Nissan Sunny set to give a smoother ride


As far as first drives go, this is quite an odd one. As the name implies, a first drive is when we first get to see and experience a new car, but with the Nissan Sunny CVT, we’ve already experienced the car. Heck,you may have already read about it too! Confused? Well, don’t be. The Nissan Sunny and the Renault Scala are one and the same, so if you’ve read about the Scala AT, you’re already ahead of the game on this car.

First things first, on the outside, there’s a small badge on the boot-lid letting you know it’s got a CVT sending power to the wheels. Apart from that, you’d be hard pressed to find any differences between this and a manual petrol Sunny.

The Sunny CVT is available only in XL trim, which gets you everything but alloy wheels and leather interiors, so on the features front, it’s fairly well-packed.It comes with a 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to the latest Xtronic CVT from Nissan’s global arsenal, which is both compact and efficient. In fact, this transmission has the widest range of gear ratios possible, which means you have acceleration when you want it and economy when cruising.

For those of you who already know what a CVT is and how it works, you can go ahead and skip this para, but basically, CVT stands for Continuously Variable Transmission, which means instead of a set number of gears like a manual transmission or a traditional automatic, it features a couple of pulleys and a belt which can vary the gear ratio (theoretically, it’s infinitely variable,
but there are still limitations).

On the road, the Sunny responds well to throttle inputs, but it’s not entirely jerk-free; you can still feel some jerkiness when you immediately switch between coasting and throttle.

This isn’t exactly a sporty car, even with a manual transmission, and that doesn’t change with the new transmission either. The brakes are still on the weaker side and there is still a good bit of body roll under hard cornering, but its target audience won’t care either way.

Again, like the Scala, there’s a lot of engine noise that makes it into the cabin, even when you’re just gently accelerating, like a constant drone, which you’ll have to get used to if you plan on driving over longer distances.

There is a silver lining in this cloud though; the Sunny CVT is actually more fuel efficient than the manual Sunny. At 17.97 kpl, it’s only about 1 kpl better than the manual (16.95 kpl), but that’s better than all the other automatic variants, which typically fare lower in ARAI tests.

So, how does it fare? The car, by itself, is actually a pretty competent one, and with the added benefit of better fuel economy, the Sunny CVT does have the makings of a hit, but considering most of the Sunnies I see on the road are diesels, maybe it would do Nissan well to cook up an automatic variant of that one.