After months of being spied out on field tests, the latest being in January, the fifth-generation Nissan Serena has finally broken cover, with Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) giving the MPV its first public showing at the MAI Auto Festival taking place in Bagan Datuk, Perak. The C27 example on display was locked, and so we’re left with only the view of the exterior for now.

The Serena isn’t officially on sale yet, but word from the grapevine is that it’s set to be launched sometime next month. As before, the MPV will feature a S-Hybrid powertrain as seen on the C26 Serena, with a MR20DD 2.0 litre direct-injected twin-CVTC four-cylinder petrol engine offering 150 PS at 6,000 rpm and 200 Nm at 4,400 rpm.

The unit, which is paired with an Xtronic CVT, is supplemented by an ECO motor that controls the car’s Idling Stop function and serves as an alternator during deceleration. The 1.8 kW/200 A motor also allows for a “torque assist” function, providing a 50 Nm boost for up to one second when moving away from a standstill.

The preview vehicle is a Highway Star variant riding on 15-inch wheels and 195/65 profile tyres. Standard equipment includes a dual-powered sliding doors, a 360-degree Around View Monitor, seven USB ports and Intelligent Moving Object Detection (I-MOD). Safety kit includes vehicle dynamic control (VDC), hill-start assist, six airbags and Isofix mount points.

The Malaysian-spec Serena will not be available as an eight-seater in our market – it’s confirmed that it will be offered only as a seven-seater in a 2-2-3 configuration (with second-row captain seats). And here’s the interesting bit – we’ve heard that there will be more than one variant of the Serena, with three expected to be the number, though this has yet to be confirmed.

Notably, there will be different front ends. One will be essentially the same as that found on the base Serena in other markets, and the other is what you see here on the Highway Star, with a more agressively styled bumper and a more prominent V-motion two-slat grille. No indication of pricing, so we’ll have to wait until the MPV is officially introduced to get the lowdown on it.

GALLERY: Fifth-generation Nissan Serena press photos