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Overall, the new Nissan Teana represents Nissan’s flagship in the country, which it still does with dignity. Kitted to reflect current trends and tastes, the Teana seems poised to remain a serious contender in the executive car segment along the other favorites the Accord and Camry, thus offering again an additional proposition for those who can afford it.

The 2014 Nissan Teana has come at a time when the global economy is still trying to find its footing, in a crowded marketplace where the competition in the D-segment is fiercer than ever with every new offering. Can the new Teana continue to ring the sales counters at dealerships across the country and put big smiles on consumers’ faces?

The successful implementation of the Nissan D platform across global markets meant that the new Teana would also follow suit. Sitting on the same L33 platform of the American Nissan Altima, the Nissan D platform continues to evolve for the better. Arguably, the new L33 Teana is very similar in size to the outgoing J32 in terms of wheelbase (2,775mm), but the new car is slightly longer (4,880mm vs 4,850mm), a little wider (1,830mm vs 1,795mm) and a tad bit shorter (1,470mm vs 1,500mm). Will ordinary consumers be able to tell the difference? Well, probably not in terms of size but with a completely new face and hind quarters, there is no mistaking the new car for the old one, even though there are strong remnants of the old car in the signature C-pillar slope as well as the low-slung bonnet line that continue to represent Nissan’s D-segment challenge.

2014 Nissan Teana: Sharp is in, Soft is out

It is said that the new Teana is but a rebadged North American Altima with the subtlest of differentiation thrown in. To that the writer muses, why the hell not? The Altima is a fine looking machine, so if it’s good enough for the Yankees, why not for the citizens. In fact, we should be thankful that Nissan decided to give us a product that is doing relatively well in the toughest car market in the world. To be bestowed such an honor bears testament to the fact that local buyers are a fussy lot and, like cautious wild game, will hightail it out the dealership in a blink of an eye if they didn’t like what they saw.

The outgoing J32 Teana is a car that you’ll either love or hate. The writer loved the front end which he thinks is soft and subtle, and he had preferences of what they did to the rear which made the car look rather classy and refined. It’s the side profile that the writer had problems with, due to the steep sloping C-pillar that extended a little too far back, giving the impression of a car that was a tad too rear heavy, as he’s a huge fan of cars with short overhangs fore and aft. The overall look of the J32 to the writer, was that it was a little soft for his liking. Nonetheless, the Teana sold in sizeable numbers, which goes to show that motoring journos with their strong bias towards sporty rides, are only half right. However, that trend is slowly changing and is reflected in the new car.

The L33 Teana takes a long leap to the other side, coming out all sharp and crisp, tying up the loose ends left behind by its predecessor. The new car looks sharp, tidy and quite a bit sleeker than the old barge, shedding its ‘Uncle’ image once and for all. The writer has mentioned it before and he’ll say it here again, that today’s local uncles are mostly in denial, and would rather arrive in a sporty carriage than being seen in an old-mobile revealing his true age to all and sundry. In short, subtlety is no longer a sought after factor for today’s buyers who now gravitate towards the latest trends be it in fashion, hairstyles and other personalizations.

Up front, arrow-like headlamps take the place of the older, softer triangular ‘lynx’ headlamp design. A sharper and flatter bonnet line accentuates the more angular frontal design, shedding the implied bulk of the old bonnet which at certain angles looked slightly bulky. The now familiar “Kamishimo” frontal design takes the place of the older, subtler non-descript design of the former. The shoulder lines now extend up and forwards toward the headlights for a more aggressive stance, while accentuating the sharp rear design by ending above the rearlights and not under it like the older car. This visually takes away some of the bulk associated with a car of this size and gives it a very sharp and taut side profile indeed. The rear door handles are now on the same level as the front handles, again giving the new car an uplifting image. Moving on to the rear quarter, the rear overhang no longer slopes outwards but gets tucked in for a more angular presentation. It’s all good out here.

2014 Nissan Teana: Improved luxury within

 

With so much going on outside, the interior of the new Teana did not fail to impress either. The first thing that caught the writer’s attention was the redesigned center console, which is more mainstream and current compared to the older one which looked interestingly luxurious but a little hard to use because it extended too far forward and required arching forward if he wanted to use the touch screen, not to mention hard to read under direct sunlight due to its inclination. The new center console, being more in line with current trends, sits further back into the cabin for easy reach, but here’s where irony kicked in; the media test units didn’t come with touch screens. An official from Nissan told our writer unofficially that the head units on our test cars may not be the actual units that end up in the production cars, so there is hope yet.

The steering wheel is completely new, but the writer can’t say that he prefers the new one, as the older one felt more useful with a 4-spoke design compared to the sportier 3-spoke design of the new one. The meter cluster has been improved, with what Nissan calls ADAD for “Advanced Drive Assist Display” with a 2-ring system giving equal emphasis to the tacho and speedo, while on the previous version the speedo takes pride of place in the center. In the writer’s mind both are equally good, so it’s just a matter of taste. Overall, the new dash seems busier compared to the almost Spartan design of the older dash, so in a way the new car gives you a heightened sense of control over your ride.

Matt wood grain makes way for modern materials at the gear console area, taking off a decade or so years off the new car and giving it that all important “current” appeal. If he may say so, the new Teana’s dash and cockpit area looks very modern and almost continental. The front seats are now wider and are labeled “Zero-Gravity Inspired Seats”, which Nissan claims better support for the pelvic area right up to the chest to reduce muscular and spinal loads and improve blood circulation for better alertness during long drives. The rear seats are largely unchanged, and are just as comfortable and cossetting as before.

For those with a fair bit of coin to spare for the range topper, you get a retractable sunroof and cruise control, as well as a Bose Premium Audio System complete with subwoofer at the rear parcel shelf and a total of 9 speakers. The 2.5XV variant also gets Xenon headlights with auto-leveling and washer system and a powered rear sunshade while both the 2.0XL and 2.5XV get Cruise control, Audio control, Bluetooth Handsfree control for a more intuitive driving experience. Generous accoutrement can also be found on all variants, which include Keyless entry and Push start, Dual-zone air conditioning and Rear Air-cond vents.

2014 Nissan Teana: Mechanically more efficient

For the 2.0-liter variants, the MR20DE continues to soldier on, so nothing much to mention there. The 2.5-liter version though, loses 2 pistons but gains better fuel economy. The older VQ25DE V6 engine put out 182PS @ 6,000rpm and 228Nm @ 4,400rpm, while the new QR25DE drops 9PS but makes up for it with higher torque for a final tally of 173PS @ 6,000rpm with 234Nm arriving earlier at 4,000 turns of the crankshaft, with a healthy fuel efficiency improvement of 26.7% over its predecessor. The new engine is also 23kg lighter than the old mill, so the new car has less curb weight to worry about.

Nissan’s Next Generation XTronic CVT has been further improved in the new Teana, now with Drive Sport Mode. A total of 70% of its components have been redesigned for better efficiency, while overall friction has been dramatically cut by 40% for a more powerful and spirited performance across engine variants.

Other mechanical improvements include a new Rear Multi-Link suspension system that boasts an enhanced smooth ride with greater stability and improved traction, offering a good balance between responsive steering and a comfortable ride, while an Electro-Hydraulic Power Steering (EHPS) takes advantage of the natural feedback of an hydraulic based steering system while being harnessed to an electric motor instead of a conventional hydraulic belt-drive which frees up the engine’s power.

Another innovation worthy of mention is the new Active Under-steer Control (AUC) system which prevents under-steering while the driver charges into a corner over a variety of road conditions including slippery, wet and/or snowy/sandy conditions. AUC works by braking the inner wheel during cornering maneuvers and works seamlessly with the car’s Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS). It’s like having a Limited Slip Differential (LSD) albeit electronic in nature.

The 2014 Nissan Teana Drive

Nissan claims improved NVH due to improvements made to its engine and exhaust mounts, improved mounting rigidity for its air-conditioning system, higher rigidity of its chassis, and an increase of 30% of noise absorption materials compared to the outgoing car at key areas within the cabin; roof trim, instrument panel and floor mats. The writer was eager to test out those claims during the media drive event. Cabin quietness is one of Nissan’s hallmarks for most of the passenger vehicles in its lineup, and the new Teana continues that tradition by being one of the quietest sedans tested of late. Cruising along the highway at way above the legal limit reveals a very quiet cabin, with noise intrusion coming in only above 150km/h which is commendable.

The new multi-links helped ensure excellent straight-line stability, assisted by the properly weighted EHPS which provided good feedback throughout the drive. You’d think a large D-segment car would be tough to handle because of its bulk, but the Teana took everything in its stride and took to the corners like a duck to water, weaving in and out of corners with general ease and without much drama. Ironically, the writer found that the 2.0 variant handles better than the 2.5-liter, which could only mean that the 2.0-liter was the better behaved of the duo especially in corners, but for outright acceleration the 2.5-liter 4-potter snatches the crown away like taking candy from a baby.

Overall, the new Nissan Teana represents Nissan’s flagship in the country, which it still does with dignity. Kitted to reflect current trends and tastes, the Teana seems poised to remain a serious contender in the executive car segment along the other favorites the Accord and Camry, thus offering again an additional proposition for those who can afford it. ETCM has already made bookings valid early this month, with prices yet to be released. Color options for the new Teana include Storm Blue, Tungsten Silver, Diamond Black, Bronze Gold and Brilliant White.

2014 Nissan Teana images