September 06, 2014 @ 04:09 PM

Nissan Teana - It's actually good. Shocking!

Arrives late, but the bag of tricks it brings makes the Teana the new life of the party. By Chris Ng

Arrives late, but the bag of tricks it brings makes the Teana the new life of the party. By Chris Ng
Right up till now, I have not laid eyes on the pictures or even sketches of the new Nissan Teana that has been circulating around the internet. And I’m glad I didn’t because I’m looking at the new executive sedan with fresh eyes. So I can’t tell if it looks better in the metal than on the screen but I can tell you that the Teana looks to have shed some pounds.

You see, the previous one looks bulbous and hulkish, giving the impression that it handles like a ton of bricks and moves just as fast; although that isn’t the case. The new Teana actually looks miles better especially now that it cuts a chiseled figure. The word muscular would eventually find its way there and won’t look out of place. But I’ll let you be the judge of that. It still remains a fairly large car. The Teana is made to be longer, wider but not that much taller than the old one. So the new one is 4,885mm long, 1,830mm wide and 1,485mm tall. 

The front end now has a livelier look. The shoulder lines are well-toned. And the tapering roofline that ends with the rear haunches seemingly gives the Teana a coupe-ish silhouette. It certainly projects a sportier image that should appeal to a younger crowd; an audience that Nissan desperately needs to shed its car-for-old-folks image. 

To reinforce that line of thought, Nissan has done away with the unsightly beige upholstery with faux-wood trim; for the better. In its place is a reimagined interior that adopts a more modern palette. Which really means that they’ve gone with multiple shades of grey with dashes of chrome and silver, of course. 

Inside, you’ll be sitting on what Nissan dubs as ‘Zero Gravity Seat’ which is said to reduce fatigue and maintain comfort. It is comfortable, I’ll give it that. Also inside is a nine-speaker BOSE audio system hooked to five-inch display multimedia system with expected connectivity to your digital smart device. It displays the rear camera too. The meter cluster also integrates a four-inch screen that displays the necessary information.

The interior is nicely hushed; you can hold a decent conversation at decent voice levels even when cruising at speed. But you don’t really want to gun the engine. It isn’t because the power-mill isn’t capable, the sound that is coming from the bay isn’t as sweet as the V6 engine the old Teana had. The new finds movement from a 2.5-litre inline-four that’s good for 170bhp or down by nine horses. It isn’t all bad news – to sort of balance out the curve, torque has been increased by six Newton-metres to 234Nm peaking at 4,000rpm. 

All that doesn’t matter much, the Teana drives just as smooth with the X-CVT gearbox, which had 70 per cent of its components redesigned for a 40 per cent dip in friction. Power distribution is smooth and immediate in spite of not feeling much of the torque pulling the 1,517kg car forward. But move forward it does and the acceleration is executed in good pace and then settling down to a fuel-saving mode when up to speed. Nissan says that this car has 26.7 per cent better fuel economy than the previous Teana. Good then.

But the new Teana isn’t all just about being a large barge that’s also frugal at the pumps. Pushed hard, and it will return some level of joy. MacPherson’s in the front and multi-links in the rear makes the Teana competent around corners without sacrificing too much comfort. Or is it’s the other way around – better comfort without compromising handling? Either way, it handles better than the previous one ever could. 

Although there is one caveat: don’t gun the car around corners. The Teana comes with three sets of electronics that work seemingly hand in hand to wrestle control from you; all in the name of safety. The three fairy godmothers here are named AUC (Active Understeer Control), VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) and TCS (Traction Control System). How it works is simple enough, the system help correct understeer or oversteer by applying brakes at the appropriate wheel and cutting engine power, which keeps the car honest. In normal driving conditions, you won’t feel the three acting to keep you safe. Good.

But increase the level of cornering dedication and you’ll find the car interrupting so it could do its thing. Understeer is cured by applying swabs of oversteer followed by a trim off the power. So don’t be too shocked if the tails feel swishy in these situations. 

When it is all said and done, the Teana isn’t a car that you take on a B-road blast on a Sunday morning. It is a cruiser that you want to be in when you have to cross interstate borders and is poised enough to handle the demands of the daily run. Now factor that with the excellent comfort with big car features and the Teana suddenly becomes the better option. Surprising. 
To the point
Love Much improved over the last
Hate The safety acronyms constantly reminds they are there
Good to drive, exceptionally spacious with plenty of kit, this one might take the crown

Price RM169,900 with insurance
Engine 2488cc, 4 cyl, in-line petrol engine with direct petrol injection, twin CVTC, 170bhp @ 6000rpm, 234Nm @ 4000rpm
Gearbox X-tronic CVT, front-wheel drive
Performance N/A
Weight 1517kg
On sale Now

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