New Car: 2012 Nissan Sunny


Sales of luxury cars may be on the rise in China, but plenty of buyers in the country’s automotive market are still looking for simple, affordable cars. Perhaps that’s why Nissan used the 2010 China International Automobile Exhibition to show off its all-new 2011 Sunny subcompact sedan.

Although the nameplate has been used on a wide array of Nissans since the early 1970s, this is the second time the Sunny name has been tied to a compact sedan tailor-made for price-conscious, emerging automotive markets. Like the last-generation Sunny Neo, the new Sunny will be built in China by Nissan’s joint venture with Chinese firm Dongfeng, but that’s where the similarities end.

While the last Chinese-built Sunny was an evolution of Nissan’s compact Pulsar range, the new 2011 Sunny is built atop a modified version of the Micra platform. Designers have blessed the car with rather dramatic sheetmetal, which bears some resemblance to larger offerings like the Sentra and Altima. Inside, the car’s interior is largely identical to the Micra’s cabin, although the new offering receives reshaped door panels, new seat fabrics, a redesigned instrument cluster, and a different (re: simpler) radio design.

Underneath the skin, the Sunny is a mechanical clone of the Micra. MacPherson struts are fitted up front while a simple (re: low-cost) beam axle is employed in back. The only engine offering at this point is a 1.5-liter I-4, which sends power to the front wheels either via a five-speed manual gearbox or an optional CVT.

Although the Sunny will be sold in a number of different countries, production will primarily be based in the Nissan-Dongfeng plant in Guangzhou, China. Although the Micra may potentially have a future in North America, the Sunny — which carries a price tag of roughly $12,400 — will most likely remain abroad.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

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