Cars We Can Have: Nissans for the real (third) world
Nissan’s electric production car Leaf and its futuristic concepts Pivo3, Townpod, and Esflow may all be well and good for countries where the roads don’t flood (which may not even include all parts of Singapore these days), and there’s a place to plug your EV while you chill out to a javaccino. But for the rest of the world, we have to stay with good ol’ internal combustion. Even Uncle Carlos Ghosn said as much during an interview: EVs are for the developed world.
So for the rest of us, here are the Nissans that we have more chance of seeing in our neck of the woods:
X-Trail: Yes, the X-Trail is alive and well in Japan and other markets. Engine choices include 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter gasoline, as well as a 2.0-liter diesel. Front and all-wheel drive are the drive options.
NV350: The Urvan has been Nissan’s workhorse for what seems like decades. There’s a new version in Japan, called the NV350. This “next-generation” van features such niceties as a keyless Start/Stop button, the first in a commercial vehicle.
Juke: The Juke is to the X-Trail like an iPod is to a cassette player. Same job done, but with much more panache. Its unique front façade, with enormous foglights paired with slivers as headlights, make the car look mean, menacing, and puzzling—all at once. The Juke is powered by a mouthwatering engine: a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four good for 188 bhp. A six-speed manual is standard on the front-wheel drive, while Nissan’s excellent Xtronic CVT is on the all-wheel drive version. The all-wheel drive car gets upgraded to a multi-link rear suspension, and features a torque-vectoring system to aid handling.
Cube: For pure Japanese wackiness combined with practicality, how can you go wrong with a Cube? The ultimate box on wheels, the Cube seems like the kind of car you can live in. It uses a 1.8-liter inline-four, with modest 122 bhp. Drive goes to the front wheels via a CVT. Cargo capacity is 1642 liters with the rear seats down: it’s not a cube for nothing.
Serena: The latest version of Nissan’s MPV looks bigger and is more capacious. It can carry eight passengers in comfort. It is powered by a 2.0-liter gasoline engine, and is available with full-time all-wheel drive. Price range in Japan is still under 3 million yen (around P1.65 million).
Fuga Hybrid: Remember the Nissan Cedric? That long-lost big brother to the Cefiro and Maxima lives in Japan. The Fuga branched out from the Cedric family as Nissan wanted a competitor to the Lexus GS, Toyota Crown Athlete Series, and even the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class. The Fuga is also known as the Infiniti M outside Japan. Tokyo Motor Show showed off a hybrid version, combining a 3.5-liter V6 with a 67-bhp electric motor. Fuel economy is expected to be double that of the gasoline version. This one is a bit of a stretch, given that the most expensive Nissan we see is the Teana, but it’s nice to dream, isn’t it?
So, to the folks at Nissan Motor Philippines and Universal Motors Corp., can we please have some new Nissans for next year? We’ll be the first to sign any petition.