Getting in gear: The Nissan Teana is perfectly suited for city driving with high levels of comfort and robust engineering
Its a sunny but cool day. White surf pounds the rocky shoreline and the road that winds its way along the coast is devoid of traffic. Its the perfect day for a lazy drive, the perfect day to put the windows down, power the massive glass sunroof back and allow the cool breeze to waft through the cabin.
The V6 motor under the hood purrs like a contented kitten and the long wheelbase of the car helps it glide over the road. The Portuguese coast is achingly gorgeous at this time of year and we make regular stops to enjoy the spectacular views and drops to the sea below. Taking good pictures here is no sweat. Place the car, just about anywhere, find the best angle and click, click, you have some great shots on the memory card.
As a result, there is a lot more time to drive the car, and enjoy the open road. While some cars encourage you to put your foot down, with a very high degree of agility and a responsive engine, this car is exactly the opposite.
More an outsized luxury yacht than speedboat, the new Teana coaxes you into adopting an all-American driving position, one arm gingerly holding onto the steering wheel, elbow propped up on the window sill, while the other hand is casually rested on the elbow rest in the centre.
Steering this car merely requires a flick of the wrist and you tend to ride the waves of torque and lift off the gas pedal to shift to the next gear on the automatic gearbox. The nose of the softly sprung Teana lifts slightly as you get on the accelerator and you are very aware of the length of the car, especially when you tuck the cars nose into a hairpin bend.
Refinement from the motor is excellent. Its vibration-free, the engine note turns creamy and smooth as you accelerate and even when you pull the motor hard towards the redline theres no sign of strain. What you enjoy is bags of torque and pulling power.
With acres of fake wood and its wide dashboard, the Teana furthers the yacht comparison on the inside. The front seats are simply massive and offer exceptional support. Wide in beam, with large supports for your shoulders and thigh, lounging at the rear really takes some beating.
The design and especially the quality of the dashboard is also superior to that of its competitors, the Accord and Camry. Nissan has used a lot of parts from its upmarket Infiniti brand, that competes against Lexus around the world, and that means a lot of the plastics and brushed metal bits are of very high quality. Doing away with the very Japanese bamboo and rice paper look of the earlier car, the interiors of this car have a more contemporary feel.
One might wish the quality of the plastic wood was better. But the comfort in the rear seats is fantastic. Theres plenty of legroom, the seats are massive and you get sofa-like comfort, with super thigh support. The wraparound headrests at the rear make you feel like you are in a first-class seat too.
The Teanas new shape is appealing as well. Its smooth and flowing silhouette is interspersed with sharply cut lines giving it a sharp-edged look. It looks modern and fresh, without looking overtly aggressive, unlike many of its competitors, and that suits the purpose of the car.
Of course this is not the fastest car from point to point on a winding road. Far from it. There is a considerable amount of body roll, there isnt too much grip from the tyres and the general demeanour of the car doesnt encourage hurling it around corners. That said, the car does steer fairly accurately and this means you dont have to pay undue attention while steering this luxury yacht.
Were back in urban traffic now, and the Teana feels more at home as it doesnt need to make regular changes in direction. The car seems almost perfectly suited to providing very high levels of comfort and its slightly soggy handling not a disadvantage here. As a luxury car for the city, the Teana actually has almost no weak areas.
Nissans new Teana is a big improvement over the earlier car in many areas. Quality levels and comfort are even better, the mechanical bits feel robustly engineered and customers can look forward to years of reliable Japanese performance. The company plans to introduce the new Teana in March this year, and this should provide an interesting alternative to Hondas Accord.
The Teana will probably still have a 2.5-litre V6 motor for India, providing a good alternative to Hondas 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine that powers the Accord. It may not have what it takes to take on the Accord, not appealing to as wide a range of customers, but if you want a car with a very strong focus on luxury, this will make for an interesting alternative.
Price (est): Rs 21 lakh (ex-showroom)
L/W/H: 4850mm, 1795mm, 1475mm
Kerb weight: 2060kg
Engine: 3.5-litre, petrol, V6 engine, CVT
Power: 261bhp at 6000rpm
Torque: 33.24kgm at 4400rpm