Urban comfort

If all you care for is a pampering city limo, here's the car

WHAT'S NEW?

This is the 1.6-litre version of Sylphy saloon that's slated to make up the bulk of the sales of Nissan's latest C-segment contender.

The technical credentials of the 1.6 are basically the same as the 1.8, just that their engine sizes and outputs are different: 116hp/154Nm versus 131hp/174Nm respectively.

There are two trims for the 1.6 when equipped with CVT automatic transmission: E costing 799,000 baht and V priced at 833,000 baht.

WHAT'S COOL?

Just like in the 1.8, the 1.6 scores well at real-world speeds. City-driving, in particular, hardly requires any effort in performance terms. A light tap on the throttle is all you need.

Prod the gas more and power builds up progressively, albeit via a coarse feel. Special thanks also go to the ultra-smooth CVT transmission that plays a part in the decent economy the Sylphy can achieve: comfortably above 15kpl when the road opens.

Sure, the 1.6 feels weaker than the 1.8 on the highway. But if you put its 1.6 rivals into perspective, this Sylphy still moves around adequately. Since the Sylphy has been tuned for driving comfort, the steering is on the light side. The ride, as well, is comfy around town.

When compared with all rivals in the Thai C-segment, the Sylphy scores with generous rear legroom and air-con vents (only in V spec, though, as tested here) to match.

WHAT'S NOT?

As a driver's car, the Sylphy is definitely not going to appeal.

The bias toward driving comfort means that the car doesn't handle fluently on twisty roads and the steering can feel a little vague under high-speed cruising.

The secondary ride, as well, can feel a little knobbly over road imperfections, which is a shame given the Sylphy's comfort-orientated suspension set-up.

It's nice to see Nissan making dual airbags standard across the range, but not so with braking electronics (and other small petty items) reserved only for the V trim.

So, we'll cut to the chase by recommending the V model for an additional 34,000 baht.

And while this is merely subjective, the Sylphy feels conservative with its classy rather than sporty design against a Ford Focus or Mazda 3.

BUY OR BYE?

Since the onset of the Sylphy earlier this year, we found the 1.8 to be a perfect choice for buyers needing a highly comfortable car with effortless performance and decent fuel economy.

If that's really the case, then you might as well just save 66,000 baht over the 1.8 V and settle for the 1.6 V because the latter still manages the deliver the essential ingredients most potential buyers have come to expect.

The Sylphy 1.6 may be a shade dearer than the Focus or the 3, but it properly gains with a smooth and frugal drivetrain for people seeking a decently sized limo for city use.

It's quite recommendable for those who need a pampering daily car. In fact, of all the C-segment cars available in Thailand, the Sylphy 1.6 makes a good taxi for the Big Mango (if you don't count the absence of a CNG version).

About the author

columnist
Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor