The Nissan Teana for Singapore is no longer made in Japan but quality is not compromised
Teana big on comfort The new four-cylinder Teana boasts stronger performance and better fuel economy than its six-cylinder predecessor. -- PHOTO: NISSAN

Since 2008, the Teana has been driving towkays to distraction at the expense of the popular Toyota Camry.

The Nissan's advantages include a comfortable and classy cabin, a smooth and quiet ride, and surprising stylishness for a large Japanese saloon. Also, the Teana sold in Singapore was manufactured in Japan, unlike its Thai- built rivals from Toyota and Honda (Accord), which gave Nissan one more thing to shout about in the market.

With the new Teana for Singapore coming from Nissan's factory in Thailand, that Made in Japan selling point is no more. But as Toyota and Honda have already demonstrated in Asia, where the vehicle is produced is less important than how well it is put together.

In the case of the Teana, the test car we drove in California was a China-spec, China-made example with interior quality and exterior solidity comparable to the earlier all-Japanese model.

More noticeable is the "supersized Sylphy" styling of Nissan's new saloon. It is not ugly, just less attractive and less distinctive than before. However, upgraders (Sylphy owners perhaps) are likely to appreciate the Teana's looks and size.

Inside the cabin, the new dashboard has sacrificed some of the old one's Italianate aesthetics for improved ergonomics. The centre console, for instance, now groups the infotainment panel together with the climate control panel, which is a more logical layout than in the previous Teana, which parks the two system panels separately (and stylishly). Most of the buttons and knobs have a positive action.

The main instrument meters continue to be big and easy to read, but their arrangement has been tidied up and there is a useful multi-function display in between.

The steering wheel is big too, which is how a typical big boss likes it. But more importantly, it is now adjustable for reach as well as rake, whereas the previous wheel could only be tilted up or down.

Another upgrade is the fitment of aluminium-look paddle shifters to override the transmission.

These paddles are more impressive than the small pedals in the driver's footwell, which include a foot-operated parking brake carried over from the old model and shared with several other Nissans. It is not the most elegant device in an otherwise polished driving environment. The cabin space is good, and even though the seats are less sofa-soft than expected, they are relaxing enough and generously proportioned too.

The Teana tested here is the 2.5-litre variant, which has ditched the previous V6 of the same capacity in favour of a four-cylinder.

This seems like a retrograde step but the new engine is pleasant, even when it is stretched to the upper half of the tachometer range. In fact, it is almost as sweet as the superseded six-cylinder.

Furthermore, the four-cylinder has a slightly higher output, significantly stronger performance and much better fuel economy.

The car's Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) is virtually as slick as a traditional torque-converter automatic, if you do not rush it.

If you do rush the Xtronic by putting it into "Ds" mode, it tries to impersonate a sporty gearbox by shifting up the gears in a racy manner.

The Teana is still no sports saloon, of course. Ride comfort is clearly the priority for this natural-born cruiser which can, well, cruise all day as it pampers its passengers. Even so, this car is not too sloppy through corners - the body control is acceptable, the grip is adequate, and there is even some weight in the steering.

Nissan's new Teana will be officially launched in Singapore in the fourth quarter of this year.


 

CAR INFORMATION

Nissan Teana 2.5 (A)

Price

:$140,300

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line DOHC

Engine Cap

:

2,488 cc

Horsepower

:

170 bhp / 6,000 rpm

Torque

:

234 Nm / 4,000 rpm

Transmission

:

Xtronic CVT (A)

Acceleration

:

10.1 sec (0-100 km/h)

Top Speed

:

210 km/h