Nissan Magnite AMT review: Plays the value card

    The new AMT offering spells good value, but is its performance effortless enough to recommend?

    Published on Oct 09, 2023 12:00:00 PM


    Make : Nissan
    Model : Magnite
    We Like
    • Big car for hatchback money
    • Multiple powertrain options
    We Don't Like
    • Lackluster performance
    • Refinement

    Three years after the Magnite launched in India, Nissan introduced an automatic option on its naturally aspirated petrol engine; previously only the turbocharged engine had an automatic option. While the turbocharged version gets a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), the non-turbo version gets an Automated Manual Transmission (AMT). And to make it accessible to a wide set of buyers, the Magnite AMT is available across the range, right from the base variant.

    So, with the AMT commanding a premium of around Rs 50,000 over corresponding manual variants, its starting price of Rs 6.50 lakh (ex-showroom, India) is even lower than smaller, subcompact SUVs like the Punch AMT and Exter AMT, which start at Rs 7.50 lakh and 7.97 lakh, respectively, spelling very good value.

    Given that we have already reviewed the Magnite before in our road test, and the only change is the AMT, we’ll only focus on the powertrain performance in this review. 

    Nissan Magnite AMT engine, performance

    The 1.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine (codenamed B4D) is the entry point into the Magnite range and it makes 72hp and 96Nm of torque. Viewed in the light of rival 1.2-litre petrol engines, the Magnite feels ‘entry-level’, both in terms of specifications and refinement.

    Overtaking fast-moving traffic will need careful planning and commitment.

    Being a three-cylinder unit, you can feel this engine flutter on its mounts at idle and emit vibrations in the cabin. Furthermore, throttle responses are lazy and its 96Nm torque is barely sufficient to keep up with the flow of traffic. So what happens when you pair it with a 5-speed AMT?

    Unlike some other AMTs, this one isn’t conservatively programmed, so it can hold on to gears till its redline of 6,200rpm before upshifting. There’s also a Tiptronic mode that facilitates manual control over the gearbox and these can come in real handy as on the open highway, the 1.0-litre petrol-AMT feels out of its comfort zone on account of its slow acceleration – overtaking fast-moving traffic will need careful planning and commitment. And as you try to make quick progress, the engine emanates a raucous thrum which keeps getting more vocal as you spin the engine faster. We also timed the Magnite AMT and it does 0-60kph in over 8 seconds, and 0-100kph takes over 21 seconds to achieve, which is slow, even by entry-level AMT hatchback standards.

    Tiptronic mode that facilitates manual control over the gearbox.

    Where it feels more at home is in the city; yes, the typical ‘head nods’ you’d associate with AMTs are easily evident here, but that aside, Nissan has covered the basics well. For instance, there is hill-hold assist, which means the Magnite AMT won’t roll back on slopes for a few seconds, and the ability to take full manual control of shifts helps during short bursts that you need at times during city overtaking. It also makes light work of ambling through slow-moving traffic, as there isn’t a clutch pedal or gear shifter to deal with, and as a point A to B commuter, it gets the job done. 

    As for the dynamics, Nissan hasn’t made any other mechanical changes to the Magnite, hence it drives just like the standard car. Read more about its driving dynamics in greater detail here.

    Nissan Magnite AMT verdict

    The Magnite was a game-changer back in 2020 on account of its overall value proposition; and three years later, the new AMT version continues to play its value card by undercutting its rivals, including subcompact SUVs like the Punch and Exter. 

    Magnite AMT does a fair job as a point A to B commuter.

    Buyers aspiring to own an automatic compact SUV for hatchback money will find merit in the Magnite AMT’s proposition, which does a fair job as a point A to B commuter. But for highway use, this powertrain’s lacklustre performance is a deal breaker. 

    To summarise then, look at the Nissan Magnite AMT only if you are on a strict budget and require the car for city use only. Else, the Magnite turbo-CVT is still the best combination and the one we'd recommend you look at. 

    Also see: 

    Nissan Magnite AMT video review

    Nissan Magnite review, road test

    Nissan Magnite Kuro edition launched at Rs 8.27 lakh

    Nissan Magnite AMT starting price to undercut Punch, Exter AMTs


    Tech Specs

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