If there's one vehicle from Nissan that we miss seeing on Philippine roads, it would have to be the Serena. While it was available in the local market from the early to the mid-2000s, the minivan was quietly discontinued when Nissan decided to revamp their lineup and focus on sedans, compact MPVs, pick-up trucks, and SUVs.
Elsewhere around the world, however, the Serena continues to live on. In fact, Nissan just launched the all-new sixth-generation model of the minivan in Japan. Featuring the brand's design language evolution, the 2023 Serena gets a more sculpted exterior, a more daring front fascia, a roomier and more high-tech cabin, and an electrified powertrain.
The all-new look of the Serena sees the minivan adopt fancy LED lights that appear to merge seamlessly with the redesigned V-Motion front grille. However, the minivan does still retain a boxy shape, particularly at the back which helps it get a spacious cabin. Depending on the variant, the 2023 Serena can have a sportier overall look.
The top-spec Luxion gets more prominent bumpers and side skirts that give it a more upscale look. Meanwhile, the Autech version gets heaping amounts of chrome along with a unique interior upholstery that makes it stand out more.
While we can admire the exterior all day long, the main focus of the Serena is its interior. For 2023, the cabin not only looks more modern and space-age, but it continues to be spacious for both passengers and cargo. Nissan claims the all-new model comes with 120mm of extra legroom for the driver. On the other hand, the seating arrangement can be configured either as a 7-seater or 8-seater. Moreover, each passenger will have access to cupholders, USB charging ports, and smartphone pockets.
Moving to the dashboard, the minivan gets an all-digital display for the touchscreen infotainment and the instrument cluster. Even the automatic climate control system gets a new digital screen complete with traditional dials. Last but not least is a new compact steering wheel that comes with media and ProPilot 2.0 driver assistance controls.
To ensure cabin comfort for the passengers, Nissan said they created a new seat that reduces motion sickness, improved sound insulation, changed the placement of the digital cockpit, and redesigned the suspension.
Powering the 2023 Serena is a range of traditional internal combustion engines (ICEs) and hybrid powertrains. First up is a 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder that makes 150 PS with 200 Nm of torque. It is then mated to a CVT that's available in either FWD or 4WD configurations.
Next is the more efficient e-Power system that consists of a 1.4-liter three-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Like the Kicks e-Power, the engine serves as a generator that charges the electric motor's battery pack. As for the motor itself, it puts out an impressive 163 PS and 315 Nm of torque that is sent to the front wheels.
The Nissan Serena might not be available in the PH market anymore, but we're still happy to see that the automaker still believes in the minivan despite the growing dominance of SUVs and crossovers. Heck, if Nissan decides to launch it here, it might prove to be a worthy competitor to Hyundai Staria or Kia Carnival.