Magnite: Built for motorists who love high-tech cars

Thursday September 23 2021

The Magnite one of the most fuel efficient compact SUVs . PHOTOs /Roland D. Nasasira

By Roland D. Nasasira

The 2020 Nissan Magnite is a compact Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV). It is a small car that comes with ample interior space and enough legroom for the driver and co-driver. The passengers’ seats, however, seem compromised.

Surprisingly, it runs on a 999cc (1000cc when rounded off) petrol engine, the same engine size as some Toyota Vitz and Toyota Duet models, for motorists who want one of the lowest fuel consumption engines.  This makes the Magnite one of the most fuel efficient compact SUVs. The five seater runs on an automatic transmission system, much as it is also manufactured with the manual transmission version.

However, the 1000cc engine size comes with a turbo and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) system, giving it a seamless driving experience. It has a small but powerful and responsive turbocharged engine.

For instance, when I test drove the car at Kololo along Prince Charles Drive, it picked up speed from zero to 50km/hour in 30 seconds. The command you give it through the accelerator in terms of speed is what it gives you.

Interior features

The Magnite is able to show you the actual temperature inside the car. In terms of safety from external intruders, the doors will lock automatically when the car starts moving.


The hazard or double indicator lights and the door lock buttons are positioned in the middle of the dashboard area, just below the smart screen on the left hand side of the steering wheel. The screen displays smartphone integration, media and phone control and the radio and car settings functions are just a touch away.

You can still attend to your phone by connecting it to the car through the smart touch screen, and controlling the phone using the steering wheel.

The same screen also serves as a rear view camera regardless of whether the car is in or motion , making it more or less an intelligent mirror.

Like the fuel gauge whose level of fuel in the tank is easily monitored by the red line digitally, the speedometer is also digital. And when accelerating, with windows open.  It gives the impression that the exhaust system is produceing the accelerating sound, yet it is the turbo that produces the sound especially as you accelerate further.

The interior also has a number of cup holders at each door.

The leather coated steering wheel is small, light and very soft to turn. The car also has a ground clearance of 2.05mm, making it drivable in rough murram roads.  When accelerating uphill, it does not drag when changing gears. It is made for right hand drive markets for people who love high-tech cars in small versions.

According to Richard Bamujje, a car salesman, the Magnite gives you 25 kilometres using one litre of fuel on a highway, and approximately 20 kilometres for town rounds with built up traffic where it works in lower gears that are synonymous with increased consumption. What gives you more mileage on a highway is the turbo that pumps power into the engine.

Bamujje also observes that, when new, the Magnite has no mechanical issues but like any other car, you have to watch out for the type of engine oil you use. It is due for replacement after every 5,000kilometres.

The other maintenance features, Bamujje adds, include the shock absorbers, brakes as well as monitoring the exhaust and turbo to keep them in the best performance condition.

“Some cars burst turbos because of the poor quality oils motorists tend to use that damages the turbo system. When you use poor quality oil, the car will show through its performance and the ‘check engine oil light’ will display on the dashboard. The driving condition will push you to monitor your engine oil all the time. It is why the service interval is put at 5,000km although there are some synthetic oils on the market that can cover more than 5,000km,” Bamujje says.

Like most cars, diagnosing mechanical problems of the Magnite is equally by dashboard, as opposed to physical diagnosis by your mechanic.