Nissan Sunny CVT Expert Review
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As per Nissan ’s Project 88, the company plans to introduce 10 products in the coming 5 years time. We had done an exclusive story on the seven new products that the company will introduce in the coming years, while the other three are derivatives.
The Sunny gets an XTronic CVT, which is different from the regular CVT boxes. We drive this version in heavy city traffic to tell you how good this new transmission is on the Sunny as we drive in in peak traffic of Mumbai, on a hot sunny day.
The Sunny’s design has been evolved from the Micra , and both share the same platform. However, the Sunny looks a lot more masculine, with an extra long wheelbase. The Sunny does have a massive rear door and a large boot also. The Sunny’s design is the same as that of the one sold in China.
The Sunny CVT comes only on the XL variant for the time being, and it doesn’t get the alloys of the XV. Apart from this, everything else on the outside remains the same. The only visual differentiator between the Sunny manual and the CVT is the XTronic CVT badge, that the Sunny wears it at the rear, below the XL badge, just like the Renault Scala. The Scala and the Sunny are based on the same platform and the two have some differentiating factors only in cosmetic design.
The interiors of the Sunny CVT aren’t much different. Except for the new gear lever, everything else remains the same. The Sunny does’t get any other changes on the inside. The XL CVT variant gets keyless entry, push start, integrated music system, steering mounted audio controls etc.
The front row seats are large and comfortable with good space for kneeroom and headroom. The rear seat of the Sunny is where most focus has been emphasised.
The Sunny is sold in China and India hence the legroom at the rear on offer is astounding. That is one reason, why we had the Caaar TVC, to stress on the space as one of the major USPs of the Sunny. The boot of the Sunny is again massive and it can gorge loads of luggage without any kind of trouble.
Engine and transmission :
The Sunny CVT gets the same 1.5-litre petrol engine as the manual variant. This mill churns out 98bhp of power at 6000rpm and 134Nm of maximum torque at 4000rpm. This is a fairly quiet engine as it has low NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels. The refinement is as good as any other petrol motor and so the power delivery. It is fairly linear and the power band is good too with a strong mid-range. As the revs climb up, the engine starts screaming, and it isn’t one of those happy to be revved kinds. Nissan Sunny and the Renault Scala are the only two C+ sedans to get CVT. The others have the epicyclic gear train, while Ford is the most advanced with a dual clutch transmission. Nissan has made this transmission a lot more sophisticated than the existing one, by adding an extra epicyclic gear. Now, what this does is it reduces the gear ratio, which means the engine cruises at a much lower engine rpm.
This has given Nissan a mechanical advantage as it increases the fuel efficiency also. The other advantages of this transmission is that Nissan has achieved the highest gear ratio of 7.3:1, and this is the smallest CVT box— thus even reducing the weight. The CVT transmission is good to drive, especially in city as it has better fuel economy than the regular automatics and even there are no jerks as the belt moves smoothly. The Sunny CVT is more fuel efficient than the manual petrol Sunny, by about 1km/l. This is the biggest advantage of the CVT, if you have relaxed driving. Floor the acceleration, and you shall notice the revs rise and the engine screams, however it takes a while for the power to get transmitted to the wheels. There is some amount of latency in power delivery. The transmission gets a sport mode and L mode. In the L mode, the transmission holds till higher revs, while in the sport mode the responsiveness is better as per Nissan. We didn’t find much of a difference in the sport mode and the regular D mode.
Driving Dynamics :
No changes are made to the mechanicals especially the underpinnings of this C+ sedan. Hence, the Nissan Sunny is the same when it comes to its on road manners. The suspension is soft and absorbs most of the road shocks, however it feels a bit jittery on bad road surfaces.
The handling is decent on this car. It isn’t meant for you, if you are those racer boy types. It more to enjoy the road, with stress free driving or perfect for you if you are chauffeur driven.
The Nissan CVT is definitely a good option to consider for automatics. It is efficient, powerful and even has good space and decent bells and whistles. The Sunny CVT is available only in the mid-level trim XL. We consider it to be a good buy only if it costs about Rs 60,000 more than the regular XL variant.