It is no secret that Nissan is working hard to revitalise its range after a few years of evolving existing models. The global competition is fierce and competitors have broadened their ranges, especially in the fiercely-competitive SUV market. There was a glaring gap beneath the X-Trail and Qashqai models and now Nissan seems to have taken action on this.
Nissan has just revealed the Magnite concept, a smaller B-segment SUV that will compete with the Suzuki Vitara, Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Venue. Magnite combines magnetic with ignite, but the company at this stage does not expand on what this may mean going forward.
The concept car released, although sensible in its range extension role, does raise a few questions and eyebrows. The grille is pure Datsun and even the headlights are updated Go lookalikes. It could be that the Magnite was intended as a top-of-the-range Datsun until market forces intervened. It would be interesting to see what happens between now and production, but we bet on some changes in the front. The back of the car does differ significantly from the Datsun, though.
The launch in India emphasises the “Made for India, made for the world” that Nissan uses to express the importance of the Indian market. This market is large enough to allow cost-effective development and diverse enough to give a myriad of consumer segments. Once a car works in a specific segment in India, Nissan’s can tell with great accuracy where else in the world that car will find a natural home as well.
Apart from the size and obvious segment fit, there is not a lot of information on what it will be. Cosmetically, the look may well change somewhat, but proportionally the Magnite is a well-balanced design, sporty looking with a strong suggestion of off-road capability.
The concept’s interior is all colour-coded leather seating and matching panelling. It is stylishly bold, but minimalistic, with noticeable touches of chrome accenting curves and lines. A large, horizontal infotainment system dominates the dashboard, while electronic gauges live on a screen behind the wheel.
Power is said to be a 3-cylinder, 1-litre turbo petrol. This will deliver either 74kW and 160Nm or 86kW and 170Nm through a 5-speed manual or CVT. Given the market direction and the development of the larger Airya EV SUV, the Magnite may well test the hybrid or pure EV waters as well, going forward.
The Nissan Magnite will be built in India and exported around the world. The vehicle market synergies between India and South Africa suggest we will get it too, perhaps even in 2021. But there is still much water to flow under this bridge, both in design and pricing. We will keep you up to date on our blog the minute we learn more.