After back-to-back reviews of the Subaru WRX and the Peugeot 208 GTi, it’s now time for me to hit the roads with a car that is more laid back. Something that blends well into the sea of cars. This time around, I got behind the wheel of the new 2014 Nissan Sylphy 1.8 VL. The 3rd generation B17 Nissan Sylphy is now even bigger than the G11 that it replaces. Don’t let that fool you, as the new B17 Sylphy looks sharper than its predecessor, but at the same time retaining the essence of the Nissan Sylphy. Built in Thailand, the Nissan Sylphy comes in as a CBU model for the Malaysian market. Interestingly enough, the Nissan Sylphy we’re getting is similar to the Australian spec Nissan Pulsar.
Introduced a few months ago, the new Nissan Sylphy 1.8 VL has its exterior completely revamped over its predecessor. The new Sylphy is now a proper global car (now available to more than 120 countries worldwide), unlike its Asian-only predecessor. As mentioned earlier, the B17 Nissan Sylphy is called the Nissan Pulsar in Australia and New Zealand, and is called the Nissan Sentra in North America. Asian countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore receives the Sylphy nameplate. Different names, but still the same car.
Gone are the curves than the predecessor flaunted, now replaced with sharper and bolder lines. At the front end, the bulbous front headlights on the G11 Sylphy has now been replaced with sharper designed headlights with Xenon projectors and LED accent lights. Nope, those sexy LEDs are not daytime running lights, which is rather unfortunate. The rounded rear end of the predecessor has also been revamped to feature a sharper design. The rear sports LED tail lights which do look rather good. Wheels on the Sylphy are measured at 17-inches, wrapped with decent Continental Premium Contact 2 rubbers all-round. Despite riding on 17-inch wheels (predecessor made do with just 15-inch wheels), the ride of the Sylphy does not feel trashy, but more on that later. Unlike the older model’s disc and drum brake combination, the new Sylphy now sports 4 disc brakes all-round to keep in line with its competitors.
Under the hood of the B17 Nissan Sylphy is Nissan’s new MRA18DE engine with dual CVTC and features a diamond-like coating. At 6,000 rpm, the new MRA18DE is capable of producing 129 horsepower (131 PS), while the peak torque of 174 Nm comes in at 3,600 rpm. Using a XTRONIC CVT, power is transferred to the front wheels of the new Sylphy. Don’t let the numbers fool you, however as the new Sylphy feels livelier than the numbers suggest. The torque converter-based XTRONIC CVT is more than willing to rev up upon pressing the throttle, with speeds climbing very steadily northwards.
The interior of the new Sylphy is a very pleasant place to be in, with soft touch material adorning most of the dashboard. The dashboard design does not look overly simple, and controls are all easy to reach. My only gripe is that the steering mounted audio controls can get rather busy, and a bit too easy to accidentally change the volume. Seating position is optimum, with minimal blind spots around the car. The leather wrapped seats (standard on the VL) feel nice and plush, but still does provide ample support. Like its G11 predecessor, the new B17 Sylphy’s rear legroom of up to 680 mm is unrivalled in its segment, which provides excellent leg stretchability for the rear passengers. Also new on the B17 Sylphy are the rear air conditioning vents. Oddly missing on the new Sylphy are rear folding seats, as several of its core competitors do offer 60:40 split folding rear seats.
Upon starting up the Sylphy, I was amazed by the lack of engine noise. With the radio on, it’s very hard to tell that the Sylphy actually has its engine running without looking at the tachometer. Nissan has done a good job in the NVH department of the new Sylphy, as the car remains very composed and quiet even at higher highway speeds. Road noises and wind noises are very well insulated, and even with pouring rain, the Nissan Sylphy remains relatively quiet for the passengers. The only time the engine noise enters the cabin is when the driver deliberately guns the throttle, as the engine speed climbs above 4,000 rpm, the noise gets more apparent. But for regular driving, keeping the revs below 3,000 rpm is more than sufficient.
Unlike other Nissan models I’ve tested, the Nissan Sylphy’s electronic power steering does not feel horribly numb, but does feel a bit more natural. With that being said, it does not hamper the driving experience of the Sylphy, as the car was designed to be driven sedately. The XTRONIC CVT does a fine job of mimicking a regular automatic transmission, and coupled with a very responsive throttle, driving the Sylphy isn’t all that tiring. If and when the need arises for the driver to tackle a certain stretch of B-roads, he or she can just press the Sport button on the right of the gear shifter to keep the revs higher. Though the Sylphy was not designed as a corner-hugging car, bodyroll is pretty well contained. Compared to the older G11 Syplhy, the new B17 does feel slightly better through the corners, albeit compromising ride comfort on rougher roads.
Safety wise, ETCM has taken the new Nissan Sylphy a few steps forward, as the Nissan Sylphy now comes with Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Traction Control System (TCS), Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) with Brake Assist (BA) as standard across the range. Even 6 airbags are standard for both the E and VL speced Sylphy. For the parents, the Nissan Sylphy does offer rear child seat anchor points. Pretty impressive for ETCM to include all safety features as standard, don’t you think?
At RM121,900, the Nissan Sylphy has definitely grown in price. That, however is not a disadvantage, as the Nissan Sylphy is one of the most feature-packed C-segment sedans on our roads. Compared to the likes of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla Altis, the Nissan Sylphy does manage to undercut both of them in terms of pricing, but still being able to keep features available to buyers. The Nissan Sylphy would then appeal to those seeking maximum value for the hard-earned Ringgits, without compromising safety and features.
Specifications: Nissan Sylphy 1.8 VL
Price: RM121,900.00 (OTR w/o insurance)
Engine: 1.8-litre inline-4 MRA18DE
Horsepower: 129 hp (131 PS) @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 174 Nm @ 3,600 rpm
Transmission: XTRONIC CVT
Enjoy our photo gallery below!
Nissan Sylphy Exterior Shots
Nissan Sylphy Interior Shots