Nis­san shake-up for SSS de­liv­ers broader ap­peal, CHRIS RI­LEY writes

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - GEELONG -

MOST peo­ple as­so­ciate the let­ters SSS with the Nis­san hoon­mo­bile and its big wing from 1990s.

This time has added a sedan to mix, but it is more se­date pack­age none of boy racer bits. Don’t go dis­miss­ing the SSS out of hand how­ever, be­cause it’s got real spring its step and ac­tu­ally good value for money — with all per­for­mance you need, plenty room in the back a big boot to match.

The new SSS sedan re­places the Ti as top-of-the-line model, fit­ted out to same spec but turbo en­gine, sports bodykit and rear park­ing sen­sors added.

With a full five-star safety rat­ing, the sedan is priced from $26,990 for

man­ual or $29,290 the auto — $1000 more than hatch.

Stan­dard kit in­cludes leather, du­al­cli­mate air, push-but­ton start, xenon head­lights and au­to­matic op­er­a­tion for the lights but not wipers or rear-view mir­ror.

There’s also six-speaker au­dio with a 5.8-inch touch­screen that is home for sat­nav re­vers­ing cam­era — plus LED run­ning lights, which some rea­son the hatch misses out on.

The sedan shares its me­chan­i­cals with hatch.

1.6-litre tur­bocharged four­cylin­der petrol en­gine de­liv­ers a use­ful 140kW and 240Nm.

It’s a big step up from the 96kW and 174Nm that 1.8 in Ti pro­duced, par­tic­u­larly terms of torque which kicks at 2000 revs — much ear­lier in the range than 1.8’s 4800 revs.

But you pay a toll for this per­for­mance as it takes pre­mium 95 un­leaded in­stead of the stan­dard 91. The SSS is avail­able with six-speed man­ual or can have an auto an­other $2300.

Be warned how­ever it’s CVT va­ri­ety that may not be to ev­ery­one’s lik­ing — it does of­fer man­ual mode though.

The sedan rides on 17-inch al­loys with Con­ti­nen­tal rub­ber and a full-size steel spare makes coun­try roads friendly. With 52-litre tank, fuel consumption is rated at 7.8 litres/100km (we were get­ting 7.5 af­ter al­most 700km).

The look is, if any­thing, un­der­stated and as such the car likely to have broader ap­peal. This fits with fact that it re­places Ti at top of range. For a small sedan is larger than looks loads rear legroom but not the ex­pense the boot, which re­mains size­able.

The 1.6-litre four-cylin­der en­gine de­liv­ers max­i­mum torque from a low 2000 revs and makes car pli­able to drive, with­out need change gear con­stantly.

Most of the time the tacho hov­ers just above 2000 mark, keep­ing the en­gine on boost and re­duc­ing dreaded turbo lag.

Put boot in SSS will spin its front wheels off the re­spond­ing ea­gerly to throt­tle in­put as it rips through gears.

The man­ual change it­self is sur­pris­ingly easy use, with a clutch ac­tion that is light and that will ap­peal to male and fe­male driv­ers alike.

The pricey Con­ti­nen­tals pro­vide plenty of grip, but we reckon they break trac­tion far too eas­ily with

squeal in cor­ners — for­tu­nately the car re­mains easy to con­trol.

Good to see sat­nav pro­vides a re­minder of speed limit, as well as warn­ings for school zones and cam­eras.

The SSS wears its sports hat bet­ter in the guise of a sedan. With­out the pres­sure try­ing to be hot hatch it sim­ply be­comes nice drive.

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