As you can see from the pictures, the Nissan Elgrand is a properly massive luxury MPV. To drive home the point of its girth, it is 1,815mm tall, 4,915mm long and 1,850mm wide. With a size that’s similar to a white rhino (I’m not joking, look it up), the Elgrand is always going to be an ungainly, graceless vehicle to drive.
Most certainly, the Elgrand doesn’t look athletic seeing that it does not have the form of a pouncing jungle cat that most vehicle have seem to adopt. But let’s not be shallow and allow the design to form unfound opinions. The design does have its practical uses, which I will get to later.
Essentially, this two-tonne vehicle gets its momentum from a 3.5-litre V6 engine that produces 276hp and 344Nm of twist. Which gets sent to the front wheels though Nissan’s Xtronic CVT that gives you six speeds should you engage the manual interface.
It moves, yes, in a progressive manner till it hits 100kph and then builds more velocity from then on. So it is surprisingly easy to reach 150kph if you have the patience.
The Elgrand sails at speeds, like it is being wafted on cottony clouds. The last time I felt this desensitised was in the R-Class. You won’t feel the road of course, Nissan has ensured that front MacPherson struts and multilink rears disperse all nuances of the road. Which in turn is good for the passengers, they won’t have the slightest hint of the kind of road they are travelling on.
Happiest on the highway, mild discomfort on the B-roads. Ah yes, the inevitable snaking back roads that many must traverse in order to go back home. Nope, the Elgrand isn’t bad here. Body roll is adequately restrained and understeer is tamed, simply because you’re not going fast around the bends, you can’t.
You’ll lose every bit of speed at braking before a corner, the nose dips at hard braking. And there isn’t enough muscle in the engine to give this MPV significant acceleration for the escape. What’s more, the steering is kept detached from the road and isn’t as quick nor immediate.
Then again, the nanny system are always on over-zealous mode. It has nothing fancy, just ABS with EBD and BA as well as Vehicle Dynamic Control, which is really stability control with a jazzy name. But the system is always too stringent, applying brakes and cutting speed at the most inappropriate times coming out from a corner into a steep hill. Then again, the MPV was never made for an exciting drive.
The Elgrand’s sole purpose is to move people in luxury. The interior is appropriately appointed. All seats are wrapped in leather; brown in colour to match the dark wood accents.
The only gripe here are the plastics, which doesn’t seem to fit the whole theme of the interior. And there are a few switches in here that feels like it’s taken from a lower budget car. Nonetheless, the MPV is comfortable.
It has a wheelbase of 3,000mm that fits seven adults in a two-two-three configuration. You climb into the driver’s seat and sit tall. The dashboard layout isn’t very exciting to look at but it has all the amenities, and then some. There’s a lot of space here so you sit far from the front passenger, who will be seated in much comfort.
Notably, the second row seats are individual captain seats, which leaves an aisle open for people to leisurely hobble to the rear bench. Needless to say, even when fully occupied, the Elgrand offers ample head, shoulder and leg rooms.
And there’s space leftover at the back to store things like shopping and grocery. It even fits luggage for the weekend, if one knows how to pack properly and use the space under the floor of the boot, which is quite hidden. One can even fold the rear seats if you need the space to transport a king sized mattress or two.
Should you find yourself on a long drive and have to calm the rear passengers, there’s a DVD player up front that projects onto a roof mounted 11-inch LCD monitor that’s fixed just behind the driver’s head.
It comes with a pair of wireless headphones too so you don’t disturb the people around you while watching the screen. It really increases the exclusivity and privilege of being a passenger in the Elgrand.
Honestly, this is one vehicle that I do not mind stretching out in the back seat. In fact, I insist that someone else take over the wheel. Because with the Elgrand, it makes much more sense to have a chauffeur behind the wheel and you being driven around town.