SA-bound Nissan Magnite: More details

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The Indian-made Nissan Magnite compact family car is set to arrive in South Africa early in 2021. Details of the range in the Indian market (from where the SA-market model will be sourced) have been revealed, which provides strong clues to the local line-up...

In a recent virtual roundtable conference, Nissan South Africa's marketing director, Kabelo Rabotho, confirmed the Rosslyn-based brand was looking at introducing 2 new compact crossover/SUV products (the Magnite, ostensibly as a replacement for the Qashqai, and probably the next-generation X-Trail), as well as potentially introducing the Navara-based Terra SUV on local soil. The Kicks might be in the picture too…

Last month, Nissan revealed the production version of the Magnite, which will be built at the Oragadam plant in India. It will rival models such as the Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Venue and Volkswagen T-Cross, Kia Sonet, Mahindra XUV 300, Renault Captur and Suzuki Vitara. 

It’s no surprise that the grille has a Datsun look to it; this crossover was meant to have a Datsun badge but it bears a Nissan badge instead. You might be wondering why this is the case and it makes sense if you consider that Datsun is being scaled-down globally and instead of scrapping the project entirely, it has now been allocated to Nissan.  

The Magnite features the prerequisite slightly raised ride height, sleek headlights with L-shaped LED DRLs, as well as accoutrements such as front and rear skid plates, rugged plastic cladding around the wheel arches, roof rails, and at least 16-inch wheels/alloys. 

As for the powertrains that will be offered in the Magnite range, Autocar India confirms that the initial range will be offered with 1.0-litre naturally aspirated and turbocharged petrol motors.

The entry-level derivative features a B4D dual-VVT 1.0-litre petrol motor that produces 54 kW and is mated with a 5-speed manual gearbox, but of arguably greater relevance to South Africa is an all-new 1.0-litre turbopetrol engine that's reported to produce either 74 kW and 160 Nm or 86 kW and 170 Nm (according to other reports) and mated with a 5-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission.

As for the interior, the newcomer’s overall design is very minimalist. Lower- to mid-spec versions in the Indian market feature dual-tone trim, electric windows, a multifunction steering wheel, a 3.5-inch LCD drive info display, a 6-speaker audio system, and surprisingly, auto climate control, plus electrically adjustable and folding side mirrors.

We expect that SA-market derivatives are likely to feature at least some of the following features: 16-inch alloys, fog lamps, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with (apparently wireless) Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 7-inch TFT driver info display, voice recognition technology, a reverse-view camera, as well as push-button start.  

Interestingly, the top-spec Magnite derivative in India features LED headlamps, cruise control, a 360-degree around-view camera, tyre pressure-monitor and all-black interior. Nissan will also offer an optional Technology Package, which includes a wireless charging pad, air purifier, ambient mood lighting, puddle lamps, and JBL speakers.

Suffice to say the specification for the Magnite in the South African market is still being finalised, but we expect most of the previously mentioned features to be offered, depending on whether Nissan has designs on the top end of the compact family car market, or hopes to offer the Magnite primarily as an alternative to lower-end compact hatchbacks.

We’ll bring you updates on the Magnite’s local line-up as soon as more info becomes available.

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