Mo­tor­ing

The new Nis­san Ti­ida blends tech­nol­ogy and a huge in­te­rior, but the CVT noise ru­ins ev­ery­thing...

Friday - - Contents -

Mu­sic has the abil­ity to touch your soul, and for me it doesn’t get bet­ter than lis­ten­ing to Jackie Wil­son, Sam Cooke or Ste­vieWon­der. So it’s re­ally say­ing some­thing that I’d rather blast up Mi­ley Cyrus – on re­peat – with back­ing vo­cals from fel­low brat Justin Bieber than suf­fer the agony that the drone from the all-new Ti­ida’s con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion pro­duces.

This oth­er­wise de­cent lit­tle car has been ru­ined by the gear­box. I’m es­pe­cially sur­prised and dis­ap­pointed be­cause the CVT in the Al­tima is pretty good. Here it’s plain lousy – and that’s be­ing kind. A re­cent drive in the at­trac­tive sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Ti­ida never once saw the nee­dle drop lower than 6,000rpm.

I wouldn’t have minded had the gear­box been con­nected to some­thing a lit­tle (a lot) big­ger than the new 1.8-litre four-pot scream­ing in pain inches ahead of me. A high­revving V8 would have been nice. This en­gine and trans­mis­sion be­have like strangers, and the re­sult­ing ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind the wheel is less than im­pres­sive.

But this is one of the hottest sell­ers in the UAE, and I highly doubt that buy­ers of this C hatch­back seg­ment-win­ner will worry about the gear­box or won­der why it sounds like it’s about to ex­plode. Aside from this mi­nor (ma­jor) is­sue, the rest of the car is re­spectable.

It looks way bet­ter now. Those tall and gan­gly looks of the pre­vi­ous model have been re­placed by a body that sits much lower to the ground, is wider, far curvier and fea­tures dis­tinc­tively racy con­tours. It’s more

ag­gres­sive than be­fore and clearly, a lot of time was spent on the draw­ing board get­ting it right; ev­ery line seems to have been con­sid­ered care­fully.

The Nis­san fam­ily face is very ap­par­ent; there’s a new grille up top and more an­gu­lar head­lights, which keep in line with the rest of the clan, while the roofline has been low­ered a tad, which helps give the Ti­ida a sporty look. Yes; I did just use the words ‘Ti­ida’ and ‘sporty’ in the same sen­tence...

The C-pil­lar kink is a nice touch, as are the 17in wheels. The pro­file is im­pres­sive and man­ages to be both pow­er­ful and sleek, and the rear end is a step up too; the tail­lights get that an­gu­lar treat­ment and over­all, it’s wor­thy of a sec­ond glance. This wasn’t the case be­fore.

Hop in and your im­me­di­ate thought is that you’re sit­ting in a medium-sized sa­loon; the in­te­rior is roomy and well crafted. There’s a ro­bust cen­tre tun­nel in there— not just a gear lever stick­ing out of the floor— with an arm­rest and a brand­new, well-laid-out dash.

No com­plaints about out­ward vis­i­bil­ity from any an­gle or with the leather seats, which of­fer good sup­port. There are de­cent amounts of leg- and head­room both at the front and back, mean­ing up to five adults can be seated com­fort­ably.

There’s plenty of kit of­fered in the top-spec SL in­clud­ing Blue­tooth Hands-Free Phone Sys­tem and Stream­ing Au­dio with iPod or por­ta­ble MP3 player through USB port, a 5.8in colour touch dis­play, sat­nav, rear-view cam­era and auto AC with rear vents. Our test car also got dual, side and cur­tain airbags (six in to­tal), power sun roof with tilt and slide, elec­tric fold­ing mir­rors, mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing and In­tel­li­gent key with a push en­gine start but­ton, but you have to shell out Dh82,400 for it all. That’s in­sane.

The base model with a 1.6-litre is far more sen­si­bly priced at Dh59,400. Sure, there are hard plas­tics here and there and per­haps more could have been done to hide them away, but as it stands, there’s noth­ing much to be an­noyed about re­gard­ing the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior. How­ever, your opin­ion soon changes when you take it for a drive.

The num­bers sound en­cour­ag­ing enough; 135bhp al­beit at an earde­stroy­ing 6,000rpm and 174Nm of torque at 3,600rpm. Mash the throt­tle and the Ti­ida pulls off the line with pur­pose­ful in­tent – but the rpms re­main dan­ger­ously close to the red­line for what sounds like an eter­nity, and when you look at the speedome­ter think­ing you’ve bro­ken the sound bar­rier, you’re ac­tu­ally go­ing only 75kph. The noise is re­lent­less, and you never feel at ease with what the driv­e­train is do­ing – and nei­ther does it.

The ride isn’t bad though. The in­de­pen­dent strut-type front, tor­sion beam rear sus­pen­sions and rip­ple­con­trol shock ab­sorbers with damper re­bound springs help to keep things smooth on the move.

The steer­ing, elec­tri­cally as­sisted, is very light, mak­ing it easy to ma­noeu­vre in tight spots, and it even has ABS and EBD, but re­ally, none of this mat­ters be­cause of that dreaded CVT. Sure, it im­proves the fuel econ­omy, but it also makes what could have been a fab lit­tle city run­about into, un­for­tu­nately, an av­er­age one. Mi­ley and Justin never sounded so good...

so­ci­ety

liv­ing

leisure

mo­tor­ing

so­ci­ety

liv­ing

leisure

mo­tor­ing The in­te­rior is

roomy and well-crafted – more like a mid-sized sa­loon

than a hatch­back

i IN­SIDE INFO Specs & rat­ings Model: Ti­ida SL En­gine: 1.8-litre four-cylin­der

Trans­mis­sion:

CVT, FWD

Max power:

135bhp @ 6,000rpm

Max torque: 174Nm @ 3,600rpm Top speed: NA 0-100kph: NA Price: Dh82,400 Plus: Much im­proved both in­side and out

Mi­nus: Take a wild guess

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