The new Nissan Magnite is hoping to shake up the rapidly expanding budget SUV segment. The newcomer is set to go head-to-head with the recently introduced Toyota Urban Cruiser and Suzuki Vitara Brezza twins as well as its own Alliance cousin in the form of Renault’s upcoming Kiger.
Pricing is competitive too, starting at R256 999 for the Acenta manual model, moving up to R280 100 for the CVT version. The higher-spec Acenta Plus costs R282 600 in manual guise or R305 700 if you want the continuously variable transmission.
Like its aforementioned rivals, the Nissan Magnite is built in India and boasts a relatively striking design that’s likely to find favour with local buyers. It measures just under four metres and boasts a generous ground clearance of 205 mm, while the boot swallows 336 dm3 worth of luggage. Nissan is also promising best-in-class rear knee room as well as front row “couple distance”.
The Magnite is powered by a 1,0-litre, three-cylinder turbopetrol engine that produces 74 kW. The five-speed manual model boasts a torque figure of 160 N.m, while versions fitted with the optional CVT continuously variable gearbox are tuned to 152 N.m. As per the norm in this segment, power goes to the front wheels only.
Nissan hasn’t detailed the exact specifications for each specific model, but the range-topping Acenta Plus trim appears to be generously equipped with items such as Nissan’s Around View Monitor. There’s also a 17,8 cm TFT digital instrument cluster, which Nissan says is standard across the range.
Buyers can also look forward to an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system that ships with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The system has six speakers as well as a “carefully placed” microphone and speaker that’s said to improve the quality of phone calls.
The safety arsenal includes dual front airbags, ABS brakes, Vehicle Dynamic Control and Traction Control, among other essential items. As for structural integrity, the Magnite was awarded a four-star Asean NCAP safety rating, although it’s worth noting that vehicle tested was equipped with side and curtain airbags, which don’t appear to be fitted to local models.