Minivans are not the most exciting cars out there, but no other body style can match the level of practicality offered by a boxy and upright vehicle. In an SUV-obsessed world, Nissan insists there's still a place for an honest-to-God family hauler, hence the sixth-gen Serena. The nameplate introduced in the early 1990s continues for a more sophisticated minivan with the latest tech and an even more spacious cabin that can seat eight people.

Shaped like a brick on wheels to maximize interior room, the 2023 Serena has a modern front fascia with headlights that blend in with the large grille. Nissan says it has fitted the widest windscreen in the segment to boost outward visibility, further enhanced by the expansive greenhouse with massive side windows. The sliding door on the passenger side has hands-free, auto-open operation while all lights use LEDs.

2023 Nissan Serena

The driver gets an extra 120 millimeters (4.7 inches) of legroom compared to the outgoing minivan inside an overhauled cabin debuting a new switch-type shifter. Parents with lots of kids will be happy to hear water-repellent seat upholstery is included, as are a plethora of USB ports and Wi-Fi to juice up portable media devices to keep them busy during long trips. All passengers have their own air conditioning controls, along with a pre-cooling AC functionality.

Depending on the trim level, the Nissan Serena is either 4,690 mm (184.6 in) or 4,765 mm (187.5 in) long and 1,695 mm (66.7 in) or 1,715 mm (67.5 in) wide. Height also depends on the variant as some are 1,870 mm (73.6 in) tall while others measure 1885 mm (74.2 in) or 1895 mm (74.6 in). As far as the wheelbase is concerned, it's either 3,135 mm (123.4 in) or 3,145 mm (123.8 in). Depending on specification, weight varies from 2,110 to 2,235 kilograms (4,652 to 4,927 pounds).

The gasoline version uses a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine with 150 horsepower (110 kilowatts) and 200 Newton-meters (148 pound-feet) of torque offered with or without all-wheel drive and a CVT. There's also a hybrid e-Power model (2WD only) with a new and quieter 1.4-liter engine producing 98 hp (72 kW) and 123 Nm (91 lb-ft). Combined with the electric motor, the total system output is 163 hp (120 kW) and 315 Nm (232 lb-ft).

An important feature is ProPilot 2.0 enabling hands-free driving in a single lane on a highway at speeds of 40 km/h (25 mph) and higher for the range-topping Luxion trim level with e-Power. The flagship also gets ProPilot Park, which registers and recognizes parking space lines for the first time on a Nissan model. Go for the hybrid and the optional power source to juice up electric appliances in the same vein as EVs offer bidirectional charging.

Pricing starts at 2,768,700 yen (about $20,000) for the base gas model and rises to 4,798,200 yen ($34,700) for the e-Power Luxion. The first to go on sale will be conventionally powered Serena this winter, with the hybrid to follow in spring 2023.

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