After finding its feet with an excellent response to their Micra and subdued response to their Teana and X-Trail models, Nissan is planning to do battle with Toyota, GM, Mahindra, and even Tata by entering the MPV market with their 2012 Nissan Serena.
The vehicle is currently known as the Nissan NV200, and is undergoing rigorous testing in and around Chennai before it emerges as the Nissan Serena by 2012.
After earning its laurels in Japan and getting a facelift in 2011, the Serena is bound for India in the form of three different models that should cater to both personal and commercial buyers even as it does battle with the Innova, Xylo, Aria, and the soon-to-be launched Tavera.
Here are a few details of the 2012 Nissan Serena that should excite would-be-buyers that want to own an affordable Nissan product in the coming months.
Nissan Serena Features
This MPV is sure to floor Indians with its smart looks once it is launched. Although the front end does seem quite similar to the Innova, its slightly low stance along with the presence of sliding doors on the side as well as a large glass area does impart a modern look to this futuristic offering from Nissan. The large bumpers on both ends provide a low and aggressive stance to this MPV in its personal vehicle avatar although the commercial versions might feature a different look with more preference given to functionality rather than looks.
However, this MPV does look sleek and smart, and can seat up to seven persons just like most of its rivals. The Serena has received several awards in Japan and has proven itself over the years, which in turn should make Nissan’s job a lot easier as well as inspire confidence amongst buyers. On the other hand, the Serena will certainly needs to wean away buyers that are heading towards the Innova that might also get a refreshed look by the start of the next year as well as the brand new Tavera from GM.
Engine and Transmission
Nissan will certainly need to bring in a diesel power plant for the Serena since past-experience with the petrol Innova has proven that Indians do prefer diesel engines in their MPVs. Although there are news of Nissan bringing in the 1500 cc diesel engine based on the Nissan Micra’s diesel engine that pumps out 64 BHP and 160 NM of torque, knowing the penchant of Indians overloading their vehicles with humans and luggage, Nissan might bring in a more powerful diesel engine for India.
The most probable engine seems to be the 2.5-Liter diesel engine that produces a massive 160 BHP of power, which should be more than enough to propel this van across Indian roads.
The petrol engine is slated to be a 2000 cc, 4-cylinder one that produces 145 BHP along with 198 NM of Torque. Both these engine should provide a proper balance between power and mileage that is what most buyers will be looking for. There will be a standard 5-speed gearbox available in both versions although an advanced automatic gearbox might also be on offer on both top-end models.
The 2012 Nissan Serena will boast of a rounded dashboard loaded with an innovative instrument cluster that combines both analogue and digital instruments. The dashboard features a double-din slot to accept 2 DIN music systems while the higher-end models could feature inbuilt audio and video systems. The van will also feature all forward facing seats upholstered in smart fabrics to liven up the cabin.
Materials used will be top-class considering Nissan’s reputation while the gear lever might be attached to the dashboard as this seems to be the new trend to save space. The color of the interiors will match with the body color to complement the modern theme and should please most buyers at the very first sight.
In order to beat the competition, Nissan is sure to offer a host of goodies to potential buyers. These include xenon lamps for headlights, parabolic headlights, integrated fog lamps in the front bumper, electric door mirrors, auto stop-start system to conserve fuel, ABS, EBD, Vehicle Dynamic Control, automatic sliding doors, and multiple Airbags to woo customers.
However, the company will offer different models that will differ in price as well as features. Other standard features such as power steering, air-conditioning, ventilated disc and drum brakes in the front and rear are now anyway taken for granted by the Indian public in such class of vehicles. The vehicle is also slated to sport 15-inch wheels while the 155 mm ground clearance should enable it to negotiate Indian roads without any problem.
Nissan Serena Price
Pricing is indeed extremely crucial as the MPV market is expected to fill up with new entrants jostling with established players. With the Xylo positioned at the bottom end of the MPV market and the Tata Aria at the top along with market leader Innova somewhere in the middle, the Nissan Serena will need to choose its own niche in terms of price and features.
Analysts expect the Serena to start at over Rupees 10 Lakhs, which in turn will pit it directly against the Innova and probably the new Tavera. With the Aria too being offered in 2WD version, the Serena will need to attract customers in an aggressive manner if it wants to build up sufficient numbers to book profits in India. If Nissan does bring out commercial models of the Serena, then again, it will need to price it competitively to compete with matching models by Mahindra and Tata.
The MPV market has long being dominated by the rugged and ageless Toyota Innova that has fended off rivals without breaking into a sweat. However, things might just change with another Japanese giant stepping on its toes, especially if the 2012 Nissan Serena can match the Innova in terms of pricing while exceeding expectations in terms of features.
Nissan will however, need to market its new MPV quite aggressively if it wants to establish firm roots in the MPV market when it launches this stylish and practical MPV in 2012.