Nissan Magnite – The Cheapest Compact SUV 2021

Compact SUV – Nissan Magnite Overview

Well, 2020 certainly seems to be the year of the compact SUV. What with all the new launches and facelifts that we’ve had and as the year draws to a close. We’ve got yet another one, say hello, to the Nissan Magnite. There are two important reasons you should have your eye on this car.

For one, it is a “make or break” model for Nissan here in India. So you can bet that they’ve poured their heart and soul into it. And two because it promises to undercut the entire segment significantly on price. This means it could actually start a little sub-segment of its own. Could this be the big surprise of this year? Well, we’re gonna drive it today and find out.

But what do you think about the Nissan Magnite? Can it go toe-to-toe with the heavy hitters in the hottest segment in India right now? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and share this article with your friends.

Nissan Magnite Exterior

Well, one thing’s for sure they’ve really gone bold with the exterior design. No boxy anything here, it is all about rakish angles and sharp cuts. The big chrome frame grille is a bit Datsun. Because well, the Magnite was originally envisioned as a Datsun, but I think it suits the car well. 

At 3994 millimeters, it’s about the same length as any other compact SUV. But it’s narrower and lower than most. Although, its 2500 millimeter wheelbase is power for the class. But it’s the bold details on the Magnite that attract your attention.

Full led lighting upfront for the slim headlamps DRLs and fog lamps give it some menace. And choosing one of the contrast roof color options sure seems like a good idea. The rear end has a lot of character with its integrated roof spoiler.

Magnite spelled bolt around the tailgate sharp taillights and a sculpted bumper section. What will also be a highlight is the 205 millimeters of ground clearance. That will let you drop two wheels off a high shoulder with confidence. one thing’s for sure it does turn heads wherever it goes.

Nissan Magnite Interior

So could it be as impressive on the inside as well? Perhaps the build quality and some of the plastics aren’t quite as good as you find in rivals. But there’s a lot in here to make you go wow.

The design, for instance, is very contemporary. I really like these 

  • hexagonal ac vents,
  • this center console area,
  • and lots of storage spaces, and
  • the slightly chunky steering wheel,

And then we come to the equipment. What ties it all together is the latest generation of Nissan’s electronic architecture. That controls pretty much everything. 

There’s a new screen, and that enables connected car tech there, is 

  • Wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto. So, you don’t need a cable,
  • And there’s even a 360-degree camera,

That said, the camera feed resolution is not great so, you can’t see smaller obstacles clearly. but it’s still cool that a car in this class has that feature at all

Nissan Magnite Features

But what really impresses me the most is the screen over here. Which is just superb the 7-inch screen is a proper digital display. With, smooth and colorful graphics and all the relevant information presented clearly.

It’s not a backlit makeshift solution, as you’ll find in some other cars. Some might not like the cartoon-like aesthetic, but I think it gets the job done. And with that, let’s have a look at some of the other equipment available on the Nissan Magnite.

The Magnite will have cut-throat pricing, but Nissan hasn’t cut out too much equipment. As mentioned, there’s 

  • Full led front lighting, 
  • wireless Apple Carplay, and android auto, 
  • and a big 7-inch instrument cluster screen, 
  • you can also get a JBL sound system,
  • wireless phone charging,
  • and an air purifier as options 
  • cruise control is welcome too 

But what some might miss is a sunroof. On the safety front, you get two airbags across the range. But what’s nice is that the rear wiper is standard from the base trim. And all turbo models get traction control VDC and hill assist. You even get tire pressure monitoring in top-spec. So quite a few gizmos to play with. 

Nissan Magnite Backseat 

And if you’re generally sat in the back, you’re going to be quite pleased with the magnet. What comes as a pleasant surprise in the back seat of the Nissan Magnite. Because just look at how much space there is.

Here now, I’m just under 5 foot 10 inches tall that’s set to my position and a good amount of knee room I’ve got. There’s even plenty of headroom. So even a taller person would have enough space back here. it’s also a pretty comfortable space with a very comfy seat in a good position. 

And large windows and there are even a few creature comforts peppered about like

  • rear ac vents 
  • this armrest 
  • even a nice handy place to dock even a large smartphone

Boot Space

Now often, when compact SUVs have big back seats, they make a sacrifice in the boot area. But that’s not quite the case here sure, its 336-liter boot may not be the largest in the class. But it’s well-shaped and should be able to take a decent amount of luggage.

Nissan Magnite Engine & Driving Test

Now it’s time for a critical test to get out on the road. and try out the new HRA 01 liter three-cylinder turbo petrol engine. it makes its debut in this car but will soon find its way into many more Nissan and Renault products. At 100 horsepower and 160-newton meters. the outputs aren’t quite as much as some of the other one-liter turbo petrol in the class. but in this relatively light compact SUV performance doesn’t feel lacking.

Nissan Magnite CVT

the car I’m driving right now is automatic. and it’s equipped with the latest generation of Nissan’s Extronic CVT. Nissan is quite good at doing CVTs and it really shows.

this gearbox is quite well suited to this engine and if you leave it in normal mode. it does a great job of handling city duties sloshing around seamlessly. and getting you where you need to go at the right pace without too much interruption in the cabin. 

it can feel a little bit lazy when you try to step on it and that’s where the sport mode comes in. In sport, mode shifts are much crisper and it really does well. To dispel some of the negatives people associate with the CVT gearbox.

for instance, in this mode, there’s very little of that rubber band effect. and it just feels like a very well sorted automatic almost like a torque converter. now there’s no way to select ratios or steps manually in this gearbox. but you might not miss that because the sport mode really does a very good job of keeping the power going.

the other gearbox option with this engine is a five-speed manual and let’s go check that one out now.

Manual Nissan Magnite

now driving the manual version of the desired magnite. It should help me get a better idea of some of the nuances of this new engine. but first, let’s talk about the transmission itself. the clutch is a little bit on the snappy side so finding that bite and release point is a little tricky. but you get used to it. it’s a little firm too and after a long slog through traffic, you might wish you chose the CVT instead.

moreover, while you get a nice dead pedal for your left foot in the automatic. there’s no place to rest it in the footwell of the manual. the gear shifts are nice and progressive and feel very satisfying to engage.

and now on to the engine itself when you start it up you are met with quite a few vibrations. not just through the steering wheel, pedals, and gear lever. but also through the seats themselves. so your passenger will feel it but that’s at idle. and the moment you get moving it smoothens out considerably. 

what you can’t escape though is a bit of noise whether that is from the engine or the wheels and tires. okay, it’s not outright sporty. and certainly nowhere in the same league as some of the other turbocharged petrol engines in the compact SUV segment.

but it’s not all that bad either and you always feel like you have enough power on tap. except at extremely low revs. it doesn’t feel too sluggish low down. but keep it in the mid-range and you’ve got plenty of go for a compact SUV like this.

Nissan Magnite Performance

Performance is actually pretty good and in a quick test with our vbox. The Magnite turbo manual did 0-100 in 11.16 seconds. The CVT which incidentally gets a bit less stock at 152 nm to the manual’s 160 nm got 0 to 100 in 12.86 seconds. Rolling acceleration times as you might imagine are better in the quick-acting CVT.

which adjust your accelerator pedal inputs very well. So that’s everything you needed to know about the powertrain. 

Nissan Magnite Ride And Handling

But what of the dynamics of the Nissan magnite the suspension is set up a little bit stiff. and you can really feel that over a bumpy road bumps tend to crash into the cabin and you will get moved around quite a bit. but like with most slightly stiff suspension setups. it only gets better as you go quicker high-speed stability is rather good. and the firm setup means good body control too.

not just in a straight line but around corners as well a quicker steering would have made it a fun handler. but what’s more important is that this setup makes the magnite easier to steer in city condition.


so it’s not exactly a thrill from behind the wheel. but what the magnite does deliver is the ease of driving be that via its light steering or its flexible engine. and well what do we think of 2020’s latest compact SUV then?

well, the key factor will be the price and we hear Nissan is going to shock us. and they did with a starting price as low as 4.9 lakh rupees Ex-showroom. and even the top version will cost less than 10 lakh that’s lower than even some premium hatchbacks.

We believe the magnite seems all set to attract hordes of potential buyers. on offer is a sharp and modern looking compact SUV that is spacious, well equipped, and easy to drive. it has a few shortcomings notably that it’s not built as robustly as its rivals. And Nissan’s dealer network needs to improve too. but if you’re within the marketplace for a compact SUV. and don’t mind getting a bit less car for less, money keep your eyes glued to the magnite. This could just, be the most disruptive SUV to hit showrooms in a long, long time.


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