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Review: Nissan Evalia

Driven January 2013

Review: Nissan Evalia

Yes, we’re a country of highly social people. And while elsewhere in the world, after they’re 18, kids meet their parents maybe twice a year, quite a few of us in India still live in joint families for most our lives. Sharing rooms with grandparents and clothes with siblings. And that applies to our idea of a family car as well – must carry the entire clan plus their luggage.

Nissan has just stepped into the people moving business, which is currently dominated by Mahindra, the honest-to-goodness Toyota Innova and Maruti’s Ertiga. But the Evalia has a completely different approach when it comes to body type.

The Evalia sits on the Sunny platform and shares its 1.5-litre engine with a bunch of cars in the Nissan-Renault stable, from the Sunny to the Duster. The engine makes 85bhp and 200Nm. But unlike the other cars, the Evalia lets vibration and engine noise into the cabin. It has noticeable turbo-lag and power starts coming in only once you hit 2000rpm.

The gears have really short throw, which makes shifting easy but feels clunky. The way the ratios are configured, you stay in the meat of the powerband while driving through city traffic at moderate speeds, but the engine runs out of breath after 120kph.

It’ll return 13.8kpl on the highway and 10kpl in city traffic, and go standstill to 100kph in 15.51 seconds. Unlike the Duster and the Sunny, this thing doesn’t have ride quality to boast about. Potholes and bad roads make their way into the cabin, but around a corner, body roll is not as bad as, say in a Scorpio or a Xylo. Handling won’t be a problem as long as you don’t get too enthusiastic.

The second and third rows are nice places to be and the third row gets AC vents too. There’s enough legroom in both rows and three in the middle row is not too much of a squeeze, thanks to the wide body. The sliding doors are extremely practical and allow easy ingress and egress.

The biggest problem for passengers is that the rear windows don’t roll down all the way and it gets claustrophobic when fully loaded because of that high window line.

Prices start at Rs 10.41 lakh and go up to Rs 12.31 lakh (both on-road, Mumbai). At that level, it’s up against some super-successful cars as competition. Sure, it’s a better compromise than the Xylo, but good enough to beat the Ertiga and the Innova? We’re not too sure of that.

The numbers
4cyl, 1461cc, 85bhp, 200Nm, diesel, 0-100kph – 15.51s, 30-50kph (3rd) – 3.63s, 30-50 (4th) – 6.81s, 50-70kph (5th) – 7.41s, 80-0kph – 32.21m, 150kph, 11.9kpl, Rs 12.31 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)

The verdict
The Evalia is good at people-moving, and writes new rules for the segment. But with competition offering better packages, it’s on thin ice.



Agasti Kaulgi

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