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Road Test: Nissan Teana

CarWale Team, 02-Apr-2010. Car Tested: Teana, Version: UPPER
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Introduction

Nissan has been successful with its cars worldwide but the company hasn’t quite been that successful in the Indian market as yet. This Japanese manufacturer is now quite serious, what with the iconic 370Z to the Micra and hopes to bite into a sizeable portion of the Indian car market. Nissan along with Renault, has made some large investments in their Indian manufacturing plant based just outside of Chennai and will soon launch its most important car for the company in India – the Nissan Micra. The newer updated Teana and the X-Trail were launched last year and now with the 370Z and the GT-R (given to Narain Karthikeyan), Nissan sure is kicking up a lot of dust!

The Nissan Teana has been around in India for almost three years now and only last year did they launch an all new Teana in the market. The Teana, as it is christened in the Indian market, is originally the Nissan Altima in the USA and has (and is) a hugely successful product for Nissan in the North American markets. The Teana is a premium luxury sedan and so it directly falls in competition with the Honda Accord, Skoda Superb and Toyota Camry – all the latter cars running successfully in India. Teana is also in competition with the slightly cut-price BMW 3-series and the Mercedes C class. Interestingly, the Teana will also has competition from the Volkswagen Passat. So for this Nissan to shine brighter and stand out in a crowd, it really needs to have a few tricks up its sleeve to outdo the competition. The name Teana comes from a native American word meaning "dawn", as it represents the dawn of an all-new luxury sedan. To find out whether the Teana has just what it takes, keep reading our review on the Nissan Teana 250 XV over the next few pages.

Design

The second-generation Teana (internal code: J32) made its first appearance at the 2008 Beijing Auto Show. The Nissan Teana is based on the Nissan D platform, the same platform on which the Nissan Maxima and Nissan altima are based. The length of the Teana is 4850mm which makes it slightly bigger than the Toyota Camry (4815mm) but it is shorter than the Honda Accord (4950mm). From the outside, the car does carry its look of being a premium saloon. We drove a silver car with a sunroof and a moonroof that made it look sporty as well as exquisite. The front sports projector headlamps blends perfectly with the sprawling chrome front grille proudly wearing the Nissan badge. Take your eyes a little further down from the headlamps and you can see the fog lamps and a chrome strap that runs throughout upto the rear. Walk up to the rear and the angular tail lamps would just mesmerise you. The trapezoidal shaped LED lamps have the turn indicators well crafted in the middle – in fact, the tail lamps look absolutely stunning at night (see pic). The rear is otherwise fairly uncluttered, with the Nissan logo and the badging which is done in a simple tasteful manner. Of course there are the chrome bits that do help in adding that certain element of sparkle to the rear end.


The new Teana is definitely better looking than the previous one. The car that we drove (a top end model – the 250XV) comes with a 17-inch wheels but the base version (250XL) comes with 16-inch wheels. Another major attraction to this new Teana is the total panoramic black roof with a sunroof and a moonroof that gives the car a more elegant and luxurious look. It also helps in taking away some of the visual bulk, since the Teana is no doubt, a large car. Another upgrade from the outgoing model comes in the form of mirror mounted indicators. The Teana is available in the Indian market with multiple colour options. Available colours are Luna Blue, Sapphire Black, Champagne Gold, Brilliant Silver, and White Pearl.

Interiors

The Teana from the inside feels extremely rich. It has got leather finish on the steering and a general wood finish (available only on the top variant 250XV) making it look very pleasant. The Teana’s strongpoint has always been the simplicity and calmness that the cabin exudes not to mention excellent levels of fit and finish. If you are one of those who prefer to relax in the comfort of a plush leather armchair, then the Teana would be just about perfect for you. The front-passenger seat has a small button, which when pressed, lifts up a leg rest – giving you the feeling of a first-class seat in an airplane. The generous rear seats are quite comfortable with ample space, so that even a six-footer can easily stretch out and get comfortable easily. (However, the Superb still takes the cake when it comes to sheer rear-legroom). The centre-armrest has cup-holders which can hold two fairly glasses. However when you’d want to go three-up at the rear the folded in armrest could be a problem since it juts out from the seat squab, making the rear seat of the Teana supremely comfortable for just two people. Flip the armrest panel and you have access to the boot.

On the top-end variant we drove, the steering wheel comes with audio and cruise control, and we feel that the low-spec variant should also have these as standard. The cabin looks sophisticated and the theme follows through right down to the easily readable white-backlit instrument cluster. The large orange-on black information display makes reading effortless even on a bright sunny day, which isn’t the case in a few other cars. This screen, apart from displaying the currently played track, also shows the AC temperature, exterior temperature and time, in an easy-to-read, large legible font. The buttons on the central console (which work the air-conditioning and the audio system) are large and ergonomically placed. The car also sports a rear powered sunshade that would save the rear passengers from the intense sunshine if you’re based in a hot city.

Features on the Teana include: 8-way electrically powered driver’s seat; 4-way electrically powered front passenger’s seat; powered rear sun shade; active head rests; 6 CD-changer with 6-speakers and a twin exhaust. Talking about the safety, the base variant of the Teana has dual airbags for the front row passengers and the fully loaded model comes with six airbags which includes the front two, the curtain and side airbags. One very important feature that’s missing in the Teana are parking sensors which is a must in today’s congested parking lots – especially when you’ve got such a large car (and that bulbous rear that packs in more than enough boot space!) to manoeuvre into tight spots.

Powertrain and Fuel efficiency

Pop the hood and you’ll find a 2496cc, V6 petrol engine (VQ25DE) shoehorned in the Teana that can produce a massive 182 bhp@6000 rpm and 228 Nm@4400rpm of torque powering the wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) which basically means infinite gear ratios. Nissan engineers have kept the NVH fairly low and this engine, just like some of its siblings is silky smooth and fairly free revving. It does have a nice rasp as you edge towards the six thousand mark on the rev counter.




The CVT even has a sport mode where the gear ratio changes at a higher revs like the sports mode in other autoboxes. The Low range (L) is another feature seen on this CVT box. On test, the car touched the 100kph run in just 10.8s and the 30-50kph in 2.8s and 50-70kph in 2.9s in the Sport mode..

Driving Dynamics

Nissan, over the years, have produced some of the most desirable enthusiast cars, like the GT-R which is one of the fastest production cars in the world and has clocked Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 29 seconds. Let’s not forget the Z cars from the Japanese car manufacturer – the 350Z of Tokyo Drift fame and even the first of the Z cars - Nissan or Datsun 280 Fairlady Z. All these are cars have impeccable ride and handling characteristics. The Nissan Teana isn’t a part of that supreme league, but is definitely quite a handler, but it’s quite obvious that the car has been tuned to deliver good ride quality more than anything else.



The Nissan engineers have done an overwhelming job with the suspension set-up of the Teana giving the occupants a composed ride at low and high speeds. The Teana comes with independent struts in the front and a multi-link type suspension at the rear.  The sedan feels insulated from the outside road conditions and all the road-shock and vibrations are absorbed by the dampers making the ride quite comfortable and plush. The steering is light and it’s very easy to manoeuvre this large car around in traffic. However, there’s no vagueness that comes in at speed, and the steering feel remains just as positive.

The Michelin Energy MXV8 tyres on our test car were soft but funnily enough they began to squeal even before the car clipped the apex on a corner. The only sound that filtered into the car, was of the tyres squealing during the turns and our photographer talking to the Almighty after having been shown the needle on the speedometer when we had to do a quick highway run. The Teana’s brakes feel good and bite fairly progressively. In our braking test, the Teana covered 29.3m before coming to a complete halt from a speed of 80kph. One major issue which we faced with the Teana is its ground clearance, which is just 145mm. Not to forget, it has a massive wheelbase of 2775mm which causes the underbelly and the rear end of the Teana to hit speed-breakers with four to five occupants in the car. The rear overhang can also pose a problem when you’re trying to park up a steep up-ramp.

Overall Evaluation

The Nissan Teana is a luxury sedan which is spacious, has good ride and handling characteristics and would meet all the requirements to be a comfortable chauffeur-driven car. Then there’s the silky V6! However, that’s just one-side of the story. There are a number of other cars in this segment, which offer similar (or more) features at a lesser price-point, which does make it difficult for Nissan to attract a significant number of customers. Nissan hasn’t yet gained the reputation that a Skoda, Honda or a Toyota have achieved in the minds of Indian consumers – especially in this price-band. The Nissan Teana 250XV (top-end spec car) that we drove comes at Rs 25 lakhs and the base version is priced at Rs 22lakhs, both ex-showroom Mumbai. At that price, we feel Teana is significantly more expensive (and slightly less value) considering that you could buy a Superb, which comes with more spacious rear seats, an efficient diesel engine, and of course a lower price tag. Also, a customer in this segment would be looking for extraordinary customer service and a hassle-free ownership experience, not to mention a certain level of snob value associated with the badge. We feel, Nissan should really re-think the pricing on the Teana (and the X-Trail!) if they are to make a dent in the segment. Everyone knows that they are serious about India as a market, but they need to reinforce that fact further. They’ve really got great products and the Teana can be quite a success – if only they’d do something about the price.

 

Test Data

Engine Specifications

2496cc petrol engine View specifications

Speedo Error

Speedo Reading (kph) Actual Speed (kph)
40  36.5
60  55.7
80  75.5
100  95.1
120  114.4
140  133.1

Max in Gear

Gear Speed (kph)
1st  
2nd  
3rd  
4th  
5th  
6th -

Performance Test Data

Top Speed 220kph
0-60kph  5.5secs
0-100kph  10.8secs
Quarter Mile (402m)  17.9secs@133.7kph
Braking 80-0kph  29.3m
30-50kph in 3rd  3.1secs
30-50kph in 4th  
50-70kph in 5th  3.3secs

Fuel Efficiency

  City Highway Overall Worst
Mileage (kpl)      7.68  

 

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