Buy & Sell New Cars Online in Malaysia

Blogs     Previews     Test Drive Reports     Feature Stories     News     Motorsports
  Autoworld Car Reviews and Test Drive Reports
 
  Nissan Livina X-Gear Launched and Tested  
- Thursday, September 08, 2011  By KON  Bookmark and Share
 
 
 
     
Nissan Livina X-Gear

Five-seater Livina with SUV styling. OTR with Insurance: RM82,800. KON goes on a media test drive from KL to Penang....

[+ click to enlarge]
Nissan Livina X-Gear
Nissan Livina X-Gear
Only one variant available - 1.6 A/T. OTR with Insurance: RM82,800
Only one variant available - 1.6 A/T. OTR with Insurance: RM82,800
Dashboard architecture is identical to Grand Livina's, but feels classier and better built.
Dashboard architecture is identical to Grand Livina's, but feels classier and better built.
1.6-litre HR16DE engine is strong in its mid-range, but out of ideas at the top. Very quiet on idle.
1.6-litre HR16DE engine is strong in its mid-range, but out of ideas at the top. Very quiet on idle.

Edaran Tan Chong Motor Sdn Bhd (ETCM) has just added a new member to its Livina model range, with the all-new Livina X-Gear joining three existing variants of the Grand Livina in the line-up. Built on the existing Livina platform, the five-seater X-Gear differentiates itself from its regular MPV brethren with touches of SUV-esque styling sprinkled all over its body.

To be perfectly clear, the X-Gear is not a jacked-up Livina - ground clearances are identical at 180mm; and if you try to strap the X-Gear's bodykit onto the Grand Livina, you'll be in for a disappointment when you get around to the rear. The X-Gear and Grand Livina have different aft overhangs, with the former's being shorter by a full 145mm. So, if you want to transform your Grand Livina to look like an X-Gear, you'll need someone to fashion a new rear bumper for you.




Rear overhang is shorter than the Grand Livina. 


That aside, however, the X-Gear is almost identical to the Grand Livina save for the fact that it has only five seats. What's pleasing to note, however, is that when you step inside, you are welcomed by an interior that appears noticeably more upmarket than the Grand Livina's even if the cabin's overall architecture is identical. The black colour scheme helped, but we also felt significant improvement in build quality compared to the Grand Livina's.

ETCM's asking price of RM82,800 with insurance places the X-Gear below the Grand Livina in the model hierarchy. Nissan's primary benchmark for the X-Gear is Suzuki's SX4, although they also hope to turn a few heads among B-segment shoppers. The aim is to present a roomier alternative to hatchbacks like the Ford Fiesta, Mazda2 and Honda Jazz, and also hopefully tempt a few Honda City and Toyota Vios buyers in the process.




Nissan is targeting B-segment hatchback buyers by offering a roomier alternative. 


Roomy the X-Gear certainly is, but it depends on how you look at it. There is more than enough leg and headroom for average-sized adults, but if you sit three at the back, shoulder room might be an issue. This is a legacy of the long but narrow Nissan B platform that underpins the Latio, the Livina family, and even the Sylphy.

It is important to note, however, that the Livina family of vehicles are designed and built with developing markets in mind. Taking this into account, a number of cost-driven considerations begin to show up, and two of them are noticeable when you sit behind. At the foot of the B-pillar, we noticed exposed front seat belt anchors, and while the rear cup-holders can alternate between holding one or two cups, it requires passengers to pull the plastic mould out and insert it into the slot accordingly - no fancy mechanism at work for the transformation, but hey, it works.




Cup holder alternates between one or two cups by manually slotting of the plastic mould.  


The audio unit is also noticeably basic, and does not even feature steering-mounted controls - a time-honoured criticism that this writer has been leveling at Nissan cars. Those of you with portable media players can make use of the AUX jack, but no iPod or Bluetooth connectivity here. However, the unit is of the standard 2-DIN size, so audio buffs do have the option of performing aftermarket upgrades if they so want. Thankfully, however, the X-Gear's safety kit was spared from cost cutting measures, so dual airbags, ABS, EBD, and brake assist are on the table.

Moving along, we have the 1.6-litre HR16DE engine taken straight from the Latio and Grand Livina residing up front. The all-aluminium unit is a basic 16-valve twin-cam motor with no variable valve timing, and with that consideration in mind, quoted outputs of 104hp @ 5,200rpm and 150Nm @ 4,400rpm are pretty respectable. As per the Grand Livina, it is paired to a 4-speed automatic transmission. A highly praiseworthy virtue of the engine is its extreme silence. In fact, that damned thing is so eerily quiet on idle, I actually witnessed two media colleagues fooled into cranking the starter while the engine was still running.




We tested it to Penang and back. 


For those of you wondering if there will be a 1.8 variant like the Grand Livina, the answer is no. We were told that such a model is not available for selection from Nissan's international catalogue; 1.6 will have to do. Performance is not what we would call lethargic, but let's just say that the engine and transmission combo is not entirely optimized for a spirited drive. Smooth throttle inputs will allow gradual progress up to 160-170kph, but these are not the kind of speeds we would recommend for you. In fact, once you take it past the national speed limit, it quickly becomes clear that the X-Gear's chassis setup does not place high speed stability at the top of its priorities. It becomes floaty and road undulations can be acutely felt.

As far as the X-Gear's dynamics are concerned, Nissan's engineers have sensibly gotten their priorities right by focusing on low to moderate speed ride quality. The results are impressive, as the X-Gear absorbs potholes as if as they were not there. It was so good that on a few occasions, I even amused myself by deliberately driving over really harsh surfaces just to admire its amazing ride quality.




Nissan believes the pseudo-SUV styling is an integral part of the X-Gear's appeal. 


The X-Gear and Grand Livina share identical suspension architecture - MacPherson struts up front and torsion beam at the rear - but, compared to the Grand Livina, Nissan specified softer spring and damper settings for the X-Gear due to its reduced mass which explains its incredibly pliant ride. Wheel and tyre sizes similarly identical between both models - same rims are used - but we were quite shocked to find the X-Gear being shod with Continental CC1 tyres that are near the end of their product life cycle.

Despite its canggih-sounding name, the Livina X-Gear is nothing but a practical mode of transport offered with good value for your money, even if ETCM has been a little stingy with its kit count. It does not pack the kind of performance that its sexed-up looks suggest, but it will get you to your destination with a minimum of fuss. The amazing comfort of its ride is worth mentioning again and strengthens its case greatly for the family buyer.




 



     Picture Gallery
[+ click to enlarge]
Nissan is targeting B-segment hatchback buyers by offering a roomier alternative.
Nissan is targeting B-segment hatchback buyers by offering a roomier alternative.
383-litres of luggage space with seats up, more than enough for 2D1N of clothes for three journos.
383-litres of luggage space with seats up, more than enough for 2D1N of clothes for three journos.
Rear seats no longer slide like Grand Livina's but they don't need to. Rear legroom is good.
Rear seats no longer slide like Grand Livina's but they don't need to. Rear legroom is good.
Rear overhang is shorter than the Grand Livina.
Rear overhang is shorter than the Grand Livina.
Plenty of convenient storage spaces line up the centre console, but no armrest box.
Plenty of convenient storage spaces line up the centre console, but no armrest box.
Seriously, Nissan... how much do steering-mounted controls cost?
Seriously, Nissan... how much do steering-mounted controls cost?
Glovebox is deep, an obvious influence from Nissan's French partner, Renault.
Glovebox is deep, an obvious influence from Nissan's French partner, Renault.
Nissan believes the pseudo-SUV styling is an integral part of the X-Gear's appeal.
Nissan believes the pseudo-SUV styling is an integral part of the X-Gear's appeal.
The Continental CC1 was an eyebrow-raising tyre choice.
The Continental CC1 was an eyebrow-raising tyre choice.
Cup holder alternates between one or two cups by manually slotting of the plastic mould.
Cup holder alternates between one or two cups by manually slotting of the plastic mould.
We tested it to Penang and back.
We tested it to Penang and back.


Talk About It :
 
 
 
spacer spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
Stay Connected
spacer