2012 Nissan Serena Review

From Ksh 950,000
SAVE VEHICLE
  • Nissan, Serena
  • Petrol
  • 2,000 cm³

The Nissan Serena is a mixed bag of things. On paper, it ticks all the right boxes such as space, economy, utility and affordability but in reality it underwhelms in power delivery and heavy lifting. People who buy it usually intend to put it through hard work and less of leisure but it appears the Serena excels in the latter. Additionally, it plays in a neighborhood dominated by proven workhorses such as the Toyota Noah, Toyota Voxy, Mitsubishi Delica D:5 and Mazda Biante. However, not all is lost, the Nissan Serena hides a clever punch in its class leading fuel efficiency which can drive long term benefits for the owner.

  • Body Type: Van
  • Extras: Alloy Rims
  • Safety Features: ABS, ASCD, Curtain Airbags, EBD, Front seat Active Head Restraint, Hill-start assist, SRS Airbags, VDC
  • Exterior Features: Dual Sliding Doors, Fog Lights
  • Interior Features: Armrests, Foldaway Tables, Overhead TV Screen

Detailed Review

The Nissan Serena is an 8 seater minivan that has been in production for five generations since 1991. The first generation known as the C23 was in production from 1991 to 1999; the second generation known as C24 was in production from 1999 to 2005; the third generation known as C25 was in production from 2005 to 2010; the fourth generation known as C26 was in production from 2010 to 2016 and the fifth generation known as C27 has been in production from 2016 to present.

The fourth generation Nissan Serena in which the 2012 model falls, is built on the same C platform as the Nissan Lafesta and is the longest among its competitors with a wheelbase of 2,860mm against an industry standard of 2,800mm. It boasts of best-in-class fuel efficiency both for the standard and hybrid versions thanks to a clever ECO idling stop feature. The Nissan Serena is the same as the Suzuki Landy save for the front grille and emblems.

The 2012 Nissan Serena is offered with a 2.0 Litre MR20DD petrol engine that is coupled to an SM23 electric motor for the Hybrid version. The transmission available is an Xtronic CVT that is linked to either a 2WD or 4WD drivetrain.

2012 Nissan Serena Grades

  1. Nissan Serena 20S – This is a base grade that comes with the standard 2.0L engine, 15-Inch steel rims, 2WD/4WD, key Start, DVD/Radio player, halogen headlights and 7 to 8 seater.
  2. Nissan Serena 20X – This is an intermediate grade that comes with the standard 2.0L engine, 15-Inch aluminum rims, 4WD, Push to Start, DVD/Radio player, Xenon headlights and 7-8 seater.
  3. Nissan Serena 20X S-Hybrid – This is the intermediate grade that comes with the 2.0L hybrid engine, 15-Inch aluminum rims, 2WD, Push to Start, DVD/Radio player and 7-8 seater.
  4. Nissan Serena G – This is a luxury grade that comes with the standard 2.0L engine, 16-Inch alloy rims, 4WD, Push to Start, DVD/Radio player, Xenon headlights and 7-8 seater.
  5. Nissan Serena G S-Hybrid – This is a luxury grade that comes with the 2.0L hybrid engine, 16-Inch alloy rims, 2WD, Push to Start, DVD/Radio player, Xenon headlights and 7-8 seater.
  6. Nissan Serena Highway Star – This is a top of the range luxury grade that comes with the standard 2.0L engine, 17-Inch alloy rims, 4WD, Push to Start, DVD/Radio player, Xenon headlights, 7 seater and many other luxury amenities.
  7. Nissan Serena Highway Star S-Hybrid – This is a top of the range luxury grade that comes with the 2.0L hybrid engine, 17-Inch alloy rims, 2WD, Push to Start, DVD/Radio player, Xenon headlights, 7-8 seater and many other luxury amenities.
  8. Nissan Serena Highway Star G S-Hybrid – This is a top of the range luxury grade that comes with the 2.0L hybrid engine, 17-Inch alloy rims, 2WD, Push to Start, DVD/Radio player, Xenon headlights, 7 seater and many other luxury amenities.

Interior
Legroom & Space
The Nissan Serena is an abundantly spacious car with room to comfortably seat 8 adults and still spare enough space for their luggage. At the first row, there’s plenty of legroom for both the driver and passenger with elevated seats that provide an excellent view of the road. At the second and third rows, the legroom is legitimately good and the seats can be adjusted to fit any desired seating position. The dual electric doors that can be controlled at the touch of a button make it easy for passengers to embark and disembark.

Cabin Storage
There are several storage compartments in the cabin that are useful for storing items such as smartphones, beverages, goggles, handbags etc. At the first row there are 4 cup-holders, door panel storage, a storage shelf below the dashboard, a glovebox and the center-box. At the second row, there’s storage on the side pockets and foldaway table with cupholders. At the third row, there’s storage on the side pockets.

2012 Nissan Serena Boot Space
The Serena is a spacious and versatile car that can be configured for various applications such as carrying people, cargo or both. In the 8 seater configuration with all three rows in use, the boot space is still large enough to carry sizable luggage. In the 2 seater configuration when both the second and third row seats are folded, the Serena is transformed into a formidable cargo van.

Other Extras: Foldaway tables, 12V power socket, electric sliding doors, overhead TV

Safety Features: SRS Airbags, Curtain airbags, Antilock Brake System(ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution(EBD), Vehicle Dynamic Control(VDC) Front seat Active Head Restraint, Hill Start Assist, Auto Speed Control Device(ASCD)

Exterior
The Nissan Serena has a smooth flowing exterior that looks pleasant and much better than most of its boxy competitors. The crystal clear flowing tail lights give it a modern look that fits well with overall design of the car. The large triangular windows provide good lighting in the cabin and an excellent view of the road.

2012 Nissan Serena Fuel Consumption
2012 Nissan Serena 2.0L petrol fuel consumption: 15.4 km/L
2012 Nissan Serena 2.0L petrol hybrid fuel consumption: 18.9 km/L

2012 Nissan Serena Acceleration
2012 Nissan Serena 2.0L petrol accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 15.0 sec.

2012 Nissan Serena Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 Litres

2012 Nissan Serena Ground Clearance
The 2012 Nissan Serena has a ground clearance of 6.3 Inches(160mm) which is below the minimum recommended clearance of 6.5 Inches for Kenyan roads and it may not clear some speed bumps. It may be necessary to modify the ground clearance to adjust the car to Kenyan roads. Read our guidelines here on how to safely increase a vehicle’s ground clearance.

2012 Nissan Serena Stability and Handling
The Nissan Serena feels somewhat under powered when coming off a standstill or when climbing steep hills. The rest of the drive is fairly pleasant and there are no major shortcomings except that It leans a bit too much around corners which is normal for cars its size.

Service Intervals
Minor Service:At 5,000 km for petrol and 5,000 km for diesel. Requires Air Cleaner, Oil Filter, and Engine Oil
Major Service: At 10,000km. Requires Air Cleaner, Oil Filter, Fuel Filter, ATF Filter, Cabin Filter, Plugs, Front Brake Pads, Rear Brake Pads, ATF Oil, and Engine Oil

Spare Parts Availability, Cost & Where to buy
Service parts are affordable and widely available in Kenya. Body parts are also fairly priced but availability is varied across different towns. In Nairobi, most spare shops in Industrial Area and Kirinyaga Road stock the service parts. You can get listings for these shops here follow this link

2012 Nissan Serena Reliability
The driving conditions in Kenya are significantly different from those in Japan and Europe.  Reliability reviews done for those markets largely do not apply to the Kenyan market. There are differences in roads, fuel, climate, spares, and technical expertise. To give you accurate and reliable local insights, we interview experts such as mechanics and car dealers, who have in-depth knowledge of the Kenyan market. We also test the cars ourselves. Our aim is to give you the right information to enable you make an informed decision when buying a car.

The Nissan Serena employs the 2.0L MR20DD engine which is shared with the X-Trail and Dualis/Qashqai. It’s an improvement over the previous MR20DE that was even more under powered and unreliable. The body construction for the previous models has been brought to question by owners and there have been reports of noises and rattles from loose body parts. So far, this model appears to be holding on much better but more time is required to conclusively say whether the issues have been resolved. Besides that, there’s nothing else of major concern and as always, we advise owners to thoroughly read the Owner’s Manual as it contains vital information on how the car should be maintained. To download the 2012 Nissan Serena Owner’s Manual, click here.

Resale Value: Average

Nissan Serena Competitors: Toyota Noah, Toyota Voxy, Mitsubishi Delica D:5, Honda StepWagon and Mazda Biante.

Cost of Ownership
Purchase Price: from Ksh.950,000
Comprehensive Insurance: Average Ksh. 38,000/ per annum- Or
3rd Party Insurance: Ksh. 7,000/- per annum
Change of Tyres(If neccessary) Ksh. 24,000/- for 4 Tyres
NB: figures as at June 2019

What we like about the 2012 Nissan Serena

  1. Excellent fuel economy
  2. Spacious cabin
  3. Comfortable

What we don’t

  1. It’s under powered
  2. Body parts that tend to loosen and rattle over time

Conclusion
The Nissan Serena is an 8-Seater van that is best suited for people with large families or people in need of a light commercial van. It’s very economical both in terms of fuel consumption and maintenance which makes it appealing to people on a tight budget. If properly utilized and maintained, it can bring immense value to the owner thanks to its low ownership cost and excellent fuel economy.

Where to Buy the 2012 Nissan Serena in Kenya
If you are looking to either import or buy the Nissan Serena locally, we can help you with this process. Over the years, we have developed a network of trusted dealers both in Kenya and Japan who supply us with exceptional cars. Simply call us or send us a message through our contacts below and we’ll get you the right car at the right price.

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