SEDAN A BETTER FIT FOR SSS
REPLACES TI AS TOP LINE MODEL
MOST people associate the letters SSS with the hoonmobile and its big wing from the ‘90s.
This time Nissan has added a sedan to the mix but it's a more sedate package with none of the boy racer bits.
Don't go dismissing the SSS out of hand however, because it's got a real spring to its step and is actually very good value for money, with all the performance you need, plenty of room in the back and a big boot to match.
The new SSS sedan replaces the Ti as the top-of-the-line model, fitted out to the same spec but with a turbo engine, sports body-kit and rear parking sensors added. With a five-star safety rating the sedan is priced from $26,990 for the manual or $29,290 for the auto and $1000 more than the hatch.
Standard kit includes leather, dual climate air, push button start, xenon headlights, and automatic operation for the lights but not the wipers or rear view mirror. There's also six-speaker audio, a 5.8 inch touchscreen that is home for satnav and a reversing camera, plus LED running lights, which for some reason the hatch misses out on.
The sedan shares its mechanicals with the hatch.
The 1.6-litre turbocharged four cylinder petrol engine delivers a useful 140kW and 240Nm.
It's a big step up from the 96kW and 174Nm that the 1.8 in the Ti produced, particularly in terms of torque, which kicks in at 2000 revs, much earlier in the range than the 1.8's 4800 revs.
The SSS is available with a sixspeed manual or you can have an auto for another $2300.
Be warned however of the CVT variety, which 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 making it country roads friendly.
With a 52-litre tank, fuel consumption is rated at 7.8 litres/100km (we were getting 7.5 after almost 700km).
The look is understated and as such the car is likely to have broader appeal.
For a small sedan it is larger than it looks with loads of rear legroom, but not at the expense of the boot, which remains sizeable.
The 1.6-litre four cylinder engine delivers maximum torque from a low 2000 revs and makes the car pliable to drive, without the need to change gear constantly.
Most of the time the tacho hovers just above the 2000 mark, keeping the engine on boost and reducing dreaded turbo lag.
Put the boot in and the SSS will spin its front wheels off the mark, responding eagerly to the throttle input as it rips through the gears.
The manual change itself is surprisingly easy to use, with a clutch action that is light and that will appeal to all drivers.
It is refreshing to see the satnav provide a constant reminder of the speed limit, as well as warnings for school zones and speed cameras.
Verdict: The SSS wears its sports hat better in the guise of a sedan.
Without the pressure of trying to be a hot hatch, it simply becomes a nice drive.
The sedate looks belie the SSS's abilities.