? Much more premium model than the Cefiro
? Three engine sizes – 2.0. 2.5 and 3.5 litres
? XTronic CVT with 6 speeds
? 2.0 and 2.5 assembled locally
? Prices start from RM138,000 (until 31/12/2010)
Until about five years ago, Nissan had a noticeable presence in the large Japanese sedan segment (D-segment in industry terms) in Malaysia with its Cefiro model. But when that generation of the Cefiro reached the end of its model life, there was no viable successor which could be priced as competitively so Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) had to leave the segment which has been dominated by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. It did sell the first generation of the Teana but being a CBU import, the duties bumped up the price to a level that placed it at a disadvantage. It was not a situation which ETCM, a leading player in the local market, liked and it worked hard to persuade Nissan to consider allowing local assembly of the next generation so the model could be more attractively priced.
In the auto industry, things cannot happen overnight as model programs are established and agreed well in advance. A new model also takes many years from drawing board to showroom so even though ETCM wanted a model as soon as possible, it had to wait for the model cycle to start and then to convince Nissan to provide the model in CKD (completely knocked-down) form for local assembly. Most people may think that it’s just a simple matter of putting the parts in a box rather than assembling them in Japan into a complete car but it is more complex than that. A CKD model also requires a special development program because the parts must be engineered to suit local assembly conditions, market regulations and even parts that are made locally.
Anyway, the wait is over and from this month, ETCM can once again have a presence in the executive sedan segment with the all-new Teana, a model which has been extremely successful in China (100,000 units sold in 2009) and one with a combination of Japanese and European (from Renault, Nissan’s Alliance partner) genes. ‘Teana’ (in case you’re wondering how the name came about) is adapted from a Native American word which means ‘dawn’.
As mentioned earlier, ETCM convinced Nissan to provide a CKD variant of the new Teana and this is available with a choice of two petrol engine sizes – 4-cylinder 2.0 litres and 6-cylinders (vee) 2.5 litres. The model is assembled alongside the Grand Livina, Latio and Sylphy at ETCM’s own plant to the north of Kuala Lumpur in Serendah, Selangor. [Click here
to read our article about the ETCM plant in Serendah]
Additionally, a 3.5-litre V6 version is also available but because of its big engine size, it is anticipated that demand for this version will not see big numbers so ETCM is not assembling it here and instead importing it in CBU form from Japan. In the past, this may have meant that the price would be unattractive due to high import duties but with the Malaysia-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA), CBU cars with engines over 3000 cc are now subject to less import duty so ETCM can offer it at RM248,500 (with insurance) for a limited period.
Like the first generation, the new second generation of the Teana has an imposing appearance with its overall length of 4850 mm. Some elements of the previous generation have been retained in the new design so it continues to have a bold character line which forms a sweeping arc from front to rear with a small kink in the windows where the roof line meets the boot.
The frontal appearance is somewhat simple and perhaps Nissan’s designers feel that the target customers for the Teana may prefer things to be understated. “We are inspired to seek beauty from simplicity” is how Nissan’s Design Director, Shiro Nakamura explains the philosophy. But though simple in appearance, there is still nice detailing to be found. The grille has a ‘3D look’ with elegant fins that appear to be sculpted from a sphere while the headlamps have a jewel-like appearance. The rear lighting units are illuminated by LEDs and wrap around the corners in a way that emphasizes the width of the car.
The two V6 all-aluminium engines (2.5 litres and 3.5 litres) are from the VQ family which have been on the list of Ward’s 10 Best Engines for the past 14 years (Ward’s is a well-known automobile industry magazine). VQ engines, which have 24 valves and Continuously Variable Valve Timing, power not only large executive sedan models like the Teana but also sportscars like the 370Z and Renault has also adapted it for the Laguna Coupe. The 2.5-litre VQ25DE produces 182 ps/228 Nm while the 3.5-litre VQ35DE produces 252 ps/326 Nm, with optimization for strong low to mid-range torque delivery. Though powerful, the engines are tuned for RON95 petrol.
|Both the V6 VQ engines (3.5 and 2.5 litres) and MR20DE engine (2.0 litres) have Nissan Xtronic CVTs
Though initial orders seem to indicate differently, ETCM expects the 2-litre Teana to sell in the largest numbers. This has an all-aluminium engine from the MR family which produces 136 ps and 190 Nm of torque.
Like the Sylphy and Murano, the new Teana also has a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) which Nissan calls ‘Xtronic’. The CVT is noted for high efficiency as it uses a different concept of power transfer from the engine to the wheels. There are no gears like the conventional automatic transmission so ‘shifting’ is very smooth, almost seamless. Adaptive shift control (with over 700 shift ‘maps’) optimizes ratio selection for the best performance in all driving situations. With the Teana 3.5, there is also the possibility for the driver to make the shifts manually.
Nissan’s Xtronic CVT has been specially engineered to take high torque (not all CVTs can do this) and as an additional measure, a CVT oil cooler is also fitted. This improves cooling, enhancing durability and the extra cooling capacity also allows the CVT to function optimally in the most severe driving conditions.
|Multi-link rear suspension
Being a large sedan, it’s not surprising that the suspension has received a good deal of attention. The front suspension is straightforward with independent MacPherson struts but employs shock absorbers with built-in rebound springs that suppress the extension stroke during body roll to provide stable cornering performance. The rear suspension has a multi-link layout which holds the wheels in precise geometry for optimum road contact. In the newly-developed arrangement, the shock absorbers are positioned closer to the wheels so that even with a lower damping force, there is still good stability.
The safety aspects of the new Teana are comprehensive and have enabled the model to get the top rating (6 stars) in crash tests conducted under the Japan New Car Assessment Program. To achieve high body stiffness, the Teana has an X-shaped cowl top structure for increased coupling stiffness with the instrument panel and a new joint member structure for greater coupling stiffness between the upper and lower structures. Along with the extensive use of a high grade of ultra-high tensile steel, the body has a ‘multiple load path construction’ that more effectively absorbs and disperses impact energy. This is a further evolution of Nissan’s high-strength Zone Body and achieves not only enhanced crashworthiness but also weight savings.
Features like four disc brakes, dual front airbags, ABS+EBD and Brake Assist, etc are standard and for the Teana 2.5/3.5, there’s also a stability control system (VDC), traction control and JPJ-approved xenon headlights. The two larger versions also have side airbags for the front occupants.
“Welcoming Hospitality” is how Nissan presents the cabin of the new Teana and even a brief look will immediately give the impression that this is a premium model… certainly a very big change from the Cefiro. Occupants in the Teana 2.5/3.5 are pampered with additional features and those who pay the extra money for the imported model get a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, and even an Ottoman-style legrest for the front passenger. The Teana 2.5 has powered front seats and a steering wheel controls as well.
Mood lighting also adds to the exclusivity of the car as LEDs provide subtle illumination at the centre console as well as the front and rear passenger door grips (Teana 2.5/3.5). All versions have a beige interior colour theme with wood trim in various places. The two larger versions have leather upholstery as standard and Teana 2.0 customers can also order this as an extra-cost option.
The large instrument panel (called the Fine Vision Meter) is set in a recess on the uncluttered dashboard and has an exceptionally black background for maximum contrast and clarity in all lighting conditions. It incorporates a tripcomputer display that keeps the driver informed about average fuel consumption, real-time fuel consumption, range on fuel remaining in the 70-litre fuel tank and the travel time/distance.
A standard feature for all three versions is pushbutton starting, something which you find in much more expensive cars (with the exception of the Proton Satria Neo Lotus Racing Edition… but that’s a very exclusive model!). No turning of the ignition key – just press the button like a racing car. The same button also cuts the engine and for safety, the brake pedal must be depressed to start the engine.
Being an executive-class sedan, the boot needs to be large enough – either for the golfbags or luggage for business trips to other parts of the country. According to VDA measurement standards, the Teana’s boot has a volume of 506 litres which is larger than its obvious rivals. That’s enough for four golf sets and virtually all the space is usable as there is no intrusion by the hinge.
Going by the 1,000+ orders received two weeks prior to the official launch, it looks like the Teana is going to give the Camry and Accord serious competition. Part of the reason for the positive response would have to do with the pricing strategy for the new model: RM138,000 for the Teana 2.0 (RM142,000 for a better-equipped Luxury version) and RM168,000 for the Teana 2.5. These prices are valid only if customers agree to take their cars by December 31, 2010. After that, the prices may change, warns ETCM.
|Colour choices for the new Nissan Teana which comes with a 3-year warranty
To know more about the new Teana and find a showroom to test one, visit www.nissan.com.my
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