrasting and slightly flared black insert for a sportier look. However, the chrome draped bumper, fog lamp housings and rear garnish is available only on the higher spec variants, with body colour replacing the chrome treatment on lower spec variants.

Cabin and features
The Sunny is acclaimed for its liberal cabin space, a virtue intact on the new version. The biggest change made to the cabin of the Sunny is the new design of the centre console, and the introduction of a brand new steering wheel.

The back seat knee-room on the new Sunny is amazing as ever, and remains unmatched. What look like A/C vents for the back seat, though are just fans, aiding flow of air from front to rear. Pics/Amit Chhangani
The back seat knee-room on the new Sunny is amazing as ever, and remains unmatched. What look like A/C vents for the back seat, though are just fans, aiding flow of air from front to rear. Pics/Amit Chhangani

The centre console, which was finished in grey earlier, now has the circular console for A/C control finished in glossy piano black. The functionality of the A/C control panel remains the same though.

Above the A/C controls cluster, the audio unit is brand new, and now features a nice looking and well-finished coloured screen. The colour screen also doubles up as a rear view camera for reverse parking assist.

The Audio unit is CD/Aux-in/USB and Bluetooth enabled. The fit-finish of the newly incorporated unit deserves a word of appreciation. It’s very well finished with neat touches of chrome and the operation of its knobs and buttons is pretty smooth too.

The three spoke steering wheel, as discussed earlier, is a brand new unit, with two vertically tapering, satin silver inserts on either side of the hub. All the controls are located on the left hand side of the steering. Peeping through the steering wheel, the instrument console looks nice with its black dial and white markings.

The MID display is very legible and dishes out useful info such as distance to dry and average fuel consumption. Other small changes inside the cabin include introduction of individual reading light for the rear passengers.

As always, the Sunny’s cabin remains a spacious, comfortable and functional place to be, with new features adding to the value perception. The top end variant with its new multi-functional steering wheel and central colour screen looks more feature-rich and up-market, and should be able to impress potential customers more convincingly.

Engine and transmission
Nissan has not tinkered much with the tried and tested engines of the Sunny, and it continues to be powered by the HR15 petrol and K9K diesel engines. Of these, the diesel engine has been slightly retuned for better tractability and greater fuel efficiency.

The 1.5 litre petrol engine on the Sunny dishes out peak power output rated at 99PS @ 6000 rpm for the manual transmission variant. The Petrol engine is also available with the X-Tronic CVT automatic transmission where its properties have been altered a bit to produce a higher 101PS of peak power at a lower 5600 rpm. Peak torque for both the transmission variants is rated at 134PS@4000 rpm.

The dependable K9K diesel unit is available only with a 5-speed manual transmission and produces 86PS of peak power at 3750rpm. Peak torque figure of 200 Nm at 2000 rpm is impressive, and lends this diesel motor an impressive low and mid-range pull.

The diesel powered Sunny feels extremely tractable, and pulls cleanly from low revs in higher gears, even with four aboard, as we experienced firsthand during our drive through the narrow, scenic and winding roads of Port Blair. The ARAI fuel efficiency figure for the diesel Sunny stands at 22.71kmpl, which is 1.07 kmpl more than the outgoing version.

Ride and feel
The Sunny has always been oriented towards ensuring optimum space and comfort for the back seat passengers than delivering the kicks to the man at wheel.

It’s got a balanced ride, light steering and reasonably-sized tyres to offer decent grip. Since the mechanicals of the car have not been touched, the drive and feel of the car remains completely unaltered.

The Sunny will ferry you around in comfort, absorbing regulations bumps without a whimper, making a noise only when you make it pass over vicious bumps — but it’s not a driver’s car.

Our verdict
The Sunny has always been appreciated for its practicality, comfort and good price. It’s not earned many brownie points as regards styling, but with the changes made to the exterior, the car looks substantially better, especially at the front as compared to the outgoing model.

In its newest avatar, the Sunny comes across as a well-rounded family sedan which should appeal a bit more to the buyers in the C segment, thanks to the bolder exterior styling and some really useful new features.

Price
Yet to be announced

Technical specs
Engine - 1,498cc petrol/ 1,461cc turbo diesel
Transmission - 5-speed manual | CVT Auto / 5-speed manual
Power - 99PS @ 6000 rpm | 101 PS @ 5600 rpm / 86 PS @ 3750 rpm
Torque - 134 Nm @ 4000 rpm / 2000 Nm @ 2000 rpm

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