Nissan's foray into India may not have been a fairytale experience with the Teana and the X-Trail, but ever since the Micra they've been going hammer and tongs to make an impression in India. Could the Sunny be the car that changes it all for this Japanese manufacturer?
When they launched the Micra, Nissan Motor India Limited sought to set their Indian operations on course. They had been selling cars here for at least two years prior to the launch of the Micra but owing to some shoddy marketing for the Teana and the X-Trail no one really knew whether Nissan really existed on Indian shores. Then came Ranbir Kapoor and the Micra and with it Nissan had a product that fitted the bill for doing battle in the highest volume segment in India. With the Micra also came the V-platform – the V stands for versatility which means that the small car from Nissan wasn’t going to be the last product from the Japanese manufacturer in India for sure. Next up, Nissan sought to conquer sales in the entry level sedan category and it is finally time for their contender to break cover. With a 45 year history across the globe, the Sunny moniker isn’t really anything new to Indian ears either. If you haven’t heard of one yet though, ask anyone who’s been in the Gulf and they’ll tell you that it’s one of the best selling sedans there.
For a small sedan to sell in such numbers in the land of crude oil and expansive deserts, it has to have something special then right? The Sunny that Nissan is bringing to India is actually the latest generation of the car – tenth to be precise and was launched first in China in December 2010. This is a car that has sold over 16 million units worldwide. This is a car whose name was selected through a contest that invited Nissan’s customers in Japan to choose what they would like to call it. This is a car that was named to reflect a young and lively character. But how well will this car do in a market as competitive as ours?
First of all, the Sunny isn’t exactly what everyone would call a great looking car. It’s not the sort of design that makes you go weak in the knees when you lay eyes on it, but then again, it doesn’t have to be either. With slightly feminine lines that give a sense of grace to the Sunny rather than outright aggression, the Sunny is easy to look at and does have some angles that makes it look really good. But equally so, it also has angles that make it look totally out of proportion – especially if you look at it from the rear three-quarters, which is something that we personally couldn’t understand since the Sunny was designed from scratch to be a sedan.
That said, this is a pure Nissan design and there is that instant connect with its bigger siblings the Teana and the Maxima. On the inside too, the Sunny is a complete paradox to its name. While the cabin is well laid out and comes fitted with everything you can think of including steering controls, a push-to-start button and climate control, it’s the colours in there that don’t do justice to the car’s badge. Everything is a shade of grey in the Sunny all the way from the dashboard to the carpets and though the monotony is slightly broken with the lighter coloured seats and door trim, it would do a world of good to Nissan to add a little more real colour in there. Even the centre console tries to splash on a little black and some aluminium finish strips but doesn’t do too well against the massive expanse of monotone grey.