Sedans & Coupes

Nissan Unveils 2021 Magnite: But Will US Get It?

Nissan is rolling out new models to shore up their flagging profits after years of refreshing old platforms. The latest to hit the spotlight is the sub-compact Magnite. The expressive styling looks like it could be a larger, higher-end crossover. Instead, it is setting its sights on the small segment that will see it battle Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza, Hyundai’s Venue, and Kia’s Sonet. You may not have heard of some of these because they are not sold here. That’s the question with the 2021 Nissan Magnite. Will the US get it?

The Magnite was revealed today in India which is the market Nissan is aiming the Magnite for. Nissan is being quiet about all of the features of the Magnite. What was unveiled today is a concept of the production car, or so Nissan says. To our eyes, it is a thinly disguised production version. It’s also a thinly disguised version of the Juke. With the Magnite becoming available before the end of 2020 it is close to hitting dealers. That means what we’re seeing cannot be far from production.

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“The Magnite will redefine the B-SUV segment for the industry.”

What Nissan is saying is that “the Magnite will redefine the B-SUV segment for the industry.” It has also made clear it plans on focusing more on Africa, the Middle-East, and India, than in the past. It is looking for the Magnite to reverse its fortunes in these countries where it has contracted much as it has in the US. 

It was originally meant to be a Datsun product which Nissan was trying to bring back as a budget brand. When Nissan revealed its restructuring plans late last year it said it would not continue with the Datsun brand but instead fold it into Nissan. And at least the grille and other subtle cues say Datsun to us. 

“Make in India, Make for the World”

Part of Nissan’s mantra for the Magnite is “Make in India, Make for the World.” So it is obvious that it has bigger plans than conquering India. But for now, there will be two engines available. A 72 hp 1.0-liter three-cylinder that is naturally aspirated. Both a five-speed manual and automated manual will come with this engine.

The other powertrain option is a turbocharged version of the 1.0-liter with 95 hp. The five-speed manual or CVT are the transmission options. Nissan chose not to reveal the interior which is a bit of a mystery why. That said, it will feature one of the largest cabins in the segment. We do know it will have an 8-inch touchscreen, wifi tech, 360-degree cameras and cruise control.

Once everything has the same tech features and quality, it comes down to driving dynamics and styling. Though we can’t drive one yet it looks like the Magnite has a premium look for a sub-compact segment. That’s a good thing. If it performs as it looks it should be a hit in India, and a good choice for bringing into the US.