Diesel is the need of the hour, more so when the consumers have decided to ignore anything petrol with a vengence. Sunny Diesel to a great extent has been timed right. It’s bound to enjoy a free run for some time to come, definitely till Honda gets its diesel power plant and Maruti and Hyundai gets their volume act right.
Penetrative pricing strategy of as low as Rs.7.98 lacs for the starting variant, like its petrol sibling is bound to make Sunny Diesel the darling of the masses soon, initial reports are strongly suggesting that. In the short term Nissans’ width of distribution could only be the cause of some worry. But for the time being, Sunny Diesel is surely ringing dealer’s cash counters quite loudly. Ecardlr gets behind the wheels of Sunny diesel to find out the long-term standing of Sunny Diesel.
STYLE & SUBSTANCE
Being a diesel variant of the same car externally there is nothing to distinguish Sunny petrol from Sunny diesel, except the Dci badge.
Front fascia, like its petrol sibling, is dominated by large V-shaped grill and prominently placed Nissan badge. Liberal use of chrome adds to Sunny Diesel’s up-market appeal. Design inspiration from Nissan Teana with swept-back head lamps further adds to the cars contemporary styling.
Free flowing lines makes the side profile quite attractive enhanced further by heavily sloped roof towards the rear giving the Sunny Diesel a coupe look. Over stretched rear doors seems to be the only blemish in an otherwise near perfect side profile.
Bulky rear, seamless merging of the boot with the car’s body makes the Sunny look quite balanced. Overall fit & finish & quality of paint are commendable. The stretched wheelbase though to some extent spoils the party.
INTERIORS, ROOM & ERGONOMICS
Space fortunately is not at premium in the Sunny Diesel, but we do wish that the interiors had a darker shade instead of the dull grey. Centre console is simple, intuitive and of high quality but dull in nature. HVAC dressed in round-theme like the Nissan Micra are easy to use. Chrome finished door openers, controls on the steering wheel, big dials instrument cluster are some nice touches in an otherwise dull interiors. But the air-con vents on the sides & rear feel quite flimsy & cheap.
Front seats are big, nicely bolstered sides but are not supported firmly. Steering adjusts for rake, how we wish Nissan had also offered reach-adjustment which would have really made it that much more convenient.
If space is your priority, look no further. Sunny offers loads of space in the front and rear. Rear bench of the Sunny is really a treat. You sit low & have ample room, so much so, that one can sit cross-legged without any inconvenience. Having said that, thigh-support is not the best. As the bench is set low, a little more thigh support would have been great. Well laid out boot with 490 liters of capacity without much intrusion from the suspension towers is quite helpful.
POWER-PLANT & TRANSMISSION
Sunny diesel is equipped under teh hood with 1.5 L, 4-cylinder, 8 Valve, common rail diesel power mills with single overhead cam architecture, delivering rated power of 86 PS@ 3750 rpm with 200 NM torque being delivered @ 2000 rpm. In fact this engine is the modified version of the mill working under Micra's hood.
Crank the engine & it immediately settles to idle. Refinement levels are very good and so is the drivability of the engine. Linear power delivery is quite similar to what one experiences Skoda Rapid. The flat Torque delivers over a wide rpm band which ensures, that one does not have to down shift gears very frequently even in congested traffic even at lower speeds. The car pulls easily in higher gears even from much lower rpm's. The downside though is that you won’t get that adrenaline rush of the torque that you get in other turbo-diesels.
Mid-range has enough grunts & motor works quite happily though we are not sure about the top-end peak power. That said there is little to suspect the ability of this motor in normal highway driving & in city condition. Overall it will surprise you with its practicality.
The engine is mated with 5-Speed transmission which unfortunately is not as refined as we would have liked it to be. It doesn’t feel great to use & lacks that tactile feel provided by VW & Honda cars.
Sunny uses McPherson strut at the front & torsion bar at the rear to suspend the wheels. Diesel variant of Sunny weighs around 70 kg more than petrol for which the suspension has been tweaked accordingly.
Unlike stiffly sprung petrol variant, diesel Sunny has soft suspension to aid a better ride quality. This adds to Sunny’s slow speed stability and the bumps don’t get transferred straight to the cabin. Sunny Diesel is better equipped to conquer potholes and undulations.
Sunny diesel does not like to be cornered hard, do this and be ready to experience a roll which is quite obvious, longer wheel base could be the reason for the car’s behavior. The nose also tends to pitch in case of hard braking, all thanks, again to the longer wheel base.
Electrically assisted steering is light and ideal for city driving but lacks the feel of hydraulic-unit. Brakes bite well with ABS & EBD adding further to one’s confidence.
With a starting price of 7.98 lakhs, Sunny Diesel is a decent value for money proposition. One can be sure of it finding favour with Indian car buyers in an environment where petrol cars are being shunned like plague.
Style & Substance : 4/5 Interiors & Space : 4/5
Power Plant & Transmission : 3/5 Ride & Handling : 3/5
Safety & Equipment : 4/5 Mileage : 4/5
Value for Money : 4/5