Nissan Teana – all the bells and whistles and no chauffeur’s hat


The more luxurious end of the auto market is well served in Thailand, with the three locally produced large sedans (Honda Accord, Nissan Teana, Toyota Camry) all competing at the top end of the Thai production market.  And competing very fiercely, with all three offering models from an entry level 1.3 million (all with 2 liter engines) through to range toppers 1.8 million (Toyota and Honda), and Nissan at 1.6 million, all with 2.4 to 2.5 liter engines. 

The subject of this month’s road test is the new Nissan Teana, and a sparkling white demonstrator was given to me by the Pattaya Automobile Co. (on Sukhumvit Road, about 50 meters past the Ambassador City and on the same side).  The model chosen was the fully loaded 250 XV which has a ticket of 1.57 million, a 2.5 liter engine and an imposing list of options.

Nissan TeanaNissan Teana

When NASA put a man on the moon 50 years ago, the computing power for the lunar landing was less than the computing power of today’s motor cars.  I can tell you that the Nissan Teana has enough computing power to put a man on Mars.  It is like a smart phone on wheels, with ‘e-everythings’ designed to enhance the driving experience.  After driving the Teana for two days there were still items I had not fully explored, but then again, there are items in my smart phone which remain a mystery too!

First impressions of the Teana from the outside are very positive.  There is continuity of styling from the previous Teana, but actually it is a total skin change.  A change for the better, as the styling is much improved, with the accent line remaining high, and not sinking in the tail as the previous model.  It has an imposing appearance, so much so that the valet parking boy at the Sheraton placed it in pride of place at the portal.  And valet parking boys have seen everything, remember.

There are motor noters all over the world who will waffle on about the handling and performance of any car they are testing.  I only go down that route when it is a sports or performance car I am testing.  The Nissan Teana is not a sports saloon like a BMW M3, for example.  It is a refined luxury limousine, designed to take you and your family from A to B in supreme comfort, and it does that wonderfully well.

Ensuring your comfort, the seat is infinitely variable in position, as well as the steering wheel.  Once you have found your ideal seating position (and lumbar support) you set it in the memory and you never have to set it again.  Just push the button and the car does it all for you.  There are two settings, just in case you let someone else drive your Teana!  A really nice feature is when you turn off the engine and open the door, the seat slides back to make your exit much easier.  It is simple things like that which make driving a much more pleasant experience.

The Teana is very quiet at highway speeds and to fill the void there is a nine-speaker Bose sound system giving perfect clarity.  The GPS screen is large enough to be viewed, without taking eyes off the road, and the information screen very legible and easy to read.  Around view monitors show you exactly where the car is positioned, making shopping center parking less hazardous.

The safety side has not been ignored, with a whole alphabet of acronyms from VDC, TCS, ABS, BA and EBD.  These are electronic controls to make the chances of you falling off the road or not braking hard enough or sliding in wet and greasy conditions very much less.  Lane departure and blind spot warnings are displayed on the central information screen complete with audible notification.  Primary safety.  Secondary safety is covered by six air bags.

Driving the Teana was a breeze.  Separate air-conditioners for driver and passenger ensures there is no argument over temperature control, the CVT auto transmission smooth and seamless and the steering light, but still positive.

The interior features a herd of cows and some plastic wood, as is the norm these days.  The rear seat splits to provide a ‘ski hatch’ or for other long items.  This car has been well designed.  Fuel consumption was a very reasonable 8 km per liter around town.

From the driver’s point of view, it is extremely quiet, comfortable and a pleasure to be behind the wheel.  Whilst the previous model Teana was driven by chaps with chauffer’s hats on, this one you want to drive by yourself.

Teana interiorTeana interior

Should you put a Teana in your garage?  You certainly won’t do much better, and at the price, it makes the Europeans far too expensive an option.  I would certainly be happy to have a Teana in my garage.

Nissan is also moving its Southeast Asian headquarters from Singapore to Thailand as part of a six year business plan so you can expect good service from the brand.

When I returned the Teana to K. Orakorn at Pattaya Automobile Co. Ltd., the message screen said “Goodbye”.  I hope it felt sad at the farewell, because I certainly did.

Test car was supplied by Pattaya Automobile Co. Ltd., a new Nissan dealership with all the infrastructure required for sales and service.