Nissan Magnite Is A New RM 40k Subcompact SUV

Will this Indian Nissan crossover make its way to Malaysia?

Nissan India has unveiled the new name for its latest compact crossover. Christened the Nissan Magnite, a portmanteau of the words ‘magnetic’ and ‘ignite’, this is the Japanese automaker’s Asian alternative to the funky-looking Nissan Juke offered in Europe. 

Originally conceived as a Datsun before Nissan pulled the plug on said budget brand worldwide in  early 2020, this sub-4 meter long compact crossover is a segment smaller than the traditional competition offered in Malaysia. 

The Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos and Mazda CX-30 are all larger than the Nissan Magnite. In terms of size, this is closer to the now-defunct Ford EcoSport. Alternately, think of it as a jacked up Proton Iriz and you won’t be far off. 

Speaking of the Iriz, the Nissan Magnite concept you see here is quite similar in design philosophy to Proton’s hatchback, with a lot of angular shapes and sharp creases on both cars.

From the front, slim headlights draw the eye to the large front grille with thick chrome surrounds. The grille itself is also an elegant design featuring the new Nissan emblem, together with flashes of chrome inlaid on the largely black grille, creating a menacing look. This imposing front is further enhanced by the boomerang shaped LED daytime running lights and a rather aggressive skid plate topped off with chunky black plastic surrounds. 

Moving on to the side of the Magnite, the chunky back plastic look continues on the wheel arches, giving the Magnite the Tonka toy off-roader aesthetics. Additional chrome trim on the sills and windows that kick up at the rear doors, in addition to the two-tone paint scheme of red-and-black on this concept rendering further adds visual flair on this presumably lifestyle compact SUV. 

Round the back, the design looks a tad empty. Partially because the number plate sits on the black rear bumper above the rear skid plate, surrounded by even more plastic trim. This leaves the tailgate looking just a bit too plains, even though the sharp LED rear light cluster and giant crease in the sheet metal attempts to hide this fact. 

As for the interior of this Nissan SUV, based on the concept artwork it appears that it will be as striking as the exterior design. Resplendent in a red-on-black colour combination, the flowy interior design appears to follow a minimalistic theme, with not many physical buttons apart from the three dials for climate control settings. An 8-inch central infotainment system and fully digital instrument cluster are present, but it remains to be see whether or not they will make it into the production variants. Meanwhile, the hexagonal air vents are reminiscent to those on Lamborghinis of the current era. 

On the practicality front, there also appears to be enough space in this SUV for 4, with Nissan claiming that it has made considerations for extra legroom in the rear to suit the demand of the local markets. 

Engine choices of the Magnite appear to be between a choice of two 1.0 litre petrol engines, a 72 hp naturally aspirated unit or a more-powerful 95 hp turbocharged power plant. For the Indian market, the transmission options for both engines are either a 5 speed manual gearbox or a CVT transmission. 

Prices of this subcompact Nissan SUV estimated to start at only 6.5 lahk (RM 36,800) when it launches in India in early next year. No news yet on whether this Indian-market Japanese crossover will be exported elsewhere, but considering the crossover boom happening all over the world, including here in Malaysia, there should be no reason as to why Tan Chong won’t bring the Magnite over to capitalise on this market. 

There may be no equivalent competitor on the local market at the moment, but chances are high that there will be Malaysians looking for a jacked-up Myvi-sized car, and are willing to pay a premium for it. 

PRESS RELEASE: Nissan India today revealed the concept version of its highly anticipated B-SUV. Christened the Nissan Magnite, the technology-rich and stylish B-SUV will be launched in FY 2020 in India.

Magnite is a portmanteau of the words “magnetic” and “ignite”. Whereas magnetic highlights the design and the product attributes that will attract customers, ignite emphasises on the beginning of a new era that Nissan wants to bring in India.

“The Nissan Magnite is an evolutionary leap in Nissan’s global SUV DNA,” said Rakesh Srivastava, managing director, Nissan Motor India. “With cutting-edge technology onboard, it will be a game-changer in its segment. A bold offering in the sub-four-meter category, we are confident that Nissan Magnite will redefine the B-SUV segment for the industry.

The Nissan Magnite is made on the philosophy of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ and has been designed in Japan while keeping in mind the requirements and aspirations of Indian customers.”

The Nissan Magnite will be a feature rich premium offering with stylish design for a strong and dynamic road presence.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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