In 2005, Nissan Motors India Private Limited came down to India and started their operations with a crossover named as the Nissan X-trail. Shortly thereafter, Nissan got down to bringing their famous big sedan, the Altima to India albeit with a different name. The new name given to it was Nissan Teana. The Nissan Teana in India was a shocker by Nissan. This well received car from America was however short of luck once it came into the Indian soil. I am not sure if this is a problem with the Nissan-Renault joint venture but almost all their cars in India get the label of taxis. The Renault Logan is a taxi, the Nissan X-trail is a soft roader which is used more by fleet operators and now the Nissan Teana. When was the last time you saw a Nissan Teana outside a show room? I saw two of them at the international airport. Not much then. However today I have got this rare Nissan for a review with me. Needless to say, some of the people from the office below thought that this was a new car that had been launched and all flocked around. So am starting off on a good note and that means having a car which would gather all the attention. No test drive but a review of this car since Nissan Motors more than wanted to publicize this car.
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The new Nissan Teana looks real expensive like how a typical American sedan should be. However it doesn’t seem as intimidating as some of the sedans that we are used to. All the more, it feels a proper luxury sedan. A bluish tinge to the head lamps cluster is similar to the one found in the new Wagon R in India. The 4 layered grille houses the Nissan logo. The wraparound head lamps and the small fog lamps do cut a distinct picture. I would be drawing flak for saying that viewed heads on, it resembles the Tata Manza somewhere down the bulging fenders line. The 16 inch wheels on the base variant and the 17 inch ones on the top end variant are nothing to speak about. They have the usual boring alloy wheel design and not some exciting design like the one in the Fast and Furious movie series. The rear is typically done in the Manza fashion with the high raised boot and a single reflector towards the lower bumper. Ohh, lest I forget, the wonderful black roof on top with a panoramic sunroof for company is a good and unique thing in this class.
Interiors is where you would forgive all the staidness of the exteriors of the Teana. The Nissan Teana in India comes with a part leather part wood steering wheel which not only looks good but also feels better to hold than say, a Honda Accord’s unit. The new car smell still hasn’t wafted away from the model that I had with me. This particular specimen had done well over 20 k kilometers. If anyone of you have ever eaten or even seen a Milky bar chocolate then you would certainly identify with the interior color of the Teana with that of the chocolate. There is a 6 CD changer system with USB and Aux input plus a dual zone climatronic AC with plasma ion cluster technology. There is a fake wood trim running across the length of the dashboard. Ordinarily, it would have looked cheap on any other car but in the Teana, it actually looked good. More like some brown chocolate atop the Milky bar. The meter dials are segregated into 3 different arcs with a multi information display done in orange nestled at the lower portion of the speedo. The steering wheel houses the cruise and audio controls. Everything feels well put together and the pebble beige interiors look fantastic. However the steering buttons do feel a bit on the cheaper side of things. The perforated leather seats keep ones butts cool and that my friends is a welcome relief in the scorching sun in India. The seats adjust electrically and this is a big boon. There is an engine start stop button on offer and the seats are called as Ottoman in Nissan speak.
The rear dedicated AC vents also do their job well of cooling the three tycoons seated in the rear sofa. Seriously the rear seats can be called as sofa as they tend to hug the human contours well enough. Moreover, just like the Maruti Alto, even in this car, the front seats have scoops in them. This enable taller rear seat passengers like me to avoid brushing against the front seats. Not that the Teana was any lacking in the rear leg room but it simply cannot match the plushness of the Superb. As far as seating comfort is concerned, it is more like the Camry which also boasts of the same ergonomics. As far as rear luggage space is concerned, it is right up there with that of the Camry.
Handling and ride quality
The Nissan Teana in India is a front wheel driven vehicle unlike the 4 wheel drive configuration available on its American variant. Like the V platform used for the Micra, this new platform is called as D. It is more rigid and at the same time doesn’t compromise on ride quality. Infact the Teana has been tuned to be more forgiving on the ride quality front than favor outright handling. In the US, this vehicle is the preferred choice with the Accord. The low profile rubber boots of the Teana only allow the sharpest of the road imperfections to filter through. Otherwise I felt that I was riding on a pillow of air. However asking this car to handle well is like asking a boat to make a 360 degree turn within 30 seconds. Though the steering wheel is well weighted, it lacks that all essential feel that is required to turn such a porky vehicle around. However I was amused by its lightness in the city. NVH is also one up on the Toyota with this car displaying the least NVH levels, the Volkswagen Passat included. However when in the mood for some spirited driving, the big Nissan doesn’t disappoint. Just that it has some limits and those are reached relatively easily. Unfortunately Nissan have chosen to skimp on rear parking sensors for this boat and hence maneuverability around town is a bit of a hassle.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The Nissan Teana in India used to have a 2.3 liter engine earlier however post its facelift, it has undergone a change in heart as well. The new 2.5 liter V6 engine has now got 180 Bhp of power on tap and a cool 230 Nm of torque. This big sized motor is very creamy and butter smooth in its operation. Mated to this engine is a CVT transmission. The transmission is reasonably smooth and operates without a fuss. The race from 0-100 kmph stops in at 10.6 seconds. This Nissan has a top speed of 210 kmph. The motor doesn’t sound stretched by any limits and infact seems very calm in its operation. Infact just roll down the windows a bit after you cross 150 and the sporty growl emitted by the chrome tipped exhaust is a nirvana in itself. By the way, this engine has won the coveted “engine of the year” award 13 times in a row. Brakes are fantastic and the all wheel discs are assisted by Vehicle dynamics control (VDC), EBD, Brake assist and also ABS. Safety is also taken care by 6 airbags with the side and curtain things also being brought into picture. If it’s a good thing, the US government has accorded a good rating certifying the Nissan Altima nee Teana’s crashworthiness.
Fuel efficiency would certainly depend on the person driving the car and in this case, if it happens to be your chauffer, then expect it to be in the regions of 8.2 kmpl in city and 12.4 kmpl on the highway. Needless to say, both these figures are achieved with the AC on. I really can’t imagine a Nissan Teana owner to be moving around without the AC on.
Do I actually want to be seen in a Teana? Yes, for the novelty factor, why not. But then there are some better options like the DSG equipped Passat or the super comfy Superb. Plus the Teana’s Japanese friends or foes, the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. But for the exclusivity factor, there is nothing like the Nissan. The Teana boasts of acres of space just like the others in its class. It has got a fantastic rated interiors, which the others also have save. It has got a V6 petrol engine under the hood. This the Superb and Accord have. Nissan have kitted the car well but in all this kitting, they probably have forgotten the most important driver aid and that is the parking sensors. Actually, Nissan wanted to make you extract the maximum out of your chauffer. Just like a Gujarati boss would. That is what the Teana is built for. If you love to drive, then look towards the Skoda Superb, Honda Accord or even the new Passat. The Nissan Teana in India is offered in two variants, the Nissan Teana XL and Nissan Teana XV. The Nissan Teana price in India starts from Rs 21 lakhs while the top end variant goes for Rs 25 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Delhi. But the worrying point is the lack of Nissan’s dealership compared to the others in here, except for the Volkswagen Passat. However Nissan have plans to open 35 new dealerships by 2012 and this is a positive sign of the company ramping up their resources. The highish price of the Teana is also a spoilsport as far as the company’s operations are concerned. Moreover, Nissan aren’t consciously promoting the Teana, a vehicle which it needs to do as much as it does for the Micra. Hover Automotive currently handle the aftersales of the Nissan. As far as I have heard or know, it is a neutral response for them. Some say that they are very good whereas some say that they could do with a lot more of knowledge with Nissan products. Being a CBU means that Nissan cannot price the product competitively and hence lose out on the edge they would have had with this wonderful product.