And the day has finally dawned on us. After showcasing it at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo, Nissan India has given us the first glimpse of the Evalia today. We are reporting from the media program in Bengaluru where the car has been unveiled to the online media. We will drive the car tomorrow, so a review along with high quality images are on their way.
As we all know, the Evalia was showcased at the New Delhi Auto Expo to the Indian masses as a formidable challenger to the king pin of the Indian MPV segment, the Toyota Innova.
The ball is now in Nissan's court, the success of the Evalia lies in pricing and marketing it well.
While the Evalia is known worldwide as a van (badged NV200 in some markets), Nissan India has invented a whole new category called ‘Urban Class Utility Vehicle.’ Nissan wants to slot the Evalia between the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and the Toyota Innova – two very successful products in India.
The Evalia will also become London's next generation taxi cab replacing the traditional Hackney Carriage.
Unlike its rivals (read Toyota Innova) the Evalia offers a monocoque construction with front wheel drive. It is powered by the popular K9K 1.5L common rail turbocharged diesel engine that makes 85PS and 200Nm, while returning 19.3 kmpl (ARAI tested). The 5-speed manual gear box is also borrowed from the Renault-Nissan family but has gear ratios tuned for passenger applications. It offers ample space for seating 6-7 people.
The Evalia has already gone eco-conscious with the help of the EV variant, and understandably there's no intention to offer this model to India.
Ashok Leyland's rebadged Evalia, the Stile is still in the oven. Many of our readers believe the Ashok Leyland looks better than the Nissan. Ashok Leyland is expected to launch the Stile in the first half of 2013.
Considering this is just a media drive program, no prices are being revealed. We are expecting a price tag of between 7-10 lakh rupees for the entire range. The Evalia is 85% localized and will be made in the Renault-Nissan alliance plant in Chennai sharing assembly lines with the Micra and Sunny.
The 'Urban class utility vehicle' in Nissan's terms fulfills these aspects - Space, Ease of driving & Fuel Economy. The Evalia is 200kg lighter than comparable rivals, and the suspension has been fine-tuned for Indian roads. Its turning radius stands at 5.2 meters. Both turning radius and driver visibility are well ahead of its competitors.
Pointers from the press conference:
- The launch is expected to take place in the last week of September or early October.
- The Indian Evalia is the most feature-loaded model compared to all international market examples.
- "Shift timing," a display similar to Honda's "Eco meter" is present on the dashboard for encouraging soft driving.
- Beige interiors are offered exclusively in India.
- The Evalia is presented in four variants (XE, XE+, XL and XV). ABS and EBD are standard in all variants. The low-end variant will not get Airbags.
- Follow-me-home headlamps is a segment first. The vehicle gets a rear view camera but no parking sensors.
- Electric OVRMs and ergonomically positioned gear lever are smart features.
- The CNG version is currently under study for India. There is absolutely no plan to launch an automatic transmission variant as of now.
The Renault-Nissan JV ranks 3rd globally and it aims to maintain and improve market share by concentrating on emerging markets. Nissan's sales in India soared to 33,300 units last fiscal year and the focus is to double it before the end of 2012.
Nissan plans to inaugurate 100 dealerships within 2012 and 50 additional dealers in 2013. Nissan's after sales 24X7 roadside assistance presently serves 1,681 cities.
Nissan Evalia Image Gallery - Quick clicks
[can't see the slideshow above? Head over to the Flickr Gallery page for direct viewing]
Do have a look at the presentation that Nissan gave to the Indian media. It was very interesting to say the least :)
Nissan Evalia media presentation
[can't see the slideshow above? Head over to the Flickr Gallery page for direct viewing