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FIRST IMPRESSION: Nissan Serena S-Hybrid (Launch + Media Drive)


The Nissan Serena S-Hybrid can be considered as relatively new in our market, having been launched slightly over a year ago as a CBU model from the Land of The Rising Sun. This time around, Edaran Tan Chong Motor has launched the facelifted model of the Serena, and as a bonus, as a CKD model. The Serena S-Hybrid facelift is now RM10,000 cheaper than the older CBU model.


So what’s new on the facelifted model? For starters, the Serena S-Hybrid now boasts a newly designed front grille, with a pair of revised front headlights. This gives the new Serena S-Hybrid a much better look over the older model. Besides that, the rear lights have also been updated on the facelifted model, featuring a unique S-shape lighting pattern. If that wasn’t enough, the front and rear bumpers have also been revised, now with a slightly more pronounced sharper front end. The Serena S-Hybrid facelift still rides on the same Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 rubbers, but this time around, with a much better looking set of rims to finish the look.


Powered by the same MR20DD 2.0L engine, the Serena S-Hybrid produces 145 horses at 5,600 rpm, while torque  is rated at 210 Nm at 4,400 rpm. Paired to the XTRONIC CVT gearbox with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC), the Serena S-Hybrid delivers power very smoothly. Being a hybrid, the Serena uses an ECO electric motor that not only aids in engine output, but also to regenerate power. The Serena S-Hybrid also features Idling Start-Stop System which turns the engine off when the car is stationery.

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Tan Keng Meng, Director of Marketing and Product Planning at ETCM said, “As Malaysia’s first CKD hybrid MPV, the New Serena S-Hybrid represents ETCM’s initiatives in embracing the Government’s vision to position Malaysia as an environmentally-conscious nation. We are also proud to announce that the New CKD Serena S-Hybrid is the first locally-assembled Serena S-Hybrid out of Japan.”


The highlight of the Serena S-Hybrid has to be the interior flexibility. Boasting a seating capacity of 8, the Serena S-Hybrid has a total of 14 seating and cargo arrangement configurations, making it the most flexible and largest in its class. Besides that, the Serena S-Hybrid now comes with a spare tire, which is located underneath the front passenger seat (Previously only a tire repair kit was offered).6339


In terms of safety, the Serena S-Hybrid has you covered. For the front passengers, dual front SRS airbags come as standard. Then for the passive safety end, you’ll get Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD) with Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS).

After the launch, members of the media were invited for a test drive of the new Serena S-Hybrid down to Malacca. So here’s what we think of it.

First impression upon driving the Serena is that the car is very composed at highway speeds (within the speed limits!) and comfortable for the passengers. Engine noise isn’t too intrusive, while the CVT keeps RPMs within a comfortable level. No, the Serena S-Hybrid is not a powerhouse for you to scream down the North South Highway, but it can however, haul a whole family for balik kampung trips more comfortably than say, a Toyota Innova. Being a family MPV, the Serena favours comfort over handling, so do expect some amount of bodyroll and tire screeching when chucked into corners.

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On the plus side, the steering on the Serena does not feeling as numb as other Nissan models (looking at you, Almera and Grand Livina!), and does weight-up nicely when the speed climbs. Although the weight can feel artificial at certain speeds, there are some hints of road feedback, so we are not complaining there. To keep sore foot to a minimum, cruise control comes standard for both models.

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Moving on the interior, the Serena S-Hybrid is very spacious on the inside, with a long sweeping front windscreen to aid visibility (triangle A-pillars literally kills off any blind spots up front). Despite being a CKD model, Edaran Tan Chong Motor has managed to keep the interior fittings nice and tight.

The Serena S-Hybrid we tested was of the Premium variant, which has full leather seats as standard (you can opt for that if you’re buying the lower spec model, but more on that later). The seats, while being comfortable, don’t quite offer that much support. They do, however, fold at such ways that the Serena can swallow even a small bicycle! At Malacca, the guys at ETCM set up a challenge for us to arrange the seats in the quickest time possible. Well, that did teach us how to manage and use the seats correctly. As a plus point, both rear sliding doors are electrically powered, so there’s no need to pull the doors shut.

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Speaking of the interior, the Premium model also has a nice 6.5″ LCD display head unit up front, with a 10.1″ display for the passengers. The head unit is similar to the unit from the pre facelift model, which offers satellite navigation, USB playback, iPod connectivity, rear view camera, Bluetooth and a DVD player. Sound quality through the 4 speaker set up is pretty decent, despite not having any fancy branding.

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All in all, the Nissan Serena S-Hybrid is very enticing offering from Edaran Tan Chong Motor, especially since the prices of petrol has gone up again. Nissan claims a 15.2 km/litre fuel economy (Japan JC08 test cycle), which should give the Serena S-Hybrid a theoretical range of 900 km.

Edaran Tan Chong Motor is offering two variants of the Serena S-Hybrid, a Highway Star model for RM139,800 and the Highway Star Premium for RM149,500. Buyers of the Serena S-Hybrid Highway Star can opt for some optional accessories, which includes the earlier mentioned 6.5″ LCD head unit with rear view camera, DVD player, iPod connectivity, USB & Bluetooth, 10.1″ LCD display for the passengers behind, leather seats, roof spoiler, door visor and a choice of V-Kool tinting (ranging from V-Kool Elite Security, V-Kool Armorcoat to the regular V-Kool Solar Gard). All the mentioned accessories come standard on the Highway Star Premium model, with the V-Kool tinting is of the Elite Security type. On the CBU model, only 3 colours were offered, namely Diamond Black, Brilliant White and Tungsten Silver. But with the arrival of the CKD variant, another 2 more colours has been added, which are Garnet Red, and Graphite Blue. Warranty is 3 years or 100,000 km (whichever comes first).

Enjoy the photo gallery below!