Nissan Grand Livina – A Static Evaluation

You’ve probably read about it. So much have been reported about this new entry in the Malaysian mid-size MPV category. I’m intrigued about what this vehicle can offer, especially since it will be the direct competitor to Malaysia’s still-under-development first national multi-purpose vehicle.

Grand Livina sketch

The exterior styling is not ground breaking nor avantgarde but definitely practical. I’m sure the designers had a difficult time exercising their creativity as I can sense a lot of emphasis for manufacturability, workability and cost reduction in place as a design constraint. At least proportionately it isn’t as oddly styled as the Innova or Avanza. Good wheel to body relationships makes all the difference in how the car sits on the road.

Like most MPV’s the interior should be the main centre of attraction. Especially since most buyers in this segment are family oriented and practical people. Space utilization and flexibility is key in people mover design and this is where the Livina meets expectations. The high rear roofline gives good headroom, even for my height. Head roll and pitch is not constrained negatively when seated upright. Having said that I do feel the bench type 3rd row is a turn off. Also, the pull strap to system for the interior is largely overdone i.e. too long at places and positioned at odd angles at others. Call me old skool but I still feel traditional plastic levers are best for quality and image.

The 2nd row has an almost exact seat folding mechanism as the Toyota Wish (tumble & fold) but one will notice an obvious gap between the 2nd and 3rd rows. I feel this is due to the light colour interior as well as the use of normal headrests; unlike pillow type as in the Mazda5 and Wish. With the 3rd row up there’s just enough space at the rear for one mid-size luggage and an overnight bag (although this is typical for this segment). However, lift the rear floorboard cover and you’ll see the use of el-cheapo corrugated board as the floor lining. This board also covers the spare tyre. Now, I don’t know about you but I think this is cost reduction extreme. Imagine how it’ll look after a few visit to the supermarket or, god forbid, the wet market! Utter mess I say!

The front row is typical and conventional. Nothing outstanding catches your senses and grabs you. From a technical point of view I have to applaude them for being able to matt down the plastics and achieving the soft look while still using hard polypropylene. There’s no 3rd row airconditioning so the engineers have included a central blower to channel cool air to the rear. I use the term ‘central blower’ and not ‘booster’ because I don’t think it can deliver its promise. This vent is located just above the small central airconditioning louvres, and it is a tiny one. The one on the Wish is at least 3 times larger and that features a dedicated booster.

The overall interior is refreshing primarily due to two main things:- a light beige interior, and plentiful of carry over items from the Nissan family inventory. Look at the inner door release, steering column + control stalks, and switches. Familiar parts from the Latio and Micra abound. The light coloured interior will not please many people (historically Malaysians are more in favour of neutral greys or blacks) but I’m sure the Nissan brand will play its role to influence potential buyers. I believe in our market practicality still rules the day in the end.

There are 3 variants available; the cheapest being a 1.6 Manual (RM82,450.78 OTR/Metallic), followed by a 1.6 Auto (RM86,971.68 OTR/Metallic) and the high line is a 1.8 Auto (RM95,684.70 OTR/Metallic). All engines are DOHC 16 valve 4-cylinder in-line for fuel efficiency but only the 1.8 features continuous valve timing (CVTC).

In summary, a great effort by Nissan to bite into the lucrative MPV segment currently monopolized by the likes of the Toyota Avanza, Innova, Wish, Honda Stream and Mazda5 aka Premacy. A very safe approach to design with minimal eye candy to wow the consumers. Having said that, the spacious interior and good build coupled with the Nissan brand will surely pull in sales, albeit not by the droves.


46 thoughts on “Nissan Grand Livina – A Static Evaluation

  1. I know this is Grand Livina topic – but the fact that you have a dedicated blog entry on it points to something… clues on how Proton’s MPV will look like; its features etc. Am I right?

    So, could you shed some light on the upcoming MPV? Will it be roughly this size? With sedan driving feel? Will it use the stretched waja (Chancellor) platform? Engine capacity? etc

    These questions are all general enough. Hopefully you are not ‘made to work elsewhere’ by answering them. By the way, Proton Management shouldn’t be that secretive. A lot of people I believe is waiting for this MPV. A little bit of info will wet their appetite more.

  2. alihms -> That’s for me to know and for you to find out! 😉
    We endeavour to give what Malaysians want in the upcoming MPV so perhaps it is better for all of you to tell us what you want… But as with all wishes, not all can come true. Simply because we can never please everyone, everytime. It’s just not logically possible. We can only listen to the voice of the majority and to those who fall within our targetted customer group.

  3. I’m glad when l discovered you’re not really ‘happy’ with the Nissan offering–I read your next MPV should be better than this very very hot MPV in the market. Even the price for this B-segment derivative MPV is not cheap nor stylish as compared with another Japs counterpart. You know the,-old Wish and new Stream.

    I heard Proton next baby will derived from Waja-Chancellor platform, a good C-segment. Have a Grandish styling cues… BUT (I know this is my preference, nobody will consider in this market)..a coupe inspiration-design MPV like the Honda Stream MK II will pleased more crowd than MINIMALIST Lotus-design MPV.

    Imagine a Stream MK II evolved to new Proton MPV (or try to imagine more proportionate Saga than a Honda City’s design), certainly proton designers able to woo MPV market, with Suzuki Swift price? At RM70k (the most) is necessary for entry level, I guess. More than that, we’ll never get through even ASEAN market.

    OK for Proton to use PP for dashboard as long as the design is good like Stream or Livina-the latter actually and the extension of Nissan Note, no wonder second row look weird than Stream (even old one)-Wish.

    A la Caldina is good BUT maybe too demanding for Proton.

    I believe Proton team can fulfill the responsibility.

  4. Karl -> it’s interesting to hear the kind of news that goes around about Proton’s future MPV… you ideas are interesting and i feel you’re quite sports spirited. appreciate you sharing your comments 😉

  5. You’re welcome, indeed. Just drop me an email at

    I guess we can rely on you if ya benchmark is Wish, not bad imagine Wish married with Caldina and practicality of new Stream interior, driving character of Civic with double-wishbone (2 if not 4 ) with Lotus-tuning and as economical as Livina or better mileage with potent diesel.

    Too demanding, huh? BUT l fear we can expect this for new Proton MPV as time seems not willing to compromise with us. Frankly, I’m not really into Grandis; personally and it don’t counted as a consideration.

    Malaysians even more demanding than more developed (white) South Afrikaaners! They ok with Neo design.

  6. Azlan,

    You don’t like new Stream styling? I guess if they give little extra space behind third would be nice BUT as a midi MPV it’s adequate.

    Perhaps, we can have survey whether many prefer full size mpv a la Estima-Elysion-Elgrand-Alphard-Mazda MPV or midi. I think tendency toward midi due to the FC, price and less boxy bulky nature of the latter. By the way, survey is best avenue to fathom buyers’ preference.

    Love to see full size yet FC efficient equivalent to midi MPV if we can keep it sub 1.5-1.6 tonne. 40 MPG is possible if we opt for potent common rail turbodiesel. Imagine an Estima with 180ps (175bhp) 400Nm from 2000-2500rpm courtesy of 2.2 D-4Dturbodiesel from European lineups or Elysion from 2.2 i-CTDi or i-DTec Euro 6!

    Easily can beat popular 2.4 motor bhp or 3.5 engine torque, huh? Outsourcing engine not bad too though we must consider many factor. Even highly popular BMW mini share same powerplant with Peugeot or Mercedes-BMW planning to have common stuff in their lineups. As Malaysians and global acceptance towards everything Japanese (though boring BUT who deny their soul-less car reputable and reliable? Or anything more important than this? Or just go for Italians with potent engine BUT deserved to track than road as their car somewhat impotent when it come to reliability?).

    Just food for thought. Our position, Satria Neo for instance was accepted as one of the least depreciate car contributed to the Japanese heritage as enjoyed by Japanese car made in elsewhere.

  7. azlano,
    how do you describe a sucessful interior ambiance for an MPV to differenciate it from a Car, (regardless material)

  8. azlano – The third row must be longer and overall body width must be wider if compare to Grand Livina.
    Another plus point to consider, we can open the rear windscreen to access the luggage like CRV and not the whole rear door like aVANza and Grand Livina.

  9. Livina third row 4 me quite adequate BUT second row far from satisfactory as Nissan simply extend their current NOTE and merely redesign light cluster and interior. That’s why without Nissan badge very hard to be accepted by the MPV fans.

    Inadequate width-just made it only 2 1/2 seater for second row, poor legroom, flimsy seats design (second and third row) and many cheapo looking/functioning parts namely relatively small mirrors, omitting of few common parts (i.e sunglasses panel, map light, FC meters, strap adjuster/lever) not to mentioned no split function 3rd row seat.

    BTW Nissan strength can’t be ignore in FC area for 1.8 version, claimed 6.5l/100km as opposed to 6.8 for new Stream 1.8 or 6.9 for Wish 1.8.

    As new Proton MPV based on Waja platform few thing should be addressed, namely:

    1. Increased in wheelbase deemed necessary to allow extra space for 2nd row (Stream also slightly longer than Civic)

    2. More passenger room is a must as compared to Waja

    3. Minimalism is inappropriate for midi mpv

    4. Door handle should be borrow from Gen. 2, new Saga or, Neo instead of from Waja.

    5. External door mirror (not attached to A-pillar) will increase visibility area and sportier look

    6. 2nd row blower or booster will make Toyota Avanza exit from our marketplace (latest Kia Carens have this function)

    7. Powerplant should be more potent than current offering otherwise Livina will have advantage, 1.8 gasoline is good BUT l think higher torque at lower rpm is excellence. 2.0 diesel with lower roadtax is nice.

    8. standard ABS, EBD, SRS is necessary

    Price starting at RM70k is fine if the mpv have many features.

  10. azlano – Another extremely important point to ponder is Perodua will roll out their 1st MPV in 2009 too. I guess Tuan Syed aware of this development too.

  11. I think the boot space shud be very big even wit 3rd row up, that’ll b a major advantage than its competitor!!

    From what I see, most midi MPVs hv negligible boot space when the 3rd row is up.

    Grey/black interior is DEFINITELY better than beige. Had enough of Gen2’s beige interior nightmare…

    2nd and/or 3rd row air-cond will definitely help. This would be very important, even if Proton edi has the best car air-cond out there!! So nice, I think if Proton actually make air-conds for home n office, it will be a best-seller, wakaka.

  12. Karl -> i don’t hate the new Stream styling, i just feel an MPV should look like an MPV and not try to be something it’s not. having said i second the fact that mid-sized MPV’s stand a better chance of getting mass appeal here due to the factors you mentioned. especially since fuel costs are expected to escalate further.

    azlina -> good vehicle interiors must meet the intended customer demographic. for an MPV the interior must be flexible, comfortable & spacious. the trend is to have the ‘home in your car’ concept because you spend most of your time in the car than out of it. price wise largely depends on the kind of equipment and materials you use; leather, for example, is expensive. and so are all the electronics people want BUT are not willing to pay for!

    theking, Karl & tokmoh -> your wishlists are long and very typical. 3rd row a/cond, grey interiors, large interior space, lots of safety items & gadgetry… but how do you have all that and still keep the price affordable for the average Malaysian? it’s a catch 22; do you see the glass half full or half empty? difficult to compromise don’t you think? how do you have larger than expected cabin space and still get streamlined styling in a mid-sized package?

    i guess what i’m getting at is that even though we want many things, in reality you can only have some of them. the MPV can’t be everything to everyone. it’s just not logically possible. but after doing surveys, we now know what will please MOST of our target customers.

  13. Dear Azlano,

    That’s why midi MPV is best from Proton though ability to offer a downsize Estima maybe will please more ppl. Midi MPV can keep cost down (manufacturer’s point of view) and cost of ownership lower (buyers) especially post_GE oil price easily touch RM2.20 and not very long after that RM2.50 or even RM3.00 as next election still very very far, 4-5 years ahead.

    I don’t want Proton experience what NAZA Ria or Citra already went through. Now we can get Ria for RM80k even cheaper than hot Livina or Citra at below RM70k with zero down payment. The brand will perish if residual value nose dive like that. Now, people trust no more at NAZA Kia.

    So, may Almighty God give you guys (planners, marketers, designers, engineers, accountants, etc) direction what best for Malaysians/ASEANs. Proton have no room for mistake now only can rely from lessons of the past (read Juara, Tiara).

    BTW I second tokmoh, at all cost beige should be avoided. Look cheapo. Black or grey will do better. Not too demanding, huh?

  14. Karl -> in retrospect, it isn’t really the physical size of the MPV which defines it’s FC, it’s actually the powerplant and GVW. personally i think the Citra & Livina suffered from poor research and short term thinking. we will certainly look through our lessons learnt and ensure we don’t repeat our (or others) mistakes.

    … greys are definitely more practical! 😉 question is, what kind of grey?!

  15. Well, any grey from Waja (is it still grey? My dad’s waja is the ori ones before any facelift), Satria Neo, Saga mk2 n Persona will do. That can certainly help wit economy of scale n thus cost by sharing the same dashboard, meter panel, seats (the front ones), blabla. There will definitely b ppl (esp bashers n ppl who are in higher level of society n financial status) who might complain u guys nt creative, bt I think that’s a small price to pay compared the advantage of sharing most parts which can be possibly carried over. The majority won’t complain, n they’ll welcome it cuz “asalkan boleh muat 7 org jadilah, boot luas utk shopping dan berpatutan.” I think that’ll b a smart move to save cost. Look at Avanza, a sorry excuse to be a Toyota, but sells hot mainly to pricing factor……and the brand.

    Practicality comes first, nee~?

  16. Anyway, from my PoV, practicality =

    – Lots of usable storage room, like ones in Saga mk2. Give each occupant a cup holder 😉 Also, if put cleverly, it can get a real big boot. Just like Saga mk2 (again), it may look small n compact, bt its boot exceed the 400L barrier!! Brilliant!!

    – Long lasting. The way I see it, Proton newer cars do look like it.

    – ABS n twin airbags shud b optional for H-line.

    For sure, I believe Proton MPV has the upper hand in:

    – Handling. Give it the Lotus treatment as always. Yeah!! 😀

    – Cooling. Proton a/c has always easily obliterate its rivals.

    – Campro. Hm…it seems u’ve oredi know it’s gonna use Campro forced induction, eh? Dunno how its fc gonna compare to others, bt road tax will def be cheap.

  17. tokmoh -> that’s right, Proton is not about niche vehicles but about ‘affordability & practicality’… for now! 😉

  18. azlan – i do hope the new Proton MPV will be my next proton car after saga mk1, wira, waja, savvy, gen2 and saga mk2(booked AT blue color). Anyway my 1st car was Honda Prelude.

  19. azlano,
    understandably the proton is target for the user for its affordability and practicality,

    the design therefore is sedate for that reason, but lovable, i presume,

    how do you describe your design/styling since the design is more focus inexpensive and practicality,

    is it a waja platform like said,
    if 1.6 is used, i could imagine the size for its power to weight ratio is concerned,
    or any other power plant might be?

    now waja cps is at 65k , price of the affordable mpv might be at mid/higher 60k, or lower 70 for full spec, ?
    so what your expcted price,?

    thanks azlano

  20. Azlina you’re quite auto geek. Gimme sms if you ok, 0192112588.

    I love Proton (as many families depend on them) though l never had a proton in my garage yet, only my close families.

  21. Azlan,

    Yes, agree FC determined by not a single factor. If the car have poor power to weight ratio then it probably end up as less efficient car. Coupled with adequate TORQUE, god willing FC will definitely better, especially with decent Cd figure, moderate kerb weight etc.

    BTW, it’s damn challenging to bring a decent MPV while people watching, a big no no if the price too close to Japanese counterparts.

    Me too hard to digest when many people trapped with Livina (extremely expensive car for the size and never produced and priced as efficient and reasonable as japanese cars). Citra we know, dirt cheap with 2.0 BUT heavy for that power and torque. Poor FC. Even Unser and Innova too, not very good FC (read BAD).

  22. Guys, u already explore new ESTIMA? Nice interior yet practical and spacious. FC also rated as good for that size mpv.

    BTw nissan Forum still hotter than estima.

  23. theking -> thanks for your support!

    azlina -> as i mentioned before, for now our design language is based upon practicality and simplicity. but it is changing, albeit in a subtle manner. you will see this in our upcoming products…
    don’t be solely influenced by engine capacity. torque and GVW plays an important role for a positive driving experience.
    defining OTR is a trade secret and will never be disclosed to the public until launch day 😉
    no doubt we have comfort in mind so trust us to implement use a suitable system!
    * sorry to hear about your pink h/phone.. get the iPhone if you can wait, or the LG Viewty if you can’t!

    Karl -> for sure we will be priced competitively, otherwise there’s no point for us to be the National Car project! but due to that too, compromises have to be made…
    I’ve checked the new Estima last year and i must say it is a cool MPV. the exterior styling is neat while the interior is lavish. but mind you, this is a HIGH END full size MPV so it warrants such luxuries. i especially like the Aero Tourer version. so far i’ve only seen one in Malaysia… imagine this in Hybrid! sweet…

  24. Lovely, if you like Estima/Previa/tarago design. Interior is neat yet practical. For 2.4 full size MPV the price in Japan similar to it peers, starting with Y2.5M (without consumption tax).

    12.4km/l at 燃料消費率
    (国土交通省審査値) driving mode.

    If we translate to our currency ESTIMA basic mere RM75k in Malaysia and weight only 1760kg.

  25. Karl -> all things considered lets not compare our prices with unprotected markets. like i said before, we have to deal with what we’ve been handed so no point mulling over spilled milk. lets make the best of what we’ve got!

    nd -> GVW = Gross Vehicle Weight, OTR = On The Road (Price) 😉

  26. The price given maybe deemed not realistic BUT given we have intention beside provide malaysians with affordable car then it’s practical to use that price as yardstick to develop our car.

    Let say, our similar size with Vios B segment mere RM31.5-40k then it’s RIGHT. If the price of our B-segment RM50-60k then we can assume something wrong with our pricing, we can never compete with most manufacturers.

    If we can produce Stream size C-segment at RM70k cars then we’re simply not competitive (over RM20k premium to Japanese midi MPV).

    If we can produce the mpv similar to Estima, or maybe slightly higher maybe we had little chance to woo same segment’s buyers, otherwise no point to have dearer Proton MPV instead better and cheaper ESTIMA, isn’t?

    I still can’t figure out your word, for second time actually,….we have to deal with what we’ve been handed so no point mulling over spilled milk. lets make the best of what we’ve got!

    You’re “handed” just some quarter forced proton to give the contract to certain parties or what?

    Business must look and consider only business matters otherwise…sendiri mau ingat la.

  27. right karl, looks small
    ,ill be moving to c segment now,
    somehow thats just play play,

    for it to be by early next year, as saga is 17 month development to the launch date,
    its likely that now is more on fabricating for components?
    or im going too far?
    or at least prototype for a ground test?

    thanks azlano,

  28. azlina -> you want to share with us what’s your profession? 😉 seems you’re an avid photo retoucher with an interest in cars…

    the new Saga managed to meet its agressive timing due to efficient use of carry over components and process hypercompression. the MPV is different as it has minimal c/o items due to it being a new vehicle type never done before by Proton. therefore it should be given ample time to mature accordingly.

  29. azlano,

    my profession, non auto related, bit of art involve,i work with people, (alah secretive pulak)
    but yes i love cars, like to know about car, therefore my touch is comfortablely if with car,
    anyway it looks crude and at beginers level,

    by the way, if you care to describe the style proton MPV, like,

    or proton carrying its present theme into the new MPV, which is i would say i like it, or introducing little bit trend setter for the future model, subtlely

    but sometime jumping out from its norm like chris did on the bmw to some extent it doesnt look right, ? like the 3 series coupe for instance,

    here another same old image by me,

    saga estate, sporty bit lah,
    why german call it touring for estate?

    thanks azlano,

  30. Azlina,
    the second pic, the estate, looks not bad lah… But the first one, the MPV, looks really horrible….the worst MPV I’ve ever seen.

    Sorry, not heart feeliong… I’m just being frank. Good effort anyway… You can always improve….hehehehe

  31. Azlina maybe you can use newest Accord wagon concept as ya styling cues. Sportier and with longer D-pillar will allow some decent space for two and over 250l area for luggage.

    S-max also not bad.

  32. azlina -> EURASIAN! 😉
    we’re not doing another Chris Bangle coz our brand won’t be able to support such controversy. not yet anyway…
    Touring vs Estate is just a company preferred nomenclature for each vehicle type. it’s not really country specific… similarly like notchback, hatchback, 44, aeroback and fastback; can you describe the difference?
    btw, your Saga Estate looks quite well ‘Photoshoped’ (if there’s such a word)!

    Karl -> the S-Max is quite well executed, but then it’s a full size MPV so it undoubtedly has the real estate to get that proportion.

  33. It is either estate (British English) or stationwagon (American English). Tuoring, or watever it is erm……dunno. Mayb its just fancy names to make their cars sound n look cool, heheheheh.

    Another thing is saloon (British English) n sedan (American English). I’ve always thought our country uses British English, so it kinda seem inappropriate to use the word sedan, which I come across a lot wit Persona ads or article. Saga mk2 as well.

    Agreed on dun compare wit unprotected market. The grass may look greener on the other side, but “lebih baik hujan batu dari hujan emas”.

    Sure cars may be cheap elsewhere, bt we shud be grateful n live an optimistic life. That way, we’ll see the goods of our country n be able to appreciate it.

  34. Azlano,

    The word Eurasian, I presume going to be a nice breed.with distintive personality, rather than being, stereotype.,

    -simple, sophisticated yet polite-

    MPV is destined to be an MPV, I just got the feeling (personal point of view) that the MPV is an automobil for everybody to enjoy. In a unit of a family there are different gender and generation. Therefore if it much too sportier, drivers oriented, handles on performance suspension, I would say its is only a sole enjoyment for the driver forgetting they have the ealderely, or an infat, with them,
    MPV is more comfort people mover which is not to be thrown into corner spritely as the suspension is a bit supple but it handles well at a certain degree, for safety reason,

    Therefore the interior is soothing for everybody. Central display cluster is somewhat ok (if accidently designed like so), for the interior balanced visually, and to be seen by the passanger as if they can learn what the mpv is doing . if they understand it they ll say ‘ wooo, laju…best.’ Or the other way around ‘tu… dah lebih limit’,
    Almost like sharing experience ,

    And more I prefer a simplie uncluttered and organised manner of switches satria neo for instance. And do not prefer blobby gaudious dashboard ,(while some prople really like gaudious and translate it into cantik)

    Those are my personal view about MPV,


  35. tokmoh -> being colonised naturally has its residual effects! 😉

    azlina -> your descriptions are interesting… not too sure about the centre instrument cluster though. i guess we all want an interior which is like ‘home’. and not something gaudy or bling2.

    it will definitely have personality!

  36. Dear Azlano,

    are you suggesting the INTERIOR is something different than saga mk 2 comparison? Mean both interior and exterior have NICE design (understand and easy to digest yet accepted by vast majority not-really-understand-about-design-concept, like me?

    If you based on Wish, l guess we’re in right direction like Persona and Saga. So, we can emulate these two model success.

  37. (cont)
    if its going to be a low slung design, in order for it to a 7 seater, the vehical need some amount of length which might translate it into a full size MPV which requires at least 1.8 litre, certainly campro limits only 1.3 to 1.6,
    or 2.0 that might implicate cost,

    for affordebility and practicality ,the retune torque biased 1.6 campro seem capable enough for this MPV,
    therefore i guess its a bit up right but not tall as its a monocoque, but the front design quite flush to cheat the air, and the rear will try to promote as less drag as possible (visually) without too much to compromise its cargo space,

    those are my 100 percent guess,

    talking about personality, the design seemed trying to get away from the word exclusivity, of course,

    at the same time not too basic or conventional vetical, nor low slim type,

    but the whole composition within a firm and solid breed, interestingly carved with some personal and orignal way of azlano and team,
    -givig it the mpv a personaity,

    (my intepretation of the word personality)

    maybe you want to enlighten it more,

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