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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nissan Teana 2.0 XE Comfort - Full Test Drive Review

In the mid 90’s and early 2000’s the D-segment car market here in Malaysia has been dominated by the three Japanese brands mainly the Toyota, Honda and Nissan. The Camry, the Accord and the Cefiro have seen dominating the streets of Malaysia where the latter car has seen its Cefiro name change to Teana name here in Malaysia. The rest of other market still maintained the Cefiro nameplate where as in Malaysia the Teana nameplate was used. I’m not so sure why Edaran Tan Chong took this strategy approach as the Cefiro brand name is already synonymous with the Malaysian consumers.

The first generation Nissan Teana was introduced here in 2003 where it has replaced the A33 Cefiro and the car was fully imported from Japan with the price in excess of RM 200K. This exorbitant price has led to a low demand and sales for this model with the design which looks a little bit on the safe side which is not popular to the Malaysian consumer. This has led the other competitor namely the Camry and Accord to reap in the demand and sales for the past 7 years. The second generation Teana has been introduced to the world market in 2009 and I have seen the car for the first time in 2009 in Thailand gracefully strolling the roads of Bangkok. At that time, I was wondering what car is that, and a quick glance I saw the Teana nameplate and wow it leaves a very good impression on me. My first thought is the designs of the rear combination lamp really strike a pose and the overall design of the car looks like a winning formula as compared to the first generation. Kudos to the Nissan designer where they manage to tweak the uncle looks of the first generation to a more gen Y centric kind of look.

Looking at the potential of this model, Edaran Tan Chong has made a move to bring in this second generation Nissan Teana to the Malaysian market in November 2010 with a more attractive price due to its CKD assemble here at the Serendah plant. The Nissan Teana instantly has become a sales hit where it has undercuts the sales of Honda Accord in 2011 by a huge margin and trailing the Toyota Camry by a small margin. So what does this new Nissan Teana makes it so special to the customers of Malaysia. Auto Insider Malaysia will unveil in this test drive review.

Edaran Tan Chong Motors is kind enough to loan me the car for the weekend to review the car and the car given to me was the Nissan Teana 2.0XE Comfort line variant with its retails price of RM 141,000.00 on the road including insurance. The higher spec. version of 2.0 Luxury variant is price at RM 145,000.00 OTR with the inclusion of a leather seats and door trim and also a front parking sensors. The volume seller for this model is the 2.5 V6 variant which were price at RM 173,000.00 OTR which strategically price in between the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry. As I have mentioned earlier the test drive unit that handed to me is the 2.0 litre XE variant and let me explain the equipment level for this model.

Equipment Level

For the Nissan low end variant, ETCM does not left this car carrying only the bare bone equipment instead, ETCM has offered quite reasonable equipment level for this variant with the differences compared to the 2.5 V6 are the Xenon headlamp, powered front seat, rear power shade, cruise control, intelligent key, steering wheel audio control, front cornering sensor, side airbags, curtain airbags and VDC with traction control and of course a smaller engine displacement.

The equipment level for the 2.0 variant includes halogen headlamp with manual leveliser, front fog lamp, side mirror turn signal lamp, beige interior colour with fabric seat and door trim, Multi Information Display, Dual Zone Auto Air conditioning, rear aircond duct, 6 CD changer with 6 speaker system, a dual front SRS Airbags with ABS+EBD+BA, active head restraints, immobilizer, child seat retainer with the seatbelt comes with pre-tensioner and load limiter seatbelts. With this kind of equipment level, the 2.0 litre Teana is certainly looks on the right path of gaining the sales where it is not that different as compared to its nearest competitor in the same segment.

In terms of the engine, the 2.0liter MR20DE which essentially the same engine powering the Nissan Sylphy with its 1997cc 4 cylinder aluminium engine pushing 134hp at 5,600rpm and 190Nm of torque at 4,400rpm pairing to the X-Tronic CVT source from Jatco with same gear ratio as the 2.5V6 engine variant thus providing a smooth drive across all engine revs. The kerb weight of this car is at 1455kg which is 55kg lighter as compared to the Toyota Camry. In terms of the wheelbase, both Camry and Teana feature the same wheelbase of 2,775mm thus providing a huge legroom for the “tawkay” at the back. Besides that the Nissan Teana was equip with electric power steering dubbed Twin Orifice Vehicle Speed Sensing Power Steering (TOPS) which will regulate the steering weight according to the vehicle speed.

In terms of suspension setup, the Nissan Teana features and all round independent suspension with the front suspension was set with Independent McPherson strut and at the rear it was setup with Multi Link Independent suspension. Even tough with this setup, Nissan still manage to offer a very decent amount of cargo space with full cargo space of 506 litre (VDA calculation). In terms of overall size, the Nissan Teana is 25mm longer than the Toyota Camry, but 25mm shorter in terms of overall width of the car as compared to Toyota Camry. In terms of stopping power, the Teana is equip with ventilated disc at the front and solid disc at the rear to provide good stopping power with the additional help from the 4 wheel ABS+EBD+BA setup.


Stepping inside the Nissan Teana, you will greet with a plush front seat which was more a sofa kind as compared to the other normal car seat. Even though the seat was covered by fabric, the soft material used certainly pushes the luxury feeling of the seat. My daily drive is just a B-Segment sedan car and stepping inside a D-Segment car, certainly makes a whole lot of different. This includes in this Nissan Teana. The glasshouse of this car is very big, with its beige coloured interior theme makes the interior inside Teana feels very roomy. The switches on this car does provide a good tactile feeling and the switches are place at the right places especially the centre console switches. My only gripe is the switches for the air cond selection which was put on higher center console that also features a multi information screen for the radio and also the air cond selection mode. The switches to me are only convenient for the front passenger but for a driver, you do need to look at the center console to make your selection, thus this will distract the driver to do the necessary adjustment to the air cond selection while driving. For the meter cluster, Nissan Teana provides triple meter clusters where the display provides very clean and clear information to the driver. There is no reflection that can distract the driver when driving the car even at night with full illumination selected.

As for the interior space, Nissan Teana provides a very big appearance both visually and mentally. The front seat is wide enough for my body frame (I have big body frame) and it provides good support both for the driver and front passenger. The driver seat provides a good commanding view of the front of the car just my only concern is the view of the front end of the car. The hood of this car swoop down if you see from the driver’s view thus if you are not acclimatise with the view, it might be quite difficult for you to judge the front end when moving out from tight corners. A look at the specification the 2.0L liter Teana does provide a front cornering sensors as an optional accessories, thus I do recommend you to thick this box as this will certainly help you navigate your car from tight corners. As for the rear passenger seat space, the space is abundance for the “tawkay” back there, the legroom is wide and the head room is not an issue in this car. For the rear passenger, the Nissan Teana is equipped with a centre arm rest with integrated cup holders and the most noticeable features is the rear air cond vent to further enhance the air of refinement for the “tawkay. Speaking of luxury, the interior of the Nissan Teana is also equipped with wood grain trimming which to me does not look cheap and too shinning as some other artificial wood grain being offered from other competitor’s car. This wood grain is further accentuate with the subdued chrome finishing on the door handle, the centre console and its air cond vent trimming, thus it provides a touch of class to the overall appearance of the car.

On the move

The Nissan Teana is a D-Segment car, with its large overall length of 4850 mm, but in reality, it’s an easy car to drive. The drive start with a push button ignition that is a standard features for the Nissan Teana. Step on the accelerator pedal and the car glide effortlessly even tough under the hood it’s a 2.0 Litre engine pushing all the horses. A look at the spec shows that the engine torque band increase linearity till it reaches its maximum torque at 4,400 rpm and with the help of the X-Tronic CVT gearbox, the engine delivers a smooth and refine drive across all speed range and if you needed the extra power to overtake a car, step on the accelerator pedal, and the engine provides a sudden increase of horses when you needed it. To tell you the truth, the power delivery is so seamless that sometimes I did not realize that I have pass the speed limit, not that I intentionally do it, but the drive is so smooth and it seems that driving at 110km/h is too slow and boring. In terms of overall noise, the car is well insulated from the outside noise, name it road noise, tyre noise, engine noise or wind noise, these noises have been suppressed efficiently by Nissan. You can have a decent conversation without ever increasing your voice while driving the car.

In terms of the handling of the car, the engineers of Nissan certainly design the car suspension setup to provide a comfort drive. But don’t be fooled by the setup, even though the setup is biased towards comfort, it does provide a good grip when you throw the car on the B road with some tight bends. It does sometimes have some tendency to over steer when you push hard through corners but it is still controllable if you know the limit. As for normal world driving, the suspension setup does provide a good comfort with all the road undulation was soaked with ease. In terms of fuel consumption, the fuel tank of the car is 70 Litres and when I took the car, the fuel was full to the brim, and with a total drive of more than 400km with good mix of smooth driving and hard accelerating drive, there is still a quarter tank of fuel when I return the car back to Edaran Tan Chong. That certainly astonishing for me as for a 2 litre D-Segment car, the engine does sip the fuel efficiently and to me this was mostly contributed by the electric steering wheel and CVT combo working in harmony. Overall the driving feeling in the Nissan Teana is a very pleasant and smooth. I could not imagine driving the more powerful 2.5 litre V6 engine with full leather upholstery that will sure elevate the sense of luxury to the driver and the passenger of the car.

At the end of the 4 days of reviewing this car, the Nissan Teana has provided me a very nice driving experience. Don’t take my word entirely, do test drive the car at the nearest Edaran Tan Chong outlet and compare what I have feel driving this car with your own driving experience. With the latest promotion of Drive Me Crazy being put up by Edaran Tan Chong, you can enter a lucky draw and a chance to win a car for test driving a Nissan car. Last but not least, from the 4 days of driving experience, I would rate this car as:

AIM overall rating: 4 star out of 5

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