From the time the Nissan Magnite has been part of the CarWale garage, this blue-eyed boy has been on two round trips between Mumbai and Bangalore. And there have been way more Mumbai-Pune trips than I can even recall. Apart from the west-to-east and back expeditions, the Magnite has been a constant companion in every CarWale and BikeWale shoot thanks to its convenient automatic, practical boot for our photographers and videographers, and its never-say-never attitude. So the Magnite has barely gotten any rest from our diligent Editorial team.
We have already seen how it performs on daily commutes in the city; you can read about it over here. Now, in this report, we’ll tell you how the 1.0-litre turbo-petrol CVT has fared on the longer hauls.
I was sceptical about the performance of this tiny 999cc three-cylinder engine especially before undertaking a near 2,500km journey. Besides, it wasn’t just me in the car, but three more crew members and their luggage, and (as always) we were on a tight schedule. So this trip wasn’t going to be any easier on the car, as the Magnite would be pushed to its limits, and pushed a bit more. And guess what, this gutsy little Japanese SUV pulled through without a fuss. On the highway, it could keep triple-digit speeds without feeling out of breath. There was never a moment where I felt that it could do with more power. The strong meaty mid-range of the turbo-petrol helped me overtakes the slow-moving trucks with so much ease.
Even with four passengers on board, the Magnite paced through effortlessly, especially on the beautiful piece of tarmac between Tumkur and Davanagere with long stretches of mostly unoccupied and uninterrupted straights. It also felt planted at those speeds and never was I scared to push it further when passing those heavy vehicles.
On the return journey, we did this patch in the middle of the night, and the Magnite was a breeze while my passengers snored peacefully. That reminds me of the ride quality. It's supple and absorbs bad patches on the road surprisingly well. But over deep, sharp edged potholes the front suspension makes a loud noise right around the time when the damper decompresses. The noise is so intense that it seems like the suspension has been damaged but in reality it’s functioning just fine. Since we have heard this loud thud so many times in the last few months, we are now extra cautious when going over potholes and deep cuts on the roads.
And the boot at 336 litres might not seem a lot at first, but it managed to swallow a lot more luggage than I anticipated including some camera equipment over a week's luggage of four. Or maybe we are just thrifty packers.
Most of the niggles, with the Magnite on the trans-country journey, were trifling, but annoyance none the least. Firstly, the AC had a mind of its own. It sometimes gave up on us, especially in the middle of the day. And it would get back to working on its own. Same with the speakers, they go numb at times. We could feel the reduced volume from the music system only to find out one or two speakers aren’t thumping at all. Then, on their own, they would start playing again.
I had one strange issue with the driver’s seat. Oddly enough, the extended side bolstering of the seat base is where my right thigh was resting the entire 2,500km. That protruding cushioning didn’t prove to be very comfortable and I had to endlessly keep adjusting my seating posture over the entire journey.
We like the segment-first wireless Android Auto feature of the Magnite. But it wasn’t without a flaw either. It would refuse to connect at times when the ignition is turned off and on again. Lastly, the centre-placed lock, which needs to be manually unlocked every single time, is still a nuisance.
With 18,000km coming on the odometer, the Nissan Magnite is still going strong. Its merits outweigh its shortcomings, and we cannot help but admire the Magnite the more time we spend with it. It has been our team’s go-to car whenever a shoot is scheduled and there are more miles in store for this Magnite before we return the keys teary-eyed. Stay tuned for more updates on the Magnite's adventures in the CarWale garage.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi