Nissan Magnite – Road Test Review Make or Break?

Nissan has had a mixed journey so far in India and off late the Japanese car brand has seen a huge decline in terms of its sales. Now Nissan is all set to enter the Compact SUV segment with their make or break car model the Magnite which also becomes the 1st car model under its Nissan Next revamp plans. We had spent some good time with the Nissan Magnite for our first impression review and now we have driven it to get you our detailed extensive road test review of a car that could turn the fortunes of the iconic Japanese car maker in India if they get it right. First things first, the Nissan Magnite enters the fiercely competed Compact SUV segment (CSUV) where it goes heads up against the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet, Mahindra XUV 3OO, Tata Nexon and the Ford EcoSport. This segment is the most fast growing segment in the Indian auto industry currently and every car maker wants to have its share of the pie. It is no denying that Nissan has been a late bloomer in entering the Compact SUV segment but that can also work in its favor as it has had all the time to study and understand the needs and demands of this segment, how much they have learnt or studied well our review will tell you that.

Nissan Magnite Video Review

Exteriors

The Nissan Magnite has compact and muscular dimensions stand at 3994mm in length, 1758mm in width, 1572mm in height with a overall wheelbase that of 2500mm and a ground clearance of 205mm. At first sight the Magnite looks pretty catchy and dominating. Coming to the exteriors of the SUV the face gets a huge grille with a fat chrome border that defines it. The grille comes with fusion design pattern in soft silver along with the new Nissan logo placed on it. The headlights are all LED Bi-projector units with neatly integrated turn lights and are designed very nicely with super sleek slim styling infused neatly into the body of the Magnite. The front bumper is all rounded and gets its lower section unpainted while it also gets the faux skid plate on it. This bumper also comes fitted with boomerang shaped large sized LED DRL’s on it while the lower section gets projector LED fog lamps. The bonnet comes with neat looking character lines.

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Coming to the sides the SUV styling on the Magnite gets further highlighted with unpainted fiber cladding on the squared out fenders that give a butch muscular look. You also get the Magnite badge placed on the fender. The fiber cladding is also seen in dual-tone finish on the running board. The grab type door handles get chrome finish while the roof gets blacked out finish. The A Pillar too gets black cladding on it while the large sized wing mirrors that come in glossy black housing.

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The roof also gets practical load bearing roof rails with 50 kgs of load limit. The Magnite drives 16 inched tyres mounted on progressive design dual tone trendy looking alloys. The waistline gets a big bulge on the C Pillar giving the sides some more visual appeal and also increases the boot capacity.

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Key highlights on the rear profile include wide styled flushed taillights, dual-tone rear bumper, faux skid plate and a very well shaped tail gate with Magnite badge in chrome paced in the middle. The rear also gets a large sized spoiler finished in glossy black. We would have surely like a shark fin radio antenna as compared to the stick type one that on the Magnite. Also missed sorely on the roof is an electric sun roof which has become a trending desire off late.

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Interiors

On the inside the Magnite gets an all dark theme on its interiors. The dash comes with unique shape air con vents with silver lining while the crash pad gets silver textured finish on it. The steering gets three spoke design with leather wrapping and silver inserts on it. The highlight of the dashboard is the all digital color display that is the instrument cluster here. This is a 7-inch screen that reads out the speed, rpm, fuel level, engine temperature, tyre pressure monitor, tell-tale warnings; drive info-graphics etc very clearly. You also are welcomed with a very neat looking Nissan Magnite animation when you start the car. The 2nd key highlight on the dash Is the floating 8-inch touch-screen AVN unit that’s mounted at a 5 degree tilt towards the driver.

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This unit gets all the connectivity options including Apple Carplay, Android Auto, wireless telephone, 360 degree camera etc. The other very unique feature on the Magnite is that you also can connect to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto wirelessly without any cable needed. The climate control unit comprises of three rotary dials one for fan speed, temperature and air vent. These dials have a very satisfying feel to them plus the temperature dial gets a neat large size LCD display in it. Between these dials are aircraft type flat buttons for AC, exhaust, Auto mode. You also get a wireless charger on the feature list of the Magnite. Nissan becomes the 3rd company to give this feature after Hyundai and Kia Motors. The centre console gets a unique designing such that the driver gets extra space to free his left knee without hitting it. You also get a deep storage space below the wireless charger in the center console. We were shown the CVT automatic version of the Magnite. The automatic shifter gets leather inserts along with silver accents on it.

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The fabric seats get unique texture padding along with faux leather on the edges, the driver’s seat gets height adjust too. Front seats offer good comfort and loads of headroom, shoulder room with tons of leg room.  The highlight of the rear seating is the ease of entry exit, the rear wheel cut that intrudes the rear door opening has been cleverly modified in such a way that the space is at max which aids in getting in and out of the Magnite’s rear seat. The rear seat gets two adjustable head rests along with a foldable arm rest with a neat mobile holder slot. Seating here is comfortable for three passengers with lots of leg, knee, head and shoulder room. The middle passenger also gets a flat transmission tunnel to help his feet stay in comfort. Comfort levels at the rear are further extended with rear AC vents and also with a charging port.

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The boot capacity on the Nissan Magnite is 336 litres though not the best in class still comes with a wide and easy loading area that can take 3 suitcases in it easily.

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Neat touches like fabric soft padding on the door panels, loads of storage places all around the cabin, air purifier, ambient lighting, eco driving function, 10 litre storage inside the illuminated glove box etc add to the overall positive feel on the Nissan Magnite.

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Engine – Transmission – Drive

Powering the Nissan Magnite are a choice between three engine options topping the list is the 3-cylinder HRA0 Turbo Petrol engine that makes 100bhp of power and 152Nm of peak torque. This engine comes mated to the newly developed Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and a 5-speed Manual transmission option. This is the latest generation engine from the Nissan Renault lineup with high fuel economy of 20 kmpl for the manual and 17.7kmpl for the CVT automatic. The other engine option on the Magnite is the 1.0L 3-cylinder engine (non Turbo) with 72bhp of power and 96Nm of torque, this engine comes mated to the 5-speed manual transmission. The company claims a fuel economy of 18.75kmpl on this engine.

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We drove the Turbo Petrol engine with the manual transmission variant of the Magnite so here is our experience. First things first, the view from the drivers seat is pretty impressive and so it the ergonomics in terms on the steering reach and the shifter placement. The car chugs ahead in typical turbo engine style with initial power delivery being low till the turbo kicks in and then the surge of power running in propelling the SUV ahead.

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The overall drive feel is pretty positive and refined. The Turbo engine does not feel as though it’s a 3-cylinder engine with enough power available across its power band. It is only if you are driving at low speeds for example say 25kmpl and you are in 3rd gear the engine takes a bit of a second to bounce back into the power band but once it is there the drive feel is excellent and uncompromising.

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The steering feels pretty well weighted at all speeds and the gear shifts are also very positive. The key USP of this tiny yet spirited engine is its ability to bring a smile to your face each time you drive it in traffic or on highway. Inside the city the drive is effortless aided with the superlight clutch though the pedals could have been a bit larger in size.

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The overall comfort level is very good and especially at the rear the passengers are treated to some top class drive quality. The 196/60R16 spec Ceat Secura Drive tyres go a long way in enhancing the overall excellent ride quality along with the neatly tuned suspension setup for our road conditions.

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Safety

In terms of safety Nissan has loaded the Magnite with many features that include, Dual airbags, ABS with EBD, Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), Hill start assist, Traction control, Anti roll bar, 360 degree camera, parking sensors to name few.

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Verdict

Well the Magnite is the make or break car model for Nissan in India, they know it very well and have gone all out with it. The car has typical Nissan Japanese DNA, looks good, has tons of space and features, engine options are also good. Nothing much that Nissan can go wrong with the Magnite making it their comeback model. If we are to believe the speculated prices for the Magnite that start at Rs. 5.50 – 6 Lakh range then Nissan very well has a real winner on its hands, what it should do now is work on its dealership and service network repair and rewamp that needs urgent attention. Welcome Back Nissan!

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Words – Ritesh Madhok
Photography & Video – Govind Gadekar

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