The Nissan Grand Livina has been in the market since 2007 and before the two national car companies offered MPVs, this Nissan model was the best-selling MPV in Malaysia. To date, over 65,000 units have been sold and it remains a popular model. However, 6 years is a long time in the market and without refreshing or upgrading, a model can start to lose its appeal. Typically, there is either a facelift or a full model change; in the former, the changes are cosmetic and often involve a change of grille and lights while retaining the same body panels while in the latter, there are major engineering changes and often the introduction of a new generation.

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In the case of the new Grand Livina launched by Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM)  this evening, it appears to be something in between. The overall appearance, sleek for a MPV, is maintained but there’s a new grille and new lights front and rear. In total, there are said to be more than 50 enhancements for this model but the big changes are inside the bodyshell which the public cannot see. These changes are significant because they have required new body panels and additional reinforcements in certain areas.

The strengthened structure has been necessary in order to meet the more stringent regulations introduced by the JPJ in mid-2012. While most people may think this just means making two airbags standard in front, it actually involves much more, particularly the level of protection offered during front and side collisions. In other words, from now on, new models introduced in Malaysia will have to provide occupant protection that is significantly higher than before.

The new Grand Livina meets the new regulations with its upgraded Nissan Zone Body construction but it sits on the same platform as before. That’s not unusual as in most cases, Japanese carmakers retain a platform for two generations before changing to a brand new one. In the case of the Grand Livina’s platform, it has proven versatile, durable and allows for fairly good interior space.

Previous grille (left) and the new design on the right

The same engines as before are also used: the 1.6-litre HR16DE and MR18DE, both all-aluminium 4-cylinder units with variable valve timing, EFI and drive-by-wire technology. They’re proven powerplants and have established the same reputation that all Nissan engines are known for – economical operation.

According to Edaran Tan Chong Motor’s technical guys, the engines have no change in output so the 1.6-litre unit produces 105 ps/150 Nm while the 1.8-litre produces 126 ps/174 Nm. The bigger engine is available only with  4-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission (with a lock-up clutch) while the smaller engine can be ordered with either the automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual transmission.

The interior has a new 2-tone colour scheme with revised fabric but generally retains the spacious and flexible seating layout. For those who may not realise it, the Grand Livina is a 3-row MPV and when there’s extra stuff or extra-long items to be transported, the rear backrests can be folded flat (without having to remove the headrests). A nice feature is the additional vent (between the front seats) for extra cool air to reach the back, something which you don’t usually find in this class of MPVs.

The features and equipment list has, of course, been upgraded with new items as well as improvements to existing areas. For instance, the instrument panel now has a Fine Vision Meter cluster with a Multi-Information Display and the new 3-spoke steering wheel now has switches to operate the audio system. The audio system panel is now a larger 2-DIN unit with illuminated controls.

Other new features are the LED turn indicators integrated in the door mirrors (not add-on casings) and the I-key, which allows not only keyless entry but there is also no need to insert a key to start the engine (although it is not a pushbutton starting system). These, however, are only for the Grand Livina 1.8.

For those who want more personalisation, ETCM offers three accessory packages with prices ranging from RM4,000 to RM6,700. These packages include items such as leather upholstery, tinting, rearview camera with navigation, and a ceiling-mounted LCD display panel. There are also individual items such as door visors, a luggage tray, cargo net and tonneau cover which are available.

As before, there’s also an IMPUL package which gives a sportier look to the new Grand Livina. This comprises a 5-piece aerokit, sport suspension, exhaust muffler, 17-inch alloy wheels and Goodyear Eagle F1 Directional tyres. Each of these 5 items can be ordered separately for the vehicle and we understand that ETCM is giving a 50% discount for the RM3,500 aerokit for a limited period as part of the launch promotion.

The good thing about including the accessories or accessory packages at the time of purchase is that the cost of the packages can be included in the total cost of the vehicle. This means that you can also pay for the accessories on a ‘long-term instalment basis’ as part of the H-P loan. That’s something no accessory shop would be able to let you do as you would have to pay the full sum in one go!

Five body colours are available – Graphite Blue, Diamond Black, Bronze Gold, Tungsten Silver  and Brilliant White – of which the Graphite Blue is a new colour.

According to Tan Keng Meng, ETCM’s Director of Marketing & Product Planning, the company expects to sell 2,500 units of the new Grand Livina by the end of 2013.

Click here for a copy of the New Grand Livina pricelist

To locate a showroom to test-drive the new Grand Livina, visit

[Chips Yap]

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