Test Drive: Nissan Sylphy 1.8L CVT

    MobilityTestdriveTest Drive: Nissan Sylphy 1.8L CVT

    The Nissan Sylphy was first launched in the Philippines in 2014, as a replacement model for the iconic Sentra. We tested a media unit that had logged some 30,000+ kilometers to see how gracefully this sedan ages.

    Design: 4/5

    The design concept for the Sylphy was to create a compact sedan that’s stylish yet practical, packed with class-leading luxury car features and technology. The classic exterior design features clean sculpted lines and graceful curves accented with chrome touches on the front grille and door handles. Bright Xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED tail lights, and bumper-integrated fog lamps all ensure high visibility, while 17-inch alloy wheels on the 1.8L variant give added distinction.

    Inside the cabin, the light beige color scheme and leather upholstery exude classy sophistication. The interior is roomy and spacious, thanks to a long wheelbase of 2700 mm. The luggage compartment is massive, with its 510-liter capacity probably one of the largest in its class.

    Hardware: 4.5/5

    As can be quickly gleaned from its variant designation, the Sylphy 1.8L CVT is powered by a fuel-injected four-cylinder 1,798 cc engine with 16-valves and a double overhead camshaft (DOHC), matched to an Xtronic continuously variable transmission system. Its maximum power output is 131 ps @ 6,000 rpm and maximum torque at 174 Nm @ 3,600 rpm.

    Stabilizer bars on the front MacPherson strut and rear torsion beam suspensions deliver a smooth, comfortable ride, while front ventilated disc and rear disc brakes ensure stopping power.

    A feature not normally found in compact sedans, the Sylphy 1.8L CVT has an automatic headlight on setting so you don’t have to worry about switching your lights on/off when entering a tunnel, or when the sky is overcast. Another high-end specification is its automatic airconditioning system with dual zone climate control, so you don’t have to fight with your passenger over whether it’s too hot or too cold.

    Safety features include driver/passenger side airbags, plus anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution.

    The audio system is a 2DIN console with six speakers.

    User Experience: 4/5

    Getting in and driving away on the Sylphy 1.8L CVT is a lark, with its intelligent key and push-start ignition. No more frisking through your pockets or digging through the bottom of your handbag to find your car key. So long as you have it within the vicinity, you can actually open the doors just by touching the handle. And once you’re buckled into the driver’s seat, all you have to do is push the ignition button to start the engine.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I could not manage to accelerate smoothly from zero, and had to apologize to my passengers for the jerky ride at low speeds. A review I read did mention an initial surge on acceleration, with the writer saying he much preferred the old CVT’s more linear approach.

    Once up to speed on the highways, I found cruising smooth and effortless.

    For a compact sedan, the Sylphy 1.8L CVT feels and handles like a much bigger car. Extremely low NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) levels and excellent ride quality, as well as the plush leather seats all add to a sense of luxury.

    Value: 4.5/5

    For all its amenities, the  PHP 998,000 sticker price on the Sylphy 1.8L CVT is surprisingly affordable, making it a definite value-for-money proposition. With 3 years worth of driving on its odometer, the unit we tested, while not fresh, was still an excellent ride. Also, while some may consider its looks to be too bland, I think the classic lines will keep the Sylphy timeless when its contemporaries start to look old and dated.

    What’s Hot:

    • Very comfortable ride
    • Great NVH control
    • Luxury features

    What’s Not:

    • Jerky acceleration
    • Leather upholstery gets too hot when parked in sunlight


    The Nissan Sylphy is not top-of-mind in its class, but it’s definitely worth a closer look.


    Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE June 2016 issue

    Words by Maribelle Alba

    Photos by Benedict Asal

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