Nissan Magnite Test Drive Review – A Serious Attempt!

05:57 PM Nov 27, 2020 | Amit Sharma

The Magnite is Nissan’s new and could be the final attempt to gain some market share in the Indian automotive market. The brand is facing existential crisis, as its dealers are shutting their stores and customers are shying away from their products. With Magnite, Nissan will enter into the fastest growing and highly competitive sub-4 meter SUV segment dominated by Kia Sonet, Maruti Vitara Brezza, Tata Nexon and Hyundai Venue.

Nissan is aiming to give Magnite everything that its rivals offer. Adding to it, the new SUV will be the most affordable in its category with entry-level model expected to cost as low as Rs 5.5 lakh. The compact SUV will be offered with a 1.0L 3-cylinder petrol engine in naturally-aspirated petrol and turbocharged versions, and in manual and CVT automatic options. However, the CVT automatic gearbox is offered on the top-spec turbocharged version that is expected to cost around 9 lakh.

The Nissan Magnite CVT version makes sense for city drivers. Adding to it, the price of the automatic model will be equivalent to some of the hatchbacks on sale in India. In this review, we try to find out how good is the Nissan Magnite CVT and should customers consider this compact SUV over automatic hatchbacks.

Nissan Magnite Design

Sits below 4 meters in length, the Nissan Magnite brings a fresh look in the already crowded sub-4 meter SUV segment. The Datsun grille is evident, as this model was earlier planned to be launched under Datsun nameplate, but it looks well with the overall jagged-up profile. The grille has chrome surround, while the edgy-looking sharp headlamps and L-shaped LEDs gives it a prominent face. The aggressive looking lower-bumper with fog lamp housing, sculpted bonnet and faux-skid plate completes the front face.

The squared-off wheel arches with black cladding all-around the body gives it a rugged profile. Roof rails are also nicely designed; however, few panel gaps are evident around the bonnet and the tailgate.

The tall stance and 205mm ground clearance, big chunky wheel arches and 16-inch wheels give it a SUV-like feel. The thick C-pillar and contrasting roof and roof-integrated spoiler adds to its sporty character. However, the spoiler looks-like aftermarket fitting. The overall quality of the body panels are decent, but not in-line with Nexon or other expensive sub-4 meter SUVs.

The Nissan Magnite is built on the Renault-Nissan alliance’s CMF-A+ platform, which is basically the upgraded and stronger version of the CMF-A platform that underpins the Datsun RediGO and the Renault Kwid. It is the same platform that underpins the Renault Triber and the upcoming Kiger compact SUV.

Riding on the 2,500mm wheelbase, the Nissan Magnite is 1,758mm wide making it marginally narrower than its rivals. The company has added new anti-roll bar and upgraded suspension set-up to reduce the body roll due to 205mm ground clearance.

Nissan Magnite Interior

The Magnite has dual-tone black and grey interior scheme with silver treatment. There is a freestanding touchscreen on the central console, hexagonal shaped air-con vents above the display and digital instrument console forms a clean clutter-free dashboard. The company has managed to carve out enough small spaces to keep your belongings. You will have a segment-largest glove box, while mobile holders, cup holders and enough bottle holders.

There are no soft-touch materials, and the quality and fit and finish is also average. The top-spec variant gets leather-wrapped steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake. The plastic quality is also inconsistent. The front seats are comfortable and offers decent back and thigh support, and the driver seating position is also upright and high. The rear seats are also comfortable, offering good knee room and headroom. However, the under-thigh support for tall passengers could have been better. The rear can accommodate two adults comfortably, and third person will only bring some discomfort.

The new Nissan Magnite has a luggage carrying capacity of 336-litres, which is decent for a sub-4 meter SUV. Adding to it, the SUV has 60:40 split rear seats which further increases the boot.

The Magnite has a fully digital 7-inch TFT screen, called the advanced drive-assist display. It looks like a gaming console with plenty of graphics, colors and animations. However, the display offers several informations including TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System), real-time and average fuel efficiency and others.

It comes fitted with high-end features like climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, multi-functional steering wheel, cruise control and air purifier. For music lovers, the Magnite gets high-end JBL speakers. It also gets 360-degree camera.

Ingress into the rear is not very easy, as the door doesn’t open wide. There is centre armrest with cup holders and a slot for a large mobile phone. The vehicle gets adjustable rear headrests, rear AC vents, and a 12V charging socket. For safety and security, the Magnite’s top-end variant gets Vehicle dynamic control, traction control, hill start assist, ABS with EBD, dual airbags and rear parking sensors.

Nissan Magnite CVT performance

The Magnite debuts the new 1.0-litre HRA0 turbocharged petrol engine. This 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine is capable of producing 99bhp and 160Nm of torque in manual avatar and 152Nm of torque with CVT gearbox. Its direct rivals – the Tata Nexon and Hyundai Venue are equipped with 120bhp, 1.2L turbocharged petrol with AMT and a 118bhp, 1.0L turbocharged petrol with 7-speed DCT.

Weighing 1,039kgs, the new Nissan Magnite turbo-CVT feels peppy. The engine is quick to response on the throttle input. This makes driving in traffic easy; however, on harder acceleration the typical CVT-gearbox sound (due to rubber-band effect) comes inside the cabin. Nissan could have added more insulation to improve the NVH levels. However, the cabin feels quiet and refined during normal driving conditions.

With ‘Sport’ mode on the gear lever, the CVT works well with the throttle input and it is quite evident that the engine has more punch and performance. Nissan has not added Paddle Shifters, which could have further improved the overall driving experience.

The Nissan Magnite has stiffer suspension set-up, which works well at high-speeds and on straight lines. However, the steering has artificial weight that is evident when you take sharp lane change and corner. You need to give more steering input as it is slow to respond. There is enough body roll due to stiffer suspension set-up and high ground clearance.

The steering feels quick at city speeds, and the brakes are also perform well. The ride feels bumpy on bad patches and suspension unit could have been tuned better keeping Indian road conditions.



– Good Design
– Spacious & Feature-Loaded Interior+
– CVT perform well with engine
– Good touchscreen infotainment system
– JBL music system
– Well packaged product, offers everything this segment demands


– Rubber-band effect
– Stiffer Ride quality
– Body-roll on sharp lane change
– Steering feedback could have been better

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