Nissan Carnival was a drive experience fest that took place at BIC recently. The event marked the 10th anniversary of the brand in India and 80th worldwide. It also celebrated 5 years of local production of cars at Chennai plant.
Nissan Carnival was also about showcasing the Japanese automaker’s “innovation and excitement” first-hand. Attendees were given a chance to spend an entire day with the company’s current driver-centric Indian model range, comprising of Micra, Sunny and Terrano. The event also presented the mighty Patrol SUV and the energetic Electric Vehicle, Nissan Leaf, to the gathering. Nissan Leaf is the world’s largest selling pure electric vehicle, sold over 1,61,000 units till date.
The fest started with “Holi on a Sunny” program, which allowed us to spray graffiti on a Nissan Sunny, symbolising the friendliness of the sedan.
In calendar year 2014, Nissan registered new global sales record, of 5.3 million units. The company which was unranked in 2014 in the list of best global brands, has secured 56th place last year, with linear growth.
In India, the company has introduced 7 local models in 5 years, and is continually expanding the dealership network. From current number of 160 outlets, the company plans to achieve 98 percent coverage by 2016, with 300 touch points. The vehicles are produced with 92 percent localisation, and the company is now the third largest auto exporter.
After the presentation, the day moved forward to stunt shows and drive experience, which involved big names in the Indian motorsport industry like INRC champion Hari Singh and Formula car racer Armaan Ebrahim.
After some drifts, dances and parking stunts on the C-segment family car Nissan Sunny, the event proceeded to slalom tests with the same and Micra hatchback. Both manual and CVT automatic versions of both cars were offered to us on the slalom course, to experience the acceleration and handling capabilities of the otherwise calm Japanese cars.
Then Armaan Ebrahim gave quick and one-on-one training on Nissan Leaf which was a Left-Hand-Drive (LHD) version brought from Dubai. And the car was given for testing on its own slalom track. Hands-on experience of the revolutionary zero emission transport by Nissan was something we all cherished.
The massive Nissan Patrol SUV was waiting for us, to be pushed to limits in two off-road courses. One was a natural course optimised for the experience and other was a purpose-built track. The former was only for the Patrol, while the latter served as a test arena for Nissan Terrano as well.
On the part-natural off-road place, the company’s flagship SUV was allowed to be experimented with the multiple driving modes / drive assist systems it equips, along with features like Hill Descent Control. The course had deep dives, sharp turns and high climbs, not to mention loose sand all over, and all those were effortlessly tackled by the gigantic Patrol.
Exceptional ride quality on those treacherous pathways was something we never imagined. And thanks to very loose steering, negotiating the uncivilised land seemed just a cakewalk. Did we mention the Patrol was Left Hand Drive too?
Then at the purpose built track, things looked pretty flat and empty, but as we approached the hurdles on both Terrano and Patrol turn-by-turn, we realised things can be a little deceiving where there is no tarmac.
Then, axle twisters were created, that demonstrated the amazing articulation of Nissan Patrol’s suspension arms, that helped keep the car flat at almost zero roll even when the diagonally opposite shocks bottomed-out.
And quite a few minor tests for Noise, Vibration and Harshness, and braking (ABS) were conducted where we tested the capabilities of Nissan Terrano and Nissan Patrol to a sizeable extent, and came out of the cars with smiles.
All these gave some kind of an insight into the globally renowned SUV-maker’s future plans in India, which would include the Patrol and Leaf. Sit tight, more driver-centric Nissans, especially off-road friendly ones are en route in coming years.