Serena S-Hybrid-07

Edaran Tan Chong Motor gave the media a sneak preview of the Nissan Serena S-Hybrid over the weekend in Kajang, where the MPV starred in the promotional “Meet The Hybrids” video. The Serena S-Hybrid is now open for booking and will be officially launched in the third quarter of 2013. We’re entering Q3 today, so it could be anytime soon.

UPDATE: The Nissan Serena S-Hybrid is now officially launched – click here for the launch report and gallery

Readers of this website won’t be surprised at this development, as we first saw the hybrid C26 Serena in Malaysia back in January, before the MPV appeared on our sister classifieds site last month, where it was advertised for RM14X,XXX.

Prices haven’t been revealed yet, but we now have official specs and details of the Serena S-Hybrid, which will be imported CBU from Japan to take advantage of duty exemptions on hybrid vehicles with engine capacities below 2,000 cc. This incentive will end on December 31, 2013.

Serena S-Hybrid-12

The Serena S-Hybrid is powered by a MR20DD 2.0 litre engine with 147 PS and 210 Nm. This direct injection twin-CVTC unit is paired to Nissan’s smooth Xtronic CVT gearbox. But it’s a different kind of hybrid than the ones from Toyota and Honda.

The S in S-Hybrid stands for ‘simple’ and this Serena is actually a ‘micro-hybrid’. What Nissan did was beef up what it calls the ‘ECO Motor’, the Serena’s starter motor that controls auto start/stop and functions as an alternator during deceleration.

The starter motor uses a belt pulley type cranking system instead of a normal gear type unit. Even the normal Serena has this, but in the Serena S-Hybrid, the capacity of this motor is increased from 1.0kW/150A to 1.8kW/200A, and the engine bay has an extra 12V 27Ah battery for increased storage capacity. Stored power is deployed when needed, such as during acceleration.

To keep things simple, basically the bigger starter motor and battery system allows the engine to be freed from having to move the car and power the car’s electrical needs at the same time, resulting in fuel savings.

Serena S-Hybrid-05

The resulting fuel economy gains are not as big as those from motor assist (Honda) or full hybrid (Toyota) systems, but there are gains nonetheless, because the engine doesn’t have to power the alternator as often. In Japan, the Serena S-Hybrid is the only vehicle in its class to be exempted from the country’s automobile acquisition and weight taxes, because its fuel efficiency outperforms class standards.

The boxy MPV comes with three rows of seats, accessible via twin electric sliding doors with one touch closing and i-key keyless entry. They are calling it an eight-seater with 14 possible seat configurations. The second row has a “Smart Multi Center Seat” that can double up as a centre console. Up front, there’s a futuristic looking Eco Drive Navigator instrument panel with digital speedo.

Available in four colours – Dark Purple, Super Black, Pearl White, Brilliant Silver – the Serena S-Hybrid comes with an early bird promo that throws in low hire-purchase interest rates (from 2.38% per annum up to five years), a free service package (first 1,000 km, 5,000 km and 10,000 km for parts, engine oil and labour) and free PA insurance.

The Nissan Serena S-Hybrid is the first “hybrid” MPV to be sold in Malaysia.