Thursday, September 13, 2012

              Multi-purpose vehicle is a segment of cars in India which is totally dominated by Innova from Toyota. Ever since its launch it’s the undisputed champion of its segment. Initially this was not a popular segment of cars in India but now consumers and manufacturers both are rushing towards it. Recently we have seen new competitors of Innova including Ertiga from Maruti Suzuki, face-lifted Xylo from Mahindra and now Nissan Evalia. Yes, Nissan is entering this segment of market with their MPV known as Evalia. Till now Nissan is widely known for its cars like Micra and Sunny in India. With Evalia, Nissan targets those looking for an alternative of Innova for both family and commercial use. Majority of cars in this segment faces the problem of identity crisis. Either they are given the identity of a car which is just suitable for family or they are known as taxi which is more appropriate for commercial usage. No owner would like his personal car to be taunted as a taxi. Innova has managed it brilliantly. It has won hearts of many families despite being a successful commercial vehicle. Its space, comfort with premium quality made it a huge hit in the market. Nissan knows it perfectly as they have seen Xylo being tagged as a taxi while only families are opting for Ertiga. It will be a tough task for Evalia to carry two successful images with two colored number plates. 
Nissan India unveiled the 'Evalia' in India at the 2012 Auto Expo in New Delhi. The Indian version of NV200 would be more luxurious and feature-rich in comparison to the Evalias (NV200) sold all over the world. Nissan Evalia is a proper seven-seater multi-utility vehicle and will compete against the likes of Toyota Innova, Tata Aria, Chevrolet Tavera and to some extent with ICML Rhino. On 8th August Nissan India unveiled all the technical specifications and features of Evalia to the online media persons. It will be available in four variants: XE, XE+, XL and top-of-the-line XV. All the variants will be powered by Nissan K9K diesel engine which will be mated to five-speed manual gearbox. It generates maximum power of 85 bhp with maximum torque of 200 nm. In terms of looks, Nissan Evalia has commercial van-type designing with sliding doors to access the rear seats. It has to be seen that if private owners will prefer Evalia over Innova for routine day-to-day use. Nissan has kept the design very neat and simple. The interiors of Nissan Evalia are very spacious with sufficient head-room and leg-room for all seven passengers. The top-of-the-line XV variant will come fully loaded with features like body coloured bumpers, body coloured outside rear-view mirrors, Electrically adjustable outside rear-view mirrors, front fog lamps, alloy wheels, tachometer, trip meter, 12V power outlet, multi-information display, 2DIN music system with 4 speakers, key-less entry, central locking system, tilt-adjustable power steering, power windows, seat back table, rear-monitor camera with display, air conditioner with rear AC vents, reclining seats, passenger plus driver airbag, ABS+EBD with brake assist, immobilizer and door ajar warning. 
The Nissan Evalia is designed for perfection. Ample amount of cargo space, first-class functionality and the latest automotive technology make it stand apart from the crowd. Nissan exhibits a high performance on the road with its excellent diesel engine option. The interior is a showcase of comfort and the true sporty nature of the car. They are provided with lumber support, folding options in the passenger seats and Thermoplastic Polyolefin front row covering. The remote keyless entry system, central console with controls, front map lights, Rear Glass defogger, bottle holders and passenger side rear cargo door all enhance the comfort of the car. The Nissan Evalia is facilitated with 2-Din AM/FM/CD with four speakers. It is expected that Nissan India is going to launch the Evalia on 26th September, 2012. The expected price range of Evalia is from seven lakh rupees to 10 lakh rupees for the top variant.

                                                            Nissan Evalia Exterior

       One thing is for sure; Evalia looks distinct from its competitors. We are not sure if it’s going to work in its favour or not. The car looks tall; that’s it. Evalia neither looks smart or beautiful nor it’s curvy or macho, it’s just tall. The front of the car is much more appealing than its whole body. It has a big, broad bumper which has nice flowing lines over it along with fog lights and air dam fitted very low. There is huge gap between headlights and fog lights which grabs your attention instantly. It has nice angular headlights which are well mated with an innovative front grille .There is big Nissan logo in center with a nice finish of chrome on the last layer of grille. The bonnet sits high above on this front grille which is not that big in size. Overall its face looks very aerodynamic. Its side view makes it look like any other, cargo van. It has long vertical front doors with sliding doors at the back. Yes, it has sliding doors which won’t take you long to compare it with much cheaper Maruti’s van like Omni or Eeco. It has body colored front door handles and big side mirrors. It has nice wheel arches but its 14 inch alloys spoils the party. Its side profile with small size of tyres looks very boxy and bland. Rear of the car makes it worse. Its rear gate makes it a typical van. Its rear bumper is the most irritating thing that you can notice. It has a tall rear gate which has extremely low fitted tail lamps. When companies are trying to make their MPVs as stylish as possible, we wonder why Nissan has chosen this typical van design for its car. Looking at its competitor’s design and style, Evalia looks like a thing of the past.

Nissan Evalia Interior

Things get better inside Evalia. It uses beige and grey colors inside. Seats and door panels are of beige colour which makes it look up market. The car features clear and easily readable instrument dials. It has familiar three spoke steering wheel with a big Nissan logo over it. The upward placement of gear knob may remind you of i10’s AC vents, gear knob and center console are surrounded with metallic colour finish. The quality of plastic material and buttons used inside are just fine as they are not that soft to touch. If we compare it with its rivals like Xylo than it surely has an upper hand as the total arrangement inside with fit and finish is far better. It also has a Multi information display which provides important information to driver.

Comfort and Convenience

Evalia is available as a seven-seater multi-purpose vehicle. Basic function of MPVs is to provide extra space and that’s the USP of this car. Nissan has made it very spacious and even with full seating; luggage of a full size family can fit into its boot. Front seats are very comfy and there is enough legroom and headroom available in the front. People who are six feet plus may find a bit cramped knee room in the front, otherwise headroom is no issue. There are front power windows and rear wiper and defogger. Its power steering is available with tilt option. Driver seat is manually adjustable. Driving position will again realize you that it is more like a van as you lack that confidence in driving position. Seating in second row is also very comfortable. There is ample amount of headroom and legroom. Under thigh support is just enough. It has non sliding seats in its 2nd row. Sliding doors and almost flat floor makes it convenient to use these rows. The tall structure of Evalia allows the passengers in third room to get fair amount of headroom. The under thigh support could have been better. There is rear AC vent for 3rd row, we are not sure about 2nd row if it will have AC ducting or not. It also features electrically adjustable but not retractable outside mirrors and rear parking camera with display. The car has a smart key with function of auto lock/unlock with the help of sensors.

Dashboard and Storage

Its long dashboard uses dual tone colors. It has in-built glove box with bottle holders on either side. That’s the only storage space this dashboard offers. The center console is fitted with Multi information display which fits in well with the dashboard and looks sophisticated. It has round and rectangular shaped AC vents. Overall appearance and quality of dashboard is satisfactory. The car has no lockable storage space to keep essential or private documents. It also has cup holder in rear center armrest. The car has first in its class tray table on the back of front seats just like a plane. To get more storage, the rear seats folds down and allow you to carry enormous amount of luggage.

Music system of Nissan Evalia

Nissan Evalia is equipped with double din music system fitted in center console. It has radio and CD player coupled with four speakers. There is no audio control switches mounted on its steering wheel. The car also lacks Bluetooth connectivity. It features a 12v power outlet at front.

Nissan Evalia Engine and Gearbox

The familiar Renault’s 1.5 K9K common rail diesel engine powers this car. The maximum power produced by this engine is of 85 bhp which comes at 3750 rpm. It churns out a maximum torque output 200 Nm available at 2000 rpm. Nissan is already using this engine in its Micra and Sunny. This diesel unit is specially tuned for Indian Evalia. It’s mated with 5-speed manual gearbox. This engine is less powerful than most of its competitors.

Acceleration and Performance

Those numbers seem to be very less on papers for a vehicle of this segment but drive it on road and you will find it completely different. As per Nissan, Evalia reaches 100km/hr mark faster than any of its competitors. It’s hard to believe but yes it does. The car feels very light and fast. Once you pass 2000 rpm mark it is fun to drive this vehicle. It suffers a major turbo lag, especially with full seating you will continuously have to work on its gear shifting. It also gets noisy if rev hard otherwise it’s a nice performer. It can’t match the performance and drivability of Innova but it is better than what we get in Xylo. Its lightweight helps it to manage the power to weight ratio better than others. Its tall gear ratios can be irritating in city traffic as you can avail torque only after 2000 rpm. It has smooth gear transition which is very handy in city traffic and its gear ratios are well proportioned.

Mileage of Nissan Evalia

Nissan claims Evalia to be the most fuel efficient car in its segment. As per ARAI certification, it manages to return 19km/ltr. When tested the car returns a mileage of around 13-15km/ltr in city conditions while on highways you can expect anything around 15-17km/ltr. These numbers are surely better than its competitors like Innova and Xylo. There are two reasons which undoubtedly make it the most fuel efficient car in its segment. First it’s lightweight due to its monocoque design which is very lighter in comparison to its competitors as it weighs around 1.4 tonnes and secondly it’s relatively taller gear ratios.

Nissan Evalia Ride and Handling

The car handles really well in traffic conditions. Its reduced turning radius along with large door glasses on either side makes it easy while parking this car. Given its weight and usage, its suspension has been given special treatment. It is capable of bearing heavy loads with optimum comfort. Its strong suspension allows it to stay grounded at high speeds. Shifting lanes quickly at high speeds is not an issue. It also digests big bumps and potholes easily and with its high ground clearance. Its long wheelbase along with well mated suspension confirms you a comfortable ride. It doesn’t give you enough confidence to drive it fast at corners because its suspension takes time to settle down and its small tyres are not capable to hold it firmly on road.

Braking and Safety Features

Nissan Evalia has ventilated disk brake at its front while drum brakes are used at its back. Brakes respond very accurately and sometime they stop this car way before than what you expect. Top model of this car will also carry features like ABS with EBD and brake assist which will make its braking more precise. Though it lacks ESP but you will hardly miss it. Nissan has tried to make it a safe vehicle that’s why ABS and driver side air bag is a standard feature while the top model will also feature airbag for front passenger.

Nissan Evalia Variants and Warranty

Evalia will be offered in four variants with one diesel engine. These variants are XE, XE+, XL and top variant XV. Shades are not yet disclosed by Nissan for Evalia. Nissan gives a warranty of 24months/50000kms on its new vehicles so we expect the same for Evalia.


MPVs are known for their space and Evalia is surely a winner in this department. It’s very spacious and offers enough comfort what you expect from a vehicle of this segment. It handles nicely in city traffic and on highways also it won’t disappoint you. Evalia is very economical in terms of fuel efficiency and for that you don’t even have to compromise on power either. These are some of its qualities which will surely appeal to many buyers. We wish if it was enough for this car to succeed as it has some major drawbacks. Evalia looks much like a van with sliding doors which makes it look like a typical MPV. Its competitors like Maruti’s Ertiga and Toyota Innova on the other hand are trying to get rid of this image and they more look like any other city car which is more acceptable by family buyers. It can appeal to those who are looking for a commercial MPV but again its warranty period is an issue. Innova comes with longer warranty period which makes it worth in comparison to Evalia. There are relatively less features in Evalia when compared to its competitors. Pricing is going to be very crucial for Evalia. Nissan has to place it smartly to make it a value for money car. Otherwise it will be hard for Evalia to get the trusted buyers of Innova which is better than it in almost every department.

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