Kelly says “we were recently given the opportunity to use the Nissan Magnite for a fun little date night. We used the opportunity to stretch its legs (and ours) and venture a little further than the restaurants up the road. So, how did it fare? Pretty well, actually.”
What is it?
The Magnite joins the likes of the Suzuki Brezza and Toyota Urban Cruiser as a B-segment compact crossover/SUV of sorts. It’s a segment that is brimming with excellent choices, so any new contender stepping in really needs to shine. And the Magnite certainly does.
What does it offer?
Standard features include an 8-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto & Apple CarPlay, 16-inch alloy hoops, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Start Assist (HSA), speed-sensing door lock, central locking, and SRS dual airbag system with pretension and load limiter seat belt for driver and passenger. For easier parking, a rear parking camera comes as standard on the Acenta and an around-view monitor on the Acenta Plus. That’s pretty decent standard specification if you ask me.
How does it drive?
Not going to lie, I was a bit thrown by the “L” on the gear selector. This is a CVT so you have the usual auto ‘box options. Then there was the “L” at the bottom of the gate. I wasn’t 100% sure what it meant and when I accidentally selected it without knowing, all I could think of was “why is this revving so high?”. In a nutshell, you’ll use this when going over uneven and hilly terrain. In these instances, the gearbox will hold on to the lower “gears”. I say “gears” because a CVT doesn’t really have gears, does it? But that’s not a conversation we need to get into here.
Other than that one moment of thinking that the car was revving far too high, the overall driving experience of the Magnite was pleasant. There’s some noticeable body roll around corners, but you’re not exactly taking this to the track, are you?
What’s the powertrain?
Under the bonnet sits a 1.0-litre turbo unit that delivers 74 kW and 160 N.m of torque. As already mentioned, our particular test car comes fitted with a CVT ‘box. There is also the option of a five-speed manual ‘box.
Should you buy one?
If you’re in the market for a compact crossover/SUV, then definitely take this one for a test drive. With its wide range of standard features, the Magnite feels like a good choice for the tech-savvy drivers of today. And at a starting price of R256 999, it’s very competitively priced.
At a glance: Nissan Magnite
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 74kW @ 5 000 r/min
Torque: 160 N.m @ 2 800 r/min
Top speed: 173 km/h (Acenta MT and Acenta Plus MT), 168 km/h (Acenta CVT and Acenta Plus CVT)
• Acenta MT = R256 999
• Acenta CVT = R280 100
• Acenta Plus MT = R282 600
• Acenta Plus CVT = R305 700