I'm glad to report that my liking for small turbocharged petrol motors has only gotten better since the Nissan Magnite Turbo CVT joined our fleet. Now I'll admit I was a little hesitant about its compact engine having to lug all that weight, but three months and many thousand kilometres later I have grown to appreciate this engine’s everyday potential.
Most of my usage so far has been around town and the Magnite's 1-litre turbo motor has been a great tool for the job. Despite its moderate capacity, it's gutsy and responsive above 2,000rpm. But what really impresses is the overall refinement levels once the drive-train is all warmed up. Having driven the Magnite for nearly 3,000kms as my commuter as well as back-up tracking car for the shoots, I have come to grips with a few of its flairs and odd quirks. Here’s how they stack up.
The engine is arguably the highlight of the Turbo version that we have. In the larger scheme of things, it’s for those who do not mind trading off some efficiency for daily driving thrills. Push on the throttle pedal and you are greeted by this strong surge at around 2,000rpm mark that ultimately results in grin-inducing acceleration. While I do feel this turbo engine isn't the most refined of its kind, it chugs along smoothly and quietly once it's warmed up.
The other major aspect of this drive-train that I really like is the CVT gearbox. It's tuned in such a way that you hardly notice the rubber band effect that CVT gearboxes (majorly from the past) are known for. As long as you can modulate the throttle well, your passengers would be hard-pressed to tell that it’s the same gear less transmission that's fitted in scooters.
Oddly enough the things that I don’t like on our Magnite are all inside the cabin and it’s infuriating because they are all basic, usable features that aren’t well thought out. Take the Sport mode button, for instance. It’s not placed in the middle of the dash or around the gear lever (like in most cars) but on the lever itself. And to make things worse, it’s a tiny, unmarked button so you wouldn’t know the CVT has a Sport mode unless you accidentally press the button while using the lever.
What’s even more annoying is the fact that one has to manually unlock the doors after switching off the ignition. Now I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for anyone who uses the Magnite every day it might become aggravating.
These minor gripes haven’t dimmed my overall view of our Magnite Turbo CVT, though. It’s still an excellent crossover with a strong engine/gearbox combo and a comfortable cabin. It will be interesting to see how the Magnite copes with the 2000km-plus December road trip that I have planned, but up until now it’s been a great acquaintance to my daily commute and shoots.
Vehicle log Odometer – 7,450 km
Kilometres this month – 980
Displayed Average – 12.6 kmpl
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi