Nissan Serena S-Hybrid Review, no competitor in sight

Many Malaysian households need a vehicle capable of comfortably moving 5-7 occupants. However, many Malaysians shun away from the 2-metre-tall moving slabs of metal and glass that get the job done best. It’s not that these machines are too expensive, they’re just very intimidating to many drivers. The image of driving such a large van can also be a huge turn-off. There’s hardly anything subtle about these purpose-built people movers.

That’s really where the appeal of the new Nissan Serena S-Hybrid begins. It’s not that large or unwieldy. In fact, so much of it is glass that it gives off a really inviting aura. In the driver’s seat, this design translates to good visibility all-round. The large windscreen and windows in the A-pillar all contribute to this greatly.

Flat-bottomed steering wheels are often the stuff of performance-oriented cars, but Nissan saw fit to include it in the Serena. If anything, the steering wheel adds a touch of modernity and keeps the cabin a little more ergonomic, as there’s just a little more wiggle room for one’s legs when it comes to making minor steering adjustments.

It’s got a very relaxed, comfortable and cushioned driving character which isn’t at all easy to achieve.

The ‘S-Hybrid’ mechanism in the Serena has to be driven to be appreciated. It’s really more internal combustion powered than electric powered. While some may ask, ‘where’s the immediate electric torque’? the Serena’s electric element is really here for the right reason: reduced fuel consumption. Where many hybrids tend to show off what torque can do to elevate the everyday drive, the S-Hybrid system works in the background, taking the energy wastage out of acceleration and coasting.

The design also communicates something that Nissan has been missing in its Malaysian product line-up: ambition and modernity. Take a look at the exterior of this ‘Premium Highway Star’ variant of the Serena.

The paint finish here is a two-tone affair, with ‘Cashmere Gold’ on the body and ‘Imperial Umber’ on the roof. The body paint may remind you of the ‘Rose Gold’ finish you find on a lot of smartphones.

On the inside, this particular trim comes with the optional Truffle Brown on Chestnut leather upholstery. While they’re a visual treat, I actually found the fabric seats on the ‘Highway Star’ trim more agreeable.

But the main reason the Serena impresses isn’t in the way it looks or drives but in its utility.

You get 7 USB ports,

2 tray tables,

power sliding doors that open in 7 different ways,

storage compartments everywhere,

an easy-access rear luggage lid,


seats that make way for some serious furniture moving,

a pedal that collapses the 2nd row seat,

rear climate control,

a rear entertainment screen.

With all that, you would expect the Nissan Serena S-Hybrid to be priced way above RM150K, but the Serena comes in at just RM128K. It gets all the essentials right at that price, but you can pay a little more for more equipment with the ‘Premium Highway Star’ or ‘J Impul’ variants.

Nissan Serena S-Hybrid Review

Engine: 2-litre, Direct Injection, VVT, Hybrid Electric
Capacity: 1997cc
Gearbox: CVT
Max power: 148 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Max torque: 200 Nm @ 4400 rpm
Price: RM127,874.84

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