For its launch, Nissan ignored Europe and other usual venues. Instead, the Sunny's new face was unveiled at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There in the backdrop of the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, the revamped Sunny created an instant impression with its large, swept-back headlamps and an aggressive bumper.
The Sunny's credentials as a practical car have never been in any doubt but a serious rejig was indeed needed for this Plain Jane. A nip and tuck was surely in the offing because one of the main reasons why the Sunny faded into the background after making initial ripples in the market was its lack of visual presence in a crowd of youthful looking cars.
Inside, the Sunny justifiably brags about its cabin space. The rear passengers continue to enjoy class-leading legroom that embarrasses many luxury cars. The interiors have been spruced up, with the centre console getting an all-black colour. Conveniently, the new 2-Din music system comes with Bluetooth connectivity. The leather-wrapped steering wheel with a prominent triangular aspect and the chrome-finished buttons impart a rich look to the car. Nissan has made sure that there is very little trace of its hatchback, the Micra, in the sedan. And since the Japanese company has not fiddled with the dimensions of the Sunny, even shopaholics will have a task filling up the 490 litres of boot space.
The Sunny retains the 1498 cc petrol and 1461 cc diesel engines. The former also comes in a CVT option. With 100 bhp at 5600 rpm, the petrol variant offers a decent pick up and has enough power to overtake road hogs in the city. When climbing an incline, however, its punch tends to falter. The petrol engine feels slightly stressed out trying to coax additional power from the engine. The diesel, on the other hand, is a smooth operator as it delivers uninterrupted linear power. There is no annoying lag or abrupt gushes of power. The 5-speed gear box's ratio is on the shorter side, so you end up shifting the stick more frequently than you would like to. The diesel engine's rattle and hum are barely audible when you drive because Nissan has reduced the Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels in the cabin with better insulation. The diesel variant's innards have been recalibrated and Nissan claim its mileage has improved by a litre to give 22.7 kmpl. The petrol CVT variant returns 17.97 kmpl.
The Sunny never had razor-sharp handling capabilities, and this remains true of the new version. The Sunny focuses more on comfort than on the ride. The suspensions are on the softer side, and so the car tends to wallow on uneven road. On smooth macadam, there aren't too many complaints about the ride quality. Also sharp turns leave you with the feeling that the car is not planted on the road. Deal with this by easing the foot off the gas pedal.
The new Nissan Sunny has many things going for it - it looks more contemporary, has unsurpassed cabin space and boasts spruced-up interiors and equipment. As a family car, it is value for money.
Power: 98 bhp @ 6000 rpm (petrol manual)/ 100 bhp @ 5600 rpm (petrol automatic)/ 885 bhp @ 3750 rpm (diesel)
Torque: 134 Nm @ 4000 rpm/ 2000 Nm @ 2000 rpm
Boot space: 490 litres
Starting price: Rs 6.99 lakh (petrol)/ Rs 7.99 lakh (diesel, ex-showroom, Delhi)