21 Nov 2020 Bunny Punia
Nissan's ticket into the world of sub 4m compact SUVs has hit a sweet spot in terms of getting it right for the segment. It packs in good aesthetics, a spacious cabin, enough features to pamper your family and a possible price tag that will make some of the other SUVs run for cover. We are also glad that at launch, the Magnite will be offered with both a 5-speed manual as well as a CVT automatic gearbox option with the 1000cc turbo petrol motor. But which of these two transmission types should you pick? Well, its time to start with our Magnite Automatic CVT vs Manual comparison. You can hit the play button on the video below or continue to scroll down through the article.
At the time of writing this article, official prices for the Magnite weren't out yet. The same will happen on the 2nd of December but as per leaks, we could all be in for a big surprise. And I do have a strong feeling that a sub Rs 6 lakh will be possible due to the cost effective 3 cylinder 1000cc naturally aspired engine for the lower trims. The higher versions with all the bells and whistles will also undercut rivals. In this case of automatic CVT vs manual, its safe to assume a price difference of about a lakh.
Let me quickly get the design and cabin part out of the way before we get to the main talking point about the Magnite automatic CVT vs manual verdict. We all know that this is indeed a fabulous looking compact SUV and I am glad we got it in a shade of grey during our shoot. The red and blue are striking but if I was to own one, it has to be in this colour - does look premium and upmarket. The only visual difference on the outside is the CVT badge on the boot lid.
Likewise, on the inside, the differentiating factor is the gear lever and lack of a clutch pedal. Everything else remains same and we do like the sense of space and extended feature list. Nissan claims the Magnite offers best in class rear space as well as best in class foot-well area for the driver and I think their claims are genuine! Also, inspite of a surprise price package, its hard to find a fault on the inside in terms of quality issues or cost cutting measures.
And this gets me to the main point - the driving part. Before I get there, quick understanding of the specs on offer. While both the automatic CVT and manual offer 100PS of power from the turbo petrol unit, the manual gets 160Nm of torque as compared to 152Nm for the auto version. Yes, that's about 8Nm less but interestingly, max torque for the CVT comes in at 2200rpm as compared to 2800rpm for the manual. And this is evident when you get going on to city roads. The CVT is surprisingly very good and offers the Magnite brisk performance without even trying hard. Part throttle response is brilliant and its easy to close in on gaps and move ahead of traffic. Dig your right foot deeper and the Magnite CVT shoves ahead and registers a genuine 0-100 run in less than 13 seconds. Yes, before you ask, Nissan has worked hard to keep the rubber band effect limited and during our acceleration runs, the same was evident.
The manual ofcourse is much quicker. We got a GPS based 0-100 in 12 seconds - not in the same territory as the DCT Venue or the Sonet but for the price that the Magnite demands, I have no reason to complain. Gearshifts are easy, though the clutch felt on the heavier side during our drive. What needs some attention is the slightly weak engine response at lower revs. If you are pottering in traffic at 30 km/h in the 3rd gear and want to get going, you to give this one sometime before the push comes. 1700-1800rpm onwards is when you have the Magnite going quicker but anything under that and you either downshift or wait. This turbo-lag issue gets erased with the clever CVT which adjusts as per your right foot inputs. This is infact the beauty of a continuously variable transmission as it has infinite ratios to pick from. On the other side, in the case of the Magnite, the manual is more efficient with a rated figure of 20 kmpl as against 17.7 kmpl for the CVT.
The CVT doesn't have paddle shifts like some of the other cars do but you do have the option to shift the gear level to 'L' or low. This is also handy while on steep uphill stretches. While this can also be used while coming down hills, it still doesn't match up to what a stick shift can do.
So if your pockets aren't too deep and you want a more efficient compact SUV, the manual will keep you happier. However, I strongly believe that if you have a lot of urban driving, especially in peak traffic, nothing beats the convenience of an automatic. This will also be preferred by more people in your family! Exact prices will be out on the 2nd December but till then, make up your mind based on usage, hit a Nissan showroom and take a test drive!
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