Nissan has been operating in India since 2005, which is roughly the same time many other foreign players jumped into the Indian market. They started selling the X-Trail and the Teana, which didn’t fare so well in building up the brand in India, however by 2008 more car manufacturers were getting serious about the Indian auto space and Nissan’s French partners, Renault joined them in India by setting up a Renault-Nissan Plant in Chennai, which started producing cars in the country by early 2010. To build its brand Nissan developed the compact Micra that first rolled out of the production line in March 2010 and then followed the Sunny, Nissan’s entry level sedan. Hitting the mass market with these two products showed the amount of interest Nissan has in India. Picking up from where they left of, the Japanese giants have now brought in yet another product aimed at the masses, more specifically to large urban families. The MPV segment in India is relatively new but the Indian consumer now has a decent choice of vehicles within that segment. The newest entry is the Nissan Evalia and we were invited to Bangalore to drive the Evalia before its launch later this year and do our Nissan Evalia Review. The Evalia is essentially a van, and when you look at it you will immediately call it a van; however it looks a bit more modern than the Maruti Omni, the only other van in India. The front end has got a small bonnet protruding out in front so it doesn’t have that boxy look throughout its overall design and gives it some curves. The two rear doors are sliding doors and the seating arrangement is set up to fit seven people despite the fact that it’s not very long. It’s definitely not the best looking of MPV vehicles, but it’s not ugly either.
While I have always praised Nissan cars, the Evalia is not something I would personally love to drive, the main reason being that I am a single male. The Evalia as I mentioned earlier, more than anything is a family car. It’s not meant to appeal to anyone based on its performance; in fact what really will draw people to this car is its purpose of being a spacious, comfortable, safe, convenient and efficient vehicle. And that’s what we went to Bangalore for - an extensive Nissan Evalia Review. While the Nissan Evalia can be an affordable and practical car for many people, there are a few things that are just wrong with it. As you enter the car it looks decent, there is plenty of headroom and lots of space for people to be seated comfortably, but the seating positions are not the best. The driver’s seat is not very comfortable as it is positioned too high, and the steering wheel is almost laid out at a 30-degree angle so it seems almost parallel to the ground, which makes you feel like you’re driving a bus. The middle row of seats cannot be reclined backwards so if you are sitting in the back you might have lots of legroom but you cannot relax on long trips. The grab rails are also placed far ahead from the rear seats, so you really have to reach out and hold on to them if you ever need support. But what I really disliked was the fact that you cannot roll down the rear windows, instead they are butterfly windows and only open by a couple of inches outwards which might make long journeys uncomfortable. In India, where it’s very hot and people don’t always use the air-conditioning, this can really be a problem for many people, especially if you are sitting in a packed car, and if someone gets sick, you can be rest assured that the inside of the car is going to get really messy as the windows don’t go down. Ergonomically it’s not bad though. The rear passengers get trays and plenty of cup holders plus other compartments, and in the front under the driver’s armrest there is a cooler to keep your drinks. The gear lever is placed high up so it’s easy to reach and there is a nice display unit with multi information display such as cruising range, shift up indicator and real time fuel efficiency. For now the Evalia will only be available with a diesel engine, the legendary K9K diesel engine to be exact. This is the same engine that is found in other fantastic Nissan cars such as the Juke and the Cube. In the Evalia it has a displacement of 1461cc and produces around 85bhp and 200Nm of torque. Honestly though, you don’t feel any torque and acceleration is slow, but the car does pick up speed and has exceptional drive quality. The gearbox is a 5-speed manual that does the job well and the clutch doesn’t really feel heavy. However, this car is not being targeted towards people who have a passion for driving, because none of them would ever be caught dead in a van. The Evalia is targeted towards urban middle class families for practical reasons – to be safe and comfortable. So it doesn’t really matter if I wasn’t too impressed with the driving experience during our Nissan Evalia MPV Review. But like I said, the overall drive quality is really decent, the engine is seamless and smooth, but it is very loud. The suspension setup also does a great job as the Evalia takes to bumpy roads with no problem and handles well around sharp bends.
There will be 4 different variants available, and I really appreciate Nissan for the features of the Evalia because all of the variants come standard with Brake assist, ABS and EBD, which is very good for a family car. Airbags will also be available on the top three variants so it looks like Nissan has a done a good job with safety. The Evalia would also be very efficient because it is very light and weighs 1426 kilograms, and that is lighter than every other MPV. It also has a good ground clearance of 180mm which means it will go over any road surface with ease. The Evalia is no doubt very practical and safe and would be a very good car for its target audience. The success of the Evalia all depends on it’s pricing though as it’s hard to judge which other cars the Evalia will compete with and whether the Indian buying public will find it a value proposition or not. The car is strong and sturdy with good build quality, and while the interiors may have a few flaws, the drive quality and efficiency make up for it, which is why the Evalia is a great MPV.
|Engine||1,461CC / 4 Cylinders / 8 Valves / VGT Turbocharger|
|Transmission||5-Speed Manual / Front-wheel Drive|
|Power||85BHP @ 3750RPM|
|Torque||200NM @ 1900RPM|
|XFactor||It might not be the most exciting car to drive, but the Evalia offers what a large family needs most – space, lots of it.|