The dressed-up Livina gets our vote for being bold.
Those who want a more exciting variant of the popular Nissan Grand Livina MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) can opt for the Tuned by Impul unit.
Our Grand Livina Tuned by Impul came in Brilliant White, inclusive of the Impul Aerokit slapped on in matching colour, a sports suspension, Blast 2 exhaust muffler and a set of four 17-inch Impul Auro SX-20 alloy rims wrapped by 215/45 series Goodyear Eagle F1 Directional 5 tyres.
However, that’s just it; some extra RM14,000 over the Grand Livina 1.8’s RM99,880 on-the-road price tag.
The Grand Livina Tuned by Impul looks “visually” fast, without any tweaks to the engine to wring out a little more performance.
Visually, it’s a far cry from what the recently-revised standard Grand Livina had to offer – 15-inch alloy wheels, newly designed front and rear lamps, a new grille, repositioned fog lamps and wing mirrors with integrated LED turn signals.
Although this seven-seater MPV has been in service for over six years, having its looks spruced-up was certainly a welcomed breath of fresh air, but with the Impul variant it becomes a rather large gulp of it.
It now sits 25mm lower than the standard, and the 17-inch wheels do well to help fill the wheel arches for a lowered stance.
Under the hood lies the same 1.8L MR18DE engine, which is a four-cylinder all-aluminium DOHC block with multi-point fuel injection, and it’s not been tinkered with.
That means its still churning out 124bhp at 5,200rpm and 174Nm at 4,800rpm, while coupled to a four-speed transmission.
Opening the doors revealed a beige interior, a stark contrast compared to its aggressive new looks. Everything inside seemed to be standard trim.
A blacked-out interior, a pair of semi-bucket seats and perhaps a set of brushed pedals would have helped to match its sporty exterior looks.
Starting up the Impul version, the new exhaust gave a bassy-tune that lingered at the rear.
Pulling off the line from standstill, the Impul variant seemed just a tad sluggish compared with the standard Livina, perhaps due to the heavier and wider 17-inch wheels.
At higher speeds, it felt significantly stable and planted compared with the standard Livina.
We loved how the Grand Livina was able to provide a somewhat neutral feel around the bends (without payload or passengers); its weight-distribution still felt more pro-forward than its Impul-tuned counterpart.
Combining the traits of a stiffer and 25mm lowered suspension with the lower-profile tyres, this Impul variant becomes a real peach to slip and slide through traffic, regardless of its 1,280kg kerb heft.
The Grand Livina’s pitch and roll have been subdued, and that in turn made driving the Impul variant more confidence inspiring.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s not that it doesn’t get the job done, we’d just like it better if the brakes could provide a harder bite to fit the “uber” sporty outlook of theImpul variant.
After all, the Impul variant does look like it wants to be driven hard and fast.
The Grand Livina is plenty tame when puttering about; it’s four-speed automatic gearbox making sure the rpm’s are nice and low, but to get some real action out of it, the pedal literally needs to be stepped all the way down.
Put the Impul-tuned Grand Livina in the hands of a capable driver (minus the insanity), the fun factor can become rather high.
But in doing so, we can’t stress how mindful drivers need to be with the light steering feel and arguably adequate braking power.
With that, memories of the beige and cream cabin is quickly forgotten and all that’s left is a large grin – definitely not the place to look for sophistication.
SPECIFICATIONS: Nissan Grand Livina Impul
Engine: 1,798cc, 16 valves all-alluminium alloy construction 4-cylinder powerplant with CVTC and Drive-by-Wire Technology
Maximum power: 124bhp at 5,200rpm
Maximum torque: 174Nm at 4,800rpm
Transmission: 4-speed electronically controlled automatic with lock-up torque converter.
Suspension: Performance Impul Sports Suspensions system (RM2,800) consisting of absorbers and springs, designed for a 25mm drop in ride-height for sportier and a more neutral handling characteristic.
Features: Dual front airbags, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist system, seatbelts with pre-tensioners and load limiters, Nissan anti-theft system immobiliser, electric power steering, Nissan Intelligent key, front and back door request switch, Impul Blast 2 exhaust muffler (RM1,800), Impul complete aero-kit (RM3,500), double-DIN audio system with radio/CD/MP3 playback and AUX connection port for ipod interface, 17-inch Impul Aura SX-20 Alloy rims (RM4,500) with 215/45 series Goodyear Eagle F1 Directional 5 tyres (RM450/pc).
Price: RM99,800 (on-the-road with insurance) + RM14,400 (Full Impul Accessories).