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1 year Nissan Grand Livina ownership review

Our own a Nissan Grand Livina year model 2007.  Although Nissan Grand Livina is advertised as a 7 seater, this car is actually a 5+2 seater car, not a truly 7 seater, since the last two seat is only suitable for kid!  Our car had 1.5L motor and equipped with automatic transmission. 

We bought her brand new on August 2007, and today, November 19th, she got around 29.500 km on it.  We use it quite heavily in daily use ranging from city traffic jam, high speed in open highways, overtaking trucks while hill climbing, hot dusty road and passing water flooded road.  However this car manages to perform well!

I actually wanted to put this review since last August, exactly 1 year after the ownership, however I somewhat forget to write it until today.

Update: Nissan Grand Livina with 1/2 tank of petrol weighs 1230 KGs give or take 5 kg.

Strength

  1. High performance engine, the engine revs as if its a sport car's engine!  The engine is very good, its cool and did not even loosing power even after doing a 500 km high speed trip a day!  Oh I forget to mention, that trips is a real abuse!  4 adults, full of goods on our car's boot, hill climbs and high speed, indeed the car manages to perform very well.
  2. Very economical: on the trip I've described above, we got 16+ km/L!  Very economical!
  3. A very comfortable ride.  Thanks to its soft suspension system, Nissan Grand Livina's ride is comparable to large saloon!
  4. Bright headlamp.  Efficient design of headlamp manages to illuminates the street effectively and efficiently!
  5. High top speed 200 km/h.  While our car manages to archive 150 km/h and limited by me, Fajri - my uncle's chauffeur - manages to get 200 km/h on a 1.5L Nissan Grand Livina.  Quite a high speed for a mini MPV
  6. Uber cool air conditioner!  Capable of cooling a hot sunned car in a matter of minutes!
  7. Flexible seat arrangement, we like it very much!  Our Grand Livina sometimes changes function as cargo transport vehicle!  We often transport our company's product using that car, and always manages well.

Weakness

  1. No hot and cold air conditioning, just cool to very cold.  I don't like cold air, I like warm air.  When driving this car in a cold rainy night, I kept turning the air conditioning on and off to stop me from being frozen and front wind screen from being fogged.
  2. Not ergonomic air conditioning system: the mid air conditioner grill above the head unit blows until the back seat, a good idea.  However it is directly fires to the eyes of the passenger sitting in mid 2nd row, and very uncomfortable.  The aircond grill for the 2nd row can't be shut of, and quite disturbing.  Moreover, no windshield air grill.
  3. In addition, the noise from air conditioning is quite high even at the lowest setting.
  4. Suspension system is too soft for me.  Driving at high speed - 130 km/h or more - made the car unstable, and to make matter worse, the soft suspension covers the instability and the car runs as if it can handle the speed!  The surprise comes when something like bumpy road or cross wind happens, the car will move out of its track.  Although its nice to have a family car that can speed, I don't think anyone with family and a grandma would speed.
  5. Lack ability of fighting cross winds.  Cross wind causes the car to be unstable especially at high speed.
  6. Automatic transmission is stupid.  Kick down often did not work, especially while climbing hill therefore rendering the vehicle loosing power.  While the automatic transmission stick is shifted, the vehicle changes to lower gear and manages to gain power again!  In the other hand, on down hill, there is only little to no engine brake!
  7. Engine's torque curves is not flat, the power response isn't smooth which means, on low RPM the torque is very low while on high RPM, the engine is lively!  This isn't particularly suitable to our mountainous road.
  8. In the other hand, the manual book specifies that Grand Livina's engine requires at least RON-91 petrol, which isn't widely available here.  Our premium is RON-88 - unlike Australia's premium which is RON-95 - and RON-91 is the expensive type of fuel and can't be found in outback!  Nissan's sales department, however, specifies that the car can use premium fuel!  However even at RON-91, the car's engine did not perform at its peak.  Give her RON-95 fuel, then the engine will be very lively!
  9. Windshield washer uses the old type, not the new even spray type.
  10. Small 2nd and 3rd row seat.  Well, for young family, those seats are for kids and baby sitter, not a real problem!

Known problems:

  1. Fuel gauge likely to problem after 1/2 year of ownership.  You can bring it back to Nissan, and they will happily replaced the gauge for free!
  2. Windshield washer's nozzle is likely to be clogged and changes their firing position.  In our one year of ownership, I had to unclog the nozzle twice.
  3. The horn sometimes honking by itself.  There was a short circuit in the horn assembly.  Don't worry, Nissan fixed that for free anyway.
  4. Our Nissan Grand Livina at 34.000+ Km's has a problem on its ball joint.  When turning the steering wheel at slow speed, something just feels loose.  Don't worry, just bring it to Nissan and they will fix that for free as long as your car is under warranty.

The conclusion is: Its a nice car overall with some minor weakness. 

Nissan Grand Livina is a 5+2 seater city car.  Drove it in a city, and the car will performs its best!  However, this car is not suitable for people who travels from one city to another over twisty and windy mountain road.  Once Nissan tuned the transmission and engine torque curve, I believe this car could be used to travel inter city well!

I recommend this car for mother's to bring kids to school, swimming club or soccer field.  This car is also suitable for family with kids and baby sitter.

2009 Update

It appears that Nissan has reprogrammed the Automatic Transmission controlling computer.  Kick down is now more responsive, and the car is more agile.  Although sometimes the transmission miscalculate to switch to higher or lower gear - when I hold the throttle on hill climbing - when it should stay the same gear.

However the car still lack of engine braking on downhill or heavy braking.

Some friend tested and confirmed that 1.5 L Nissan Grand Livina can run up to 200 km/h.

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