Battle of the premium cabs (Nissan NV200 vs Innova vs Xylo)

The Nissan NV 200 is expected to come to India next year and Nissan’s partner, Ashok Leyland will manufacture the NV 200 in India.

The NV200 will be the first of three proposed vehicles to be born out of Nissan’s joint venture with Ashok Leyland according to motorbeam.com. In India MPVs or seven seater cars are usually used as cabs and only buyers with joint families buy these cars for private use.

So will the NV200 walk the ‘cabbie route’ to success? Will it be able to hold its own against segment leaders like the Innova, Xylo and Sumo? It just might!

nissan nv200 photo
Photo: Nissan NV200

The Indian MPV market has expanded in the past few years. Utility vehicles such as the Tata Sumo and Mahindra Bolero were successful in the past but the segment lacked options with better interiors and ride comfort.

Back in the days of the Toyota Qualis (which ruled the segment) the only competition was MUVs like the Tata Sumo, Chevrolet Tavera and Mahindra Bolero. The competition though failed to match up to the comfort offered by the Qualis.

The bread-box design of Toyota Qualis worked wonders for Toyota and is replicated by the Sonalika Rhino (which sells in small numbers). However the Rhino has no strengths with regard to performance or brand image to attract buyers who are looking for an alternative to Qualis. Also read: Nissan to launch two new cars by 2012

toyota innova photo
Photo: Toyota Innova

Toyota replaced the Qualis with the Innova which is one of the most comfortable MUVs and ages ahead of the once loved Qualis. The only car apart from the Innova which offers such creature comforts is the Xylo. While Innova sells around 4,200 customers every month, Xylo fetches a little above 3,000 new buyers every month.

The NV200, when launched, will take on the current segment leader, Toyota Innova and the Mahindra Xylo. It will likely be powered by a re-tuned version of the Nissan Micra’s 1,500 cc diesel engine. We expect the re-tuned version of the engine to produce about 85 bhp of maximum power and 200 Nm of maximum torque and to come with a 5-speed gearbox.

mahindra xylo photo
Photo: Mahindra Xylo

The Nissan NV200 sold in overseas market is 4.4m long, 1.86m, tall and 1.69m wide. NV200 has ergonomically positioned gear lever (close to the central console) that also frees up leg space between the front passenger seats.

Will the NV200 be able to take a sizable share of the market away from the Innova and Xylo? This depends on many factors such as the pricing, mileage, spare parts cost, reliability and so on.

However, one thing is quite evident about Nissan’s strategy with the NV200. The cheaper variant of the Nissan MPV could address the needs of packers & movers and courier companies.

The spacious design of the NV200, together with its wider body and decent on-road performance, will make it a suitable vehicle for fast goods transport. Also read: Next-Gen Nissan Teana India launch by 2015

Hence, even if Nissan’s NV200 fails to woo private owners, taxi fleet operators will likely love the commercial variant. The N200 could slowly penetrate this market and reap profits for Nissan.