Cars/ First-drive/ Nissan Magnite AMT | Affordable Convenience | First Drive Review

Nissan Magnite AMT | Affordable Convenience | First Drive Review

Further cementing its VFM quotient is the Magnite EZ-Shift

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Overview

The Magnite was designed with a clear mission: to transform a globally renowned brand, which, despite its recognition, faced challenges in the Indian market. Did it succeed? Nissan's journey wasn't an instant triumph, but they successfully attracted a growing number of customers to their showrooms. Over time, people began to recognize the exceptional value and innovative engineering in their offerings. That's precisely what the Magnite embodies – it empowers by providing access to compact SUVs at the price point of a premium hatchback.

Further cementing its commitment is a new variant that promises to add a lot more value to the whole VFM equation. It’s dubbed the EZ-Shift and what it is, in essence,  a cost effective measure to ease your driving experience. No points for guessing their choice of automatic gearbox, yes, an AMT. But before you totally disregard Nissan’s attempt, let me paint a picture for you. An automatic compact SUV for just 6.5 lakhs, ex-showroom.

Indeed, it offers exceptional value for money, precisely what Nissan aims for – your attention. Only then can they highlight the numerous remarkable aspects of the Magnite: its striking appearance, surpassing many vehicles in this price range; the generous space it offers, putting certain Korean compact SUVs to shame; and a plethora of features, including a 360-degree camera, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and all-LED illumination at the front.

And there's more – Nissan has elevated the cabin experience by increasing insulation around the wheel wells and engine bay, resulting in reduced NVH levels. The three-cylinder engine has undergone meticulous fine-tuning for enhanced smoothness and fuel efficiency, making the manual variant notably less thirsty compared to its predecessor.

While the refinement might not meet the lofty standards expected from a Japanese automaker, it remains highly functional. Having earned its reputation for enduring the challenges posed by our roads, driving habits, and harsh weather conditions, the new version only excels further. It's impressively capable too – even with a full load, the naturally aspirated one-litre engine maintains cruising speeds adeptly. As for the AMT performance, it delivers as anticipated.

And by that I mean every time it swaps a cog, you’ll feel that momentary pause in power. And every time you contemplate an overtaking maneuver, it gently questions, "what's the rush, buddy?" Plan your moves wisely, avoid overambition, and you'll find your journey unfolding smoothly.

I state this with confidence because the identical engine-transmission combination also powers the Renault Kiger and the Triber, the latter being a seven-seater, in case you hadn't noticed. It's impressively capable; in fact, certain self-drive services entrust it to customers for demanding, full-load tasks.

When viewed in isolation, the Nissan Magnite offers exceptional value, a sentiment I've always held. Yet, as a consumer, practical challenges emerge when recommending it. Issues like limited network coverage, insufficient after-sales support, and concerns about Nissan's single-product presence in the Indian market arise. Additionally, other vehicles boast smoother AMTs, more refined engines, and a wider dealer network. However, if you desire a striking alternative that doesn't dent your wallet and offers the cabin space of a compact SUV, I recommend exploring the Magnite. Let its outstanding value for money win your heart.

 

Photography: Nissan India

 

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TopGear Magazine June 2024