Much as the headline would sound silly, that would be the way to present the new Tiida hatchback. Nissan has once again played magician in inventing space from nowhere, just as it has done with the Sentra Sedan. After all they are complementing cars.
UPSIDE: Stability at high speeds, Upscale interiors, Awesome space, Reasonable fuel economy
FLIPSIDE: Torque wears out early, inadequate rear lighting, interrupted radio reception
The Price: Five variants priced from AED 55000 to 77,500
Strange as it may seem, there is an inexplicable bonding between several drivers I know – both women and men – with their Tiida hatchback. Why, I could see a sparkle in the eyes of the woman who accompanies me on family drives, much as I would probably have if I had an Aston Martin parked in my garage for the weekend.
On first sight, there is nothing extraordinary about the new Tiida and it more or less keeps its shape. The new model gets a honeycomb grill just as its bigger brothers get larger headlamps, larger rear lamps and looks more sculpted.
Good for 131hp and 174 Newton Metre torque, the Tiida 1.8L isn’t really about raving revs. The ‘pure drive’ Xtronic CVT still doesn’t cut ice with many driving purists. It is very functional when it comes to the delivery of power and the climb is still noisy. So to its advantage, I should say that the Tiida delivered 11 kms per litre, which is fair for its category.
Clearly, driving pleasure in this car doesn’t come from the drive train or the unscrewed sort of steering wheel. Yet, vague as it is, it’s surprisingly agile in handling and complies quickly to your manoeuvres, keeping steady with just a hint of under-steer, and features a ‘real’ grabbable hand brake and a traction control button to play around with. The Nissan Tiida hatchback has a good turning radius which makes it easy at U-turns especially aided by its quirk of sliding back into place.
Coming to think of it, the 131 hp is ample but it is the drone of the CVT transmission that makes it feel tedious. For times when you should push its limits, there is a sport mode – it is a button on the left hand side of the gear shift in case you are lost. The gear shift, with its stocky grip, has an almost Golf like feel to it. Nice.
What’s most impressive is that the Tiida holds its stead on straights and bends, at highway speed limits and beyond. The squat stance probably is one reason; the taut suspension perhaps another. Even when I chose to push the arc with the traction control off, the Nissan Tiida maintained and regained control without jerky sweepbacks and on zig-zag maneouvers, danced along with tires screaming happily – can you beat that?
The 0 to 100 came in 9.3 seconds on the Sport mode; the braking rather efficient. While the side view mirror covers the left better than the right, blind spots are a breeze with the excellent window layouts.
Despite having nothing remarkable, the Tiida instils a strange sort of confidence which perhaps is the reason why someone I know who bought a sports car later, went on to brag about the fun she had in her Tiida. Strange car!
Cabin and Controls
Bringing back this hatchback to the market after a short break, Nissan has done its bit to make sure that nothing in its class comes anywhere close. This is perhaps the only cabin in its category that offers navigation and a rear view camera. There is a one-up feel to the cabin with its hard rubber, plenty of soft fabric and grey aluminium paneling. The seats are cosy with soft armresting notches. That said, the right armrest is fairly unusable thanks to its lower height and withdrawn position.
Navigating the six inch screen as well as the telematics are pretty easy and so is choosing your favourite radio station. But the music system itself doesn’t live up to the ‘premium-ness’. The radio had interruptions in many frequencies and is at best, passable.
With the entry level 1.6 with the fabric seats and a few options less, the Tiida is good value for money but as you attempt to raise it a class above, understandably, the price also goes up. Just as in the case of the Sentra.
Whether it’s headroom or leg room, the Tiida doesn’t lack in space but the cabin is designed like a large glass house. Yes, it makes for decent visibility but shutting out the sun especially from the front windscreen was a task which the sun visors were really not up to. So spending a few hundreds more for tinting is definitely a good option with the new Tiida.
The Tiida hatchback is arguably the most family-oriented in its category especially with its space, comfort and wide mid-seats. While there are no ISOFIX clips at the rear, there are three-point seat belts for all the passengers. The seats come with good neck support as well.
The Tiida has decent cabin storage under the armrest and side pockets, with a place for sunglasses too. Actually, the whole car looks like a big cabin with very little left for the boot. Yet, there is still enough at the tail that justifies a compact hatchback. Don’t ask me how Nissan manages it!
Anything odd about the cabin? The rear cabin lights. Positioned closer to the front, they might leave you in need of a torch when searching for something that’s fallen there!
The essential Tiida 2014 hatchback
The new Tiida hatchback remains a fun loving, practical hatchback for the family or the youth who can continue to enjoy it even when they expand their family. At the end of the drive, the question still remains, what makes Tiida such a favourite among those who share a bonding with it? I think it’s a bit of everything – confident handling, tolerable noise levels, great fuel efficiency, handy gadgetry and immediately recognizable looks. Not to mention its sort of strange reciprocity in building a bond with the driver over time.
Drive Courtesy: Nissan Middle East
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy