The ‘cross-over’ has been around some 10 years now, having begun with the Mitsubishi Airtrek which could not be categorised as a SUV as we knew SUVs then and was also not a stationwagon, nor a MPV. It had the image of an off-roader but was rarely taken onto rough terrain, and it had versatility as well as functionality that made it appealing to those who had active lifestyles.
Edaran Tan Chong Motor’s (ETCM) definition of a cross-over vehicle is this: “A vehicle that combines features and design elements of a SUV with that of a passenger car.” It’s a product they have not offered before but now they do in the form of the new Nissan Livina X-Gear.
As the ‘Livina’ suggests, this comes from the same family as Malaysia’s best-selling MPV, the Grand Livina, but its character is rather different. It’s like the ‘youngster’ in the family, the one which is active and nimble. [Click here to read our first driving impressions of the X-Gear]
The general look is similar to the Grand Livina’s but cosmetic additions give it a more youthful and rugged image. Besides a more aggressive grille, there are SUV-inspired bumpers with pseudo-sumpguards, more pronounced wheelarch fenders (made more prominent by being in a contrasting colour, and of course, roof rails which can take a 25-kg load.
The Grand Livina which has 3 rows of seats
Dimensionally, the X-Gear is slightly shorter than the Grand Livina  – 145 mm shorter in overall length – and though the spec sheet shows that it is wider by 40 mm and taller by 25 mm, these increases are due to the thicker wheelarch fenders and roof rails. The wheelbase is the same at 2600 mm and ground clearance is also similar at 180 mm (which is quite a lot so adding more for the X-Gear would be excessive).

Thus what Nissan has done is to use the same platform as the Grand Livina and shorten the upper body because inside the cabin, there are only two rows of seats.

And even with the shorter body, there’s a good deal of luggage capacity – 383 litres with the second row in use and up to 769 litres if both backrests are folded flat.

Much of the cabin layout is similar to the Grand Livina’s and certainly, the dashboard and instrument panel are shared. The firmly-padded seats have fabric upholstery with a tartan pattern which goes well with the image of the model. Silver accents on the door panels add a touch of class and overall, there’s a robust feel to the build quality.
Where storage space is concerned, there are plenty of areas to stow big and little items. The glovebox is unusually deep and this has been influenced by the French side of the Nissan-Renault Alliance. Apparently, Nissan’s designers learnt that Europeans like deep glove compartments because they like to store the large 1.5-litre bottles of water (or maybe wine?) so it was something which seemed like a good idea to adopt for the Livina.
Deep glovebox inspired by European requirements Slot for handphone
Rear seating in Livina X-Gear is similar
to that in the Grand Livina
Recessed boot floor keeps
things from rolling out
No extra vents to bring cool air to the rear but cupholders are provided between the front seats.
Note how the seat supports are neatly covered with plastic trim – a small detail which hides
bare metal and unsightly mechanisms, giving an image of higher quality to the cabin
There’s also a slot for a handphone next to the handbrake lever but the clever idea of having air-conditioner vents between the front seats blowing cold air onto a cupholder which is found in the Grand Livina is not present in the X-Gear. The omission of vents for the rear is because there’s no third row so extra air volume for the rear section is deemed unnecessary.
The boot area deserves mention: the floor is lower than the sill and this is good because there is less likelihood of groceries or other small items rolling out when the rear door is opened. Those who frequently go shopping at the supermarket will appreciate this.
Safety features are class-typical with dual front airbags, ABS +EBD and Brake Assist. The upper anchorage points for the front seatbelts are not adjustable so if you’re on the short side, you may find the seatbelt brushing against your neck. A nice touch, however, is the slot by the rear door openings to hold the seatbelt buckle more neatly when the rear backrests are folded flat. It would be nice if the interior designers had also thought of some way to keep the middle 2-point seatbelt tidily stowed when not needed.
The X-Gear is available only with a 1.6-litre petrol engine, the same HRDE16 all-aluminium 4-cylinder unit as that in the Grand Livina 1.6. Power output is also the same at 105 ps with 150 Nm of torque which goes through a conventional 4-speed automatic transmission (no manual option) to only the front wheels.
Suspension is similar to Grand Livina’s with MacPherson struts in front and a simple torsion beam at the rear(shown above). The disc/drum brake system comes with ABS and EBD + Brake Assist
ETCM doesn’t expect the X-Gear to cannibalize sales from the Grand Livina as it is targeting a different segment of buyers. Furthermore, the X-Gear’s different character gives it enough differentiation from the Grand Livina so that it is not seen as merely a ‘2-row Grand Livina’. In markets where Nissan has tried to sell a mere 2-row variant (not looking like the X-Gear), sales have been weak because most customers would see better value in getting the 3-row variant for just a little bit more money.
Priced at RM7,000 less than the Grand Livina 1.6 at RM82,800 (Peninsular Malaysia, with insurance), the X-Gear should attract a lot of interest from those who have been looking at the likes of the Suzuki SX4 and Swift, or the Ford Fiesta and perhaps even the Honda Jazz.

A 3-year/100,000-km warranty comes with the car and if you buy it before October 30, 2011, ETCM will also give you a high-quality tinting package worth RM1,400. For a limited period, buyers can also get a lot interest rate of 0.88% per annum (terms and conditions apply).

Click here for our first driving impressions of this model

Test-drive a new Nissan model and you could win a car! More details here!

Looking for secondhand Nissan cars? Check the MTM Used Car Listings for advertisements, 
updated DAILY so that you don’t call advertisers who have sold off their cars months ago

What do you think of this new Nissan model?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *