If you lived through the turn of the century, you would have witnessed everything around you compress in size but at the same time offer substantially more value than its previous generations. Take the cellphone for example. Starting from being something the size of a brick with physical buttons, the cellphone transitioned into this slim form transcending from physical inputs into touchscreen, voice and even face recognition. A cellphone today has evolved into a lot more than your television, computer and landline ever was. All that power and more in the palm of your hand. It’s fascinating but not surprising.
It’s the same case with SUVs. These have shrunk/evolved into compact SUVs, with dimensions that make it easy to negotiate the chaos that we call roads and even park in tight spaces. A shining example is the Nissan Magnite. The Magnite not only offers the SUV experience, it does away with the issues that come with one, like heavy steering, lazy handling and a cumbersome turning radius. The Magnite is as easy to drive as a hatchback thanks to its light controls and compact dimensions. It is surprisingly easy to park too, thanks to the smaller turning radius and the 360-degree camera – a segment first!
Besides its ease of driving, I have loved the fact that every control is easily within reach of the driver, without compromising on cabin space. The Magnite is spacious enough to seat five passengers comfortably while luggage space is decent as well. It is feature packed — the touchscreen supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and there is a wireless charging pad conveniently placed under the AC controls.
The marriage of its 1.0-litre turbo-petrol motor and CVT gearbox is one of the best I have seen on cars in India. The powertrain is a peppy unit and masks turbo lag quite well. This means you can dart through traffic with the same ease you would with a high-performance naturally aspirated motor. It is efficient too when you feather the throttle pedal.
The Magnite also impresses with its other SUV-esque traits like offering fantastic ride quality. Post monsoon the roads have degraded quite a bit and with the Magnite I do not have to bother slowing down to crawling speeds for potholes the same way if I were driving an old-school SUV. It also impresses with its ground clearance, which coupled with its small overhangs, means I can go exploring around Pune, which I did. The Nissan Magnite has been one impressive companion, and I am sad to see it go back.