May 14, 2014 00:00 By Kingsley Wijayasinha
Nissan's latest midsize sedan is more fuel efficient than the previous model and offers great ride quality with a commendable equipment level, but you'll need to shift down to sport if you want a fun driving experience
The Nissan Teana has long been a popular executive/family car and the new model has just got even better.
The third generation of the Teana, which replaced the Cefiro several years ago in Thailand, is available with three 2.0-litre and two 2.5-litre variants. It’s the top model – the Bt1.62-million 2.5 XV Navi – that we took for a spin.
Although the new Teana may possess a strong resemblance to its predecessor, it is noticeably larger. This is good news for executives, since the sedan has more interior room, making for a pleasant atmosphere.
Those who drive the Teana themselves will enjoy higher comfort and convenience, starting off with the electric “Welcome Seat” that moves back and forth by 40mm, providing the driver easy entry and exit. This is something you would expect from Lexus (or Infiniti), and goes to show that Nissan is seriously trying to raise the bar in this segment as the Teana locks horns with the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The seat offers two memory buttons, which is of course de rigueur, but the catch is that the seat positions are also recorded in the intelligent key. So two people, each with his or her own remote key, doesn’t even have to press the memory button when taking over. This is because the seat position will automatically correspond with the settings in their particular remote unit.
I like the Teana’s interior, particularly the choice of colours and materials used. The seats are comfortable, although I wish the lumbar support was positioned a tad lower, and the Teana’s comprehensive equipment level makes you think twice before forking out for a European luxury car.
The steering is multi-function with controls for the audio system, cruise control, voice control and phone, which can be connected via Bluetooth. Pairing, music streaming and making calls can be done smoothly, and although the sound reproduction through the nine Bose speakers is excellent, the graphics shown on the screen are prehistoric and remind you of Windows 95, whether you’re using the music player or navigation system.
The Teana 2.5XV is powered by a twin-cam 16-valve 2.5-litre motor with CVTC (Continuous Valve Timing Control) that’s mated to the Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), which offers great response and fuel economy. Performance is satisfactory in normal mode, but due to the fuel-saving requirements (there’s an Eco button for “good” fuel consumption but then performance is even poorer), there’s not much excitement from the 173-horsepower engine unless you shift down to sport. Under hard acceleration, it imitates a normal automatic transmission by letting the revs drop as if gears were changed, putting the fun back into driving.
According to Nissan, the 2.5-litre engine offers an improvement of 27 per cent in fuel economy. The engine idles quietly and revs up smoothly, adding to the luxury feel of the car.
The sedan also offers great ride quality thanks to the front strut and rear multi-link suspension that has been tuned for comfort. It soaks up bumps and cracks on the road very well but at the same time there is considerable body roll if you want to change lanes suddenly. In this case, the ATC (Active Trace Control) system kicks in during heavy cornering manoeuvres by applying brakes to the inner wheels in order to maintain vehicle directional control.
The power steering is hydraulic-electric, and comes with 4-way adjustment and a speed sensor, which means that the steering resistance grows as speed increases.
Brakes are discs all-around with ABS, EBD and BA, but the Teana comes with a host of other safety features you’d expect. Among the driver assistance systems offered are: Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Moving Object Detection, automatic levelling Xenon headlights with washers, Vehicle Dynamic Control, Hill Start Assist, Rear-View Camera and an Around-View Monitor, which is a great feature offering a bird’s-eye view of your vehicle and the surroundings. This last feature is usually offered in upper-level luxury cars like Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
You also get dual front airbags, side airbags and curtain airbags – what else could one ask for?
In conclusion, I’d say the Nissan Teana 2.5XV Navi is an attractive midsized car that is larger than you think, and comes loaded with an extremely high equipment level at a competitive price.