Wednesday, 23 May 2007

New Nissan Latio Sport and Sedan

By Dr Long

The much belated 2004/05 Nissan Tiida and Tiida Latio (Versa in the U.S. market) will be officially available in Malaysia by June 2007. With the name shortened to just ‘LATIO’, the car buying public can opt for either Sport (hatchback) or Sedan (saloon) versions. Strangely, the Sport-badged version is only available in 1.6L form. On the other hand, the Latio Sedan will be produced in both 1.6L and 1.8L options.

The HR16DE engine generates 109 PS @ 6,000rpm and 153Nm @ 4,400rpm. Fuel economy is a claimed 13.9km/l. The bigger MR18DE motor meanwhile, is capable of 126 PS @ 5,200rpm and 174Nm @ 4,800rpm. Claimed fuel consumption is 13km/l.
Only the 1.6L sedan will have manual transmission option while the rest are standard 4-speed A/T. Interestingly, Nissan’s famous and efficient CVT ‘box is missing from the Latio line-up by Edaran Tan Chong Motors (ETCM). Also, both these new generation powerplants can be found powering Renault vehicles as well.

Unlike the Nissan Teana and March models, all Latio variants are locally-assembled (CKD) at Tan Chong’s spanking new RM230million automotive manufacturing plant at Serendah, Selangor.

Prices are estimated to range from RM80k to 110k, somewhat pricey for a B-segment hatchback/sedan, with competitors in the form of Honda City and Toyota Vios, albeit ETCM may use the top-end Sedan’s bigger capacity (1.8L engine) as Latio's trump-card. But does this justify a higher asking price that likely breaches the RM100k psychological, as well as class-dividing mark?

More details when the car is available for sale next month. In the meantime, you may want to check this out:

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