The Caaar ad would have definitely caught anyone’s attention and that is just the right thing that Nissan wanted for its baby sedan in India. The only thing that Nissan officials weren’t sure about was the point at which the Sunny would be competing against or rather which segment would it cater to. Once the price of this car was announced, it became even more confusing since it straddles both the lower strata of the C segment as also the higher end of it. The former due to its pricing and the latter due to its space quotient and features list. The Etios, Dzire and Manza would be the direct competitors of this car from the lower segment while the higher segment would see it competing against the likes of the Hyundai Fluidic Verna, Honda City and also the Maruti SX4. The Sunny is a rounded off product which is a well thought out weapon from Nissan’s arsenal and one which thinks to straddle both the ends of the C segment. We just primed the Nissan Sunny against its so called rivals and the results are for you all to read.
The Nissan Sunny in India car looks like a mini Teana for sure and this was a unanimous thing which everyone would agree to. However, turn towards the rear and it is quite obvious that apart from the tail lamps which are similar to the Teana, the boot looks more like that of the Swift Dzire. Come to think of it, there are also some comparisons with some other Maruti products like the SX4 as well. The most flamboyant design package in this lot would have to be the Hyundai Fluidic Verna. Its got all those chops, swivels and what nots in what can be called as a diminutive package. Sportiness is quite evident from the Hyundai Fluidic Verna in India’s appearance. Even the rear does seem to sync in with the whole design of the car. The Honda City in India can be called as a car which holds its appeal even well after 3 years since its launch. This car can be said to have aged gracefully. The arrow shot design still commands a second attention. The rear is also well proportioned. The Toyota Etios in India is a bread box package. Its boxy, however the uses of some elements of chrome have definitely spruced up the looks of this car. Even at the rear, the car carries forward the boxy theme. As for the Tata Manza, it’s a product which cannot be called cutting edge but at the same time, it stands its ground well. When it was introduced, it had an all new look and approach to design. It never looked like the Vista had a boot tacked onto it. However, the same cannot be said now since the Vista has now got the Manza face to it. However, it definitely takes up the fight with the upper C segment with its space and features quotient, just like the Sunny. The Maruti SX4 is more like a concept car here. It seems smaller than it actually is plus the thing that it is the most butch amongst cars here. Traditionally cars have been referred to in the feminine gender, however not with the SX4. The tall stance and a well integrated boot is what it all stands for. Its smaller brethren the Maruti Swift Dzire in India looks exactly like the old generation Swift, with the addition of a downright ugly boot.
On the design side, it’s the Hyundai Verna which looks cool while the Etios and Sunny cater to the sober kind of clientele. The Manza and City would appeal to the young as also middle aged personality while the SX4 is something which we can call as the car for someone who wanted an SUV with sedan like capabilities. The Swift Dzire for the budget conscious and lovers of the Swift’s design language.
Now, this is where the Fluidic Verna outshines its rivals. Everything out here has got a premium feel with what even the switches and power goodies falling into hands easily. The Verna has got a nice feeling going for it. Its only when the space is concerned, that it falls short in the backseat. The Nissan Sunny in contrast is a car which, like the Verna has got good interiors along with the assurance of space thrown in. The AC unit has been plucked out from the one in the Micra and is a cool looking piece. The Verna and the Sunny are the only two cars here to have a push button start for the engine. The Tata Manza in India is one product which is very similar to the Sunny in its dimensions. It has also got features galore, even though it is a very affordable car. The Blue and Me technology which is derived from Fiat is a useful feature. Spacewise, the Manza is one of the best in the class, even surpassing the Sunny when it comes to head room. When we talk of space, there was earlier only the mention of Honda City. Even now, things haven’t changed much and its still very much a spacious car. However, the price point at which its positioned, with the entry of new rivals promising the space, it is but natural that people would ditch the snob value of Honda and go in for the others. The City also lacks in features which the Verna and even the Etios to some extent offer. The Etios top end model comes with steering mounted controls. However, that is it. It was built to be a low cost car and it stands true to that. The seats are flat at the rear and shoving in 3 huge people at the back wouldn’t be a problem. As for the SX4, it has also got a good features list. One sits upright in this car and visibility all around is real good. Even for the back benchers, this one is pretty good. The Swift Dzire seriously lacks space at the rear and the boot addition just about adds some space to the Swift’s puny boot. The features list is almost similar to that of the SX4, moreso since they share parts from the same bin.
If its space, one is looking for, then there is no contest and it would be the Manza here with a cutting edge price tag for it. Next comes in the Sunny with its features list and comfort factor. The Toyota Etios is one more car which is good for being chauffer driven, however the quality of plastics leaves a lot to be desired. The Honda City is still a very comfortable car, however, the omission of certain features plus the typical Honda “stinginess” really hurts. The Swift Dzire makes for a good car for singles; however, if carrying around people is a priority, it better is left alone. The SX4 is for those who would like to be in a commanding position while driving and would even like their passengers to be in the same position. It has got just about adequate features.
Handling and ride quality
The Sunny here can be called as a neutral handler, its not an expert in controlling the body roll thing, however, does well to mask it with its soft suspension setup. The ride quality is also of the absorbing kinds. However, the NVH factor is something which Nissan should have worked on coz this sedan isn’t that noise proof as the others in this comparison. The Fluidic Verna is something which is a very quiet performer. In terms of absolute NVH, there is nothing that comes close to this sedan. The handling though is a doubtful thing and it isn’t as well planted as we would have liked. The ride quality for a softly sprung car is very good and it more or less is in the same ballpark as the Sunny’. The Manza’s engine makes a little less of noise than the one in the Sunny plus the suspension is all the more absorbing. The handling for the Manza is also on a similar foot like the Sunny, however the steering wheel lacks some feel as compared to the slightly better feel from the Sunny. The Suzuki SX4 is the one to go for if one has to have a sporty car as an everyday drive car. The SX4 has a stiffly sprung suspension underneath and this means that the ride quality may not be that all cosetting, however the handling definitely is very surefooted. As for the NVH, the Suzuki engine is quiet and only gets coarse towards the top of its rev range. The Toyota Etios in India was perceived as a low cost car and this is evidently visible from the fact that this car doesn’t have sufficient insulation under the hood. As a result, inside the cabin, things do get thrashy after a certain limit. The ride quality is good, however, the Toyota doesn’t feel confident around bends and plus the steering wheel which is more tuned for city use, doesn’t work in its favor while on the highways. As for the Swift Dzire, its also stiffly sprung and this affects its ride quality. As for the handling part, the Dzire is a bit tail happy; however, it does its best to plant a smile on its driver’s face. The NVH is well controlled for the 1.2 liter engine. The Honda City in India has a ride quality, which though not exactly pampering, can still be termed as acceptable. The handling would have been stellar, were it not for the lackluster steering wheel, which simply doesn’t provide a good feedback. Wider tyres would have also made it to handle better.
The overall balance tilts in favor of the SX4 with its made for India ground clearance as also handling prowess. Other meekly follow it here, however, the ratio would vary depending on one’s preferences.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The Maruti Swift Dzire’s engine is the one which has the least capacity amongst this competition. However, it produces a mighty 84 Bhp from its heart along with 113 Nm of torque. It is mated to a 5 speed stick shift. The Dzire is amongst the lightest cars in this category and has superb acceleration to its credit. The engine and gearbox combo is a perfect thing here. The Dzire’s brakes need some working into while the safety features list, up the variants is also good. The Toyota Etios comes with a light weight body and a 1.5 liter heart. 89 Bhp of power and 132 Nm of torque is what can be plucked out of it. A 5 speed manual gearbox, which though a tad notchy, does the job well. The Etios’ brakes have almost the same bite as the Dzire’s and safety levels are also the same. The Tata Manza has got a 1.4 liter Safire heart and 89 Bhp of power along with 132 Nm of torque is what it has managed to produce from it. A 5 speed manual gearbox, derived from Fiat is what this one brings into the equation. The gearbox, though not in the same region as that of either Suzuki or Toyota, is a reasonably good shifter. The Manza, due to its porky weight loses out on the acceleration front, but, still is a nice cruiser. The brakes of the Manza are better than the Dzire and Etios, however on the safety features front, per variant, the Manza lacks behind.
The Nissan Sunny gets a 1.5 liter engine which is tuned out and out for fuel efficiency. It produces 98 Bhp of power along with 134 Nm of torque. The gearbox here is a vague unit and neither does the engine like to be hurried. However, the Sunny scores on its opponents by having its safety features in place. Variant on variant, there is no comparing the Sunny with its competitors, with even the base variant coming with a single airbag, ABS and EBD. The Hyundai Verna’s less decorated 1.4 liter engine makes 107 Bhp of power and also 136 Nm of torque. A 5 speed manual handles the cog shifting duties. The Verna petrol is also a gutsy performer; however cruising is what best it can do. The base Verna lacks safety features in the name of ABS and airbags, which is a big letdown. The petrol SX4 has got a 1.6 liter engine which has a peak output of 104 Bhp of power along with 145 Nm of torque. The gearbox of the SX4 is a bit recalcitrant; however, does the job perfectly. As for safety features, the Sunny’s spec list matches that of the SX4’s and both the cars are evenly matched here. The Honda City makes do with a 1.5 liter petrol engine which produces 117 Bhp of power, the highest in this comparison along with 146 Nm of torque. The gearbox is a smooth shifting unit and a delight to use. The engine also takes on a sporty note, after a particular rpm. The Honda City, however, lacks the basic safety features which one would expect from a sedan of this class.
As for the fuel efficiency, the ARAI certified fuel efficiency is the highest for the Etios while the Sunny ranks in a close third.
The Nissan Sunny does stake out claims to being a big sedan with lots of space and just about inoffensive looks. However, for the part that it has been, it doesn’t do anything exceptional. Its fuel efficiency is also not class leading. What it promises is a very tempting price package plus some segment firsts like the rear cooler vents, push button start and keyless entry. The Sunny price starts from a very tempting Rs 5.78 lakhs and is available in three variants. Compared to this, the Toyota Etios starts at a price of Rs 5.54 lakhs, the Maruti Swift Dzire’s base price is Rs 4.88 lakhs, the Tata Manza’ price starts at Rs 5.39 lakhs, the Maruti SX4 starts at Rs 6.91 lakhs. The Honda City’s price starts at Rs 7.6 lakhs while the Hyundai Verna’s price starts at Rs 6.99 lakhs. Feel free to guess the winner in the comments section below.