The Nissan Magnite is the Compact SUV you’d want in 2021

The Japanese carmakers have set their eyes on India

The war of the compact SUVs is getting serious with each passing day. 

With enough competition already on the block, we caught a sneak peek of the Nissan Magnite, which too is ready to take on the competition, with all its design and functional features. It's designed to achieve the perfect marriage of style and functionality, complete with a 72hp, 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol engine that will debut on the Indian shores late 2020-early 2021. The exterior is made to look robust, with sculpted bodyside cladding, square wheel arches, a 205mm ground clearance give it the look you’d expect from a car in the segment. What’s better is a whole lot of thoughtful features you get inside as well, which include leather-wrapped steering wheel, spacious dashboard, spacious seating and enough thought put into achieving cockpit comfort. 

Advanced technology elements include a couple of firsts — Around View Monitoring that gives the driver a virtual view of everything around; a 7-inch TFT instrument cluster that gives you the feels of a premium car — complete with tyre pressure monitoring, integrated steering wheel controls for audio and cruise control; an 8-inch seamless Touchscreen that allows you to to wirelessly connect with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Nissan’s signature X-Tronic CVT gearbox that promises to make city rides more comfortable and highway rides more intelligent. 

You’ll sure be spoilt for choice when you start looking for the perfect compact SUV, and the magnite makes for a great contender… one you must consider before you take the plunge! 

Stuff India had an insightful interaction with Kei Kyu, Nissan’s Future Design Director and the lead designer behind Nissan Magnite....

India has been a claimed inspiration for the Magnite concept, but how much of inspiration is drawn from iconic and trendsetting Nissan vehicles from the past?

Kei Kyu: The Magnite was designed to be an important addition to the Nissan family. It is built on the brand’s iconic models such as the Patrol, Pathfinder, Armada, X-Trail, Juke, Qashqai & KICKS and has been designed as a feature-rich premium offering with a stylish design for a strong and dynamic road presence. The B-SUV is a testimony to Nissan’s global SUV DNA spirit of relentless innovation, advanced technology and Japanese engineering.

What sort of material choices governed the concept and how much of them will make it to final production?

Kei Kyu: As a Japanese OEM, we do not compromise on product and brand quality. Through our extensive market research and experience, we paid attention to what the Indian consumer wants. This helped us prioritize the key exterior and interior elements that require higher investments. For the exterior, we focused not just on robustness and agility, but also on a confident and dynamic stance that would please the eyes and create Nissan Magnite’s strong presence. In regard to the interiors, touch sensitivity played a key role in recognizing the features that required higher investments.

Infotainment screens are dominating the modern dashboard design language. How is Nissan’s approaching this requirement?

Kei Kyu: These days, customers are quite well informed about the latest car designs across the globe. They are interested in owning a vehicle that offers high ground clearance, advanced technology and features. We have used these insights and developed the Magnite concept with sleek headlamps, a higher stance, DTRL on the exterior, substantial roominess in the cabin and screens on the dashboard that deliver a seamless experience through Nissan’s intuitive interface.

Do you like the challenge posed by the sub-4-metre rule or does it restrict?

Kei Kyu: Designers are solution-providers, it is our passion that allows us to find innovative ways of tackling any restriction. We aim to clear the path for our customers and give them the best offering possible. Japan too has a similar regulation known as the “Kei car”, wherein the vehicle cannot be longer than a specified size, with an engine no bigger than 660cc.

I, personally, really enjoy this challenge and believe that the Nissan Magnite is the answer the Indian buyer is looking for in the sub-4-metre market. It presents an imposing SUV proportion and dynamic silhouette. Its modern exterior styling works well to emphasize the Nissan SUV strength, confidence and sturdiness, while its distinctive three-volume construction (fenders and solid mono body) give the impression of vibrant energy.


Is there any special focus on primary touchpoints, especially in affordable, mass-market cars like the Magnite?

Kei Kyu: SUVs have been highly popular in the Indian market as they make commuting easy on diverse Indian roads and weather conditions. Their robust styling and strong stance give a protective and sturdy impression, setting them apart on crowded urban roads. 

Beyond expressive styling and packaging, the Indian consumer also prioritizes spacious interiors, especially with rear seating. Thus, we aimed for the Nissan Magnite to not only feel premium and stylish, but also be the most spacious B-SUV in its segment. Three major features give the Nissan Magnite its roomy interiors: high command eye position, huge ‘couple distance’ (distance between the driver and side passenger) and a ‘one-class-above’ knee room for rear passengers.

How much of the design is dictated by the engineering and packaging?

Kei Kyu: The Nissan Magnite’s journey was a multi-department effort that included design, engineering, product planning and marketing, all working together with a shared vision of our brand's future. Not to mention, the countless artisans who built and programmed the concept from an idea into a physical reality. We know that the Indian is well informed about the latest SUV designs across the globe. Thus, we needed to design a B-SUV that wasn’t just aspirational but also built on Nissan’s global SUV DNA and heritage.

We used these insights and developed its sleek head lamps that express solidarity, confidence and vertical line DTRL that delivers a wider and advanced impression to the front. In the portion from the hood to the end of the beltline, the Nissan Magnite exudes sturdiness, agility and confidence. Its presence is such that it will be easily spotted as it stands out amongst the crowded and bustling streets.

What is your favourite Nissan design?

Kei Kyu: I don’t think I’ll be able to just pick one, so I’ll share a few names that I have strong memories of: the first Silvia CSP311, S30 Fairlady, SP311 Fairlady, first Pathfinder WD21, the S13 and Z32.