Monday, 17 October 2011
Nissan Evalia, or how to put 7 people with 900 L of luggage in 4.40 m
As I've described before, families of 6 people like mine face a tough challenge when looking for cars enabled to transport them and their luggage on a regular basis. I mean there exist plenty of alternatives of 5 seats + 2 smaller seats that can be seldom used, only for occasional needs. You can bring 5 people with plenty of luggage, or else 7 people with no luggage. But not both.
Yet the choice becomes really small when you need to bring 6 people and loads of luggage often. If that's the case, you need to look for big multipurpose vehicles, such as the Grand Space, or the Grand Voyager, which equals to a huge car and also a huge price. Or, until recently, you had the possibility to get a Fiat Multipla, or its carbon-copy the Honda FR-V, which managed to put six people (in two lines of three seats) plus a good luggage space in a reasonable length.
As I described in an earlier post, these alternatives are a no-go for me, as of now, 2011: our budget does not allow to consider a price in the range of 40,000 € (as required for the Grand Space or the Grand Voyager), and besides their size (over 5 m length) is too big when you live in the old part of a city like Córdoba, where streets were not planned for cars, but for horses. And on the other hand, the reasonable alternatives that were my beloved Fiat Multipla (my current car) or the Honda FR-V, are no longer available, due to their lack of commercial success.
So it is with great interest that I learned this week about a new alternative: the Nissan Evalia, based on an industrial van, the NV200, but with a design specifically made for people transportation. I have been digging for information, including brochures and tests, and much to my surprise, I discovered that this car, with a lenght of 4.40 m, is capable of transporting 7 people and 900 liters of luggage (!!). Unsurprisingly, it was chosen last May to be the next taxi in New York, which makes sense given its possibilities. But what is more shocking to me is to find that it can make such prowess with a traditional positioning of seats (2 + 3 + 2), which usually meant that the luggage space disappeared when used for 7 people (i.e., the Fiat Scudo, Citroën Jumpy, or standard Renault Espace or Chrysler Voyager). How the Nissan engineers managed to design this wonder, I don't know, but I do know it is the best alternative for us, when the time comes to replace our Multipla.
The only possible bad aspect of the Nissan Evalia is that, at the time of writing, it is only available in diesel with a relatively small engine of 1.5 liters, providing 110 CV. This might look like enough on first regard, but I have my doubts about its performance on motorway, when running with full charge. Our Multipla can run at speeds well over 120 km/h fully charged, and our minimum requirement would be to get comparable performances when we get a replacement. Anyway, I am very happy to see that a new possibility is in the market, and that car makers are realizing that not all families have one or two kids.