When you think of the trusty Nissan Sunny, you think of only two things in the UAE – driving school cars, and taxis. The joys of learning how to drive in the 90s in a yellow Nissan Sunny are not lost on me, but I swore to myself that once I got my license, I would never set foot in – nor buy – a Nissan Sunny.
The Nissan Sunny has always been a no-frills ride, suitable for those who just want to get around in their first ever car before eventually upgrading to something that they actually want to drive.
But that’s changing drastically with the Nissan Sunny 2020, which shows some incredible promise in a car that’s often been ignored in favor of some of Nissan’s more higher offerings.
Gone are the days of the Sunny’s bloated, boxy style – the Nissan Sunny 2020 sports a longer, wider, and lower exterior than previous models. Perhaps trying to channel the looks of the Maxima, you’ll have to do a double-take as nothing on the outside immediately says that this is the Nissan Sunny that you recognize. Its design takes it far away from being an entry-level car, and adds some much needed flair and – dare I say it – attractiveness to the vehicle.
The interiors too, speak another language. Comfortable fabric-clad seats are contrasted by a leather – yes, leather – trim in the middle of the dashboard, with a good deal of legroom in the driver and front passenger seat. The rear seats might feel slightly less spacious at times, but that’s mostly due to more space being allocated to the trunk, which also passes through the rear seats for when you need more cargo space.
Front and center on our review model is a 7” touchscreen, which acts as your infotainment control, while physical climate controls sit separately below. The touchscreen is a bit slow at times, but lets you tweak all of your car settings quite easily. Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported, which are features you would never expect to see in a segment like this.
On the driver’s side you’ve got a secondary display as part of the instrument panel, which can be easily switched around to show the tachometer or other information such as current music playing. There’s no center storage console here (that’s an extra add-on), so you’ll have to make do with two cup holders and a small cubby just above the shifter.
Understandably, the Nissan Sunny 2020 isn’t going to be bolting you across the roads once you get behind the wheel, but the overall drive is surprisingly comfortable, save for a few exceptions. The engine takes its time to go from 0-100 kph, but that’s what you’ll be able to squeeze out when you floor the accelerator. The 1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine produces 118 hp at 6,000 rpm, and 149 Nm at 4,400 rpm. It’s mated to Nissan’s latest CVT automatic transmission, though a 5-speed manual transmission is also available for lower-specced models.
Handling on the roads is quite decent, and tackling corners is surprisingly agile for a car of this class. The gurgle from the engine will be quite evident during acceleration, but once you hit speeds above 100kph, the engine tends to quieten down. Our model came with a ‘sport’ mode, which is frankly hilarious to even see on a Sunny, let alone actually drive in this mode. The sport mode certainly made the engine come to life much quicker, but braking became extremely jerky, so we would stay clear of trying to enjoy the sport mode.
What’s more appealing is the amount of tech that the Sunny now has in it, especially if you fork out the extra for the high-tier model. Our review unit featured excellent safety features such as Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Emergency Braking, as well as 360-degree cameras when reversing. This kind of tech you’d expect to see in much more expensive cars, so it’s crazy to see that Nissan is able to offer all of this in a car as humble as the Sunny.
The Nissan Sunny 2020 marks a new direction for the series, and for anyone looking for a tech-savy car without a large price tag, then this is the car for you. It’s reliable and comfortable enough for long-distance city driving, while still maintaining a fresh look and feel that puts it above and beyond its price tag.
Pricing starts from AED 57,900, review model priced at AED 67,900.