So you’ve added a new member to your growing family, and also got a maid to help you out. With these extra “occupants”, neither your daily commute-to-work sports-coupe nor your wife’s shopping-cart compact-hatchback, can seem to fit your “big” family unless you take both cars out. You want a seven-seater vehicle but can’t afford those big luxurious VIP vans. This type of scenario is quite common here in Malaysia and a popular sporty-looking affordable solution, is the Nissan Grand Livina.

This compact MPV was originally launched on 6 July, 2006, by Nissan Motors and their Chinese affiliate, Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Company at the Guangzhou International Motor Show. There in China, it was offered only as a 5-seater, with the 7-seater known as the Nissan Livina Geniss. Only about a year after that, on December 2007, the 7-seater Nissan Grand Livina was launched here in Malaysia.

I can complain about the lack of power, I can complain about the drivers’ seat not being snug enough. But then, this is not a performance car I’m testing here. It’s not even a car. It’s a van. But not just any van. It’s the popular Nissan Grand Livina that looks the part thanks to IMPUL for adding some go-faster bits.

This Tuned By IMPUL version was released about three and a half years after its’ launch in Malaysia, on 19 June 2011, during the Super GT International Series 2011 at the Sepang International Circuit. The difference it has, compared to a standard version, is basically a bodykit, handling package and an exhaust muffler.

To tell you the truth, I actually like it. The very stance that it projects is somehow appealing to me. I’ll go through the details slowly. The bodykit consists of a new front grille with the new Impul logo incorporated into it, sporty looking front bumper spoiler with foglights, side skirts, diffuser-like rear bumper skirts, and IMPUL’s signature rear wing spoiler.

The handling package is a total system upgrade from uprated coils and dampers with a 25mm lowered ride height, to special IMPUL Aura SX-10 17 inch alloy wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 GSD3 tyres. The muffler, however, remains just as a muffler with an IMPUL logo, but does produce a nice sporty note. With all the bodykit on, lowered with big rims, it looks more like a small wagon instead of a van, but open the doors and you’ll be surprised to find this small wagon sits seven.

The spacious interior is finished in dark grey material with brushed aluminium trims on the steering, gear knob, center console, air condition vents and meter cluster, to add a touch of refinement. As I’ve complained earlier, the drivers’ seat may not be as snug as I’d like it to be, but is quite comfortable. There’s air condition vents for rear passengers but the seats are just okay. The last row of seats, however, have limited space that can actually fit two adults but only for short trips. It’s mainly for children, I presume.

Boot space is quite limited but with both third and second row of seat able to fold down, various configuration can be made to fit in larger things like golf bags or other long/tall house decorations that the missus might buy.

Powerwise, two engines are offered for the Nissan Grand Livina Tuned By IMPUL – the 1.8 litre MR18DE and the 1.6 litre Hr16DE. Edaran Tan Chong Motor Sdn Bhd was kind enough to let us have the 1.6 version for a weekend of testing. It’s a double overhead cam (DOHC), 16-valve, 4-cyclinder in-line with drive-by-wire technology that produces 103 hp at 5,200 rpm with torque figures at 150 Nm at 4,400 rpms. Although both engine variant comes equipped with a 4-speed automatic transmission, there is a 5-speed manual transmission offered on the 1.6. Delightfully, I got the manual.

While I can complain about the lack of power, I’d have to say the 103 hp that this engine produces is quite adequate as I’m not expected to go racing with it. It’s basically a van and once laden with family or friends, is just nice to waft along carefully. Handling is good and sharp but the ride might be a little stiff for passengers due to the performance suspension and wheels package IMPUL has fitted. I do like the stiff setup though. It corners with very little body roll. Nice.

The featured exhaust system, an IMPUL Blast 2 Exhaust Muffler, does have a sporty note and is said to provide sharper engine throttle response. I’m not sure if it improves performance but if it did, I didn’t notice. It’s an option that I can do without.

Speaking of options, this Nissan Grand Livina Tuned By IMPUL is offered at a cost of only RM10,700 above the standard version. The on-the-road price for the IMPUL Tuned Livina is at RM97,513.50 . If you were to purchase the IMPUL stuff separately, it would total up to RM14,400.00. Alternatively, you can buy just a few of the items if for example you don’t need the exhaust system or prefer a nice design alloy wheels. Individual prices for the items are as follows :

Front Grille – RM   800.00

Aerokit – RM3,500.00

Suspension – RM2,800.00

Alloy Wheels – RM4,500.00

Tyres @ RM350 X 4 – RM1,400.00

Exhaust Muffler – RM1,800.00

Personally, I’d get the whole package so that I not only save a few grand but also to get the full IMPUL experience on this Livina. Although I’d prefer a sports-coupe as my main transport, I would consider this Tuned By IMPUL compact MPV once I’m married and have just added a new member to my growing family with a maid to help out so I can fit my “big” family in one vehicle.

2011 Nissan Grand Livina Tuned By IMPUL
Price (RM) RM97,513.50 OTR
Engine Type HR16DE
Displacement 1.6 Litre DOHC 16-Valve
Power 103 hp @ 5,200 rpm
Torque 150 Nm @ 4,400 rpm
Brakes Ventilated Disc (F), Drum (R)
Gearbox 5-Speed Manual
Kerb Weight 1,220 kg
Wheelbase 2,600 mm
Length 4,420 mm
Width 1,690 mm
Height 1,590 mm
Tyres 205/45 Series
Wheels 17-inch Aura SX-20 Alloy Wheels



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