By BRENWIN NAIDU
I’M SURE that in the early days of MPVs – Multi Purpose Vehicles, people thought they were a tad gimmicky, perhaps preferring to opt for a traditional station wagon instead. But wagons aren’t always the sleekest looking things, with some estate variants of normal saloons being large and cumbersome-looking. This is where an MPV would make sense: they’re a bit larger than your average hatchback, with more leg and headroom, and greater space for loading up whatever you’ll be carrying. And some don’t look bad either.
I’m fully aware of the virtues of having such a vehicle – even though, I don’t always appreciate it. It doesn’t have the most street cred, the quirky little Renault Modus MPV that I use for my commute, however, it has plenty of space if I ever need to transport the family hound, boxes, furniture, or anything else.
It also isn’t bad at shifting people. It boasts a clever “triptic” rear seat feature. This means that the seats at the back can be re-configured to accommodate two, to three people. The seat can also move forwards, and back – to allow for more legroom for your passengers, or more space for your luggage in the boot. It’s all very, very smart.
Now, according to Nissan’s press release, the Livina is squared up against other hatchbacks in the B-segment, while the Grand Livina, with its 7-seats, is put up against products like Toyota’s Avanza. The Livina does seem like a more family-orientated choice, however – you can’t really picture a pram, and other kiddy gear (toys, bottles, colouring books, etc.) easily fitting into the boot of something like a Polo. The Livina is quite popular on our roads, too. I remember a certain cab company employing a fleet of Livinas to conduct their business with.
Aesthetically, in my opinion, the Livina is slightly more sedate and conservative than other vehicles in the present Nissan line-up. The Livina doesn’t seem as bold and striking as the Qashqai, or as quirky and whimsical as the Juke – which could be coming over soon. But there’s also the Livina X-Gear available for those wanting more of an adventurous edge. It’s a Livina, but with added ruggedness: they’ve beefed it up by adding black trim to the wheel arches and other body panels, a more aggressive front bumper as well as some 15-inch alloy wheels. In its execution – with all these tougher-looking embellishments, it’s similar to products like the Renault Sandero, or the Rover 25 Streetwise – when that was still around here.
The Livina line-up has three trim lines: the Visia, Acenta and Acenta+. A driver’s airbag is standard across the range, however, the Acenta and Acenta+ come with a passenger airbag too. The Acenta and Acenta+ models are also equipped with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Anti-lock Braking System as well as Brake Assist.
A 1.6-litre petrol engine is used in the Nissan Livina. The engine produces 80-kilowatts and 153 Newton-mteres of torque. The top speed figure is 180km/h, while the 0-100km/h time is 11.2 seconds for the Livina and 12.6 seconds for the Grand Livina.