Last month, Nissan previewed the facelifted C27 Serena, and the refreshed fifth-generation MPV has now gone on sale in its home market of Japan. The tweaks are mostly cosmetic in nature, but there are a couple of revisions in terms of the safety equipment on board.

Let’s start off with the looks, where the Serena incorporates what Nissan calls a “double V-motion” grille. On standard models, this entails a thicker black surround for the chrome grille, which gets twin slats. There are also sharper front and rear bumper designs that add a sportier look.

But it’s the Highway Star (that’s the one we currently get) that grabs the headlines with distinctive full-height grille that stretches all the way down to the centre air intake – replete with chrome inserts that Nissan claims gives the car a jewel-like look.

The L-shaped inserts on the corners of the front bumper are also larger and more aggressive, and these are repeated at the rear of the car. There are also redesigned 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels and unique LED tail lights that curve outwards, giving the rear end a wider look.

The split headlights are redesigned across both models, now with a chrome strip instead of body colour – on the Highway Star, they flow neatly into the chrome borders of that gargantuan grille. Higher-end models gain Nissan’s first adaptive LED headlights, which feature 12 diodes on each side that can be turned off individually, allowing for the use of the high beam without dazzling other motorists.

With the facelift come two new colours, these being Sunrise Orange and Dark Metal Grey – both of which can be optioned with a two-tone exterior colour scheme with a Diamond Black roof. There’s also a new, aerodynamic 15-inch two-tone alloy wheel design exclusive to the e-Power models.

Inside, revisions are limited to minor trim changes and a redesigned instrument cluster, with waterproof seat covers now offered as an option. As for safety, the Serena adds Intelligent Blind Spot Intervention, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and an Emergency Assist for Pedal Misapplication to the standard kit list that already includes Intelligent Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning.

The optional ProPilot semi-autonomous driving feature has also been revamped, now with improved speed control that provides smoother braking in various driving conditions. It is also better at maintaining the driver’s set speed and balancing powertrain output when returning to flatter road surfaces.

Powertrain options have been maintained and include a 147 PS/210 Nm MR20DD 2.0 litre direct-injected twin-CVTC four-cylinder petrol engine, paired to an Xtronic CVT and a 1.8 kW electric motor that provides 50 Nm of accelerative boost when needed. It is available with either front- or all-wheel drive.

Meanwhile, the e-Power model is powered by a 136 PS/320 Nm electric motor from the previous-generation Leaf, juiced by a 79 PS/103 Nm 1.2 litre HR12DE three-cylinder engine – as with all e-Power models, there’s no charging port for pure electric driving. Nissan claims a fuel consumption figure of 26.2 km per litre on the Japanese JC08 cycle.