By far the most exciting car in Nissan’s shake-up plan is the new Z, but the harsh reality is a sports car on its own isn’t enough to move the needle in a significant way. The models that will be doing the heavy lifting are undoubtedly SUVs like the latest Rogue and Juke, which will be followed soon by the next-generation Qashqai / Rogue Sport and the electric Ariya.
There’s a new kid on the block and it’s called the Magnite (from “magnetic” and “ignite”). Developed for emerging markets, this makes the subcompact Juke seem rather large by comparison. It’s Nissan foray into India's hugely competitive segment of vehicles that are less than four meters (157.4 inches) long, so it has to go up against the likes of the Kia Sonet and other pint-sized vehicles.
Gallery: 2021 Nissan Magnite
Don’t let the car’s petite size trick you into believing it’s a fairly basic vehicle because it comes loaded with tech. From the LED headlights on the outside to the wireless charger on the inside, the Magnite is a tech-laden SUV for its segment. Nissan throws in JBL speakers, not to mention a 360-degree camera setup, cruise control, and wireless Android Auto & Apple CarPlay integration.
The interior with its Lamborghini Urus-like air vents boasts a fully digital seven-inch instrument cluster joined by an eight-inch touchscreen, while an air purifier is part of the package as well. Nissan says the Magnite offers segment-leading legroom for rear passengers along with a generous 336-liter cargo capacity extendable by folding the 60:40-split bench.
Regarding the oily bits, the new Magnite rides on the same CMF-A+ platform as other Renault-Nissan models and offers a 205-mm ground clearance. The base version is powered by a naturally aspirated 1.0-liter unit with a puny 72 hp sent to the wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. Step up to a turbocharged three-pot and you’ll get an expected 95 hp channeled to the road through a manual or a CVT.
It’s scheduled to go on sale in India early next year, with additional markets to follow.