Sadly, the arrow fell off over time. Sales of Sunny started to dip and now it is barely comparable to the numbers it was clocking, back when it was launched. There are quite a few theories as to why Sunny lost its shine in the segment. Competition in the same space got fiercer, needless to say Honda City sells so many units per month, more than all other cars’ numbers in the same segment summed up.
Another hypothesis may fit, penetration of compact crossovers like Ford EcoSport and Renault Duster in the choice list when price range is considered. Kids probably have become more persuasive to make their daddies rather buy a cool pseudo-SUV.
While all these are eating up Sunny’s sales performance here, Nissan decided to give it some subtle cosmetic changes and add some contemporary features as well.
Enter 2015 Nissan Sunny facelift, with more commanding road presence and a bit of chrome on the front to make it look fresh. No actually not just a bit, Mr. Chikuya Takada, Head of Product Planning, GM of Nissan Motor India, mentioned jovially that new Sunny has largest area of chrome decor on front fascia than its rivals.
Facade of upcoming Sunny facelift carries new and more emphatic headlamps (inspiration from Nissan Teana’s could be seen) and front grille, accommodated by redesigned bumper. Front fog lamps get bracketing L shaped chrome motifs, that can be easily mistaken for LED DRLs akin to some of Hundai’s cars.
Rest of embellishments in new Nissan Sunny can easily go unnoticed. Like the touch up given to Outside Rear View Mirrors (ORVM) with turn indicators, rear bumper tweaks that add small recesses on both lower-corners and shortened radio antenna just above rear windshield. However, these minor detailing have contributed to enhancing the overall allure of Sunny.
Opening the door, first thing that will impress you is the new piano black centre console with 5.1 inch multimedia interface. Taking a seat behind the wheel, you’ll feel the new leather upholstery and the new three spoke leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.
Looking around inside the cabin you’ll find two new reading lamps embedded on the felt ceiling, right above the rear seat occupants. This makes a total of four lights to light up the capacious room of Nissan Sunny. While getting out of the car, surely you will notice the new chrome finished door knobs that adds another pinch of fancy in the comfort crafted cabin.
Nissan Sunny boasts best in class rear knee room and substantial space for rear seat occupants. This is the USP of Sunny, and the reason why it drew significant attention since its inception. This is also how the lacking thigh support on rear seats is justified; by allowing you to stretch your legs as much as you need.
Before driving the Sunny, you may prefer to be driven around a bit, to enjoy more of the luxurious rear seating you can afford on a reasonable budget. Ride quality is truly amazing; Sunny flattens out most of standard Indian road cracks and lumps, making for smooth and tireless chauffeured ride.
However, enjoying the Nissan Sunny behind wheels totally depends on what kind of a driver you are. Like mentioned in the first line, Sunny is a great car for daddies. If you would just commute everyday (be it short or long distance; city or on highway), and go on a joyful trip with your family once a while, this is your car!
But if you wish to showcase some un-fatherly like driving skills on the road, Sunny may not be your favourite car. Diesel variant hosts a K9K dCi 1.5 litre engine with 8 valves for four cylinders and Single Over Head Camshaft (SOHC). It is equipped with turbocharger with intercooler and common rail direct fuel injection. Maximum power produced by this engine is 86 PS at 3,750 rpm and peak torque is recorded at 200 Nm at 2,000 rpm. Diesel trim comes with 5 speed manual transmission only.
Engine specs do look good for this car, in fact, it is good enough for calm driving. If you’re an enthusiast and you step on the throttle, you’ll hardly feel any surge in acceleration. Sunny does not like to enter into street fight with other cars in the segment that pack a punch. It is a car made to be driven around and drive effortlessly and peacefully even in dense city traffic.
Same applies with petrol model. The HR15 naturally aspirated engine with 16 vales for 4 cylinders come with Dual Over Head Camshaft (DOHC) and electronic fuel injection control. Maximal power is tweaked to push out 99 PS at 6,000 rpm for 5 speed manual transmission variant and 101 PS at 5,600 rpm for Continuously Varying Transmission (CVT) variant (Automatic). Topmost torque reads 134 Nm at 4,000 rpm on both states of tune.
We drove the CVT model and figured how serious Nissan is on shaping the character of their product. This one too is meant for gentle drivers or better, chauffeured riders. Except the CVT version inserts more noise in the cabin than diesel engine does, especially when the CVT unpredictably struggles to keep up the pace on varied engine speed ranges; even on flat roads. However, if you’re sitting behind and listening to music, you wouldn’t know what is going on under the hood as ride remains smooth and stable. There is notable improvement in NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) levels from the current Sunny.
Lets put you behind the wheel for another instance. The Electronic Power Steering is again good for tender hearted drivers only, don’t expect much of weight on the wheel and thrilling feedback around corners. Speaking of corners, do keep in mind that CVT does not induce engine braking, hence there is no mechanical feedback from the engine.
Under more than feather touch braking, the front wheels with disc brakes easily lock and rear wheels with drum brakes barely contribute to stopping the car. Never get into situations where sudden braking and manoeuvring will be demanded, especially in corners and wet roads, as tail swings out easily. Braking in manual transmission version is better; still no bite.
Verdict – Nissan Sunny facelift demands just about Rs. 30,000 to 40,000 more than current price tag in each variant, and it still is a great value for money car. With enormous cabin space, more than some cars in segment above, and impressive boot space of 490 litres, Sunny is a near ideal picnic and family getaway car. Petrolheads excuse.
New Nissan Sunny Facelift is slated to launch on 3rd July 2014. Price of current Nissan Sunny ranges from Rs. 6,28,135 to Rs. 9,54,927 (ex-showroom Delhi).
Here is a list of features in new Nissan Sunny across all variants.
Whats new in 2015 Nissan Sunny facelift –
Redesigned front grille
Tweaked front and rear bumpers
Chrome appliqués near fog lamps, chin section and trunk lid
New 12-spoke Y-shaped alloy wheels
Newly shaped ORVM with turn indicators
Chrome door handles
Piano black centre console trim
5.1″ music system also used for reversing camera display
Touched up gear shift knob (Manual Transmission)
New Steering wheel design with audio controls
Leather upholstery and steering wheel wrap
Reading lights for rear passengers
Fine vision meter with MID (instrument console)
Improved NVH levels
Retuned ECU for better fuel efficiency
Why would you go for Nissan Sunny –
Cabin space, legroom
Chauffeured commute (you in the back)
Why would you not go for Nissan Sunny –
Lack of driving pleasure
Too big for city traffic, not easy to find parking space