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Sunny side up
The Sunny has been an iconic brand for Japanese carmaker Nissan - one that has spanned over a good five decades. Clearly then, when it came to creating a new offering based on the company's versatile new V-platform, the brand name was called upon again, however this time with an allnew purpose. The Japanese biggie has unveiled its new compact sedan for markets around the globe at the China International Automobile Exhibition, and is set for its on-road debut in the Chinese market within a month. India is not far away though - plans for a mid-2011 launch are underway - more so because the car is being made right here in the country, at Nissan's plant at Oragadam, near Chennai.
The New Global Sedan is the second car based on Nissan's new V-platform, the first being its all-new hot hatch, the Micra. Much like the Micra, India will make for an active manufacture and export hub for the new sedan as well. The Sunny, however, has nothing to do with the compact hatch, claims Nissan, so forget about it being a Micra-with-a-boot or anything such. One look at the oven fresh pictures of the sedan though, and its proportions reveal how this booted baby has nothing to do with the Micra. The Sunny, in fact, is more on the lines of being a junior Teana, with its sophisticated lines, elegant curves and a high-brow stance.
Underneath the Sunny's skin lies Nissan's new platform, which is probably more of a philosophy of carmaking than a mere metal structure. Apart from being a base for a plethora of models as radically different from each other as the Sunny is from the Micra, the main reason for the Vplatform's uniqueness is Nissan's approach - one that has been advocated by the gurus since time immemorial - of keeping it simple. Accomplishing it however is tougher than it sounds, really, but once achieved, the reduction of complexity means incremental benefits in terms of weight reduction and material saving, cheaper production costs for Nissan, and cheaper running costs for users.
It's not just about the money though, the V-platform also aims at making things easier and more exciting for both enthusiasts and occupants, and a bigger bang for the buck in general. It all starts with low-weight, which eliminates the use for a large engine - the Sunny in China for instance, will be powered by Nissan's 1. 5-litre petrol engine. A smaller engine pulling a light and aerodynamic car not only reduces fuel consumption, but also offers greater driveability, and allows engineers to tune the engine for a better low-speed acceleration - a critical aspect for a good urban car. Not just this, improved fuel consumption also allows for a smaller fuel tank without compromising on the car's range. This combined with a reduced number of parts in the car in general contributes massively towards reduced noise, vibration and harshness levels, making for a more refined drive for the occupants.
Cars from Yokohama's Big N have been known to have a sporty edge, and the new global sedan is not expected to be any different. McPherson struts for the front wheels and a torsion beam suspension at the rear should be tuned for an easy, stable yet agile handling package without sacrificing on in-cabin comfort, which should be more or less in tune with Nissan's way of making cars.
Officials from the company have been forthcoming to mention that the car may come to India in a different package - engines, transmission, trim and equipment levels included. That being said, it is not difficult to imagine the new global sedan going up against the smart C-segment sedan pack, which includes the Honda City, Maruti Suzuki SX4, Ford Fiesta and the recently launched Volkswagen Vento. It may not even be called the Sunny in India, but the new car could very well mark sunny days ahead for Nissan here.
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