New 2014 Nissan Sunny diesel and petrol test drive review

  • Jul 08, 2014

The new Nissan Sunny has gone on sale with prices starting at Rs 6.99 lakh for the petrol and Rs 7.99 lakh for the diesel version. We drove the car last month in the Andamans and here is what we think of the car!

Exterior design:

The updated Sunny was showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo in February 2014 and instantly became the talk of the town due to its improved looks and better interiors. Sales of the older version had been dropping and this inspite of increased discounts and benefits. Nissan is now betting heavily on this new version and at first glance, you do appreciate the changes. The front end is heavily revised and this includes new larger headlamps, a new grille and a revised bumper. The top end versions get chrome by the buckets and infact, Nissan claims the new Sunny to be the most chromed car in the segment.

Take your eyes to the side profile and you notice new wheel caps for lower versions and fresh alloy wheels for the higher variants. These look nice and the rest of the side profile remains unchanged. At the back, while the tail lamps are retained, the bumper is revised a bit and also houses the parking sensors. The trunk chrome garnish is new and the antenna (now shorter) has also been re-positioned to the rear part of the roof. I personally believe that  while the front looks nice and keeps up with the changing times, the Scala still has a better rear end. Dimension wise, the new Sunny remains same and at 4425mm, it is longer than the Etios sedan but smaller than the Fiat Linea and the Honda City. At 1695mm, it is as wider as the Etios and the City.

The new Sunny is available in six color options and while the lower versions of XE and XL get 185/70 tyres on 14-inch rims, the XV versions come with 185/65 tyres on 15-inch alloy wheels.


The Sunny has always been known for its spacious back seat but that was about it - the earlier version lacked the finesse and premium touch that a customer would expect from a Rs 7-10 lakh car and thankfully, Nissan has addressed this issue with the facelift version. The moment you step inside, you are greeted with an all-new steering wheel that has been picked up from Nissan's international model. It looks great and houses soft-touch buttons for operating the audio system. The speedometer display gets a new back-light and continues to show various measures like outside temperature, fuel economy etc.

Next you notice the new central console  that gets a piano black treatment, something seen on the new Micra last year. The audio system is also new and depending on which version you go for (XL or XV), you either get a normal 2 Din system or one with a display for the rear camera. The central air vents are rectangular now and the piano black theme continues till the end of the climate control system. A nice touch are the two vertical silver strips running along the length of the piano black surface. These strips are also found running along the gear lever column on either sides.

On the practicality side, while there are two cup holders ahead of the gear lever, space for keeping knick knacks is limited with just a narrow spot next to the hand brake. The space above the glovebox is inaccessible for the driver without taking off his seat belt. At the back, space is very good for the tallest of individuals and this is one area where the Sunny has no competition at all. That said, when you are paying over Rs 10 lakh on-road, you do expect a proper rear air-conditioning system than just a air circulation fan.

Rear seats are supportive and comfortable and a place where tired souls would love catching some sleep while their chauffeur drives through the city mess. Worthy of a mention are separate reading lights for the rear passengers, something that is a luxury in this segment.

Engine and performance

The new Nissan Sunny continues to be powered by the same 1.5-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engine options. We drove the petrol motor with the CVT transmission which is only available in the XL trim level. Maximum power and torque figures remain unchanged and so does the ARAI approved fuel economy. Interestingly, as per Nissan, the CVT model puts out slightly more power (101PS vs 99PS) as compared to the manual version and that too at a lower rpm (5600 vs 6000). The Sunny CVT remains a very fuss free car to drive and infact offers better economy as compared to its manual counterpart. Though this petrol engine is peppy and offers good performance, the rubber band effect found in CVTs makes this a noisy car when pushed hard. Part throttle response however is good and the car goes about doing its duties in an able manner.

The chunk of the sales will come from the diesel engine. This is the same dCi motor that is found in various stages of tune in the Micra / Pulse, Duster / Terrano and even the Fluence. In the Sunny, it puts out 86PS of power and 200Nm of torque. Again, these are the same figures as the older version but engineers have tuned the engine for better economy which now stands at 22.71kmpl as compared to 21.1 for the earlier model. Nissan also claims they have improved the NVH levels but it would be unfair for us to judge the same without driving both the new and older version back to back.
What we can confirm is that his diesel motor remains a joy to drive in city traffic and has negligible turbo lag. Torque flow comes in early and you can overtake slow moving traffic easily.
This car is not really about driving in an enthusiastic manner but will surely do what most owners will want their cars to do!  Gearshift quality is above average with precise but slightly rough throws. Noise intrusion into the cabin is controlled well and infact for those being chauffeured around, it is easily possible to have a private talk at the back.

Ride and handling 

The Sunny will either be used as a chauffeur driven car or a family car driven in a normal and not so enthusiastic manner. Comfort will be the priority for most customers and in this case, it does well. The suspension set up remains unchanged and during our drive in the Andamans, we didn't really come across any bad sections that caused discomfort to us. Steering, as expected, is on the lighter side, again aim at providing convenience than anything else. It is still fairly weighed for a planted and secure feel at high speeds.

In terms of city handling, the light steering does help and so do the big windows that aid in visibility. On open roads while going to our shoot locations, we did drive hard a couple of times and on most occasions, the Sunny responded pretty well.  The current chassis and suspension set-up can easily handle performance from both the engines without a cry.

Pricing and verdict

The base XE versions of the Sunny are decently equipped with ABS and driver side airbag in addition to manual air-con, front power windows and power steering. This version carries a price tag of Rs 6.99 lakh for petrol and Rs 7.99 lakh for the diesel.

The next version is the XL that gets, in addition to the XE, features like electric outside mirrors, wheel covers, audio system with Bluetooth, rear arm-rest, rear power windows, climate control system, keyless entry etc. This model sells at Rs 7.61 for petrol and Rs 8.6 lakh (petrol and diesel) which translates to just over 60,000 extra over the XE versions.

The XV version comes only with the diesel engine and is priced at Rs 9.33 lakh (ex-Delhi), around 73,000 more than the XL. For this money, you get alloy wheels, electric foldable outside mirrors,  audio system with rear camera display, smart key with push button start, front passenger airbag etc.

There are also two premium packs on offer. Pack 1 offers leather seats and steering wheel and sells at a premium of Rs 47000 over the XV while Pack 2 that has side airbags sells at a premium of Rs 27000 over the XV - pat on the back to Nissan for introducing the safety pack. Kudos!

These are good prices for a car that offers a great drive, class leading space and a host of features. However, with the kind of discounts on offer on C segment cars like the Verna, Rapid and Vento, a Nissan salesman will have a tough time pleasing customers without free add-ons or some kind of discount. On the same note, even the Honda City petrol has a started price of Rs 7.19 lakh which is just 20,000 more than the base Sunny diesel!

That said, if you are looking at a no-nonsense comfortable chauffeur driven car or a feature loaded comfortable family car, the Sunny manages to tick a lot boxes.


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