While Nissan counts on the heavily improved looks of the 2015 Sunny, it will still be brutal practicality and class-leading innovation that will keep the commoner’s icon hitting the top of the chart, yet again. And at AED 54,000 for the top-spec model it is a bargain!

The last time I drove a Sunny was when I helped my cousin park his car, at least 10 years ago. In other times I have hardly been enticed into driving the common man’s icon of empowerment. Wait a minute; am I forgetting the manual drive car that I spent scores of hours taking driving lessons? Am I ignoring the car that I presented my driving skills in for the coveted UAE license? The Sunny shall not be overlooked in a market where it seems to be the natural choice for pragmatic people who care for more relevant stuff than exhaust notes and eyeballs.
And so, last Wednesday, I made my first trip down the restricted access lanes that shore the signature villas of the Palm Jumeirah, to witness the launch of a car that is as dreary as the traffic between Sharjah and Dubai yet as inseparable a part of daily life in this country. The Middle East launch of the 2015 Nissan Sunny!

2015 Sunny at first glance

An improvement on the 10th generation, the 2015 Sunny comes with a bolder face with a bigger front grille, boomerang shaped headlamps, new fog lamps and all-round chrome detailing that pull the car into the new generation lineup of Nissan.

Premium touches to the rear include a flared bumper, black diffuser cladding and a short antenna at the rear end of the roof. The Sunny gets stylish with side view mirror mounted turn signals and 12-spoke Y-pattern alloys.

Inside the 2015 Sunny…

One thing the Sunny continues with is class-leading space; the rear seating continues to be massive at 636mm. The 2015 Sunny features an enhanced dashboard with piano black finish center console, Bluetooth-enabled audio, and a steering wheel with integrated controls that is a straight lift from the Sentra. The 2015 Sunny introduces two convenience features to the segment: Nissan Connect, for Facebook and Google connectivity and the rear comfort fan.

Nissan had organized a museum upstairs where the legacy of the Sunny that spanned from the sixties to the present day was showcased.

Just as the Toyota Yaris and the Nissan Tiida, the new Sunny has standard safety features like ABS, EBD and Brake Assist apart from driver & passenger airbags. The presentation showed us that the primary reason people cite for Sunny’s popularity is “fuel efficiency” and ease of maintenance. The 1.5-litre petrol engine from the tenth generation model leads the class with a claimed 18+ km per litre.

Alongside the car pictures were models that reflected the style of the era.

The 2015 Sunny will be available from the 1st of August in showrooms in four spec variants and six colours. The S for AED 45,500; SV for 48,300; SV Comfort package for 51,500 and the top-end SL for 54,000

 

Samir Cherfan, Managing Director and Jamal Hilal, Brand Manager, at Nissan Middle East: “Nissan Sunny marks around 15% of total sales. We expect to double this from 23000 to 46000 by 2016.”

After-launch notes…

The original Sunny was launched in the Middle East under the Datsun brand in 1966 and has remained a part of pop culture across its ten generations. The 2015 Sunny seems to be a worthy heir to the formidable presence Nissan has in the popular B-Sedan segment.

Nissan sheepishly acknowledges that their popular sedan may not have been the best looking. So they have tried hard to make up to the loyalists by borrowing some features out of the aesthetic values incorporated into the brand with the latest Altima. It’s easy to see how better looking the Sunny is. Just take a long, hard look at the Altima and when you are happy, switch your eyeballs to the new Sunny and try counting the similarities. There, simple enough! But easier said than done with that Datsun 102-B of 1978 parked next to the new Sunny in the porch of the signature villa at Palm Jumeirah. Nissan themselves made the job harder for us.

It’s similar with that signature villa parked next to the bay on the fronds of the Palm; the celebrated house fell just short of expectations. Unlike the new Sunny, not spacious enough with the numerous rooms crammed into its upper storey. But then the door that opens to the little green lawn with steps leading to the banks of the still sea in the backyard makes up for more than what is taken away from my imagination.

Nissan Sunny 2015 in Middle East after Eid was last modified: February 22nd, 2016 by Sudeep Koshy

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