Sleek ‘n’ smooth cars for every budget

Nissan introduced the automated manual transmission variant of the popular SUV Magnite. Let’s go on a drive
Nissan Magnite
Nissan Magnite

KOCHI: Nowadays, SUVs are the star of the road. Ask anyone, and they will say, “I want an SUV”. And there are plenty of choices. But if someone asks to see an ‘Automatic SUV under Rs 10 lakh’, disappointment seems to be the usual result. There are very few options in the range, but one natural choice may very well be the Nissan Magnite.

When the Japanese carmaker introduced Magnite a couple of years ago, it garnered many adjectives to its credit. At first glance, it looks big, bold and muscular. A large grille, flanked by chrome and LED light strips easily turns heads. Among SUVs with a length of nearly 4 meters, the Magnite has taken the field due to its attractive shape and size, while at the same time shockingly low price. And, it is also the only Nissan car currently on sale in India. What’s more — it sells well too.

Banking on the popularity, Nissan recently introduced Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) to its 1-litre petrol model of Magnite, making it the most affordable Automatic SUV. Recently, I got an opportunity to experience Magnite for a week.

Here’s my take

But first, the basics. The Magnite has two engine options — a 72hp 1-litre petrol engine and a 100hp turbo petrol one. Since launch, the turbo engine has been available with manual gear and CVT automatic options, but the regular petrol engine model came with only the manual gear option. Now, with AMT along with that engine, Nissan has given an opportunity to those who want effortless driving, at a lower cost than the CVT variant.

LOOK AND FEEL

The plus point of Magnite is that it offers more features at a lower price. The bi-projector LED headlamps with LED turn indicators are stylish and sleek. L-shaped daytime running lamps (DRLs) and LED fog lamps are useful, as well as beautiful. From the side, a high ground clearance of 205 mm makes Magnite very SUV-ish. The 16-inch alloy wheels, silver skid plates, roof rails, side cladding, etc, are a compliment to the beauty. Split tail lamps, integrated spoiler and well-designed folds mark the rear of the car.

Inside, spaciousness, good seats, 360-degree camera, good infotainment system, AC with air filter, etc, welcome us. The dashboard board was a bit high for me, a not-so-tall person. The quality of some panels on the doors may also need a bit of improvement. The seats are very supportive. Leg room, knee room and headroom are plenty for all seats.

SAFETY & TECHNOLOGY 

The Magnite has been awarded a four-star Safety Rating for Adult Occupant Safety from Global NCAP. An electronic stability programme, traction control system, hill start assist and tyre pressure monitoring system are new additions across all variants. Equipped with vehicle dynamics control and steering active learning, this SUV takes instant control of difficult terrains, rough roads, and sharp curves.

Tech features are all modern. I felt more confident and focused with all the driving information, safety features and much more on the 17.78 cm TFT display. Driving through congested traffic is so easy with the help of a surround-view monitor.

PERFORMANCE

As I mentioned, the 1-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine has a peak power of 72 hp, which is just enough for daily commute. The Magnite with AMT gearbox is mostly suited for city trips. It moves effortlessly in normal situations. When going on the highways, it is better to drive at a decent speed without getting too excited. Sudden overtaking and quickly regaining speed after braking, etc, are not so easy. Shifting gears in manual mode is sometimes helpful — meaning that Magnite AMT is not for the so-called driving enthusiasts. But, it is a perfect companion for daily commutes.

PRICE

There are four variants priced at Rs 6.60 lakh, Rs 7.50 lakh, Rs 8.28 lakh and Rs 8.96 lakh, ex-showroom, respectively. After one week’s drive, city and highway mixed, I recorded around 17 kmpl fuel efficiency. Getting an automatic SUV at such an attractive price is no small feat. 

BMW R 1300 GS launched in India.

BMW Motorrad India has launched the all-new BMW R 1300 GS. This adventure motorcycle will be available as a completely built-up unit (CBU) and deliveries will commence at the end of June. The introductory ex-showroom price is as follows — BMW R 1300 GS Pro: Rs 20.95 lakh. Additionally, three option styles are also available for individualisation - Style Triple Black, Style GS Trophy and 719 Tramuntana. The centrepiece is once again the legendary two-cylinder boxer engine, producing an output of 107 kW (145 hp) at 7750 rpm, developing a maximum torque of 149 Nm at 6,500 rpm. The model has an entirely new design, with an impressive weight saving of 12 kg compared to the previous model.

Škoda’s new offering, Kushaq Onyx AT 

Škoda Auto India, in its strategy of continuous product actions, has implemented one more enhancement in its 5-star safe fleet with the introduction of the Kushaq Onyx AT. The carmaker has now upgraded the model with an automatic transmission and a host of new features, making it the most affordable automatic in its segment. The Onyx AT, like the Onyx before it, slots between the current Active and Ambition variants of Škoda’s best-selling SUV. It is powered exclusively by Škoda Auto India’s 1.0 TSI turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine. It develops 85 kW (115 ps) of power and 178 Nm of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Kushaq Onyx 1.0 TSI AT ex-showroom price is Rs 13,49,000/- 

Jeep compass @attractive prices 

Jeep India has announced that its highly desirable Compass range will now be available at an accessible price of I18.99 lakh, making it attainable for customers seeking luxury, capability, and style. Its variants are now priced as follows — Sport: Rs 18.99 lakh, Longitude: Rs 22.33 lakh, Night Eagle: Rs 25.18 lakh, Limited: Rs 26.33 lakh, Model S: Rs 28.33 lakh. Models are available in Manual Transmission and Automatic Transmission with 2WD and 4WD options.

Maruti Suzuki releases Dream Series Limited Edition 

Maruti Suzuki India Limited has come out with a slew of exciting initiatives. The company has introduced the exclusive ‘Dream Series Limited Edition’ for three popular models: Alto K10 VXI+, S-Presso VXI+, and Celerio LXI, all priced attractively at I4.99 lakh. Additionally, it has announced a price reduction for AGS variants of select models such as Alto K10, S-Presso, Celerio, Wagon-R, Swift, Dzire, Baleno, FRONX and Ignis. The ‘Dream Series Limited Edition’ models will only be available in June. The special variants will offer a compelling package of model-specific enhancements designed to elevate key product unique selling propositions with safety and utility features.

The writer is a freelance auto expert who hosts TV shows and anchors the YouTube channel ‘CARKADUVA’

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