KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — Buyers looking for an affordable mid-sized 7-seater MPV must already be familiar with the fact that the Nissan Serena S-Hybrid has been for a few years now the best buy in terms of price for size, offering a wide expanse of space for under RM150,000.
The good news is that Edaran Tan Chong Motor Sdn Bhd (ETCM), the local distributors for the Nissan brand, has today announced that the all-new Nissan Serena S-Hybrid, which comes with many new improvements, in addition to which there is a higher specked variant, the Premium Highway Star, is available for bookings. First deliveries are expected to commence in May 2018.
Test drives of the all-new Serena S-Hybrid will be available from tomorrow onwards; details can be found at www.nissan.com.my, or by calling ETCM’s Customer Hotline at 1800-88-3838.
The Premium highway Star now comes with two-tone colour, combination leather seats, with two colour choices, 10.1 inch roof-mounted LCD panel, tech-on tray mat, driving video recorder (DVR) and LED room lamp. In addition, it also comes with 16-inch alloy wheels instead of the standard 15-inch wheels, door visors, V-Kool 4 mil security film tinting, and three bond ultra glass body coating.
The all-new Nissan Serena S-Hybrid is powered by the S-Hybrid 2.0 litre MR20DD engine, basically a carry-over from the outgoing model. The S-Hybrid system is unique, with a generator-cum-motor that charges an additional car battery located next to the normal battery of the vehicle in the engine compartment. As the engine runs, the generator, which is connected by a belt to the main pulley, charges both batteries, and the generator becomes a motor and uses power from the charged battery to provide an additional boost of 2.6 PS and 48 Nm to the drive train. The base power without the S-Hybrid system is 150 PS at 6,000 rpm, and maximum torque at 4,400 rpm. Technically, it can work, as the small power increase plus the 48Nm of torque will help to boost the power a little, and technically it will help to save a bit of fuel, especially in stop-start traffic conditions, but I wouldn’t call this a true-blue hybrid system.
What this system does do, however, is that it helps the automaker to get EEV status, which in turn provides some relief in import duties, which helps to keep the retail price reasonable and affordable.
Drive is to the front wheels only, through a Nissan Xtronic CVT, which also contributes to fuel efficiency besides providing a smooth transmission. Fuel consumption (based on NEDC R101) is 14.2 kilometres per litre.
The design engineers have really worked hard on the features for the new Nissan Serena S-Hybrid, adding in customer-oriented features that would endear its users.
The most impressive would be the hands-free dual sliding doors for the second row passengers — all the driver has to do is to put his or her foot under the door panel to activate the hands-free opening or closing of the door. Of course the key fob must be in close proximity; otherwise the door will not open. Another convenience feature is that there is a button for the third row passenger to open the sliding door as well. A push button start is standard. Generally, the new Serena is wider inside, and is also longer inside by 180mm.
Inside, the first and second row seats are ‘Zero Gravity’ seats, supposedly very comfortable, and the second row is pampered with ‘Captain’ seats with dual armrests. The third row seats now have a sliding function, and all the seats can fold back to provide an almost flat play area behind the front seats.
Another interesting, convenient and thoughtful feature is the double rear door, which allows the top part to be opened; this feature first appeared in the 1980’s in the Nissan Terrano.
Safety features include six SRS airbags, vehicle dynamic control, hill start assist (which most drivers will love), and the traction control system. The Serena scores five stars under the JNCAP rating.
A great overall package
All things said and done, the Nissan Serena S-Hybrid presents a great package in terms of price and size, with many great features. We had a slow drive around the block, and at city speeds, it is an ‘easy-to-drive’ vehicle, very quiet on the inside, and easy to manoeuvre. Prices are still estimated, but for the Highway Star, it is mooted at RM140,000, while the Premium Highway Star is mooted at RM150,000. These above prices are exclusive of insurance, but include a 5-year Unlimited Mileage Warranty and 60,000 km Maintenance Service Package.
The first 500 registered vehicles will receive an exclusive gift worth RM500, so if you are looking for an MPV, get going into the nearest Nissan showroom.