The Nissan Magnite is perhaps one of the most anticipated compact SUVs in India. It has been made keeping in mind the Indian car market. This is also a way of changing the perception Indian buyers have of the brand in India. And with the Magnite, you get a whole bunch of features, stylish looks and great value for money. Even with features that match its competition, Nissan has managed to price the SUV very competitively, starting with the base, naturally-aspirated model. Even the top-of-the-line turbo petrol CVT variant undercuts its rivals in terms of pricing. We’re about to find out if Nissan has finally got the formula right with its baby SUV.
An eye Magnite?
The Nissan Magnite is a looker, no doubt. It has the unmistakable stance and ground clearance of an SUV. Along the sides, it has flared wheels arches that house 16-inch wheels and the high-set cabin completes the SUV look. We like the look of the C-pillar and the contrast roof, along with the split rear spoiler. Nissan Cars have used chrome to highlight the doors; it even gets two-tone cladding at the back. The grille looks like a larger version of what you see on Datsun’s Redi-Go, and the Magnite was supposed to be a budget offering from the Datsun brand. The SUV gets a lot of nice details – like the sleek headlights, the L-shaped LEDs and the sharp lines on the bonnet. The Nissan Magnite gets cladding around and the roof rails give it the crossover appeal it deserves. Look closely however, and you will spot panel gaps.
Cabin: cool or not?
Like the Kiger, the Nissan Magnite is narrow too. But there is plenty of space on offer. You sit with your back upright and the 2500mm wheelbase means there’s ample room. The seats up-front are nicely bolstered, offering good support, but in the lower variants, you don’t get seat height adjust. Stepping into the back is easy because of the wide door aperture. Tall passengers have lots of legroom as well. There is sufficient headroom as well and a third passenger can fit in at the back without any hassles. The rear headrests are adjustable, you get rear AC vents and a 12V charging socket. Boot space is fair at 336-litres. Inside the cabin, Nissan Cars have put in endless hours of work to execute the cabin; the upper half of the dashboard is a blend of plastic along with a band of piano black that runs the width of the dashboard. It features stylish-looking AC vents, a big 8.0-inch touchscreen with a metal bordering, the detailed AC knobs, that TFT screen in the instrument cluster and the denim-like look on the door pads. The car also gets leatherette seats, a compact steering and a 10-litre glovebox.
It gets some segment-first equipment as well, like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a 360-degree reversing camera, Nissan Connect and smartwatch connectivity, a 6-speaker audio system and puddle lamps. Given the SUV’s price, this is definitely a lot of equipment. Build quality could improve in the future, because there are many bits that do look like they’ve been built to a cost. By and large though, fit and finish is a step-up from what we’ve seen on Datsun’s cars for India. When it comes to safety equipment, the Magnite is equipped with ABS with EBD, rear parking sensors, Vehicle Dynamic Control, traction control, dual airbags and hill start assist.
The engine is mated to a CVT gearbox and it produces 98bhp, and it’s the turbo petrol engine you should consider. The 3-cylinder motor sounds lumpy at idle and you do tend to feel some of the vibrations come through. However, once you start picking up speed, the engine gets smoother. The CVT also responds well to throttle inputs, making city driving a seamless affair, and acceleration is linear. The rubber-band effect isn’t felt much either, even at medium engine speeds. Push it hard, and the revs build quicker than the speed does. In Sport mode, the engine feels punchy. The Magnite, with its 5-speed manual, is quite quick too. There’s a nice surge as you move ahead and the turbo kicks in promptly. The engine pulls quite well and the Magnite’s 5-speed manual ‘box shifts smoothly, but we found the clutch a bit heavy. Also, read the latest car comparisons, only at autoX.