What's it like to own a Nissan Magnite? Magnite First Movers
Buying a car is like tug of war. But instead of eight well-built people trying to pull you across, it is the features, styling, safety and brand value that are using all their strength to get you over the line. And it is only the mighty anchor of your budget that can either stop you from signing that cheque, or make it easy to narrow down your options. With some cars, this tug of war can be a constant push and pull while with others, it is easy to find a compromise — let go of some features and voila, it fits your budget. So, when Nissan unveiled the Magnite, it seemed like an extremely attractive package – loads of features, SUV body style, and a turbocharged engine. All in one. Was it the end of the tug of war in the segment? Well, some customers certainly thought so. Bookings were coming in faster than they could be penned down and as of today, bookings for the Magnite are well over the 50,000 mark. And, in a month as awfully troubled as April, Nissan still managed to sell almost a hundred Magnites every single day. We’ve already told you what we think of the Magnite in our first drive review. So today, we have Vijay Saxena — one of the First Movers who picked the Magnite, to give us his unfiltered views about the compact SUV that he just put down his hard earned money for.
“There was nothing that provided better value for money,” says Vijay when we asked him why he bought the Magnite over its rivals. Vijay joined us at the Vertex Nissan dealership in his Tourmaline Brown XV Turbo CVT Magnite. “When we looked at the other options in our budget, it was always ending up in some compromise. Either the automatic was missing or it lacked important features, or it was too expensive,” says Vijay and before he could complete his sentence, his son Shourya pitches in, “Only hatchbacks were well-equipped around this price, but I wanted dad to buy an SUV.” In fact, Shourya was the reason the two of them made it here in the first place.
“My son loves cars. Our Maruti Suzuki Ritz was just turning five years old and he suggested we should get a new car. After we said okay, he was the one to do all the research for the Magnite.” And the research was thorough. Yes, the top- spec XV Premium (O) variant adds stuff such as the LED headlights, wireless charger, 360-degree cameras, cruise control and more, but this XV variant might just be the sweet spot of the range. “Everything that I need is included, like a rear-view camera, keyless entry and go, wireless smartphone connectivity and the digital instrument cluster which displays a nice animation when we start the car,” says Vijay.
The interior packs a lot of tech“At times I regret not buying the top-end model but then I have the option to get a Technology Pack which adds a lot of the features. Other manufacturers don’t give that flexibility,” he adds. At a price tag of just under ₹40,000, the Tech Pack can almost be seen as a half variant bump that can be applied to XV and XV Premium variants, and this is in addition to the sea of variants already on offer. In addition, there are two engine options — the 1-litre B4D naturally aspirated petrol and the HRA0 1-litre turbo-petrol which also gets the option of a CVT. Fearful of boring Vijay with our car-focused talk, we did a quick briefing on the plan of action for the day and headed out from the dealership and hit the road. Our destination? Well, we aren't headed too far; we are completely conscious of the ongoing pandemic. So, with strict safety measures in place we headed to the outskirts of Gurgaon, to the Throttle Shrottle Cafe located on the Leopard Trail.
Now, if you happen to live in or around Gurgaon you may already know this, but the Leopard Trail is just a 20-minute drive from Gurgaon’s bustling Golf Course Road. It might as well have been 200 kilometres away though, because it feels like a different city altogether! Just one turn off of the main highway and the road becomes tight and twisty, the tarmac is inky black and there isn’t too much traffic. In fact the only people who use the road are people who come for joyrides. If you turn up on a Sunday morning, be ready to click some of Delhi-NCR’s swankiest cars and bikes. It isn’t just for those who love to drive either because the Leopard Trail is surrounded by small rocky hills which do a great job of hiding the city’s skyline and provide lots of opportunities to hike up and get a great view of the city.
After we’d taken some pictures we let Vijay and his son put their Magnite through its paces on this ribbon of tarmac. “Just a month after we bought the car in February, the lockdown happened and we didn’t get to drive it much,” says Vijay as we enquire if he’s managed to squeeze in any road trips in the Magnite yet.
“But the road today felt like we were at a hill station and not Gurgaon, it was great fun driving the Magnite here,” says Vijay and judging by Shourya’s grin, I could see that he was enjoying himself too.
After some spirited driving, we reached the end of the Leopard Trail and pulled into the Throttle Shrottle cafe for a quick bite. “I will definitely come here with the rest of my family,” says Vijay as he gulps down some piping hot tea. The cafe is actually a really great place to hang out — laid back, good food with loads of cool memorabilia on the walls, a classic petrolhead cafe.
Once our bellies were full, we got talking to Vijay a little more about his Magnite ownership experience so far. “If I’m completely honest, it didn’t start off very well because we had to wait a long time for our delivery. But the Nissan dealership guys were very helpful, they were always updating us on the status of our delivery and kept us informed throughout the process,” says Vijay. Because of the sheer demand, waiting periods are still not short but Nissan held a lucky draw for customers waiting for their Magnite where 300 customers across India won 100 per cent cashback, free variant upgrades and much more. Production was also set to be ramped up at the RNAIPL plant, though the terrible second wave of Covid may have caused a setback. Let’s get back to Vijay’s experience though. “As much as I can, I try to go for a drive in my Magnite. The pandemic has put a stop to long trips, but even when I go for work, I look forward to taking the Magnite,” says Vijay and he has actually managed to rack up so many kilometres during the ‘unlocked’ months that his Magnite has already been in for its first service.
“The experience was very smooth. The service team picked up and dropped off our car which was helpful during the pandemic and the service was quick,” he says matter of factly. We don’t think Vijay would need too many unscheduled services though, because while the Nissan Magnite is great value for money, it doesn’t skimp on the globally-recognised Japanese reliability, or safety. “Safety wasn’t the most important factor for me but at the end of the day everyone wants a safe car and it is like a bonus to have all these safety features,” says Vijay. The features he’s referring to are the dual front airbags which are standard across the range, as is ABS and EBD. Other safety features such as hill-start assist is standard on all Turbo variants, as is traction control, and VDC (vehicle dynamic control). And then there is the four-star crash safety rating that the Magnite scored in the ASEAN NCAP tests.
It isn’t a surprise that the Magnite is finding so many homes in our country then. It is brimming with features and doesn’t throw safety out the window. But it isn’t just the features or the headline-grabbing price tag that is driving people to Nissan showrooms. It is the overall package. There is no tug of war here. There’s no pushing or pulling. Instead, there’s enough configurability in the variants for it to fit your budget, enough features at all the steps to justify the price and as Vijay and his son told us today, it also wears the sharpest suit amongst its competition.