The entry-level sedan segment is a unique one. It is the gateway to the ‘bada gaadi’ – the car with the boot. It shows your neighbour that you’ve arrived in life, and that you can afford the parking space as well. It is an added bonus that entry-level sedans offer a lot of features that the equivalent hatchbacks don’t offer. However, the segment has just had a new entrant, the Nissan Sunny. How will it fare against the current king, the Swift Dzire – which is still selling like hot cakes despite being at the end o f its model life?
The Maruti Suzuki Swift Desire has been around for more than a few years now, and we’ve largely got used to the design. From the front, it looks exactly like the Swift hatchback except for the horizontal chrome strips on the grille. The front three-quarter reveals the addition of the boot, but the full effect only comes through when you view it from the side or the rear three-quarter angle. The boot looks added on to a Swift hatchback – which it is, quite literally. There is no change in wheelbase or the length of the rear door, which are the usual changes a model goes through when going from hatchback form to sedan. The boot is inspired by the then BMW 7-series and an ungainly affair. There is a premium feel in the large bar of chrome above the number plate that runs from one tail-lamp to another. However, time has made us used to the sight of the boot, so it doesn’t stand out as much any more. The Dzire looks a little under-tyred unless you get the top-spec ZXi, which has tyres 185mm wide.
There are no problems with a ‘pasted on boot’ with the Nissan Sunny. Sure, it is based on the same platform as the Micra, but Nissan had a free hand with the exterior design. I’m not the biggest fan of Nissan designs, but I have to say that it has turned out quite well – it looks like a mini-Teana, which is a very good thing. The grille has a generous chrome surround which gives it a premium feel. The almond-shaped headlamps are precursors to the organic shape and lines that follow from the hood to the tail. It looks a little tail-heavy when looked at from the side, but that is in keeping with the Teana look. The two C-shaped ridges both at the front and rear fenders are interesting design elements: they relieve the monotony of the car and it doesn’t look slab-sided despite the height of the painted parts. From the rear three-quarters the Sunny looks quite balanced, with the wraparound tail-lamps and horizontal creases on the bootlid and bumper disguising the height of the boot. There is no chrome strip above the number plate like the Dzire has, which might have given a more premium look to the rear.
We’ve got the mid-level VXi Dzire here squaring up against the top-spec Sunny XV, so the Dzire is missing the bigger alloy wheels and wider tyres that enhance the looks a little.
Okay, that's what they're like on the outside. What about on the inside? Click here to find out.
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