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The Nissan Serena e-POWER packs in the entire family and then goes on to repackage electric mobility for double the practicality.

08 Oct 2019


The Serena e-POWER has big shoes to fill if it hopes to carve out its own market share as an MPV. Thankfully, the car's boxy shape and well-organised interior mean that it delivers practicality by the bucketload. But is that enough to tempt local buyers away from its competitors?

What's in the box!?

The Serena e-POWER wears its practical card on its sleeve and sports an incredibly boxy silhouette.

Boxy shape may not be the most elegant but it rewards with plenty of room for all

It may not be the most pleasing shape on the eye but once inside, your children and even the fussiest of in-laws will have scant to complain about.

Access into the second and third row is facilitated by the hands-free auto sliding doors that activate with just a slide of the foot, and even someone as tall and wide around the waist as this storyteller had little difficulty getting into the third row.

Once inside, you will notice that the Serena seats seven by having double captains' chairs in the second row and a bench in the third, which is actually doubly convenient if you only typically ferry two in the rear. Slide the two chairs apart if your children start having a little tiff in the back, or slide both to the driver side to give easier third-row access.

There are multiple cupholders for all passengers in the Serena e-POWER

Speaking of which, those relegated to the rear need not feel neglected, with the car sporting double-barrelled bottle holders at each side in the rear as well as third-row air-conditioning vents and a handy button for opening the passenger-side rear door.

Even in the boot, the theme continues with a dual opening tailgate, allowing you to choose between opening only the glass section or the entire rear as one piece. Use the former for throwing in the odd shopping bag or for easy access in tight parking spaces, and use the latter for loading in larger parcels of luggage. With 280 litres of boot space before folding the rear seats, there is space aplenty even if you are a tennis superstar fond of destroying racquets.

Dual opening tailgate adds to the Serena e-POWER's suite of convenience options

But what about the drive?

Most MPVs are content with completely isolating you from the drive. Not so the Serena e-POWER. Those more used to driving MPVs of old might be in for a shock, as the Serena e-POWER actually delivers decently in terms of steering weight and feel.

The Serena e-POWER mirrors most MPVs by also offering its driver a commanding vista of the road with its high seating position and massive expanses of glass, although a downside to that awesome view is the warm thighs you tend to get on sunny days.

Massive expanses of glass and high seating position give you a commanding view of the road

Ride quality is excellent, and the car rides over larger bumps with supreme compliance, although high-frequency rattles - as when driving over broken roads - do make their way into the cabin.

Unlike other parallel hybrids, the Serena e-POWER makes use of both petrol and electricity, but not in the format that most will be familiar with. Instead of using both an electric motor and a petrol engine to drive the wheels, the Serena e-POWER's 1.2-litre petrol engine acts only as a generator, powering the batteries that in turn send current to the electric motors.

While it has a 1.2-litre petrol engine, it doesn't power the wheels but charges the battery

Think of this car as a battery electric vehicle, but with a fuel cap instead of a charging port, so you get the instantaneous torque and serene operation of an electric vehicle without the hassle of long charging times and the accompanying range anxiety.

Overtaking manoeuvres are easily accomplished despite the car's size, with the electric motor responding quickly to jabs at the pedal, delivering power in a smooth and linear fashion.

Those 16-inch wheels actually cope with a huge amount of torque from the car

If you are still unconvinced, think about this: The 134bhp output of the electric motor in the Serena e-POWER may not seem like much, but it is also capable of 320Nm of torque, which is only 30Nm shy of a Golf GTI.

The Serena e-POWER is spacious, practical and reasonably fast to boot. It would be a shame if it doesn't sell well here.
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Car Information

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Price

: $147,300

Engine Type

:

3-cylinder in-line DOHC

Engine Cap

:

1198cc

Horsepower

:

100kW (134 bhp) / 9867 rpm

Torque

:

320 Nm / 2985 rpm

Transmission

:

Single speed reduction gear (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

-

Top Speed

:

-

Fuel consumption

:

17.5 km/L

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