There are just some cars that we wish could make a comeback in the Philippines. One of those is Nissan's plush minivan, the Serena. Essentially a rival to the then Toyota Previa, it sadly went away when more affordable SUVs and MPVs started to crop up.
Now on its fourth-generation, the minivan has gone through a major redesign thanks to its sleek looks, plethora of new technologies, and a more comfortable cabin. For the 2020 model year, Nissan breathes new life once more in the Serena by giving it an updated look, and plenty more high tech goodies.
Starting with its exterior, the Serena now has a more defined V-Motion front grill. The edges of the grill piece itself now extends toward the headlights, giving them a more upscale appearance than before. Finally, the front bumper gets a sporty redesign which complements the overall refresh of the minivan. Changes at the back, on the other hand, are minimal at best and only consist of a new set of taillights and a slightly different rear bumper.
As for what's inside, the 2019 Serena relatively remains the same as the pre-facelift version. However, Nissan did gave the minivan a new digital instrument panel, along with a new seat fabric. Optional waterproof seat covers are also available which are capable of keeping dirt and water away from staining the fabric. Other neat additions inside the cabin include: hands-free auto sliding rear doors, intelligent rear-view mirror, and a third-row auto slide for easier ingress / egress.
While both the exterior and interior received subtle changes, the Serena does get a major upgrade when it comes to technology. Like almost every Nissan today, the 2020 Serena is now equipped with a suite of 'Intelligent Mobility' features. With it, the minivan now comes with the following: blind spot monitoring with collision avoidance, rear cross traffic alert, and even 360-degree around-view monitoring.
As for ProPilot, which serves as the car's semi-autonomous driving feature, it now comes with additional features and has been tweaked to deliver a smoother drive. According to Nissan, the speed control has been optimized in order for it to have smoother braking in various conditions. In addition, the system can now maintain the driver's set speed even while going on inclined roads.
A total of two engine choices are available for the 2020 Serena, a 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated gasoline inline-four, and a smaller 1.2-liter inline three that benefits from e-Power technology. The former produces 147 PS along with 210 Nm of torque and is mated to a CVT.
The latter, on the other hand, works differently. While it may have an engine underneath, it instead powers and charges a battery pack that drives the electric motors. This means the engine only serves as a range extender as pure electric power is fed through the front wheels, no need for a plug-in point for recharging the battery.
While it is highly unlikely that the new Serena will make it here in the Philippines, we're just glad to know that it is still alive and well in other markets and is better than ever.