Thursday, 17 March 2011

Nissan Teana 200XE tested

I thought I had resigned myself to just judging some cars for a highly notable publication's "Car of the Year (COTY) 2011 Awards" and not writing much reviews about them. Humbly, I do admit my lack of energy in penning a few paragraphs and to followers (if any few left) of my blog, my sincere apologies. Largely due to my clinical plus other domestic commitments et al. Also the Nissan Teana in 4-pot, 2.0-litre form that I sampled more than a few weekends ago didn't seem to excite my senses very much.

Imagine my awakening today when I stumbled upon my friend's blog - a hugely popular one - which featured the MMC (minimal model change) - that's facelift to you and me - new Honda Accord. I am not here to criticise the mid-cycle refreshed Honda. After all, I was quite a Honda fan owning the last-generation 2.0 Accord for a brief spell.

Well, let's just say that I am re-energised to share with you my brief flirtation with the latest D-segment offering from Nissan in Malaysia, after reading the post by another esteemed "colleague" on the new Accord.

Looks-wise, this Nissan has on-road presence, even while Honda still holds the measuring-tape champion title to being the longest, largest, widest etc in this sub-RM180K category which encompasses the Sinatra (Oops! Sonata I meant), the Camry, Mazda6 and of course the MMC (Mitsu Motor Corp?) Accord.

In a nutshell the new Teana is huge, soft-riding, comfy and looks the part of a towkay (big-boss) saloon. With its CVT drivetrain, it may be a bit disconcerting when you roll fast into corner but what the's a comfort-biased executive sedan not a BMW 5-series. The way I look at it, it's for fans of Camry's soft plush damping who don't want a Toyota and couldn't stand Accord's harder riding suspension settings. And a Mazda won't cut it because they don't want a brand that makes the world's sole rotary-powered sportscar.

Despite its bulk and size, the Teana's brakes are good and reassuring. Its interior looks and feel Infiniti-esque, though I suspect the V6s versions with more cow-leather plastered interiors and some steering control button/switches splattering would make this executive sedan feel decidedly more upmarket. It's so silent on the move that it makes you wonder whether there are low-pressure-near-vacuum-stretches on highway - almost devoid of wind noise - when you are doing, say 160 km/h.

So there you have it, another popular D-segment sedan for you to consider in Malaysia, apart from the perennial favourites of Camrys or Accords. Oh by the way, has Honda Malaysia solved the Accords (and likely Civics) brake judder issues due to premature-warping of front rotors? I hope these huge Nissans don't have such quality issues, not when it comes to brakes.

Admittedly, the Teana could do better with its instruments detailing though, because this isn't a Sunny, Latio or Sylphy for that matter. The rear end detailing, however - no need to buy Eagle-Eyes brand Taiwan-made aftermarket LED rear lights - is great though. In my strictly personal and humble opinion, the clean-design execution by Nissan here even leaves the new Mercedes-Benz W212 E-class' arse for dead. You can't win (or have) 'em all I suppose.