Sep 12, 2009
The family has been looking into a car upgrade, especially with the kids growing fast, and our most recent addition. We recently had the chance to test drive the Nissan Grand Livina, which was delivered right at my doorstep by the folks from Nissan Mantrade.
What catches one’s attention most is the Livina’s tagline:
Drives like a sedan, you’ll forget it’s an MPV.
If you’re used to riding or driving MPVs like the Toyota Innova, Mitsubishi Adventure or the Isuzu Crosswind, you’ll be familiar with the less-than-soft ride, due to the body-on-frame construction. These MPVs are meant more for utility rather than comfort. And so, given the high center of gravity, and the fact that construction is body-on-frame, you would expect a harsher ride and a higher than usual level of body roll when riding an MPV. Not with the Grand Livina, though. As advertised, the ride is as car-like as you can get.
That’s the advantage of passenger sedans over most MPVs. The ride is comfortable, so even after extended rides (which is common with traffic in the metro areas today) you won’t feel too stressed and shaken. But the disadvantage with a passenger sedan is most definitely the limited seating and cargo space.
Enter the Nissan Grand Livina. It’s not your usual MPV. Because of its monocoque (or unibody) construction, road vibrations are not as pronounced as with MPVs with body-on-frame construction. Because of the low center of gravity, there’s less body roll. And unlike your usual passenger sedan, it can seat seven people comfortably.
Paultan.org has a lengthier review here, but here are some notes from my experience driving the Livina.
Car-like ride and comfort. From my experience with the family in test driving the 1.8 Liter XL “Luxury” model with automatic transmission, the ride is most definitely car-like. The Grand Livina’s suspension absorbed bumps and humps as if these were non-existent. The air conditioning system was also arctic-cold as with most Nissan cars–the Grand Livina has air-conditioning vents at the second row, and not just the front.
Third row and cargo space. Two folks from Nissan accompanied us during the test drive, so our early grade-school-aged kids had to be relegated to the third row. They were most comfortably seated, and they definitely enjoyed having their own space at the back. I doubt, though, if two adult-sized individuals would enjoy being seated at the back for extended periods of time due to the limited legroom, which is a bit short, but still serviceable. The width of the third row is a bit narrower than the second row, owing to the fact that the sides contain humps where the rear wheel wells are.
I would think, though, that there is a tradeoff between the third row and cargo space. The “trunk” space is a bit limited if you’re using the third row. With the third row folded down, you have ample space for your golf bags, strollers, luggage or groceries. But with the seats in use, you’d have to stack your cargo on top of each other (as recommended by the Nissan sales manager who demoed the unit to us). However, it’s still good to have the option of space vs. seating capacity.
Driveability. The Grand Livina feels light and nimble. You don’t feel as if you’re driving a truck, as with SUVs and some MPVs. The electric power steering is feather-light, and excellent for city driving. What worries me, though, is if one intends to use the Grand Livina for hauling light cargo, or for wading through flooded streets (another common occurrence in many areas in Metro Manila). You don’t have the ground clearance like the Crosswind, Adventure or even the Innova. And you don’t get a diesel option, which can stand flooding better.
Value for money. The Nissan Grand Livina defintely offers value for money. It offers a comfortable ride, and flexibility just when you need it. My only concern would be resale value five years down the road. In this country, only Honda and Toyota cars (as far as I know) enjoy high resale values, mostly because of reliability, ease of maintenance and low cost of parts (with a lot of aftermarket parts available).
I’m not so sure if the Nissan Grand Livina will enjoy this, as well. But if you’re going to enjoy your ride every day for the next few years, then I don’t think “resale” should be a concern at point of purchase.
At the end of our test drive, my kids and wife missed the ride. Even my four-month-old sonwas squealing in delight, seated with the wife at the second row. The Nissan Grand Livina is a good fit for a growing family that needs space, space and more space.
Prices for the Grand Livina are almost at direct competition with most of its MPV counterparts from other brands:
- PhP 858,000 for the 1.8L XL M/T ELITE
- PhP 908,000 for the 1.8L XR A/T LUXURY
- PhP 978,000 for the 1.8L XV A/T ELEGANCE
For inquiries or test-drive requests, you may get in touch with Mr. Elmar Malabriga of Nissan Mantrade at (632) 843-3316 to 23, or email at nissan_mantrade at yahoo.com.